2015 USA Road Trip Day 1: Philadelphia PA to Atlantic City NJ

A slightly traumatic drive to Heathrow this morning which started when I realised the petrol gauge was empty in the unfamiliar car I was driving - with no more petrol stations until the airport. Thankfully there wasn't an unhappy ending to the beginning ...

The flight was on an Airbus 300 and I was in the middle of a group of 4 seats at the middle, which was probably the best place not to be interrupted or knocked by people walking up and down the aisle. I got 15 minutes sleep in all. The flight was just under 8 hours and it did drag a bit. I entertained myself by learning loads of new places on the in-flight navigation screen.

on the plane

Immigration is always so unfriendly. "Why do you want to go to Atlantic City?", I'm asked. Have to admit it got me thinking. Is it a bad thing to go there? Should I not admit it to anyone? I tell him my plans and he says "Why do you want to drive to San Francisco?" I don't tell this guy how to use his leisure time ...

On top of the flight I had to wait the best part of an hour for my car which wasn't ready, and as a result the 61 miles from the airport to my home in Atlantic City seemed to take forever. That doesn't bode well as I technically haven't started my coast to coast drive yet. The car did turn out to be the one I asked for, a convertible Ford Mustang, but I'm not expecting to take the top down for several days.

my car, still clean

Driving it is really easy from the start and it's very comfortable too. I got into a bit of a mad panic when a sign appeared saying I had to pay a toll, as all I had on me was the $7 left over from my trip to New York 10 years ago which I managed to remember to bring. Luckily the toll was less than that.

Although my door key suggested I should "call Dominos for room service" I decided I couldn't stuff myself with pizza just a few hours into my travels and drove down the Black Horse Pike to an Italian restaurant, Jo Jo's Grille. It was really popular as the car park was full and I risked parking in the shop next door, but lots of other people were parking up there so it was a risk worth taking. It was also really popular because it's Valentine's Day, of course.

There were no tables available but I had the option of sitting up at the bar and eating which suited me fine. I ended up sitting next to a couple, Jeannie and Mark, who heard my accent and started asking me all about London. Mark was telling me about his time in Europe like it was a major event for an American to travel there, and I think he's right. We were sitting in front of a big TV showing CNN coverage of a shooting in Copenhagen and Jeannie asked where Copenhagen was.

The best part of the conversation was Mark saying, so, you in Atlantic City for a couple of days? The thing you really need to try when you're here ... (long pause) ... is the drinking water. Out of the tap. I would say it's number 1 or number 2 in the whole of the USA.

I asked "What's so good about it?"

(Another long pause) "It's REALLY clean!"

When I came out of the restaurant a guy holds the door open for me and when I say thanks he shouts - in a friendly way - "HEY NO PROBLEM! YOU GOT IT!" I think 4 or 5 people have already said "you got it" to me. I'm back in the hotel now and very pleased that I've managed to stay up to 8.30pm and counting - that's 1.30am UK time, so I've only been up 20 hours ...



Next:     2015 USA Road Trip Day 2: Atlantic City NJ to Bedford PA
Previous:     Coast To Coast 2015: USA Road Trip

Last updated 20 February 2015 14:06

A bird

I think I'm meant to do an "About" here but I think you'd be more interested in seeing a random seagull.

USA Road Trip 2015

  • Introduction
  • Day 1: Philadelphia PA to Atlantic City NJ
  • Day 2: Atlantic City NJ to Bedford PA
  • Day 3: Bedford PA to Richmond IN
  • Day 4: Richmond IN to St Louis MO
  • Day 5: St Louis MO to Joplin MO
  • Day 6: Joplin MO to Elk City OK
  • Day 7: Elk City OK to Tucumcari NM
  • Day 8: Tucumcari NM to Gallup NM
  • Day 9: Gallup NM to Monument Valley UT
  • Day 10: Monument Valley UT to Flagstaff AZ
  • Day 11: Flagstaff AZ to Henderson NV
  • Day 12: Henderson NV to Tonopah NV
  • Day 13: Tonopah NV to Sacramento CA
  • Day 14: Sacramento CA to San Francisco CA
  • Day 15: San Francisco CA

