USA 2- Save a horse ride a cowboy On the way from the Grand Canyon we stopped off in Utah at Monument valley, it was really beautiful here, really interesting how all the rocks are solo standing. Also saw where Forrest Gump & Star Trek was filmed, it was so cool I loved it. image Durango, Colorado was our first little random stop, a very small little town and our first taste of the south. We all went out to Moe's bar, it was a great night I was up on the bar dancing everyone was a bit tipsy and loved it all. Our night ended however when one guy got a little too drunk, we jumped in a taxi to go home not realising what we had let ourselves in for. We bonded with the Kiwis this night, Shae & Jane, took all 4 of us to carry him into his room, when we thought he was okay he started to be sick, me and Jane swiftly left the room leaving the other 2 to deal with it, didn't want to crowd him... Thankfully he was alright but rudely didn't even say thank you or sorry the next day. Whilst in the town the next day me and Lara decided to do one of those old time photoshoots, we went for the theme 'Titanic gone wild' we were loving it got to dress up and everything. image Next stop was Albuquerque, New Mexico, I went on a Breaking Bad tour with Louise, never seen it myself but she loves it. I still found it interesting and was having fun talking about grain and then the welfare state in the UK with the taxi driver, he was also shocked to hear that Brits drink a lot of Budweiser a fact that made him happy. Next morning we went on a Hot air baloon ride, something i've always wanted to do so thought might as well do it here. It was great, a lot smoother and slower than I thought it would be, it was fun riding low as well and seeing people in their gardens. Best bit was the landing, we tipped over and got dragged along this bumpy waste land, all stuck lying down, certainly an experience I won't forget. image Is this the way to Amarillo.... our tour guide had never heard of this song or Peter Kay!! So we showed her the video, she awkwardly giggled along clearly not having a clue who anyone was she thought they were all big celebs in the UK, not quite just corrie stars and Jimmy Saville... top UK talent. We stayed at the Big texas inn which was great as all the room were cowboy themed. There was a steak challenge which a few guys took on but couldn't complete, it was massive 72oz like a joint of beef we'd have on a Sunday. We then all had a bit of a party there it was really fun and we got to learn some line dancing then Lou led the group in 5,6,7,8 steps. Such a fun but random time here it was great. image Throughout our journeys in the south we were played some random ass songs with the strangest lyrics (see the title of the blog) they get stuck in your head though which is irritating. But when we got to Dallas we went to a honky tonk and everyone there loved it. The honky tonk is a big party after the rodeo, full of proper cowboys so cool going to a proper rodeo in Fort Worth just a usual Friday night for the people who live there. Such a fun night everyone there dances like it's a ballroom so we all got up and had a go, a laugh for sure but we had to get on the bus early and missed out on pizza 😦 But then I brought a microwave one from the hotel convenience store, great end to the night. We had a chance to go to the JFK museum but the queue was too long so we didn't get to go which was frustrating but it was still interesting to see where it all happened. Dallas was a really nice city, modern but with some older buildings as well. image Louises fact- get to the JFK museum early.
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USA 4- Final parts of my journey

On our way to the next stop we visted the Kennedy space centre. I had wanted to go there since my first visit to Florida when I was 7/8 years old. I was so excited and had a great day seeing and learning about it all although it was smaller than I was expecting.
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When we got to St Augustine , Florida we got checked into a dodgy hotel it honestly looked like something off Forensic Files (which we had watched EVERY night, love it) but at least the town was nice. Most people were disappointed with their meals but I enjoined my deep fried shrimp stuffed with crab, delicous! After dinner we got some lovely ice creams then went on a walk around to explore it more, it was full of old beautiful buildings which made a nice change from the rest of Florida.
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When we arrived in Savannah, Georgia we had a walking tour around the city, it was a really pretty place with lots of little squares. We went for a good Mexican that night and then decided not to be boring and go out. We had pre-drinks with the crew which was more enjoyable than the bar. I mean it was a good place everyone was out in good spirits but the music was awful, that really does put a downer on a night out but it was good to have a night away from Forensic Files.
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On our way to Raleigh, North Carolina we stopped off in Charleston, South Carolina it was another place filled with lovely older buildings and also had a cool market running through it, we went for lunch at a restaurant which essentially did pulled pork in all different ways. Most of us had big jacket potatoes, they were the biggest potatoes I have ever seen which was good as we were all dreading the quality of food we would be getting later on at the Golden Corale buffet. When we got to Raleigh we went pretty much straight to the restaurant, and my god what a night I had. Lou tried to challenge me to a eat off within seconds she took that back. Got myself 2 full plates of food and then a bowl of nachos, the food was actually better quality than anyone had expected. Lou knew she wouldn’t beat me on the main course so challenged me to dessert instead. I of course smashed it – candy floss, melted chocolate with strawberries & marshmallows, bannana pudding, brownie, cookie, ice-cream & a few sweets. It was like man vs food, I should not be allowed near a buffet I was in so much pain but worth it for the lolz.

