Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Final Thoughts on East Coast USA

Our first trip trip the USA has been a success and generally it’s a very easy and not too expensive to travel within the U.S.A. Obviously you can spend any amount of money in every location but if you don't want 5* luxury accommodation and fine dining you can travel relatively cheap and live relatively well which is all you really need when you're on the move.

In total we took 1750 photos, travelled through 6 state including New York, Pennsylvania, District of Columbia, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida. We have stayed and visited the follow places (not including drive throughs enroute to others) New York, Washington DC (via train), Gettysburg, Charleston (via flight), Hilton Head, Savannah, St Augustine, Daytona Beach, Cape Canaveral (Kennedy space centre), Key Largo, Key West, The Everglades and Miami, not bad in a 27 day trip including the 1 day extra where the plane was delayed home.

As a couple we have probably spent about £6500 including all flights, accommodation, food, attractions and attractions which isn't that bad for a near month long trip. Motels/hotels generally were about $60-$80 per night on the road, admission into most touristy things was either free or $10-$20 p/p. Food that we ate in dinners usually costing about $20-$40 for the both of us, maybe a bit more with a few drinks on a evening.

One thing to note is the landscape, the people and the food to a certain extent have differed as we have travelled from north to south. Hospitality has almost always been welcoming and warm regardless of where we have been and what we have been doing, people have almost mostly been inquisitive and interested in us and keen to talk about the UK once we get chatting. Transport as a whole has been great and we have travelled by plane, train, boat and car at different times and all have been good, prompt and comfortable except the final day flying home which coincidentally is with a domestic UK airline Thomas Cook. In total we travelled 1150 miles by car over the course of 14 days, only occasionally getting lost and only once having a bad drive and that was our own fault for driving into Miami at Friday rush hour.

Regarding the final part of the trip, the flight home, Thomas Cook who we are flying with have been awful and looked like they had never had a flight cancelled and had no way of handling it. I felt sorry for the ground staff who were trying to support everyone, in total it took nearly 3hrs from finding out the plane was not going to fly to actually getting to hotel to sleep for the night. None to little information along the way and the information which was given seemed to be contradictory or incorrect altogether. I am writing this final blog in the airport at 12:45 and the plane crew just walked by so hopefully we will be off soon. Thomas Cook do have some questions to answer regarding the delays and the poor and incorrect information being disseminated through the 300 passengers who were stranded. Obviously there were some stupid people who though getting irate and rude would solve the problem but luckily the majority simply stood/sat and waited patiently if not a bit irritated and annoyed. A complaint will be on the way to Thomas Cook once home.

Back to the trip, we have gathered various properties and characteristics of americans and its society and landscape as we have traveled, some obvious, others probably incorrect and stereotypical but we have noticed or come across incidents which have drawn these conclusions. Hopefully they won't offend anyone and since 26 days isn't a great deal it's not long enough to draw full in depth conclusion but more of simple observations are our opinion only.