  • Gigs

  • 08.12.2015 Shed Seven, Hatfield
  • 27.11.2015 Vile Electrodes, Brentwood
  • 07.11.2015 Asylums, Southend
  • 30.10.2015 Baby Blues, Brentwood
  • 02.10.2015 Fireworks, Harringay
  • 25.09.2015 Lydia Lucy, Brentwood
  • 28.08.2015 Dani Clay, Brentwood
  • 24.07.2015 Indietracks
  • 17.07.2015 Latitude Festival
  • 11.07.2015 Brownstock Festival
  • 11.07.2015 Southend Village Green
  • 26.06.2015 The Who, Hyde Park
  • 20.06.2015 Blur, Hyde Park
  • 13.06.2015 British Sea Power, Camden
  • 06.06.2015 1000 Yard Stare, Charing Cross
  • 03.06.2015 Madness, Great Leights
  • 31.05.2015 Los Endos, Hornchurch
  • 29.05.2015 Juke, Brentwood
  • 28.05.2015 Pop Will Eat Itself, Shoreditch
  • 24.05.2015 Ride, Camden
  • 24.04.2015 Kaleidophone, Brentwood
  • 27.03.2015 Finding Miranda, Brentwood
  • 13.03.2015 Francesca Priest, Brentwood
  • 13.02.2015 Kaiser Chiefs, Greenwich
  • 06.02.2015 Ryan Green, Brentwood
  • 31.01.2015 Sulk - Hackney
  • 23.01.2015 Velvet Tree, Brentwood
  • 11.01.2015 Bis, Pentonville
  • 19.12.2014 High/Low, Southend
  • 12.12.2014 Break For Cover, Brentwood
  • 28.11.2014 For The Love Of Bob, Brentwood
  • 22.11.2014 Carter USM, Brixton
  • 31.10.2014 Band From Co Hell, Brentwood
  • 28.10.2014 Steve Hackett, Westcliff
  • 20.10.2014 Hafdis Huld, Charing Cross
  • 11.10.2014 Stillmarillion, Ruislip
  • 26.09.2014 D'Ukes, Brentwood
  • 13.09.2014 Flag Factory Festival, Brentwood
  • 03.09.2014 Kate Bush, Shepherd's Bush
  • 30.08.2014 Brownstock Festival
  • 08.08.2014 Killing Jimmy, Brentwood
  • 20.07.2014 Brentwood Festival
  • 19.07.2014 Latitude Festival
  • 18.07.2014 Juke, Brentwood
  • 20.06.2014 Pete Brame, Brentwood
  • 30.05.2014 Bow Flats, Brentwood
  • 25.05.2014 Pop Will Eat Itself, Islington
  • 23.05.2014 Arctic Monkeys, Finsbury Park
  • 14.05.2014 Wolf Alice, Cambridge
  • 30.04.2014 Yes, Westcliff
  • 25.04.2014 Ordinary Noise, Brentwood
  • 19.04.2014 Darling Buds, Charing Cross
  • 28.03.2014 Mannequins, Brentwood
  • 26.03.2014 Menswear, Shepherd's Bush
  • 23.03.2014 Republica, Islington
  • 14.03.2014 Franz Ferdinand, Camden
  • 28.02.2014 Ryan Green, Brentwood
  • 27.02.2014 Republica, Balham
  • 03.02.2014 Maximo Park, Bethnal Green
  • 31.01.2014 Scarlet Echo, Brentwood
  • 22.11.2013 Nedstock, Shepherd's Bush
  • 18.11.2013 Pub Serv Bcasting, Cambridge
  • 04.11.2013 Art Brut, Tunbridge Wells
  • 01.11.2013 Steve Hackett, Cambridge
  • 23.10.2013 Suede, Westcliff
  • 27.09.2013 Primitives, Southend
  • 21.09.2013 Duckworth Lewis Method, SB
  • 14.09.2013 The Flag Factory Festival
  • 06.09.2013 Jonny Cola/A Grades, Harlow
  • 25.07.2013 Bis, Pentonville
  • 19.07.2013 Latitude Festival
  • 17.07.2013 Taffy, Camden
  • 05.07.2013 Brentwood Festival
  • 26.06.2013 Bleech, Bethnal Green
  • 22.06.2013 Battle Stage Final
  • 09.06.2013 Tibetan Tea Company, Romford
  • 26.05.2013 Battle Stage 3
  • 25.05.2013 Muse, Highbury
  • 21.05.2013 Dirty Royals, Islington
  • 18.05.2013 Mika Bomb, Southend
  • 18.05.2013 Battle Stage 2
  • 27.04.2013 Battle Stage 1
  • 06.04.2013 Dingus Khan, Southend
  • 16.03.2013 Republica, Tunbridge Wells
  • 09.03.2013 Phoenix In The Foyer
  • 27.02.2013 Kaiser Chiefs, Cambridge
  • 26.02.2013 Bleech, Cambridge
  • 19.02.2013 History Of Apple Pie, Shoreditch
  • 12.02.2013 Sonic Boom Six, Southend
  • 06.02.2013 The 1975, Southend
  • 25.01.2013 Archetype, Brentwood
  • 02.12.2012 Lighting Up Shenfield
  • 01.12.2012 Lighting Up Brentwood
  • 24.11.2012 Lovely Eggs, Southend
  • 20.11.2012 Focus, Chislehurst
  • 10.11.2012 Carter USM, Brixton
  • 03.11.2012 Taffy, Clerkenwell
  • 02.11.2012 Bleech, Harlow
  • 27.10.2012 Phoenix In The Foyer 2
  • 15.09.2012 Phoenix In The Foyer 1
  • 01.08.2012 Blur, Margate
  • 08.07.2012 Brentwood Festival
  • 29.06.2012 Bis, Pentonville
  • 22.06.2012 Knifeworld, Pentonville
  • 08.06.2012 Jim Bob, Bedford
  • 02.06.2012 Coldplay, Highbury
  • 30.05.2012 Evans The Death, Chelmsford
  • 11.05.2012 The Others, Putney
  • 04.05.2012 BAS II, Basildon
  • 29.04.2012 Break For Cover, Ingatestone
  • 18.03.2012 The Brownies, Shoreditch
  • 24.02.2012 Neil Hannon, Felsted
  • 29.01.2012 Kaiser Chiefs, Westcliff

  • Interviews

  • 28.06.1996 Frank and Walters
  • 01.07.2006 Sultans of Ping

  • Random writings

  • Aris Salonica
  • Lake Margaretting

  • Essex Walks

  • 1. Goldhanger
  • 2. Downham