USA Road Trip – Day 1 – Getting There!

I couldn’t believe that the day had finally arrived to start our 2 week USA Road Trip, along with our friends Megs and Fraser.

The 4 of us had talked about going on a trip together for a while, but then one Sunday afternoon we started joking about how fun it would be to go to the Rugby Sevens in Las Vegas. Well it started off as a joke but then we may have started looking into it in some detail and realised that due to the Sevens being in March (which is very early season for Vegas) the costs weren’t actually that bad. Then the next thing you know we’re looking into a complete West Coast Road Trip and a week later we booked it! Sometimes the most spontaneous trips are the best.

The plan? Las Vegas, San Diego, Los Angeles and finally San Francisco.

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We flew from Gatwick to Las Vegas on a dreary March morning, excited to begin our trip and hopefully enjoy some warmer weather!

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Our friend took this photo of our plane taking off as she works at Gatwick!

Surprisingly the 11 hour flight went by really quickly. We ate a lot of food, we chatted about the fun things we had planned and we watched as many films as we possibly could, finally landing at 1pm Vegas time to pure blue skies and beautiful sunshine.

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I love coming into land in Vegas as you get to see the Grand Canyon, the Hoover Dam and you get a great view of the strip which makes me so excited.

We stayed at the Aria Hotel which is one of the newest hotels on the strip. It sits in the centre opposite The Planet Hollywood Hotel. I had wanted to stay here for a while as it just looked so modern and had a great location and it really didn’t disappoint. On arrival the hotel reception was immaculate, the staff were friendly and check in was a relatively quick process for Vegas standards.

We had 2 standard rooms known as Deluxe King Rooms (they were incredible so don’t be mistaken they will be basic) The receptionist managed to get us rooms next to each other on the 15th floor with a view of Planet Hollywood opposite.

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But enough about the rooms we wanted to get out and explore, so we quickly freshened up and went for a walk in the sunshine along the strip.

Taking in all the new sights we pointed out shops, bars and restaurants we wanted to visit while we were there. Then we decided to find somewhere for cocktails that was still outside and we ended up at Bubba Gumps. To be honest this wouldn’t have been our first choice but it had the perfect location with a balcony terrace overlooking the strip, directly in the sunshine and had tables available. We ordered cocktails in light up glasses (when in Vegas!) and toasted to an amazing 2 weeks ahead.

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We were enjoying our drinks and the view when Matt told us we would have to make our way back to the hotel shortly for the first surprise of the trip – It had been an idea when planning the trip that as there were 4 of us and we were visiting 4 locations (Las Vegas, San Diego, LA & San Francisco) that we should each pick a location out of the hat and then plan something in secret for that place to surprise the others with.

So first up was Matt as he had chosen Las Vegas and he didn’t disappoint with his surprise. We were being collected from our hotel and taken to Las Vegas Strip Terminal ready for a helicopter ride over the strip at night. Excited was an understatement and an amazing way to kick off the first night of the trip!

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I must admit I was a little nervous at first. I’m not scared of flying or of heights but I really don’t like sudden drops and as I was sat next to the door and all I could see was the strip below I did have a little freak out thinking we would drop out of the sky! But after I got over that thought and decided to really take in the view of the strip, it was just incredible. Completely lit up and twinkling all around you, it was just stunning.

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On the ride back to the hotel we all became really tired, I guess jet lag had finally kicked in. So we decided to grab a bite to eat at one of our favourites Blondies and then called it a night ready for tomorrows adventures!

Love, Chloe x

 

Honeymoon Day 8 – Should have been The Bahamas…

We had been keeping track of hurricane Matthew while we were in Orlando. It was hard not to, everyone was talking about it or weather warnings were always being shown on TV. Of course we were concerned but we just wanted to enjoy our week and not talk too much about it all.

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We got home from The Magic Kingdom gone midnight and feeling exhausted from the long, busy day, we fell asleep still thinking we would be flying to the Bahamas the next day for the second part of our honeymoon…

We were woken by the room phone ringing at 7am. It was Virgin Holidays in the UK saying that we wouldn’t be flying to The Bahamas, due to Hurricane Matthew. We were gutted, but of course we just wanted to stay safe, especially after then seeing the devastation in Haiti which was just awful and so sad.

So Virgin gave us 3 options; fly home, stay in Orlando for another week or they could try and find us somewhere else to fly to for our second week.