  • American society is wasteful as a whole:
    • Straws wrapped individually / knives and forks wrapped in napkins and then in paper all individually.
    • Double wrapped chewing gum as well as double packaging on many items in the supermarket.
    • Polystyrene is everywhere, bowls,cups, knives forks spoons all disposable at all but 2 of the hotels we stayed in.
    • Plastic cups in all hotels all individually wrapped.
    • Most drinks served in plastic disposable cups in pretty much every bar or restaurant we went in with some exceptions for wine and some pubs.
    • Doggy bags always polystyrene and disposable.
  • History in the USA can only be classed as modern history really.
    • This isn't quite true but things in U.K and europe have a much longer history.
    • The history they do have is well kept and accessible, probably because they treasure the small amount which they have.
  • People are always friendly if not always the sharpest of people.
    • One woman thought the UK was in the Canada….
  • Sometimes we suffered from language barriers.
    • Izzi once getting a mocha instead of a water for example.
    • The need to repeat things definitely happened.
    • Other things which may need to be said in a different way like the time, half past ten seems to not make sense unless you say ten thirty.
    • The 24hr clock does not exist.
  • God and Guns definitely play in part in society.
    • This is hard to justify as we have only spoken to a few people about guns and god but it seems to be on TV a lot as well the obviously one like being able to buy guns in your local supermarket.
    • High levels of respect and preferential treatment for the Military also plays a role here. We often saw discounts in stores and restaurants with promotions like military day 20% off and also on internal flights they also got priority boarding.
  • Petrol is unbelievably cheap and America is definitely a country where the car is king.
    • Do they really need such massive cars and trucks? We saw just as many pickup trucks, 6 wheelers and massive off road trunks as we did cars, surely all these people don't need a 6 lt+ engine?
  • Driving is easy but slow
    • Driving in America is easy with lanes the same size as dual carriageways in the UK. In the same regard parking spaces are massive, I’ve lived in smaller houses.
    • Cross roads suck in my opinion, the roundabout is king as it saves the indecisions. I have noticed when driving that people often suffer from indecision at cross roads and no one knows whose right of way it is, round abouts solve this problem in my opinion. The turn right on red rule seems like a decent idea but this seems to be ignored and abused in lots of cases.
    • The roads and big and the traffic is slow with major transit routes sometimes not going above 55 mph unlike all motorways in the UK being 70mph.
  • UK radio is without a doubt better in all respect in the UK.
    • Too many repeats, not enough various, too many adverts, old out dates music and far too much country music are just some of our observations.
  • Food is served fast and with a smile and the doggy bag is a given and expected part of many meals.
    • Most of the food we ate in dinners and bar was decent enough quality and tasty however the lack of vegetables does seem to be an issue.
    • Cuisine does change through states from the north to south with common fast foods always available.
    • Also the requirement to server meals with bread and or biscuits (like a salty scone) is unneeded bloat to a meal.
    • The same respect that every italian meal we went for is served with a salad course, this was welcomed but not sure why it's with italian food.
  • Beer served by the ounce is not as good as by the pint which is always given by law as a full pint.
  • American Chocolate is substantially worse than everywhere else we have travelled.
  • Condiments are king and with most meals serve and good selection of condiments are available and maybe a sauce is served with your meal.
    • This is a great point and a favourite of mine.
  • Peanut butter is everywhere not just for breakfast.
  • The same can be said for bacon
    • Whilst talking about bacon, streaky sucks compared to english back bacon.
  • The further south we went he fatter the people got.
    • With exceptions of NYC and Miami we found people did get fatter the further south we travelled. It wasn't as prevalent as we expected but the ones which were fat tended to be really fat.
  • Every bar is a sports bar with sport on all TV’s and usually lots of TV’s.
    • Some pubs are not really pubs but just bars.
  • College football seems bigger than professional football.
    • A college stadium puts our premier league stadiums to shame.
  • Everyone loves a clap, this is exercised at all possible times, this I struggled with.

That's all I can really write for this trip, the next trip won't be a few months or into the new year. Our plan again is to try and get ticket for Burning man which will mean some travelled down the west coast of the USA.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

The Everglades & Miami South Beach

The Everglades is our last stop before reaching Miami and then unfortunately flying back, arriving in the UK on the 5th October, nearly exactly a month since we set off from Manchester. The drive is long and tough from the Keys simply due to the time and boringness of the road we needed to travel on. We arrive at our motel ‘Super8’, check in and head to the pool. The motel is near to the southern entry point to the Keys at Ernest Coe Visitor Centre. For dinner that day we head to Sonny’s BBQ house, the food was tasty, the ribs were juicy and the brisket fell apart. The next morning we checkout and head to the Everglades.

