Category Archives: USA

Catch Up Roadtrip 2 [2017] : Boston To Quebec (A Route Worth Taking – A Destination Worth Avoiding)

Route Map Boston To Quebec

The route from Boston selected was the slightly less direct of the two options – it was a relatively marginal difference in the scheme of things and went up in a bow via the Hamptons.

This was a place with a name that seemed familiar – uncertain as to why but it did, plus it went up into Canada via what appeared to be a less major road..a guess was made that this might make for a more interesting and scenic route.

We will never know – because the fleeting wondering that occurs about such things was hardly likely to evolve into a rational for driving the not entirely unsubstantial collection miles back down the other route .. Boston revisited, unhelpfully so – given a need to get back to Toronto at some point.  So with only one route experienced all that can be said is that this route was a route worth taking.  Gradually upward slowly into the hills, no European winding mountain pass, just a gradual sloping into the browning trees until eventually it was joined by some Snow..

the hamptons USA Coastal

Bay the hamptons USA

Bay the hamptons USA

old houses in hamptons usa

Coast Beach Hamptons USA

Pumpkins Which Meadowmere USA

USA Road

Skyline Road USA

US Canada Border

Go Canada Go Maple Leaf

Night Quebec

City Wall Quebec Night

Side Street Qubec Night

Qubec – we had another day here before moving on.. The first evening was just a quick encounter, an effort at dinner and a couple of drinks and in those few hours you can learn what seemed to be the two key things about Quebec.

  1. It has an element of Old – That was not seen in the USA and very much felt like it was back in Europe somewhere
  2. Its unpleasant and rude in a way you would struggle to find elsewhere, that is to say the people are – not all, but if an impression can be made so swiftly by such a resounding level of consistency then its a whole lot of rude and its spread none too thinly about the populous.

Looking to go somewhere and have a relaxing and enjoyable time, dont choose Quebec, never Quebec…If you want to see old – go to Europe..if you want rude, go to a theme restaurant that specialises in that sort of thing, at least afterwards you can walk out and be back among the customary levels of rude, indifferent, friendly and mental that frequent most other places.

Catch Up Roadtrip 2 [2017] : Boston





















A Small Corner Of Night Life














Christian Science Mother Church
Christian Science – God made the big bang with his Junior Scientist Christmas Gift Set? What is a Christian Science vs someone else Science? how did they get their own Science? A confusing wonder this has turned out to be
Segways? – Came into being to be the thing you cant fall off until G.Bush Jnr found his purpose & disproved such talk




Catch Up Roadtrip 2 [2017] : Boston, A Place With A New York In The Way – Circumventing

Route Map Washington DC to Boston
Circumvent New York Congestion and US propensity to drop a toll on not rare or particularly predictable occasions

Driving In the USA

Big American Flag Driving In the USA
Oh yes – thats right, its not Lincolnshire, i knew that i think but in a, this is very autumnal for Thailand sort of way

Dillsburg Tobacco Outlet

Boston Underground
Boston Underground – Recapturing The Spirit of US Public Transport, not like that there Washington DC, all plush with its clean surfaces and unexposed electric cabling
Boston Underground Looking Good
A Hatch – For Heroic Doings When Alan Rickman takes over the underground station with menaces

Boston Subway Station

Boston Subway Train
Its more a subterranean tram – least it looks like a tram, in a dystopian future where this was once the outside but had long since been buried and built upon, safety while Arnold nips of to Mars

Night Skyline Boston USA

Al Dente Boston USA
Good Portions and Italian – Italian Food

Catch Up Roadtrip 2 [2017] : Canada & USA – Washington DC

Capital Hill Building Night Washington DCLights On Capital Hill Building Washington DC

Washington DC The White HouseEisenhower Executive Office Building

United States Air Force Memorial Washington DCHelicopter Washington DCPentagon Washington DCPentagon Memorial SignPentagon 9/11 memorial garden

9/11 Heros Memorial Highway Sign
Who does it serve – to go out of your way to define the unwilling victims of someone else’s act not as Victims – The Lost – The Dead – As Heros – Heroism can not be bequeathed by someone else’s horrendous choices, it is not achieved in death regardless how pointless, violent or shocking its nature might be..  Its no heroic to die – heroism comes by the nature of your own choices, most of these poor people and their families will not have made such a choice.  They are dead – the unwilling dead and no highway will help redress this.