On our way into Washington DC we stopped off at the Arlington National Cemetery. it was beautiful here and absolutely massive. We got to see JFK’s grave aswell as watch the changing of the guard. The first night we did a tour of the city which was great as we got to see so many memorials including MLK, Korean war (which was brilliant at night as it made it more eerie) and of course Lincoln memorial as well as a few others. It was really good seeing them at night and saved us a lot of time during our days. When we got back from the tour we contemplated going out but instead after a hilarious trip to CVS we had a chocolate night with Jayne, Shae, Brett & Tarryn. We also got some Ice cream and bought a box of 48 spoons for it. We ended up staying up till 1am watching youtube videos, we introduced them to £1 fish haha.

We got up early to go to the Holocaust museum and it was worth it, it was a well set out museum with so much information. We then went up the Washington Monumen, which gave us great views of the city and we then went to see the White House. It was a bit disappointing, it’s not very big, it’s got nothing on the Melton mansion. We went for a meal with Tarryn & Brett that night to a steak place Lou had read about, it was a set $20 and you got- bread, a salad then 2 lots of steak & chips with a delicious sauce, that was the only thing on the menu it was so cool and tasted great. The night improved when we got it for free!! They charged Brett the wrong amount so cancelled the transaction then when they tried to put it through again it didn’t work. So the waiter comes over and says as it’s his fault it’s on him. We couldn’t believe it, we celebrated by having another chocolate night hehe. Final day we went to the American museum which was disappointing mostly because the US has no history. Highlight of the day was the Nandos, finally a good Nandos but us and the S.AFs said home was better so that battle continues. I loved Washington but still so much to do there definitely need to go back.
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Moving on the next day we had a lunch stop in Philadelphia and after running up the rocky steps I had worked up an appetite. Instead of trying the philly cheese steak I finally got Chipotle!! It was definitely worth the wait, and an added bonus that is was cheap and quick. Wish we had these in the UK but probably good we don’t as I would eat there constantly.

After 26 days, 22 States & 5,000 miles we completed our journey from LA to NY with Contiki. Sadly we had to say goodbye to Lara & Dani here 😦 Our first night we went for an amazing Italian with Brett &Tarryn it was delicious one of the best pastas I’ve had. (they lived here for 3 months so had a good knowledge on where to go)We then just went for a walk around and saw Times Square, forgot how crazy busy this place was. Next day was quite chilled just sat in Central park then did a bit of shopping with Eleanor (from Kiwi experienxce) it was great to see her again. That night we got tickets to see Wicked, only $30!! A great show but then we had to say goodbye to Shae & Jayne so only 4 of our crew left 😦 We had a Chop’t that night it’s like a subway but salads and so so yummy we had another one a couple of days later.

Next day me & Lou went to a Yankees game, it was soooo hot I didn’t think I could get more tanned but still got t-shirt marks. The game was okay but lacked atmosphere, and they wouldn’t let me take my GoPro in so had to put it in a locker. We obviously met with Brett & Tarryn for dinner and I had lovely seared tuna and avacado tacos yum yum. We finally got cupcakes from Georgetown bakery so after devouring them we sadly said goodbye to these two 😦 We visited the 9/11 memorial museum, it was massive and really interesting but god Americans over react, it was like some of the people in there were hearing about it for the first time! On our final full day I walked the Brooklyn bridge whilst Lou shopped. It was a great walk and lovely to have lunch looking out over the Manhattan Skyline. Our final meal together was Chipotle, we have had so many Mexicans this trip we had to end on one. It was so weird going our separate ways after 5 months of being together it was all over 😦 I spent my night packing and headed out for Manhattanhenge, the streets were packed and cars could barely get through, unfortunately it was a bit cloudy so ruined it a bit then the police came and told everyone to get out of the street, party poopers. And now I’m here in centra park writing this in the sun surrounded by a Feminist cult waiting for my flight later.
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I loved my time in the US it was so cool to see all the different states and how much each one is so different to the next. Made some friends for life on this trip and cannot wait to travel all over to see them again.