Luckily the Everglades are next door to where we stayed so after only 20 mins we arrived at Ernest Coe Visitor Centre. We explored the exhibits and spoke to a ranger about the options and formulated a plan for the day. The first stop after a short 15 minute video was a viewing tower about 20 mins further into the national park. Once there you get a good view of the surroundings and can see the scale of the grasslands which dominate the everglades. We had read into doing airboat tour but ditched this idea as it's not really good for the national park and they don't officially do this anymore.

The day itself was hot and we knew mosquitoes would be everywhere, we had a good few layers of sunscreen and deet all over our body making it sometime a bit uncomfortable when walking and travelling between locations. Our goal was to get to the furthest part of the national park, Flamingo Visitor center in the very south where you can have the option to canoe through various trails. Upon arriving at the center we saw swarms of mosquitoes buzzing around the car as we arrived just waiting for the moment to attack. We again layered up on deet and made a run for the visitors centre. As we ran followed by a swarm of mosi’s we made it to see that all staff had full body mosquito net style shirts on, almost like suites a beekeeper would wear. After speaking to them it turns out we came at a bad time due to the weather and the recent rains had unleashed a plague of bugs. After a quick break, another layer of deet and an ice cream we decide canoeing wasn't for us and started to make the drive back through the national park deciding to stop several trails en-route.

All the trails were very accessible and very easy to walk on, none were longer than a mile and we often did not see any other tourists so it felt like we had the place to ourselves, maybe other tourists knew it’s not a good day for the bugs and kept away. On the trials we saw several types of bird, several turtles of differing species, many insects (massive spiders) and encountered many different types of environment/landscape from grasslands to ‘stunted pine’ forests to large mahogany forests. The Everglades proved to be a worthwhile day trip however it's a shame about the canoeing and the bugs, all in all a decent and very peaceful day spent with nature and mainly without anyone else which seems to be a common theme for the time of year we have decided to travel at. The only damage we had from the day is many bits and in some odd places, even with the 50% deet we had on. Izzi got bites behind her ear and well as some through her top on her back & on her chest. The strangest bites I got were on both the palm and the top of my right hand as well as in my eyebrow as well as a few small ones on my legs.

After leaving the Everglades we aim for Miami, only about 1hr but we are travelling in rush hour then have to find the car rental place to drop the car off. Unfortunately as we approach Miami the traffic gets worse and we take 2 or 3 wrong turns, in total it took us 2hrs but then combined with queue to drop off the car as well as getting a taxi then to our next hotel it took nearly 4 hrs and should have probably taken 2hrs.

We had decided to stay at a hostel in miami for a change, luckily the hostel was located 2 minutes walk from the beach or that's what we thought. Once we had arrived they checked us in and directed us 6 blocks back from the beach to our apartment, we weren't happy about that but they ran a shuttle bus back and forth all day but still it's a pain in the arse and not the convenience that we wanted. The apartment was nice, clean and spacious so we can't complain. That night we went on a pub crawl and to club ‘Mansion’ organised by the hostel, it was fun and we spoke to lots of people, the club however was not our sort of music and left by 2:30am which I think is early for Miami.

The next day was our only full day in Miami, we hired backs and cycled from the north to south along the beach which was very pleasant. The weather was good and not to hot with a breeze as it's on the coast. The beachfront felt very welcoming and not tacky or cheap in any way. Both of us spoke about wanting to come back and experience more of Maini at some point.

In the afternoon we headed for the famous Miami South Beach, the home of more scantily clad young women and some men than I have ever seen, ever more than Rio! The beach was beautiful even if a it was busy, music was playing in all directions and groups all around seemed in very high spirits. The sea was crystal clear and warm and if you swam just off the many beach to about 8 ft I could see large shoals of fish which was a surprise. We chilled for a few hours before heading back.

That evening was our last evening in USA so went for a very tasty and more up market french restaurant than what we are used to. After a delicious meal and a bit of final shopping we headed back to the apartment, the next day was glastonbury ticket sales so we had to be up at 3:50am to get tickets with our friends.