Bridge Washington DCyellow fauna autumn leafs Washington DCLincoln Memorial Washington DCLincoln Statue Memorial Washington DCDe-evolution of US Presidents CartoonWashington DC Monumentlincoln memorial and lake Washington DCCircular Fountain Washington DC0224

Washington MemorialTree Autumn Washington DCThe White House Washington DCChilli in bread bowl Washington DCChina Town Washington DCEisenhower Executive Office Building

The Front Page Bar Washington DC
Decent Bar – Good Happy Hour

Washington DC Subway

Washington DC was probably one of the two most interesting places visited on this trip. Unlike other US cities it has a clean and well maintained public transport system and a size that is both manageable to explore but also large enough to warrant exploring.  The impressive building make for obvious landmarks, while the night life seemed more vivid and available.

Its not New York City – but Washington DC is definitely worth a visit and had more than enough to keep a tourist engaged for a good few days.

Trump Putin Gallery Cartoon


Catch Up Roadtrip 2 [2017] : Canada & USA – Buffalo To Pittsburgh

Cereal Breakfast USA

Quite why breakfast is a meal that needs to be consumed from disposable plates and bowels with the limited aid offered by bending plastic utensils, was a question that bewildered me last time i was in the USA and it was no clearer now.

There was a certain symmetry to it.  A yogurt like pot whose content were quite the brightest pinkest colour.  It appear as the newest inadvertent thing to emerge from the basement of Sizewell B and could be had alongside thin wafers of cinnamon sprinkled plastic, the local take on cereal.  Im not a breakfast person but this whole approach to the morning seemed a little unnecessary, causing as it did such existential questions to arise about what it meant that we had come to this, how had we gotten here and was there anything that could yet be done… its all very early for that kind of thing.

To a friendly shout of – you be safe out there – from the reception desk we headed out on our toll road avoiding drive on to Pittsburgh.

Buffalo to Pittsburgh Google Map

I was on some sort of rogue hair left in hotel toilets role .. only this probably wasn’t it was so fibrous and ample in its thickness, it probably shouldn’t be hair.   It was more front and centre and dryer than the offering in Bangkok, looking back at me as i opened the door, primary it was a matter of relief that is hadn’t sought to scuttle off as i pushed the toilet door open.  That would have freaked me out, it was too big to be the sort of thing you’d want to have scuttling around unchecked in either your room or your toilet space.

Suspension Bridge Pittsburgh

The hotel was no tin the right part of town to readily get access to the city centre.  It was across the water and behind something of substantial hill.  Thankfully the hotel operated a complimentary shuttle service. The next one was due to leave about 20 minutes after we arrived, so we headed upstairs to dump of the bags and collect up what might be needed to go an explore Pittsburgh.

The driver was a very friendly chap, with the sort of sense of humour i was more accustomed to associating  with our fellow Europeans. A sort of deadpan sarcasm which did not get in the way of his effusive welcome and introduction to his home city.   He beckoned me with my Camera wielding to the front of the mini-bus.  The part of the city we stayed in headed toward the city via a tunnel which would open up directly onto the river bridges that were to then carry us across to the city centre.  He was clear this was quite the good and unusual view.  He was not wrong, though it was quite fleeting and my photography skills failed to do it any kind of real justice.  As you emerge from the tunnel you are directly on a large suspension bridge looking across at  Pittsburgh sky line.

We were dropped in a central square and told we could summon a collection whether we were ready – which was all very handy.

