My Trip to Kentucky (and other states)

Holy crap, what an adventure!

After two flights, several train journeys, and one massive sleep as soon as I got home, I’m finally back and recovered from my trip to America. What an amazing time I had.

First off, the reason I visited. Last year, two of my friends from America that I had known through thedarktower.org had popped down to London as one of many awesome places they were visiting on their holiday. After having a pretty awesome time, they said that if I ever felt like visiting Kentucky some time, I was more than welcome.

Cue six months plus a whole heap of stress later, and I decided to take them up on the offer, as I needed just a short break from England for a bit. July looked to be a great time to visit, especially as the first week had Independence Day, and the pretentious hipster part of me just couldn’t resist the irony of a Brit celebrating that holiday. So, I booked my tickets and got a flight to Kentucky.

(One thing I have to point out: during my brief stop at Chicago airport along the way, a number of Americans pointed to the Eighth Doctor t-shirt I wore and said that they loved it, perhaps more than the number of Brits I’ve come across who said the same thing. I even had a lengthy discussion with someone who knew who Fitz Kreiner was, as she was a big fan of the Eighth Doctor books. I keep forgetting not just how widely recognised Who is in America, but just how passionate a lot of the US fans can be. It brought a smile to this geek’s face, I must say.)

As soon as I arrived in Kentucky, my friends kindly picked me up and let me stay round their’s. I pretty much instantly fell asleep, as I had only about less than an hour’s sleep in over 24 hours.

And boy, did I need that rest, because as soon as I woke up the next morning, we were heading down to Georgia, as I met my friend’s parents and step-mother. It was a beautiful place, very classy and clearly very pleasant to live in. I realised this especially on Independence Day, which was even better than I could’ve hoped for: not only were there heaps of food, but many neighbours came round and it was just such a great, pleasant atmosphere. As someone who usually celebrates holidays with just the family, it was interesting seeing so many neighbours round a place and chatting, and even I, an introvert by nature, had a few really great conversations with really interesting people. One of my friends played on his guitar and sang, and the night was rounded off with a few fireworks. It was a fantastic day.

After Georgia was Tennessee (does anyone else think that’s a really difficult state to spell?). I got to visit Nashville, a city thriving with great music (and great food, from the places we visited), see an old friend that I hadn’t seen in 3 years (and meet possibly the cutest puppy ever), and met some really nice folks that I might have got way too drunk with. (Although, let’s be honest: getting absolutely fucking drunk at least once is important to any holiday, really.)

The final day before my flight home was also great: seeing The Princess Bride in a packed cinema on the big screen. I’ve seen The Princess Bride a couple of times before (i.e. I haven’t watched it nearly enough), but the audience reaction made a great film an even greater experience. There were lots of cheers, boos, awws, and best of all, laughs. A great way to spend my last night in America.

Some other highlights included:

  • The number of great places we visited with great food, especially in Tennessee.
  • All the driving. We spent a lot of hours driving from state to state. I certainly never complained, because it meant I got to see a lot more of America along the way. The beautiful forests and countryside I saw was great, but also it was just interesting for me to see all the places, billboards, and even great big massive crosses (including one that was right next to a porn shop, which made me laugh) along the way.
  • Getting KFC from the first KFC, entirely by coincidence. As a man who does love his fried chicken, that was perfect.
  • Biscuits and gravy. Not British biscuits, of course, but the American kind – almost a cross between scones and bread. The gravy was white with sausage meat. I’ve never tried either before. It was absolutely delicious.
  • My first dip in a hot tub. Smashing!
  • Did I mention all the excellent food I had in all the states I visited?
  • Some nice gifts I received from my friend’s step-mum, including a small American Flag, a couple of Moon Pies, Milk Duds (which were very yummy!), some Texas hot sauce (that unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to try out), and best of all, a red t-shirt with a large star showing the American flag. It definitely helped add to the American experience on July 4th!
  • Last but not least, I have to thank my friends from thedarktower.org for inviting me in the first place, not to mention be more than willing to drive such long distances and give me a room to sleep in. Plus, they helped make the trip that much more special. Thank you guys so much for making the trip as brilliant as it was, and I really do hope that one day I get the chance to see you all again.
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