It's 3.50am and we awake trying in futile to get glastonbury tickets and eventually out of our group of 18 people only one group of 6 got through which is a massive disappointment. It doesn't matter as the rest of us will try in the re-sale in April or will be headed to one or two more festivals next summer to make up for it. We head back to sleep before a 12:30 checkout and a trip to the airport to fly home that evening.

We arrive at the airport with a few hours to kill. We are set to fly at 18:30 with Thomas Cook and arrive manchester 7am the next day with the time difference. At 19:00 we get told the plane is delayed and as you can imagined some people start to get agitated, myself and Izzi hang back and watch the chaos unfold.

Its 22:00 and we have been told the plane will not fly today and has a technical fault which needs to be fixed before we fly. Two overwhelmed airport staff poorly disseminate information about what's going to happen. By the time we have picked up our baggage, got taxis etc we arrive at a hotel at 12:30am and are told to sleep, eat breakfast and in the morning information will be available. The next morning we awake to a letter under the door detailing pickup at 10am and a possible flight at noon today. We eat and head back to the airport to checking our bags once more and attempt to fly home for a 2nd time. Izzi has emailed her work detailing the issue as she should be in work at 8am on Wednesday but we won't land until 2am Wednesday if we fly at noon.

It’s 12:30pm and we are rumoured to be boarding at 1pm, fingers crossed the plane is fixed and ready to go. Eventually we board at 2pm and head off home back to reality, see you later America we will be back.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

The Keys - Key Largo, Key West, No Name Key and the Several Mile Bridge

We headed further south down into Key Largo. Enroute we tick one off the list, Taco Bell. Something izzi is keen on trying in american, something I thought was rubbish and hopefully won't be eating again, either way its one off the list which is getting smaller which is good as so is the time we have left to travel. We also hit Walmart the day before as we have no breakfast, buying plastic bowls and spoons, eating cereal in the carpark which drew some stares and reminded me of the crunchy nut advert.

We have 3 nights booked in at a nice hotel with a big pool, we have seen the forecast which looks mixed so hope for no rain and maybe a drop in temperature both which seem unlikely. The keys have some allure to us due to them being islands, enjoying all the island we visited in asia where most of them had a bohemian feel and relaxed culture to them, hopefully this is the case.

After arriving at the hotel we grabbed some tasty lunch from a bar named Skippers’ and headed to the pool. The pool was clean and big, the first thing we noticed is how many latino people were at the hotel and in general in florida so far. Further north we didn't notice as many but here we seen and hear hispanic voices all the time, lots of TV channels are in spanish as well. Everyone is very friendly and welcoming so nothing to worry about. That evening we headed to a another near by bar which seemed lively and got talking to some locals, after a few beers and once they had left we hit the sack and got some rest for tomorrow's trip.

That morning we awoke very early and headed to confirm our place on a first come first serve fishing trip. It was only $40 per person and well within our budget. Fishing is one the things we wanted to do on the trip originally thinking we could get on a boat charter but after investigating prices many ranged from $1000-$1500+ for the day which seems far too expensive and not what we were thinking. After sealing our place on the ship we had a bite to eat and headed out at 9am on our first sea boat of the trip so far.

On the way our due to maybe too much booze the night before the ride didn't sit comfortably with izzy but this soon stopped once the fishing got going. The boat travelled about 45-60mins from the harbour, after stopping and baiting up we threw out our rods, izzi making the first catch, a little yellow tail fish. The captain moved us on as not enough people were catching. On the 2nd stop everyone started shout ‘fish on’ which was to signal a catch. In total during the morning we caught a 13 fish, some keepers most of which we threw back not wanting to cook them. Luckily on the last cast out when the captain called time I started to real mine in a something big took it. It felt much bigger than the 4-8 inch fished we previously being catching, after a small and probably exaguated flight it turns out I caught a decent sized Trigger fish, the 2nd biggest fish of the day! The fishing guide came over and helped de-hook it, congratulating me on a tasty catch. The fish was a decent size, not sure of the weight but we decided to keep it for lunch that day once back on dry land. The ride home was much better both as we had had a decent ½ day fishing trip and we actually caught some fish, the highlight for me was the possibility of having it for dinner. Once back in the harbour our fishing guide filleted the fish for me. We headed to somewhere we went the night before hoping then do ‘cook your own catch’ which they did, for $11 p/p they would cook you up your catch and throw in a few sides. Overall the fillets were chunky and meaty producing some delicious white fish with sweet potato and mango coleslaw for lunch, very satisfying indeed. That afternoon we chilled by the pool calling it a day when it rained heavily for about 45 minutes, soon passing to produce once again 30 degree heat and very high humidity.

