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Earthlike planet / US trip details - Suffering From Elation
A Survivor's Tale
Earthlike planet / US trip details

Apparently there's a good chance we'll detect an earthlike planet (small, rocky, in the 'goldilocks zone') around our nearest celestial neighbor, Alpha Centauri B, in the next few years. If scientists can confirm this, and find microbial life on Mars, I will be a very, very happy girl.

Of course, if they find an earthlike planet around Alpha Centauri B, there's no way of reaching it. Even if we could travel at light speed it would take four years. There's no way of studying it either; our most powerful telescopes at present can't detect a body that small. In fact, the only reason we'll know it's there at all is the subtle 'wriggle' of its gravity-affected sun.


I often wish I'd been born in another era. There's little left unexplored on Earth, but we're a long way from the technical know-how to explore the stars. We're stuck squarely between two eras of discovery.

So, back to Planet Earth for a bit: thanks for all your tips and advice re the US trip, guys! Based on feedback, we will be booking our tickets through a travel agent, we will NOT be renting a car (no experience driving in snow), we will be travelling via a combination of lifts, greyhound buses and interstate flights for the longer legs, and we won't be stopping off at Mexico. The tentative plan looks like this:

LEG 1:

LA (Disneyland?, shooting range) -> San Bernadino Mtns (awesome environments) --> Vegas (would love to catch Penn & Teller live) --> Arizona (Grand Canyon, Painted Desert, Petrified Forest) --> New Mexico (Carlsbad Caverns, Roswell) --> Colorado (Rocky Mountains, cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde, Alpine slide) --> Wyoming (Yellowstone, Devils Tower?) --> Montana (Glacier)


LEG 2:

New Orleans (Just wander around the place and soak up the Awesome) --> Florida (Shuttle launch?, Hollywood, Miami)


LEG 3:

Washington (White House, Smithsonian, ???) --> New York (catch a musical - Avenue Q?, Metropolitan Museum of Art, ???)



- Joe wants to rent a convertible in LA (or Miami, or Hollywood). :D
- I threw in Devils Tower because I'm a nut for 'Close Encounters'.
- On that note, I threw in Roswell for the lulz, and because it's not out of our way.
- Getting from Wyoming to Montana is going to be a long haul.
- Getting from Carlsbad Caverns to the Rocky Mountains (via Roswell) is also going to be a long haul.
- We had to make a choice between Utah and New Mexico. Joe nearly died of joy when I mentioned the Carlsbad Caverns, so NM won out.
- If I can see Penn & Teller live, I will die happy. If I can meet them after the show I will probably drop dead RIGHT ON THE SPOT. <3 <3 <3
- Grand Canyon is reliant on snowfall and park opening / closing dates.
- The things we want to see in Arizona are quite some distance apart - a couple hundred km at least between, say, Grand Canyon and Phoenix, or Phoenix and the Petrified Forest. We also want to see the Painted Desert and maybe stop off in Sedona. So how much we can see here relies on how good the bus services are, or how willing Amy is to hit the road with us for long periods of time!

- Shuttle launch dates are outside our trip dates, but as trip dates are not set yet we may shift them backwards or forwards a little to see if we can encompass one of the scheduled shuttle launches, and then hope that it isn't postponed!
- Joe wants to see Miami. He's a big fan of 'Dexter'. ;)
- We'll be doing Disneyland in CA, so no Disney World for us.
- Definitely would like to see Hollywood, just 'cos.
- What do you all suggest we do in New Orleans? So far the emphasis there seems to be the architecture and socializing.

- Plans on what to do in NY and Washington are still fuzzy - not because there's nothing to do, but because there's so much it's going to be hard to choose! Recommendations for those areas would be appreciated. Thankfully I have macbeemer in NY and stardustshine in Washington to show me what's what. :)

Crash space / tour guides

In the list below, listings with LJ usernames after the location signify that we have someone who is either going to play tour-guide, or crashspace provider, or giver-of-lifts-to-the-next-location, or some/all of the above. Who wants to do what is something I need to discuss with each person in question! Where the entry is bolded, we're looking for crashspace. Anyone who can help us get from one location to the next would also be massively appreciated. <3

Details like time-of-stay (in brackets beside location) are still very much up in the air.

