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ComingToAmerica

The ComingToAmerica Comes to America Thread

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(Note to admin, I'm no longer 'Most Recently Sin Carne')

I'm going to go walkabout for a while. Idea is still germinating, but I am thinking it would be good to come and see some of this America stuff. I went to Florida twice as a young 'un, but nothing apart from that. I'm a bit late for Wrestlemania season, but tbh I'm kinda cool with that.

I am thinking I want to go to a few places, not everywhere but a decent selection. The first thing I should point out is that I don't drive. That probably limits where I visit quite extensively, though I am considering an Amtrak RailPass. I will almost certainly start in New York, because that's where most flights from London go from. I am quite prepared to do the whole 90 days, so I may stay a while in certain places.

I will have numerous questions. I am grateful for any and all assistance.

1) First one is related to gyms. Basically I will want to eat some carbs because America y'know.....so I need to gym a lot. I'm fairly undemanding when it comes to equipment, but if I am moving around is there likely to be a gym chain I can sign up with for a month or two? I know it will vary, but how much is a gym daypass likely to set me back in the bigger cities?

2) I'll probably order a bunch of stuff online and hope to be able to collect it from some pick-up point (like an Amazon Locker, but more generic). Is this going to be relatively easy to arrange?

3) Anywhere I might overlook that is actually really cool, preferably not too remote?


 

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Welcome back to the states.

1. Statistically, the YMCA has the most locations, but membership is not cheap.  The fitness franchise with the next prevalent amount of locations is either Anytime Fitness or maybe Planet Fitness.  If you're going to be staying in a lot of hotels, they usually have a fitness room on site.  May not be as well equipped as a full gym, but at least it is an amenity included with your stay.

2. Things like Amazon locker availability will depend on where you stay.  If you can make those determinations about locker location online before your trip, it would be best.  My advice would be to bite the bullet and ship stuff home to a friend as soon as you can and have them hold onto it for you.  It would probably be prudent to have a DO NOT OPEN MY PACKAGES agreement with your homie.

3. The answer to what is cool to see in the US will depend on whom you ask.  If you're staying at a hotel, do not ask the other guests because they will give you tourist answers.  Ask the front desk people or chat it up with the locals and they will guide you to some of the hidden gems of their community, especially if it is a restaurant.  If you came to the 804, we'd be at Wabi Sabi by now.  You could spend a lifetime in NYC and not see everything cool in that city.  Listening to the advice from the NYC dudes from the board will be your best bet.

4.Public Transportation in the US is hit and miss.  You won't need a car in someplace like NYC, but you'll definitely be depending on Lyft or Uber to get around the peripherals of a city like Richmond.  Some places are out where the buses don't run.

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My only advice is to go to as many National Parks as you can.

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7 minutes ago, Zimbra said:

My only advice is to go to as many National Parks as you can.

That covers both the cool stuff and fitness bases. 

When I was on temporary duty at Joint Base Lewis McCord for four months straight, I hit the walking trails at Mt. St. Helens National Park every weekend.

I saw tons of cool stuff, I learned a lot, and my calves looked amazing when I got back home.  The current state of my bird legs is very embarrassing.

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Yes that's a good shout.

I don't just want to do scenery, but there was a reason King George went mad.

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 If you're going to be staying in a lot of hotels, they usually have a fitness room on site.  May not be as well equipped as a full gym, but at least it is an amenity included with your stay.

We'll see, but I will likely favour Airbnb for the most part. I'm prepared to spend when necessary, but don't want to spend $100 on accomodation every night.

In Britain, I can get gym daypasses for $10-15. I am inferring that this is not likely in USA?

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6 minutes ago, ComingToAmerica said:

We'll see, but I will likely favour Airbnb for the most part. I'm prepared to spend when necessary, but don't want to spend $100 on accomodation every night.

In Britain, I can get gym daypasses for $10-15. I am inferring that this is not likely in USA?

Drifting back to chains like Planet Fitness, you can get a "black card" for $20 a month which gets you access to every gym they have.

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So, a couple things you might already know but in case you don't I'll mention:

Traveling long distance by train in the US pretty much anywhere not on the Acela (Boston to Washington DC) or New York to Chicago corridors is going to be very time consuming. Distances are long, and our train system is horrible compared to yours. Most Americans will drive or fly medium distances, and fly long distances. In and around cities and towns, Uber and Lyft (as well as traditional taxi services) are not hard to find. Public transport will vary wildly from ubiquitous and commonly-used to largely useless and best avoided. Ask a local about a given city's.

As far as "Amazon Locker, but more generic", pretty much every US Post Office in the country rents Post Office Boxes. They aren't very big (largest are generally 12″ x 22 1/2″ x 14 3/4″) but post offices are EVERYWHERE. Pretty much any town in the country bigger than the Hardy compound is gonna have one. If you have larger size requirements, UPS and FedEx stores usually offer mail services as well, although you'll need to be in or near at least a small city for those.

Daypasses won't be a thing at most gyms since they make their money by signing you up for annual memberships, 90% of which end up completely unused by the people who signed up for them.