The next day I have booked a dive refresher course consisting of a small quiz to test what I reminder, a pool recapping session to go over how to use the gear and the basics of diving again and then 2 dives in the afternoon. It's been 2 years nearly exactly to the day that I did several days diving on Gili Air, Indonesia, luckily it felt great to be back under the water and it was like riding a bike and I didn't forgot anything. Izzi’s day was to bask in the sun, topping up her tan, reading and general having some down time. It’s amazing how tiring doing a bit of travelling can be.

After a quick lunch together I headed out for the dives, it was only myself and a very friendly buddy instructor to do some diving together. We headed out to one of the 30+ nature reserves of the coast. After about 45 mins we were at the first dive site, a sunken ship from the 50’s, unlike many others this actually sank and was not sunk to form an artificial reef. I have never dived a wreck before so it was very interesting. Corals form on and around the wreck like its rock, unfortunately I didnt seen a great deal of fish or other sea life other than some corals but the wreck itself was great to explore and tbh the first time actually diving after 2 years I'm glad it was a nice and gentle introducing back into diving. In total we had about 50 mins underwater exploring the wreck which was massive, much bigger than I expected. Once we surfaced the moved to another site 20 mins away and got geared up for the dive. This time lots of jellyfish were in the water so the idea is to get in a got down straight away dodging the jellies which only live in the top 5-10ft of water.

The 2nd dive site was much better, I saw some great coral and decent fish, a nice big fat crab and spent some time playing with a very protective fish who even though was about 2 inch long would swim right up to me and nibble my finger if I got too close to his coral house. One of the highlights were the coral caves or tunnels which had formed. We swam straight through some massive twisting caves which was great fun, finding a huge fish sleeping in one and another shoal of tiny fish hiding in the other. The diving was a great day out and it's a shame I don't have more time as I would go out again. In comparison to when I did it in Indonesia it didn't feel as untouched or as colourful as the reefs I saw out there. It was equally as fun but not as much wow factor as the reefs out in the Gili Islands, and no turtles of sharks which I really hoped for.

After getting back I realised I had got pretty burnt on the diving, I did have factor 50 on but two near hour long dives rubs this off obviously. That evening we struggled to find anywhere open for tea so ate again at the restaurant next door, luckily they do have good food so it wasn't that bad. The next day we awoke after another heavy storm, eat breakfast and checkout heading further south towards the tip of the keys, Key West.

Enroute to Key West the drive gets interesting, the keys are comprised of hundreds of islands all joined by highway 1. The highlight of the highway is the seven mile bridge. The bridge is exactly as it sounds, a 7 mile bridge joining two islands, also featuring in a boyhood film of mine, True Lies with Arnold Schwarzenegger. We stopped at a few places as well as the bridge to get a few photos. Although the bridges as good and give you a nice view of the islands and out to sea it's basically a straight single lane road with strict speed limits of ranging from 30-55 mph, taking nearly 3 hours to go from top to bottom.