Louises fact- Visiting the monuments in Washington DC at night is a great experience.

So this is it, the end of my trip, stay tuned for my final blog post reflecting on the past 5 months.

USA 3- My hands are shaky and my knees are weak

Memphis, Tennesse was a nice place to stop and we got our first glance at the Missippi river, it was massive but looked really dirty what I imagined really. There was a big street party going on in the evening so we headed down to have a looky, it was ridiculously busy and there was a big circle
people were dancing in with these posh boys taking on the gangsters, quite a laugh. The main thing we did in Memphis was visit Graceland, the home of Elvis. The house was beautiful, some questionable decorating choices but hey that was years ago. It was interesting as well I didn’t really know much about him so it was good to learn about it all and see the lavish lifestyle he lived.
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One of my favourite stops on this trip was New Orleons, Louisiana. It was such a beautiful city, the French quater was lovely and great that it had all been kept that way. One of the optionals was a $33 meal, first of all it was definitely not worth that, the food was nice but not amazing and the portions were not ideal. Best thing about this meal was making friends with the South African couple Brett & Tarryn, we spent the night bonding over the BBC and the stupid discussions they have on Radio 2. Then arguing over whose Cadburys and Nandos is better (the fight still goes on). After the meal we all headed out to Bourbon street, it’s just bar after bar, a good unexpected night out. The next day was a good relaxing day with English Penny (2 pennys on the trip) we went for a bit of shopping then stopped off for lunch and had some proper New Orleons food which was huge portions, then explored the French quarter. It was nice to have a relaxing day like that to explore a place properly and not have to rush it all. We had a big night out as some people were leaving and we had new people join us. The theme was pimps & hoes I just put a feather bower around my shoulders but still looked more hoey than most, people are shit with fancy dress and that angers me. I got wasted that night, I don’t know how I got so drunk it just all hit me at once. Sat on the floor in the toilets whilst waiting then farted and blamed it on the fact I’d drank Dr pepper haha, don’t know if people believed me or not. Such a good night, great end to an awesome place.

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Panama city beach was a bit of a pointless stop as we didn’t get there till about 4pm so we didn’t have time to go to the beach. We just went for dinner, it felt just like we were in Orlando, therefore I concluded all of Florida is the same. Most memorable part of this stop was the Fro Yo I had there it was a peanut butter flavour which was delicious and a cake mix flavour, it was yummy.

I was so happy to be back in Orlando, kinda weird not being there with the family but still enjoyable. We only had 2 nights there but we sure made the most of it, first night we headed to Downtown Disney for dinner with our little crew (Kiwis, South Africans, Brits, we’re a diverse group) it was a good night looking around and visiting the giant gift shop. The next day most people went to Universal but we took the cheaper option and spent the day at Typhoon Lagoon. I love it there, we went on every ride, swam with sharks, lazy river and of course hit the waves, I always forget how big they are. So big Louise nearly shit herself, not from fear but from a dodgy tummy. We also had plenty of time to lay in the sun it was bliss. That evening we headed over to Universal to go for dinner with Lara and Dani, so that was another place ticked off, can’t believe how much we managed to get in, we weren’t gonna waste any time that’s for sure. I was sad to leave this place it makes me want to come back and do it all over again properly.
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‘Welcome to Miami’, this place was definitely a playground for the rich, it was a bigger more expensive version of Marbella. We had lunch when we got there and I ordered a Shrimp cocktail… well their idea of a cocktail is different to ours, bloody 5 shrimps came out on a glass of ice. Piss take. Even worse we had a Cuban meal that night that was tiny, bad day for a Melton. We just chilled on the beach the next day topping up the tan in the Miami heat (well in the afternoon in the morning it was pissing it down). Also had my first Ihop, I loved it, no shortage of food here i’ll tell you that for free. Had a bit of a disastrous night out, me and Lou didn’t do the boat cruise but we got all dressed up and went to meet them at the club. Whilst sitting in McDonald’s waiting for them we got a call from the girls saying that everyone on the trip doesn’t like us English thinking were boring, moan a lot and rude!! Well we got straight on that bus and went back, that was the end of us making an effort outside of our crew. Miami was pretty wild but not for good reasons. (Also had the nicest room it was just like an apartment.)
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We stopped off at Daytona beach next it was good as we got there in enough time to have a good amount of time around the pool to tan, us girls were loving it until the incident happened… We were all laying there in absolute bliss when Penny starts making a strange noise, I then hear Lara go “that man’s shitting himself” and sure enough this bloke had walked along with poo dropping out the bottom of his shorts, thankfully I didn’t see it happen but you could see all the big piles he left behind just like a dog. At that point everyone else sits up and are all in disbelief it just happened. Dani told reception to which he replied “you telling me a grown ass man has shit by my pool”. Such a great story, it’s safe to say we soon left esp after the smell wafted into my face. Also had a good BBQ that night so good memories from there.