Autumnal hillside PittsburghPittsburgh StreetsYellow Suspension Bridge PittsburghPittsburgh skyline bridges and riverBaseball Stadium Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh had not been on our original plan – a fact id had to explain to our driver when he’d thanked us for visiting and explained how often it was over looked by foreign travellers.  It had though only made its way onto the itinerary because it served as a reasonably logical pause point on our way to Washington, the first of the properly planned stops.  That said this was a city well worth the stopping.  We would only be there for that half day and some small part of the following morning, but it was a relatively small city and as such we’d found ourselves quite able to explore much of the central part by walking around it.

Street Lights Pittsburgh NightNight PittsburghNight Pittsburgh Lights and ArchwayIce hockey Statue PittsburghSports Bar Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh – Well Worth The Visit, Probably Best To Take In The Ice Hockey While Here, They Seem To Be Going Through A Recant Spate Of Success & Are Probably It Seems Quite Good At It. Solid Place For Some Views, Some Ice Hockey and A Brief Stop Off.. Probably Too Small For Much More Than A Weekend Visit However.


Potentially Related Links:

Facts About Pittsburgh

Catch Up Roadtrip 2 [2017] : Canada & USA – Toronto To Buffalo

Thameslink broken ticket machinesMore Thameslink out fo service ticket machines

In 2017 – about nine months in advance of the infamous new timetable unravelling of 2018 the life challenged people of Govia Thameslink picked up and walked off with their ticket machines in one swift and orchestrated manoeuvre.  In their place they deposited a range of newer far more shinny machines whose function was to provide a small square illumination from their display screens.  Sometime partly dimmed by the words out of service but equally frequently completely unhindered by any such purposeful demands being placed upon them.  They were poor torches, the illuminated screens were too high to shed light upon the floor and had no where near the power necessary for the light to beam out through the darkness.   Sometimes, on the rarest of occasions the revealed their true purpose, offering the names of station and purporting to sell tickets – such outlandish claims could be swiftly dealt with simply by selecting one of these stations.. At which point the ineffective torch would quickly revert back to its true form, the not entirely glorious beam of the blank screen.

Travel then was ticket free into London – which isnt the bonus it might seem to be, given a ticket would still be needed for the London to Gatwick bit.. In London there would be barriers to contend with.  The ticket machines at St.Pancras had not gone with the blank screen, they were among those upgraded few that actually mustered an out of service message.

London St Pancras Thameslink Platform

In one little corner of St Pancras a surviving cluster of the big old square ticket machines of before had survived.  They were in many ways less fetching than their replacement, big, imposing, brightest blue with an air of the rescued east German functional but with the layers of domestically formed grime that came with their years of service.  They did however have one thing over their replacements and it was a fairly key thing … So with tickets now in hand baggage could flow with us through the barriers and onto the platform.

Book Gatwick Airport Shop Five Escape Brexit Island

Air Transat In flight Gatwick Toronto

With the excess time available at Gatwick i happened to do some research on our airline – Air Transat – which turned out to be fortunate.  What i learned was that their flights from London to Toronto dont come with entertainment systems on each seat. Instead they have an on board entertainment system which can be accessed via apps on the passengers own devices.  A prerequisites for this being that you have an appropriate device to hand and have taken it upon yourself to take the somewhat unusual step of downloading this app.  Hasty efforts to get this in place were worth while, the connection on the flight didnt allow for adding the app, only for using it.. So i was fortunate and pleased to have taken these steps.  It wasn’t a vast array of movie options but it was something, there were municipal screens on board but sight of them was something that was limited to around 2 seats in every 9..  I was not to find myself the occupant of one of those 2.

Route Map Toronto to Buffalo

The route to the hire car was a more complicated one than envisaged.  There was the terminal train, the car hire telephone to arrange collection and then the waiting for the collection in a the thin but marijuana soaked air.

This though was not to be the challenge, that came at the point of collection.  It was our second road trip of the year having migrated our way along the Spanish and Portuguese coasts in the early spring.  It was now November but the knowledge of that past trip was not entirely lost.  The car had been hired with unlimited mileage and with no warning about limitations on crossing boarders.