Once on key west we notices the change a lot, this island is a holiday mecca and there is no greenery and lots of development even if it does still manage to have a bohemian feel to it. Our first destination if ‘The SouthernMost Point’, a marker buoy which marks the southernmost point of the USA, after a quick snap and dodging the crowds we head to our hotel and check in. What seems strange is that outside our hotel room a hen and two young chicks peck and scratch through the foliage, I ask the women in reception about them and she tells me I will see them all over Key West and that are native. Left over from the old ships which used to land and the influx of cubans who love cock fighting. That day we notice more as we explore the island, it reminds us a lot of Vietnam and Cambodia where chickens roam free regardless whether it's a tiny village or a huge capital city. The hotel is basic but clean and adequate, only problem is the internet is rubbish making is hard to then plan the next jumping point. We head to a supermarket again to stock up on sunscreen also buying the long sleeved UV protecting shirts knowing we have a full day in the sun with snorkeling as well the next day.

The next morning we wake at 6:15am as we have booked on a full day trip to Dry Tortugas Fort Jefferson, a historic fort in the middle of the ocean 70 miles west of Key West whose selling point is it remoteness. As its so far away and a national park you can only visit on a single boat run by the government, a sea plane or by chartering a private fishing boat which is very expensive. It claims to have good snorkeling and an amazing and impressive large fort which can be fully explored all with the knowledge that not many people will be there. It's a tad costly at $170 p/p but you get travel, breakfast and dinner as well as snorkel gear and information and guide of the fort. We arrive at the harbour, park the car up and check in. The harbour is busy and the boat will be full with 150 people on but luckily once on board it is squashed and we have a full table to ourselves. The boat departs and after a short introduction and a basic but adequate breakfast we settle down to the 2hr 30min trip the island. The boat itself is called Yankee Freedom III and is a large katerman, we play cards as well as watch for dolphins and turtles en route.

Once the islands comes into view on horizon it's appears to emerge from nothing and it's quite a spectacle to see. It sits with several small sand islands one with a lighthouse, the largest with a fort and the others uninhabited, luckily it's been a national park for many years now and still feels and looks untouched apart the obvious massive fort!

Once on the island we head out and explore Fort Jefferson, it's a huge naval fort from the 1800s  which housed 2,000 inhabitants and was designed for 1000 heavy guns. Built by hand out of 16 million bricks and was also used to house soldiers who refused to fight in the civil war. It felt ghostly and didn't feel like somewhere you want to be stuck for long periods, especially since it has no safe drinking water. After an interesting self guided tour you we headed for lunch and prepare for the next part of the trip, snorkeling.

The waters around the fort are crystal blue and corals grow all over the old docks with sea grass beds just of the beach. We get the gear and explore the first of two safe snorkeling areas. After being unable to locate the reefs we eventually found them and glad we were that we did. The waters we teaming with fish in huge shoals. As you swam with them hundreds of fish from 2ich  to 2ft swam past and around you. We hoped for turtles, sharks and stingrays but unfortunately didn't see anything like this. The corals on both sites were of good quality and size, growing directly on old dock foundations. Early we had purchased a underwater disposable camera hoping to capture some of them, I am unsure if we managed to capture anything decent as we will need to wait till we get back and have them developed. In total we snorkeled in both sites for about 2hrs and it was definitely the highly of the day. When combined with the remote nature, Fort Jefferson, snorkeling and the fact that as it's big and not many people are there giving it the feeling like you're shipwrecked the day trip out was one of the best things we have done the whole trip down the east coast.

On the way home we sat with an old couple who had camped on the island for 4 days. They were interesting and almost hippy like, currently living on a boat in key west, off grid with no mains water supply and  farm further north. We traded stories and jokes for a few hours as the boat took us home.

That night we go for an italian then get speaking to a couple with two kids. Strangely he claimed to be the brother of the man who is currently dating Princess Beatrice, he seemed legitimately but we carried on speaking with caution. Either way we spoke for an hour or so before parting our separate ways after a what felt like quite a surreal meeting we had just had even if it was that they were obviously quite drunk and their two kids quite clearly wanted nothing to do with sitting down and speaking to strangers.