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Louises fact- At Typhoon Lagoon always make sure you know where the exit of the pool is… just incase.

USA 1- Hopped off the plane at LAX

After an 11 hour flight we landed at LAX Airport where we had a while to kill before our connecting flight to San Francisco, we went and sat in the arrivals lounge and got a bit emotional seeing people getting reunited. Our flight kept getting delayed which was frustrating but we finally got to our hostel in San Fran at midnight. After being awake for over 36 hours and travelling for 24 of those we completely crashed until 1pm woops.

San Fran was such a good city it looked just like the movies but with an added amount of tramps, there are seriously a lot out here which is quite sad really. Whilst here we did the usual tourist things, first day after finally leaving the hostel at 3pm we rode on the famous trolley up the big hilled streets, it was cool to do but would have been more enjoyable if we weren’t all crammed in. We also went to Joes crab shack and got the crab nachos I’d had in Florida a few yeara ago, just as good as I remember. I was freezing cold so brought the most touristy coat ever so “American mom” I love it.

Next day we walked over the Goldrn Gate bridge which was really nice but there was a bridge a bit further down which was a lot longer and more impressive… just saying. We also of course visited Alcatraz; I really enjoyed it here and it was really interesting, I didn’t realise families actually lived on the Island as well and kids took a boat to school, very odd. Sounds like we didn’t do a lot here but we also walked around and explored the city etc.

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We flew back down to LA and stayed right on Hollywood boulevard which was a bit dodgy and full of homeless people, not the nicest area but busy. I was so excited to get here and meet up with Jem & Mike who we met on the Kiwi Experience (if you’ve read my older blogs you will know about them). We had a great day with them going on one of those tours to see celebs houses, I was loving it, so cheesy it was great and some of the houses were beaut. On our way back we decided to pop into the Scientology building to have a free personality test. We thought it would take only a few minutes, we were in there nearly 2 hours!! Essentially I got told I was depressed and very aggressive but perfect to be PM he said so not gonna change a thing.

The next day Eleanor from Kiwi also joined us and we went to Santa Monica then hired bikes to go down to Venice beach. It was such a nice ride along the beaches, nice and sunny as well. Perfect day. We had to rush back to head to the welcome meeting for Contiki. It was nice to meet everyone and got us excited to start the next morning.

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Vegas babyyyyyy. I loved it here I wad expecting tacky and I got it, you just have to embrace it. You see some sights as well; I walked up the strip to look at all the hotels and my favourite thing I saw was all the “G’s” on the motorised scooters. They were all there with their trousers right down, tops off and leaning right back, clearly not needing to the scooters and driving up to girls stopping and saying stuff like “damn girl”. On the first night we went to Planet Hollywood for dinner, the food was crap but we made friends with Lara and Dani, the other English girls on the tour pretty much everyone else is Australian. We all went for a night out at the Palms, it was a really good night no-one really knew each other but that was good as everyone mixed well. I also discovered that big American men of a different race to myself have a thing for me, 2 tried dancing with me and a 3rd gave me his number. Thankfully Jackie and Marquis helped me out and got me away from a particularly creepy guy. On the second night we got to go for a limo ride down the strip then off to a club to see Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, they didn’t come on till 1am which was annoying but we went out the club for a bit then came back to see them, they were really good so glad we stuck around to watch.

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The Grand Canyon was stunning we got to spend 2 nights here which was a good recovery from Vegas. We decided to go on a guided walk, well it turned out to be just a talk so we went off with a group of others to see more of it but it started to rain so we went for lunch instead. The food was awful in both places we ate there, disappointing. The canyon was stunning and thankfully it cleared up in time for the sunset which was incredible. Literally cannot believe how big it was. Most important thing that happened there was me n Lou discovered a huge love for ‘Forensic Files’ a great t.v programe discussing how forensics solved all these crimes. We love it!! At first I couldn’t sleep after watching it as it creeped me out but now i’ve watched so much of it i’m fine thankfully.

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Im loving the US so far and
everyone on contiki seems really nice, onto Durango we went….

Louises fact- You will never see Lucy Melton move as fast as when our table is ready in a restaurant.