Day 42: Sunday to Home

Landed around 9:30am on New Years Eve. quickly through the formalities, then a series of trains to get home.

A few stats and observations.

  • 42 days
  • Around 6000 miles driven in 30 days
  • Fuel cost between $2.09 and $3:39 per gallon, mostly around $2.30. That’s between $0.55 and $0.89 per litre (while the price in Oz was around $1.40 / L
  • 436739 steps according to my phone’s pedometer, but I know it was turned off some of the time, so lets call it about half a million steps
  • Most steps in one day: 23791 in Boston
  • Currency conversion rate: Between 72 and 75 US cents to the AU dollar, mostly locked in at around 74 cents
  • QantasCash debit card for most expenses. Highly recommend. Locked in good exchange rates in the months prior to the trip. Just one catch. Don’t top it up just before the Xmas holiday weekend. It took 4 days to clear the new funds due to the weekend and public holidays. By the time we had access to the funds we almost didn’t need them because we were almost home.
  • Total expenses for everything including things that will last into the future (passports, luggage, opal card top ups, etc: Just under $33000. That’s about $8000 per person.
  • Value of the experience: Immeasurable x 4.

Many thanks to Simon for bringing us home from the station, Jane for collecting the mail and providing a few essentials for when we arrived home, Julie and Paul for minding Domino, Steve for his wonderful introduction to the USA when we first arrived and everyone who has read and commented on our travels across the USA ‘On the Road Again’.

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Day 41: Saturday in the Twilight Zone

We didn’t have Saturday. It was stolen by the International Date Line. But I couldn’t not have a Day 41, because then a 6 week holiday wouldn’t have taken 42 days. And no photos today.

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Day 40: Friday in Hollywood and Beverley Hills

Up earlier than we wanted to get up because we had to pack our bags and get to the bus stop by 8:30. We jumped on the hop-on-hop-off to take us to Hollywood. After a roam around Hollywood Boulevard, Dolby theatre, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and a view of the Hollywood sign, we walked down to Sunset Boulevard to the Rock wWalk, a sidewalk with many a famous rock musician’s hand prints in the sidewalk and the biggest guitar shop I’ve ever seen.

We then jumped on the bus again to Beverley Hills with it’s many famous sites.

Finally it was time to make our way back to the hotel, collect our thoughts and our suitcases and head over to the airport to begin the journey home.

Our plane had been delayed by an hour, but Qantas offered a great alternative. Another flight to Sydney was due to leave at 10:30 (our had been delayed until 12:40) and had space on it. Did we want to go on that flight? Ummm, YES! Extra bonus, it was an A380, not a 747, so extra room! Then that flight was delayed. We ended up flying out of LAX at about 12:30.

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Day 39: Thursday in Disneyland

At $65 per person for a tour company to take us to Disneyland we decided to rent a car for the day to get us there (just when I thought I’d done my last driving on the wrong side of the road). Picked up the car, conveniently right next door to the hotel, at 7:30 and were in the car park (or at least the car park queue) by 8:30.

We managed to get a 2 park ticket for the price of a regular one park ticket, so we headed to California Adventure first. The kids set off to do some of the more popular rides before the crowds grew, while Carol and I had a more leisurely pace. Around 2pm we met up with the kids , did a few rides together, then went over to Disneyland Park, the original park, around 5.

After a huge day at a very busy Disneyland we left Disneyland around 11:45 headed back to the hotel, dropped the hire car and got to bed. We knew we would have another early start the next day. we still hadn’t seen Hollywood or Beverley Hills.

More photos to come once I get them off Lachlan’s phone.

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Day 38: Wednesday in L.A.

Jumped on the hop-on-hop-off with the first hop-off at fisherman’s village, Del Rey Marina to transfer to a different bus. Massive marina which was the location for Jack’s Bar in the Revenge TV series. Disappointingly, it was only the set for the outside of the bar. There is no actual bar there.

Next stop  was Venice beach. Really interesting place with lots of interesting characters.

Then back on the bus and down to Santa Monica Pier, before reversing the trip back to the hotel.



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Day 37: Tuesday in New York and on to Los Angeles

Our last hours in NY, so we were up and moving early. After packing up and checking out we caught the subway up to the Rockefeller Centre and went up to the ‘Top of the Rock’. Although not the highest observation deck in NY, it seemed to be the best located to see as much as possible. It didn’t disappoint. The day was bitterly cold, probably our coldest day of the trip with a top temperature of around -1C, but at the Top of the Rock it was much colder and very windy.

We then caught the subway up to the posh Upper East Side to check out the neighbourhood and the Met (no time to go in) before heading back to Soho ready to go to the airport for L.A. Our taxi was somewhat fancy – a big, black Chevy Suburban.

Once in L.A. we managed to catch the wrong hotel shuttle (who knew there were so many Marriotts at the airport!) but easily solved. A late night and lots to see and do tomorrow.

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Day 36: Christmas Day in New York

Christmas in New York! A few presents to start the day,

then a walk in the wind across Brooklyn Bridge.

In the afternoon we headed for Maree and Peter’s place in Noho (near Soho, but north) for an amazing Christmas dinner. Far too much food, but delicious and lots of fun.

Overall, another great day.

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Day 35: Christmas Eve in New York

The day started with a wander around Little Italy and a coffee – one of the few good coffees we’ve had in weeks.

We then met up with Pete and craig and made our way to Metlife Stadium in New Jersey to see a football match – The New York Jets vs L.A. Chargers. Great atmosphere! As always seems to be the case when we go to any sporting event, the home team lost.

after the match we initially went to Greenwich Village to look around, but after finding only expensive restaurants we then headed back to Times Square whre we went to Ruby Tuesday for dinner, then a bit of last minute Christmas shopping. We actually got a flurry of snow while there.

Once we got back to the hotel we did some last minute wrapping – quite a logistical feat when everybody is in one room – and hit the pillow ready for Santa.


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Day 34: Saturday in New York

Awoke to rain – as forecast. Not too cold, forecast low 50s (around 12), but constant driving rain. Undecided whether to have a day of museums or other indoor activities, or to soldier on and hope the weather improves, we headed for downtown to see some of the things still on the list. First stop was Grand Central Station. Wow. Grand.

We then headed to Radio City Music Hall to check out what tickets to their Christmas Spectacular were available. (The tickets available on line were expensive and not get seats) Several people have told us about the Radio city show, so we were keen to check it out. We managed to snag good seats for cheaper than the online poor seats, so that sorted our afternoon activities.

Before the show we split up in Times Square, with the kids doing some shopping while Carol and I had a coffee. A short photo shoot, then time for the show.


We arrived at radio city 3/4 hour before the show to be directed to the end of a queue that went into the next city block, with hundred (or probably thousands) joining the queue after us. It took all that time to get into the theatre. Most of the people behind us would have missed the beginning of the show. This is a show they are doing 5 times a day! Chaos.

But the show was amazing. A singing, dancing Christmas extravaganza. 38 dances in perfect time. These Americans really know how to do Christmas.



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Day 33: Friday in New York

A slow start after a late night, but we soon caught up.

Breakfast at ‘The Butcher’s Daughter’, a very New York experience, followed by subway to 34th and a walk through some iconic areas. 5th Avenue with all its upmarket shops, Rockefeller building, Plaza Hotel and on to Central Park. So many great photos – I’ll let the photos do the talking.

For dinner we met up with Craig, Karola, Pete and Maree and headed out for Mexican, before returning to their rooftop fora great view both up and down the Island. Photos of that to follow. We then had a stroll through Little Italy and returning to Sohotel.


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