Round The World 2008
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Arrival in Cleveland
Day 16
Thursday June 5th 2008
266 Miles

Ian Rambles
Lake Erie was foggy but it cleared as we approached the shore and the pilot squeezed us alongside.

The stevedores who took our lines had to fight off annoyed seagulls - the end of the wharf was covered in nests, eggs, fledglings, seagulls and birdshit. I presume they were in some way protected species as it would have been so easy to discourage them by destroying their eggs.

We took a taxi to the airport to collect our hire car - a Cadillac DTS. 275hp 4.6 L V8 Engine. I lost count when I got to forty odd buttons surrounding the driver.

We set off, cruising west. I found it difficult to give up the water so kept hunting for views of lake Erie. This took us to Sandusky, famous for "Cedar Point" - a theme park with more roller coasters than any other park - and also supporting "Mr Smiths" - a very welcoming bistro with a refreshing line in iced coffee.

Fiona's Journal
We crossed Lake Erie at 15 knots through the night and reached Cleveland at 9.30 this morning so we didn't get to see much of that lake either! A busy morning of packing and clearing our cabins left me no time to get morose.

Once we had docked, US Customs Officers came aboard and closed all exits until they had interviewed all passengers and crew members and cleared us all for entry to the USA. They were not nearly as scary as the ones who boarded the George Poole, when Ian and I crossed the Atlantic 25 years ago and arrived in Fort Lauderdale.

The ship's cook and steward had put together a huge packed lunch for us to take away with us, which was so kind, and some of the crew used one of the ship's cranes to unload our heap of heavy luggage down onto the quayside.

Then our taxi arrived and we said our final goodbyes and drove away. Isa had started to feel really quite small after 12 days on board but looking back at her, lying against the quayside, she looked reassuringly massive again!

In the Afternoon
America really is a foreign land! It actually feels more foreign than France or Holland despite the fact that we share a common language (more or less – I find myself having to ask people to repeat things quite a lot but perhaps my ear will become attuned in time) and the fact that we feel sort of familiar with it from films and TV programs.

Our hire car is a silver Chevrolet Deville Sedan and Ian has, pretty quickly, got to grips with
a) the fact that it's an automatic – a few jerks and kangaroo hops caused by trying to use the brake pedal as a clutch,
b) the fact that it is a left-hand drive – a tendency to position the car too far over to the right hand side of the lane and to panic at the sight of passing cars that appear to be driven by a large dog or someone who is asleep, and
c) driving on the wrong side of the road – this is actually the least of our problems because we have driven in France several times in the last few years.

I have chickened out of driving for today but it is a very comfortable car as a passenger. The air conditioning is so efficient that getting out of the car is like stepping into a fan oven. We even have a button to cool your seat (and one to heat it too, of course) and one that alters the shape of your seat back to conform the the shape of your spine!

We headed West out of Cleveland towards Chicago where Route 66 begins and within the first 30 miles we had seen billboards for virtually every famous American brand we have ever heard of, from Wendy's to Wal-Mart. We decided to try out a Wendy's first, as the boys wanted burgers for their first meal in the USA and this is the brand that I have never seen in the UK – I don't care if I never do!

We started our day in Ohio and ended it in Michigan. Already we are getting an impression of wide horizons and long distances. We found a motel in Ann Arbor, just because we liked the name of the place. It had satellite TV, wireless Internet access and a swimming pool and we made good use of all three. And so ends our first day in the USA – tomorrow we will discover Indiana and Illinois and just those names fill me with expectation!

Arthur's Log:
Reached Cleveland, talked to customs, called a taxi and went to see America. Cars are longer, roads are wider, there is loads of pickups, houses are made mostly out of wood, the whole world is flatter, I could keep going on with all the changes I see but it would go on forever, right down to the small things, just every scale, shape, size is different and thats just in the twenty minutes in the taxi.

We picked up the rental car, we got one of those weird things they do where for a little more you get a much better car. So we got a nice big touring sedan which can be painful when mum tries to use the clutch and because mum and dad think the bulk of the car is on their left not their right so the right wheels end up in the ditch in the side of the road too often.

We tried Wendys burger bar....... its a big fat average. I really don't get this fast food culture its boring and bland food.

Motel with TV, WiFi and Pool

The Harry Report
Wendys sucked beyond all reason. The heat nearly knocked me out. The motel was nice.

George's Musings
Lots and lots and lots of birds!

Approaching Cleveland

The crew craned our luggage down to the dockside.

Harry with Willem, Fi and George looking at..
... gulls, fledglings, nests and eggs.

America can take some people in strange ways.

Our Caddy
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