After packing up at our Washington camp and after showing the group our gang of spider friends, we set off on our long journey. Today was a day of driving. Every now and then on a trek tour, there will be a day of quality van time. With 21 days to cross an entire continent, we did end up having quite a few. Not that anyone really cared – it was sunny and we were in America!
With lots of driving there are lots of car games (in between nap time of course) and the popular one of this driving day was “The Name Game”. This game consists of everyone writing down the name of a famous person and sticking it on the head of the person to their right without them seeing. Then you spend the next hour trying to find out who you are by asking “yes” or “no” questions. I think we only managed to fully complete one game, attentions tend to wander after 20 minutes with our group.
This was also the day of the first Walmart – a momentousness occasion! Everyone was very excited and so we all took a photo of the building. Even though we have ASDA back in the UK, which is run by the Walmart company, it does not compare in the slightest. The place is awesome! You can buy everything! You could even live there if you wanted – i saw furniture, an upholstery section, pharmacies and even a hairdressers in one of them. It is set out a bit odd too, which i think just adds to the wonder of the place. At one point i needed to find some shampoo, failed this task at about 2 Walmart stops and eventually found some next to the gardening equipment, about a half mile from the food section. I think this first stop took longer than Steve anticipated, due to us foreigners getting lost and/or distracted. I went a bit mad on the american candy, bought pretzels, pop-tarts, lucky charms etc. Basically, anything with colourful packaging and a long list of additives… i had to have it. I also introduced Lisa to Hersheys Cookies ‘n Creme bar, which were frequently consumed on our trip.
The American stereotypes were out in full force too. In Walmart, about 15% of the people i saw were morbidly obese and riding around on the motorized shopping carts. I also saw a guy in a cowboy hat and we stopped at a red neck gas station. Trek tours allow you to stop at places that are in the middle of nowhere and the people are especially amazed when you start talking in an English accent, we were obviously a rarity. I found the royal wedding to be a popular topic of conversation. Driving along the highway, we spotted a building that said “GUN STORE”. Now, i would have been shocked at this anyway considering its a really weird concept for us Brits! But it was the words above it which made my day…”Jesus loves you” in big pink lettering. Amazing! (Another photo opportunity that i missed!)
Woodland campsites...full of bitey things.
Dinner was fajitas, a staple of our trek journey. We were camping in another woodland area, so i was already on edge as i scouted out a safe area to put our tent. Everyone says that America does things BIG, something that is true of a number of things, including their bugs. At this campsite there were some massive ants and they were also super mean. I had my flip flops on and one of them chomped down on my foot and would not let go! Trying to brush him off didnt work, so i had to actually bend down and remove him from my foot.
Our trek leader, Steve, was awesome at finding random things to see and do along the way. On this night he found some drag racing trials for us to go to and it was so good! The cars were pretty varied, some were actually racing vehicles and others were just suped up by their red neck owners. We even saw one catch on fire. Steve had arranged our trip with the owner of the event, so after meeting with him we got to visit the control room and see the racing from the roof. We met some of the drivers too and found out that kids as young as 9 are driving their own mini drag cars! We watched one girl get up to 70mph down the strip in her dragster car. At nine years i was climbing trees and going to brownies each week! America is weird.
On the way back to camp we spotted a liquor store, which was a much needed visit. In Walmarts you can only get wine and beer, unless there is a liquor store behind the check outs. The under 21s placed their orders and we went inside to find an awesome selection! I even found goldschlager! A drink i have been hunting down in the UK for years. They had different flavour vodkas, malibu’s, bacardis…everything. We like booze over here, why don’t we get a cool selection too!? With the van full of bottles of weird flavoured alcohol, we got back and had a relatively quiet evening of smores and bug dodging. Well…the girls did anyway, i think the boys stayed up and did boy things, like trying to keep up with the German’s level of drinking. (Or bug eating – a male pastime which i will discuss in a future post) We did go check out the kiddie park which we had spotted on the drive in. We were drawn to the bouncy castle but were disappointed to find it had been deflated – obviously to stop us lot from having any fun.