We have a fuckton of space. The US has 1/5th the overall population density of the UK. Once you get away from big cities, it won't be too hard, if you inquire around, to find outdoorsy areas you don't have to travel hours and hours to find. National parks are great, but states and municipalities will generally have smaller parks that are lovely places to hike, jog, or swim, often entirely free of charge as well.

People you are expected to tip: Servers at sit-down restaurants, taxi/limo drivers, barbers/hairstylists, food deliverers, bartenders, hotel concierge special services (Handing you a brochure or answering a question doesn't merit a tip, getting you tickets to something does), hotel baggage hauling services, hotel housekeeping,

 

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As far as "Amazon Locker, but more generic", pretty much every US Post Office in the country rents Post Office Boxes.

To be honest, I just want to be able to collect a package not hold mail. Believe it or not, there's a few things I'd like to get in USA - ordering from UK often means another 30% in taxes. I don't want to commit mass import fraud or anything, but would like a few items. Also some nutritional supplements which I don't think will play going in my luggage into the US.

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There are some cheap flights, so I am actually considering flying to LAX now, using the California rail pass to really do that area and then head to Vegas.

I'll be honest, I'm single again and will be 40 towards the end of the year (though I can play younger than that) - I do want to make muh cute British accent pay off whilst it's still vaguely optional, y'know be a bit of a bounder. Vegas is a possibility for this I am supposing, though I am also considering Chicago and actually Charlotte. I am thinking I will probably end in NYC, but we'll see.

I am also considering visiting one or more of Mexico, Jamaica,  Brazil,Columbia (Bogota, though I am asking a Facebook friend who lives there how safe that is). 

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I would think if you book with a hotel far enough in advance, they would let you have some packages shipped there. 

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Memorial Day Weekend.

If you had the choice of these places for Memorial Day Weekend, which would you pick?

A) New Orleans

B) San Antonio

C) Atlanta

D) Athens

E) Charlotte

F) Chicago

(wildcard answers are welcome, within reason)

 

 

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If you're considering Vegas, I HIGHLY recommend it.  I'm literally making my sixth trip this weekend and either going by myself or with friends, I've never had a bad time.  The trick for me is to only stay 48 hours and to cram as much of the town in as you can.  It starts to wear on you if you stay longer than that.  And if you're flying from LAX, you can book super-cheap $45 flights on Southwest right now.

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6 hours ago, ComingToAmerica said:

Memorial Day Weekend.

If you had the choice of these places for Memorial Day Weekend, which would you pick?

A) New Orleans

B) San Antonio

C) Atlanta

D) Athens

E) Charlotte

F) Chicago

(wildcard answers are welcome, within reason)

 

 

Never been to any of them but my sister and one of my friends have both been to New Orleans and had a very good time

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Got my flight to Chicago, 7 nights in Chicago, train to Seattle, 6 nights in Seattle, train to LA.

Accommodation in LA is next; how long to stay is the next question. Followed by where next.

 

 

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1 hour ago, ComingToAmerica said:

Got my flight to Chicago, 7 nights in Chicago, train to Seattle, 6 nights in Seattle, train to LA.

Accommodation in LA is next; how long to stay is the next question. Followed by where next.

 

 

If you have any possible way of getting over to Redmond, do not miss the Malay Satay Hut! Malay pork chops, Singapore noodles, and a durian milkshake and you're all set. Assuming that you make it to Ballard, you'll want to try the food at Totem House Fish N' Chips. I know recommending fish n' chips to a Brit is a bold statement, but the folks at Totem House can back it up, they've been there since WWII and changed very damn little.

 

 

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Having spent some time in Hull recently I have had my share of fish n chips but not adverse to experiencing the American take. Got 6 days in Seattle area so things may be possible.

I am not really considering Portland bc it appears to be a smaller version of Seattle basically. Microbreweries not really a good enough reason to visit a place anymore imho. Am I wrong?

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On 3/27/2018 at 2:13 AM, ComingToAmerica said:

I am not really considering Portland bc it appears to be a smaller version of Seattle basically. Microbreweries not really a good enough reason to visit a place anymore imho. Am I wrong?

As far as microbreweries, the distribution along the West Coast is so good at this point, finding a few good brewpubs will net you just as good of a selection as going hundreds of miles of hunting.  And I might be biased, but I could point you to a dozen breweries in the LA/San Diego area that rival anything being produced in Portland right now.  

 

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I'm increasingly steering clear of beer anyway, trying to be healthy.

I have my transport and accommodation for Chicago, Seattle and LA now - 20 days in all so far (actually 23 now I think about it; train rides).

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The splodey bits tend to be actually on the 4th regardless of the day of the week. As far as related events (fairs, BBQs, etc), those'll probably be either or both).

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Funnily enough, they're doing them in Athens 30th June :-)

Which creates the possibility of finishing up there and getting to NYC for the 4th. Or DC. Hmmmmmmm; interesting.

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Don't know if you want to be near DC on the 4th.  If we're actually getting the ego stoking parade, DC's gonna be messy.

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