Well we definitely didn’t want to go home. We were unsure on staying in Orlando for another week seeing as the weather was only getting worse. So we asked Virgin to try and find us somewhere else to fly to. Our only requirement being sunshine and if possible a beach. As much as we had enjoyed our week in Orlando and all the theme parks, we were so ready for a romantic week, relaxing!

As we were now wide awake and in limbo, waiting for Virgin to phone us back, we decided to shower, pack and then head to breakfast inside the hotel, just in case we had to leave at a moments notice, we wanted to be ready.

Unfortunately though that wasn’t the case. We appreciated that they must have had a lot of customers in the same position as us, so must have taken a lot of time to contact everyone and deal with everyone’s requests. But as we hadn’t heard back from Virgin for a few hours (when they said they would phone us back within the hour) Matt phoned them just to see what the situation was, as we didn’t want to waste the day sitting around the hotel waiting for a call.

This time we were put through to Virgin America, who said they were working on our request and that we should just go out and enjoy our day, as they didn’t know how long they would take or what our final option would be. As if they couldn’t find somewhere new for us to fly to, we would just stay in Orlando for the second week.

We had pretty much crammed in everything that we had wanted to do in Orlando into our first week. The only thing we missed out on were the Water Parks, but the weather had been quite hit and miss and we hadn’t had the time to fit them in. So we were a bit unsure with what to do for the remainder of the day and unfortunately our Disney and Universal Tickets had expired so we couldn’t go back to the parks, unless we wanted to pay quite a lot just for a day pass. So we decided to jump in the car and see where the day/roads took us.

Weirdly the weather was lovely and sunny (no signs of a hurricane just yet) so with the roof down, we drove along International Drive and ended up in Hooters for lunch. I really love Hooters and wish they would open more in the UK! We decided to share a mixture of foods including buffalo chicken wings (of course!), sliders, mozzarella sticks and curly fries. I was also happy as it was the first place we had found which served Mountain Dew which is my favourite soft drink!

 

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Buffalo Chicken Wings my favourite!

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A mixture of beef and chicken sliders with curly fries

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Mozzarella Sticks

 

During lunch we used the free Wi-Fi (thanks Hooters!) to have a look into things we could do for the rest of the afternoon. We debated heading back to Universal’s CityWalk, looked at a few crazy golf options, I also saw that they had the Orlando Eye (like the London Eye) and also a Madame Tussauds, but knew that Matt wouldn’t want to go there. But then we noticed that it had started chucking it down with rain, now it really did feel like the storm was coming!

We kept looking up ideas for indoor attractions and then Matt mentioned Kennedy Space Centre. It was around an hours drive from Orlando, on the coast and I was a bit concerned about the weather, but as we hadn’t found anything else we were interested in doing and the actual bad storms weren’t meant to hit for another couple of days we thought why not, let’s just drive and see what happens.

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Luckily the rain eased and the sun started to appear again the closer we got to Cape Canaveral (Orlando weather is very odd!) The drive was pretty easy as it’s mostly just one long straight road and at times we were the only car on the road. However by the time we had made it to the Space Centre it was around 3pm and when we checked out the prices, $50 each for entry, we didn’t think it would be worth the money seeing as we would only have a couple of hours to explore and the staff said ideally you need at least a full day if not 2 days to see & do everything! So we took a few photos and then drove on to Cocoa Beach instead, passing the rocket launch site along the way which was pretty cool. It must be amazing being there for a real rocket launch!

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This is the rocket launch bay!

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This hotel was called Faulty Towers!

 

By the time we decided to head back to the hotel it was dark. We were glad we went out and tried to make the most of the day and got to see somewhere different. But heading back just made us realise that we hadn’t heard from Virgin since the morning and had no idea what our plans were for the next 6 days.

When we arrived back at the hotel we were told that Virgin had been in contact with them and that we would be staying at the hotel for a further 2 nights. We were very grateful for the information and the staff were so helpful and friendly and made sure we were happy at all times. Virgin had also left us a message on our room phone, explaining what the hotel had already told us and how they were still looking into options for us. Even though we didn’t know what the rest of our honeymoon would entail at least we knew what we were doing for the next couple of days!

That night we decided to have a chilled evening at the hotel bar/lounge area, we drank cocktails and played cards whilst the thunder rolled in, wondering where we might end up next…

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Grasshoppers and Vodka!

 

Love, Chloe xx