An array of additional charges that resided in the small print but that had no part of the booking process.  It was looking like it was going to be a battle over charges until we clarified the nature of the mileage of the trip (some rough estimates using google maps). The “unlimited mileage” couldn’t even be extended to cover those kilometres, were we so willing,  by the purchasing of those add-ons.. This while generating some immediate stresses in the form of  last minute re-planning, did mean that the debating and haggling aspect was not going to be a thing.

A bus was leaving for Buffalo from Toronto later that evening, once in Buffalo a car could be collected.. that was an option.. what would we have done were there no internet? ..  The guy behind the counter advised us that he thought AVIS would provide cars with cross border coverage along with unlimited mileage.. For budgetary reasons it would mean downsizing the vehicle, no plush north american comfort and still spending more.. but compared to being stranded at point 1 of our trip, this seemed like the best option.

A compact vehicle of some description would be waiting for us – back into the transfer mini-bus, through the scented marijuana cloud onto the terminal train … hunt down AVIS counter.. it was there somewhere, there were signs.  Signs that were there until they weren’t.. we walked back, yep the signs were there and … no .. then no .. the signs were gone and no sign of a counter.  Starbucks people, would have to be approached for some local knowledge..

Boston Pizza Sports Bar Restaurant

It was a VW Golf estate – AVIS and the other car hire companies were not in the terminal, which explained our not having found them in there.   It was all secreted on the ground floor of the multistory that stood opposite the terminal.

After some mis-steps leaving the airport, some stopping, a discussion with pointing, some more stopping and a then rotating of the navigational duties, directionally we’d found our way onto the route.  With things now going reasonably smoothly, hunger and lethargy sneaking in, we stopped off at some bright lights.  An assortment of signs that spelt out a small range of unfamiliar establishments.  Boston Pizza has the brightest lights what more it had bright TV lights shining out on the inside, it won this display of the Bowerbirds.

A rational of selection that won out through knowing nothing about any of the options that were around us.  The weakness of this selection criteria revealed itself in that which emerged from the kitchen.  The Pizza that i had wasn’t too bad, it was the sort of standard that you could expect from a superior standard home bake oven pizza, the pasta ought to see the Italians take action for abuse against of their nations proudest offerings.  If we can protect our cheeses and pies and the french can protect the name of their particular form of fizzy white wine then the Italians ought to be able to do something to prevent that which was getting banded about here inheriting the good name of pasta dishes.  There was an oddly fatty white sauce involved, something akin to mayonnaise or salad cream, only not … so heavy .. and not warm, even a standard house bulb can summon up more heat than had been absorbed by this offering, a cold, stodgy, bland gluepe of a thing .. so if your going to Boston pizza, be sure to order no pasta there, yes if your going to Boston pizza – dont be Italian, it will hurt you in your heart places (beyond the fatty deposits those odd choices of sauce will be offering up)

Having been up for quite some time fatigue had me, i was glad to not be driving and without such duties i was free to have a pint, a nice cold pint as the shroud of post tired tiredness sunk over me,


Potentially related links:

Telegraph – Best and Worst Airlines

Quote [61] – America (past), Cuba

With some trepidation, I argued [during the Cuban missile crisis] that, whatever validity the military and political arguments were for an attack in preference to a blockade, America’s traditions and history would not permit such a course of action.  Whatever military reasons he and other could marshal, they were nevertheless, in the last analysis, advocating a surprise attack by a large nation against a very small one.  This I said, could not be undertaken by the U.S if we were to maintain out moral position at home and around the globe.  Our struggle against communism throughout the world was for far more than physical survival – it had as its essence our heritage and our idealism, and these we must not destroy Make gentle the life of this world

Quote [60] – American Values vs Military Force (past)

America was a great force in the world, with immense prestige, long before we became a great military power.  That power has come to us and we cannot renounce it, but neither can we afford to forget that the real constructive force in the world comes not from bombs but from imaginative idea, warm sympathies ad a generous spirit..

Over the years, an understanding of what America really stands for is going to count far more than missiles, aircraft carriers, and supersonic bombers

Make gentle the life of this world