Also, can those of you familiar with the various areas run your eyes over my travel time allowances and tell me if I'm close to the mark? I used a lot of guesstimation and outright making-shit-up with the estimates. Eg, Vegas looks to be ~400km from San Bernardino so I'm guesstimating half a day by car, 3/4 of a day by bus? I rounded it up to 1 day on the road to be safe.


(fly in)

- LA city and surrounds (1 night) - ruggels
- Disneyland (1 night) - crzydemona
- San Bernardino and surrounds (1-2 nights) - thornwolf

(bus/ride: 1 day)

- Las Vegas (1 night) - albylion

(bus/ride: 1 day)

- Grand Canyon (1 day, no o/night stay) - I'm hoping to meet tengukun here.
- Phoenix and surrounds (2 nights) - tengukun

(bus/ride: 1 day)

- Carlsbad Caverns and Roswell, New Mexico (2 nights) - ???????

(bus/ride: ~2 days)

- The Rockies, Colorado (3 nights) - ???????? (justascream has offered to play tourguide but we still need a couch)

(bus/ride: 1 day)

- Yellowstone Park & Devils Tower, Wyoming (2 nights) - ????????

(bus/ride: ~2 days)

- Glacier National Park, Montana (1 night) - ????????

(flight: 1/2 day)

- New Orleans (1 night) - ????????

(bus: 1 day)

- Miami and Hollywood, Florida (2 nights) - ????????

(flight: 1/2 day)

- Washington DC - (3 nights) stardustshine

(bus/ride: 1 day)

- New York - (3 nights) macbeemer

(fly home)

I may have missed some ideas here, and as I'm unfamiliar with the geography, if there's any cool cities / landmarks along / between the points of the route I've planned there, poke me and let me know!

Also, the math here adds up to 35 days. I may have overestimated some travel times (when I estimate "1 day" I actually count it as a full day-and-night) but if the trip will really take that long, we'll just account for that and take a little more time off to fit it all in.
37 have fought ~ fight the power!
boatswain From: boatswain Date: January 23rd, 2009 03:37 am (UTC) (Link)
GO SEE PENN AND TELLER! DO IT! You won't be dissapointed. It's a cheaper show and worth so much more. PLUS, they'll talk to you afterwards and stay for pictures. Without a doubt, do it!
tania From: tania Date: January 23rd, 2009 03:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, we are SO there. We've seen every episode of 'Bullshit' to date. :D
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stokerbramwell From: stokerbramwell Date: January 23rd, 2009 03:53 am (UTC) (Link)
Ahh, if only we lived closer to New Orleans, we could play better tour guides for you. As it is, we'll probably just have to travel down to meet you. I know next to nothing about the city, much to my everlasting shame. XP
stokerbramwell From: stokerbramwell Date: January 23rd, 2009 03:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Also: If I were you, I would arrange your plans to make your Greyhound treks as short as possible. Greyhound = Hell on wheels.
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spotweld From: spotweld Date: January 23rd, 2009 04:15 am (UTC) (Link)
You might want to start a list of cell numbers and get a disposable phone when you get here. That way you can pretty much get some help should you get stuck... anywhere!
tania From: tania Date: January 23rd, 2009 04:26 am (UTC) (Link)
Definitely. I want to get my list of who we're meeting where confirmed first, then I'll hone in on details such as phone numbers, addresses, etc. A disposable phone is a good idea!
From: dawnstar_au Date: January 23rd, 2009 04:22 am (UTC) (Link)
I have a guide book that I've brought for when I hit NY in a few weeks. If it turns out to be useful you can have it you want.
mitsu_chan From: mitsu_chan Date: January 23rd, 2009 04:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Let me know when you've got solid plans for places to visit in NYC, I'd love to join you/ show you around. :)
tania From: tania Date: January 23rd, 2009 04:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Will do! It's definitely going to be the last stop in the trip, we've just got to figure out if we'll be travelling from early Dec to early Jan, or from late Dec to late Jan, or somewhere in between. :) The idea is to incorporate my Christmas hols into it and take advantage of all the leave I'd usually use around then, but if we discover problems with going at that time of the year, we may shift it even further forward or backward.
macbeemer From: macbeemer Date: January 23rd, 2009 04:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Excellent! I'm so excited! Just because it's my livelihood, I tell you: definitely save some money to see a Broadway show. ;) I don't know what I might be working at that point, but if I can get you tickets to anything, I would absolutely love to set you guys up. :D
tania From: tania Date: January 23rd, 2009 04:33 am (UTC) (Link)

