New York to London – via Nova Scotia!

My last day in the US of A! Met Phil in the hotel foyer – first time since we parted company in Chicago. A gang of us went round the corner for breakfast but it was nearly lunch by the time the hard-pressed waitress brought our order.

Phil, Nicky, their travelling companion Joe and I then set off on foot to see a bit more of New York. We must have walked miles but it was interesting and as we went along we swapped experiences. Went through Greenwich Village and eventually got down to the waterside. Joe and Nicky opted for an excursion to the Statue of Liberty but the rest of us took the cheaper ferry which went quite close. From the boat you get the standard view which is shown in films when they want you to know it’s set in New York. Unfortunately it was overcast, so I don’t think my photo will be any good. Stayed on the ferry and returned to Manhattan to rejoin the other two.
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We try to sell the car

John, DB and Joe got up at about 8.20 in order to move the car. Shôn and I did not stir until a guy knocked on the door, popped his head in and said “Good morning, how many are we, two? Okay.” and then went away. Shôn and I looked at each other, dazed and confused. Nothing came of it: lucky the other three had left or the management might have taken it further.

Anyway, I was up and dressed like a shot. The others returned after parking the car in a permissible spot and we all went down to clear our stuff out so that we could get it sold. John was still trying to persuade us to give Bryan the car. He had the task of ringing Mrs Weiner and he was not looking forward to disappointing her after hinting that Bryan could have it. Still, I for one needed the money, and argued that we should at least get a few offers.
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Back to New York City

By the time we had all stirred this morning, Yves and Mary had left so we had us some breakfast. I had a bowl of Sugar Frosties followed by a bagel with butter. Bagel: doughnut-shaped bread like thing with seeds on. Flavoured with various things – mine was garlic. Would have tasted better hot but it was really just dense bread.

Mary returned as we were washing up so we walked up the road with her (v. steep) to the university. What a beautiful place it was. I was very jealous of the Cornell students. The buildings were old and ivy-covered and were set in spacious grounds dotted with trees. The students were dressed differently from English ones – it was hard to say in what way. I suppose it was the “hiking” look they seemed to have. Heavy boots, drainpipe Levi’s, and check lumberjack shirts under thick parkas and coats. Some carried their books in small rucksacks. 90% (or so it seemed) had fuzzy hair. Certainly long hair was out.
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Cornell University

As we were packing away the tent (which had partially collapsed and caused Joe’s sleeping bag to get soaked) a police car cruised by. It stopped and backed up to us. Why us? What makes every cop we see check us out? “Who’s the limey?” an English voice said. It turned out that the cop was from Southport [UK] and he just wanted a friendly chat. He had been in Ontario six months and was glad he had emigrated. He was on $16,000 – twice what he was earning in Kirkby, etc etc. He lamented the lack of decent beer in Canada, and their strange drinking habits. Unlike the English, the North Americans drink more at home than in bars, despite the fact that they are open till 2am. Thus he missed the social life back home.
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The Gasworks

Such a sleepless night, and so chilly in the morning that we stayed in bed too long. Just as I arose, a KOA woman came over. We were going to pay before leaving, weren’t we? Our excuse: no Canadian dollars on us. She was very nice about it, and in fact charged for only two people instead of five.

We drove into Toronto for a look around. Cold and very windy. Lots of trendy shops – clothes, Army and Navy clobber, furniture, and “head shops” selling pot-smoking equipment, incense, strobe lights etc. Went to an all-you-can-eat restaurant from the guide. Joe and I went downstairs for unlimited spaghetti; the others went for fish and chips upstairs with free seconds. Got a plate of spaghetti in tomato sauce, a basket of bread and two big dishes of butter. Joe had five plates altogether – I managed six. Also drank several cups of coffee. Good value for around $2. It was only when I got up that my insides began to protest at the volume I had just consumed. I’m sure I strained whatever it is that holds up the stomach.
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Niagara Falls

After yesterday’s peanut butter and blackberry jelly sandwiches (standard packed lunches in US schools) we had to have some beans. Not like Heinz though, it turned out. They were darker and had chunks of pork fat floating round in the sauce. Not as repulsive as they looked, but not very tasty. No wonder they eat peanut butter sandwiches instead.

Said our goodbyes to Jay and rolled on through Pennsylvania and into New York State. Got off the freeway for something to eat and plumped for a Pizza Hut. Discovered that Tuesday was family day when all pizzas were virtually half price. Thus we had two large with “the works” on them. Very delicious and filling. Four big slices for less than $2 including drinks.
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Peanut butter and jelly

Not surprisingly, it was 12 noon before we all got up. Felt a bit guilty: our poor hosts had been up since 6am. Shôn and I went for bread and milk whilst Jay cooked scrambled eggs. Tasted good with toast and tea – actual tea!

The remainder of the day was spent enjoying the luxury of comfy seats and stereo sounds. Chatted with Jay, read the Plain Dealer and wrote diary. Slowly ploughed through Patti’s excellent record collection.

Turns out that Jay owns his own record shop in Australia. Thus he can take six months to check out the States. His father is a bookie, and they regularly travel from Melbourne up to Wagga for the races. He originally intended to come to America, buy a Corvette Stingray and ship it back. He was then going to have it converted to right-hand drive for $2,000. Bought the disc business instead.
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Good old Cleveland

Slept until almost 12 noon because the shade was very efficient. Still managed to clear off before the KOA man came round. Had breakfast at a nearby truck stop (chopped sirloin sandwich turned out to be hamburger).

A short drive and we found ourselves in the familiar surroundings of good old Cleveland. Went to the shore of the lake, sat and watched a cargo ship slide by. Went to Pieter van Erp’s for the sack of letters I knew would be there. Mrs van Erp didn’t recognise me first. I had two letters she said, and she had returned both to England. Then we went to Bryan’s place to return his radio, book and t-shirt. Shopped at Zayre’s to kill time. DB bought a transparent skateboard ($13) and Shôn got two Budweiser hats. I got nothing.
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Fort Knox

Drove through Louisville and someone noticed that Fort Knox is virtually on the way, so we made a mid-course correction and entered Fort Knox – the name of the military area surrounding the federal gold depository we know as Fort Knox. Through a military checkpoint and through on to the depository. “Don’t go near the actual building” we had been warned by the female MP at the checkpoint, “there are automatic M16 machine gun posts and the area is mined”. Fair enough. We got as close as we could to the place made familiar by Goldfinger. Got a picture of the place with “Stop. State your business into speaker” sign in front. Strange to think there is all this fuss about blocks of metal dug out of the ground.
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Elvis Presley’s house

Felt foolish asking directions to Elvis Presley’s house in Memphis. Turned out that he lived on Elvis Presley Boulevard (coincidence) but we drove past his house the first time. It was just an ordinary street with Burger Kings and gas stations and neon signs. We turned round and realised his house was the one obscured by trees, behind a brick wall and wrought iron gates manned by “heavies” and watched by closed-circuit TV. That was all we saw. Didn’t bother to get out of the car.
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