Not your average travel blog
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Amongst the many places of interest, I will hopefully visit:
I will be travelling through the following states: Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, Nevada and California.
Some of the main cities/areas on route where it would be a colossal boost to my challenge, to share a little hospitality and hopefully borrow your couch (and shower) are:
Albany, Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, Erie, Cleveland, South Bend, Chicago, Michigan City, Cedar Rapids, Sioux City, Rapid City, Sheridan, Yellowstone National Park, Brigham City, Ogden and Salt Lake areas. Also Provo and down through Southern Utah, Page, Williams, Kingman, west through Arizona and south along the Nevada state line towards Bullhead City. Essex and Barstow will probably be likely stop offs and finally on through Southern California to Los Angeles and the coast. When I write it like that, it’s just a walk in the park!
There currently doesn’t appear to be very much going on through Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and certainly a massive area of desert in the south. Maybe some of you can change that for me?
The “roughly” mapped route will undoubtedly be updated and amended as planning takes shape. I have to accept that once on the road, turning left or right to head in the correct, general direction (West, I must remember to head consistently, West) will test my nerves, my wallet and to be honest, is the whole point of the adventure.
Climate & Environment:
The USA is approximately 3.79 million square miles “small” (9.83 million km²), with about 305 million people. It’s the third largest country on earth by land area and by population. I’m guessing (based on popular opinion) that, the USA is rather large.
Taking into account the amount of land the USA “owns”, again based on general estimation, the climate is going to vary….vastly.
I have done some research on what climates I will encounter as I travel and at what point I should attempt to travel through certain States in order to avoid difficulties with the weather (difficulties meaning, possible death). Essentially, I don’t want to die at the hands of the sun (because the sun has hands), be frozen to death, be thrown into the afterlife by a violent tornado or fail to be found because I became a tasty hors d’oeuvre for a creature’s picnic, many of which dwell amidst the extreme climates of America and spend most of their days searching for said picnics.
I have researched rainfall across the USA and even though precipitation can be devastating, I am counting on myself to be able to deal with the summer showers. I’m confident that by trekking across the north of North America I will avoid such extreme temperatures which will bother me more than rain. I will after all, have been toughening my feet; walking over ten miles per day in the English winter for four months. I might be underestimating the frustrations of wet weather, but I am a Brit and should be used to it. Decent waterproofing of myself, my kit, food supplies and to make sure I can sleep without worrying that I will be a walking prune the following morning with a washed out breakfast, should be manageable (watch me eat my words).
I have concentrated on the temperatures across the states and what to expect when travelling through each state. Feel free to throw criticism at me if I’m wrong or have completely miscalculated the months when temperatures are at their most comfortable. I fully expect to learn valuable lessons on route, but I would appreciate a note in my inbox if I’m about to walk into a monsoon!
You can click on the following to enlarge:
To summarise, if I can leave the Massachusetts coastline around late March and travel across the northern states to Yellowstone through April to July, I should avoid the worst of the cold temperatures. I am undoubtedly going to encounter a fair bit of rain but I should dry up quite thoroughly through Southern Utah and Arizona. It’s unlikely to be ‘comfortable’ any time of the Summer across the desert; deathly heat in the day with temperatures at night dropping to almost freezing….joy.
America is home to some rather special creatures indeed. Many of which don’t squat elsewhere in the world. They may holiday to preferred locations around the globe from time to time…but don’t we all like a bit of winter sun?
The big boys: Geoff and Nigel
Wild animals tend not to be all that friendly when provoked, when you threaten their family members, when you speak to them rudely, when you ignore their texts or when they receive stern letters in the mail requesting they relocate or dismantle their unsightly out-house. To summarise, if I want to see them and not be a nuisance, I’ll have to make sure I don’t crash their family BBQ without an invite, turn up with an inappropriate gift or run off with one of their daughters. I must admit that being able to see in the wild, the native creatures of North America is probably the part of the trek that I’m most looking forward to. I hope that I’m not naively putting myself in harm’s way and that I won’t make any careless, or worse, fatal mistakes. As I’ve experienced in Australia, Asia and even in the UK, it’s the creatures that I won’t see that I should probably be most worried about.
An average expression to any of my jokes
I will be doing more research on the nature I am likely to encouter in each state but from what I already know, I am both excited and slightly wary of a few beastly beasts…
When I begin in Massachusetts, most of the troubling creatures seem to be in the ocean; whales and sharks amongst them, but I guess I do have the Common Loon to worry about; apparently a fair few to contend with.
Loony, and common apparently
Moving across the state of New York, north towards Niagara Falls and flirting with the Great Lakes, I should (hopefully) stumble across some American beaver, snapping turtles and otters. More ominously, I’m told there are black bears, wild cats and wolves. This is natures trend across the northern states all the way to Yellowstone in Wyoming. I’m hoping to avoid being stalked by any lynx, bobcats, coyotes, cougars or indeed snakes, but who I am to stop predators doing what they were born to do – hunt!?
I will apologise now for future personification of creatures. It’s an affliction I rather like
Moving myself through Yellowstone and the wild territory in the east of Wyoming state without disturbing too many bears picnics will be a blessing. I am looking forward to the abundance of ‘American Outback’ with all its peaks, forests and vista views. Following the possible freshness of woodland and greenery, it’ll be a stark contrast for what’s to come. Trekking south, into Utah will probably be my most extreme culture shock in terms of climate and desolation. I’m not suggesting that Utah is ‘out there’ or its folk are ‘remote’, but I’m guessing that when reaching the heat; not just geographically, but in terms of the climate and the environment that I have only a little experience, I will feel furthest away from home.
Utah is home to numerous varieties of venomous snake, deadly scorpions, antagonistic, Shelob-like spiders and just the usual mountain lions and bears apparently. Although I think the big game variety is a little more sparse the further south I trek, they don’t like the desert climate any more than my apprehensive feelings over it. That’s not to say I am exuberant with the creatures that dwell so well in these parts. Amongst the hotter spots of Obama’s back yard live black widows, toxic toads, wolves and just to make every mans dream come true when the climate doesn’t worry me enough, apparently there are killer bees to welcome supposedly ‘unwelcome’ visitors.
Ralph and his Rattle
When I do reach Southern Utah, especially after leaving Salt Lake City and the lake area, I think I’ll feel a little like Sam in Lord of the Rings when he mentions that it’s the furthest from the Shire he’s ever been. Just for the record, I’m not comparing Utah or the American desert to Mordor (although England is much like the Shire)! Having said that, the northern states do strike me as a little more like Middle Earth than the southern regions….I digress.. Whilst currently making plans, trekking into a desert is without doubt the most worrisome part of my journey which conjures up much apprehension. The climate alone is something to be concerned about, not to mention the ‘darkness’ that these miniture beasts instill in the majority of humanity.
Pretty little ladies; they like petticoats and things
I will blog more about the climate, environments and certainly the encounters with nature in each state as research continues and trekking begins.
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