The next day we checkout and head north after 5 days in the keys. Our destination if the Florida Everglades, the penultimate destination before Miami and the flight back to reality. En-route we stop at No Name Key in hunt for the endangered Key Deer, a tiny deer which only lives on the keys and is protected, luckily after speaking to ranger and driving around for a hour or so we managed to run into 4-5 of them. After some snaps and deer watching we grab lunch in No Name Pub which has signed 1$ bills stapled to every inch of the wall, claiming to have 65-700 thousand bills in the bar. Next is another quick photo stop at 7 mile bridge once again, it's a long day’s driving and still have 3 hours driving once we leave No Name Key!

Monday, 28 September 2015

Daytona Beach & Cape Canaveral

After leaving Saint Augustine and stopping off at the fort our goal for today is to get to Daytona beach which is enroute to Key Largo which signifies the third and final stage of our adventure.
Enroute we pass a pretty pier which is deserves a venture and a picture. We only stopped for 30-40mins to take a walk down the long pier. Near to Daytona we see a English style pub and head in for lunch, going classic with dishes of bangers and mash and liver, bacon & onion. Interestingly the owner came over hearing our voices, he was a Londoner, broad cockney and he seemed to like the fact we were British, the food was okay….

In Daytona we know not much of this place other than it’s known for a very long beach and the home of NASCAR, not that we are interested in racing. We have booked in a hotel on the beach front hoping for an afternoon on the beach or pool depending on weather. We check into our sea view room which is actually located on the side of building and you can see the sea if you put your head out of the window, good job is was only $60 a night!

That afternoon we did as planned, hitting the beach and pool, building a sandcastle but the sea was very rough and no one but me was in it, I took the hint and settled for the calm pool. The beach was very long, as far as you could see in both directions, cars could also drive on it which we thought was odd. At the side of the pool it had a type of dry curling without the scrubbing. We played this for a good hour or so as it was great fun, we were both pretty average.

That evening we went for a pizza, getting one each which turns out to be a mistake. The pizza was very tasty but we ended up going home with nearly a full pizza in a doggy bag. That night we did some more planning and booked somewhere to stay after visiting NASA, the last place we go before hitting the Keys.

Following our breakfast of re-heated pizza we checkout and hit the road. Our goal is West Palm beach but first we head to Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Centre. We arrive about 11ish, got in and started exploring. I visited this place when I was a kid, some things brought back memories like the massive Apollo spacecraft laying on its side but a lot had changed and had been americanised and mare tourist friendly which wasn't necessarily a bad thing. After a brief tour we jumped on a bus and headed of around the huge site. The site itself is impressive but our tour guide we had was mediocre tbh. We get off to see the Saturn V rocket and after a interesting video we get to see it. It's massive, the largest rocket ever made at 360ft! We explore, get some good photos and head back on the bus back to the main visitors centre.

At the visitors centre we head for Atlantis which flew its last mission in 2011, cost 196 bn dollars in 2011 and could fly nearly 17600 mph, impressive!. Again we explore this, the hubble aircraft and other attractions on mars and the moon landings. We have already been 4+ hours just seeing 4-5 attractions so we head off to find the last one which sounds good, a launch simulator.

After only a 5-10 min queue we get in the simulator, strap ourselves in and prepare for take off. The countdown begins and the simulator kicks into action. Its shakes, it screams, goes at what feels like a 180 degree angle, feeling like you're actually moving however this is just tricks of the mind with huge screens, loud noises and well timed shaking and jerking! After leaving we check and the floor inclines by 7 degrees and the seat declines 62.5 degrees which is nearly close to being laid on your back. Eventually we reach out of space, which is hard to simulate I guess, and the simulator ends. We have had our fill of space, Izzi obviously had and we set of the West Palm beach. The goal is to drive 2-3 hours further south before crashing for the night to then do the same the next day until we hit Key Largo!