I've always wanted to see Avenue Q... dorky, I know, but still. :D Thought about Wicked, but that shows here in Oz too and I'd really like to see something I can't see at home! And of course anything you can recommend (or hey, score us tickets to) will be amazing. :D
justascream From: justascream Date: January 23rd, 2009 06:47 am (UTC) (Link)
I had a thought thingy! My family almost always leaves the state for the holidays. Depending on if they do, and if you're around at the times they're out of state, my house may have BEDROOMS for you.

...however, the chances of my family deciding on holiday plans any sooner than November is highly HIGHLY unlikely, as they always debate on whether to do west Texas/east Texas/California/Hawaii/or stay home. ...they stress me out like that. I am all "PLAAAAN" and they are all "LAST MINUTE PANIC INSTEAAAD" which is very D: for me.

On the other hand, for all I know, I may be in another household by then. IT IS ALL VERY IN THE AIR UGH.

Er, in other words...whee?

If it comes down to it and you guys need to pick a hotel, let me know. There are a couple ten minutes from my house, and a few more 20 minutes from my house right on the light rail.
From: niqaeli Date: January 23rd, 2009 07:27 am (UTC) (Link)
If you end up in Sedona, it's worthwhile to take the trip up Mingus mountain and see Prescott and Jerome. Prescott is the old capital of Arizona, and Jerome is an old mining town that is mostly an artist's community these days. They're both pretty neat; my husband's from there and we got married up on the mountain. Jerome's a lot of fun to just wander from shop to shop, and Prescott just has a really strong sense of history to it.

If need be, I can come up with a list of things in that whole area that worth hitting, and I can also reccommend places to stay, should you decide you want to stay overnight in the Verde Valley area.

Oh, hey, and when you come down from Vegas I would suggest hitting Hoover Dam. It's really neat. If you get there early in the day, you can get in on their full dam tour which takes you into some of the guts of the dam (their basic tour is still cool, they take you through the powerplant).
arphalia From: arphalia Date: January 23rd, 2009 08:43 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm a few hours north of Miami but RIGHT NEAR Kennedy Space Center. Hell, my roomie works out there. ;p Soooo, if you come through this part of Florida, I'd be more than happy to tour you around the space coast. :)
crssafox From: crssafox Date: January 23rd, 2009 01:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
What's so exciting about Hollywood, FL? O_o Or maybe I'm missing something. :P

Actually Florida is fun if you travel up and down either coast. There's a lot to see and do. We're four hours from Miami, up near Jacksonville, but there are a LOT of fun, exotic things. One thing I would recommend, if you have the time for, is in Delray Beach (near West Palm) there is the Morikami Japanese Garden, which is one of the top-rated Japanese gardens outside of Japan itself. Very beautiful place. Not terribly large but if you are in the area worth checking out. =)
thornwolf From: thornwolf Date: January 26th, 2009 09:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
My house is /very/ and I mean /ridiculously/ small but if you don't mind a full size mattress on the floor I've had lots of people stay at my house that way before. The mattress is from the fold out bed in the couch but its really uncomfortable on the couch frame so I take it out and put it on the floor when I need it, i just put it back in the morning. Works out pretty well! And San Bernardino is indeed a good place to leave to Vegas from. I recommend going during the week if you're able cuz weekend rates on hotels and stuff are expensive as well as tickets to shows. Lemme know what the schedule like so I can make sure it coincides with school :)
37 have fought ~ fight the power!