In 2008, travel web site RoadTrip America commissioned a series of articles on our various adventures in America and created a dedicated home for Thody's American Adventures. Follow the photos below to read the full pieces; click the text links to visit the official or best-I-could-find sites (either way they'll usually open in a new window).
"... the path up ahead is closed as a mother bear is dozing by a tree and her two cubs are playing in the undergrowth. This is close to the top of my "Things That Could Make This Trip Perfect" list, just behind Monica Bellucci turning up, realising that she'd somehow forgotten her tent and maybe she could just squeeze in with us?"
"I can sense that, had she been consulted, my wife Carole might not have lent her full support to this unplanned detour. And as the ... condition of the track suggests I should soon consider making use of the low ratio gearbox, I too begin to question the wisdom of this decision."
"As we crest yet another 6,000-foot summit of the wonderfully-named Wah Wah Mountains, the next perfectly straight section of hardtop stretches out in front of us, drawing us ever deeper into this arid wilderness."
"At last we get a sense of the scale of the place. Finally we experience the physical and emotional high that we'd been led to expect, and we're able to join that club whose rapturous descriptions and breathless wonder spoil it for those who have yet to see it for themselves."
"Are you members?" enquires the barmaid. Hmm. This isn't a promising question nor, strictly speaking, a necessary one, given our English accents and the cameras, guidebooks and other assorted tourist paraphernalia hanging from our pockets."
"... black strips of asphalt blurring and melting in the heat, so little traffic I can set up a tripod on the white stripes and feel my pale, Northern European skin beginning to burn as a truck emerges from the heat haze maybe five miles away."
"... my one abiding memory of the place will always be the horror that is a cushioned toilet seat. Sit on it and you can't help but feel the imprint of a thousand other backsides as the cold, clammy plastic gently moulds itself to your nether regions. It's enough to make you drink to forget. So we do.
"Anything you could possibly want for hiking, climbing, camping, shooting, trapping, fishing, surviving or simply dressing up like an outdoors-kinda-guy, you'll get here. We go in for sandals. We leave with jerky, trail snacks, dehydrated ice cream, postcards, T-shirts and a grizzly bear fridge magnet.."
"You really booked in there? No way! Man, you could get rooms by the hour there just a few years ago." Which possibly explains the sign that reads, "Under 18s are not allowed above the 1st floor." As it happens, we sleep like logs, no one attempts to sell us sexual services and the building resists all urges to self-combust.
"After a while you do begin to wonder where the local homeowners found so many restored buckets and milking stools. And then you arrive in Galena, a town whose sole raison d'être appears to be the sale of faux agricultural antiques to Harley-riding lawyers and dentists."