New York New York

Trip Start Apr 14, 2010
Trip End Apr 16, 2011

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Flag of United States  , New York
Tuesday, October 18, 2011

As final trips go in a car, heading back up the New Jersey Turnpike wasn't perhaps the most spectacular end to our road trip but driving over the bridge to Manhattan looking over at the skyline with the Statue of Liberty off to one side more than made up for it. Pulling up outside our hotel we began to realise quite how much stuff we had accumulated in the Tank (it was almost full!) as we carried it all up the three floors to our room.

Leaving all our things in chaos though we headed straight out for a long drive out to the far end of Queens where we’d arranged to meet a single father who was looking for a 4x4 to drive his daughter to school.  After a stop at a car wash The Tank was looking the best she ever had and having behaved herself on the test drive he decided, despite the broken door handles, to take it.  We rather sadly handed over the keys in exchange for a (small!) wadge of cash and paused for one last photo with her.  She’d taken us to some amazing places and done us proud.  Happily in the US the license plates are linked to the owner so we headed off with her license plate as a souvenir of the 12,000 miles we’d driven in her over the last 3 months.  That’s a lot of time in the car!

Heading back to Manhattan we weren’t sure how to best spend the last couple of days of our trip.  Having spent time in New York before we weren’t too worried about seeing the 'sights’ - which was lucky as it didn’t stop torrentially downpouring.  Other than buying some new suitcases to take our extra purchases home in we had only one appointment - to get a replacement for Gordon’s wedding ring which had been delivered to a friend of ours. Unfortunately she had then been sent to Japan for work and so we rather surreally ended up meeting her boyfriend, who we’d never met before, outside a tube station who handed over the ring to us.  It didn’t look at all dodgy we promise.

We spent the rest of our time treating ourselves to some rather non-backpacker-esque treats like an amazing gourmet lunch near the Museum of Modern Art, cocktails in a revolving bar over Times Square, reveling in not being at work and alternating between outright fear that it is all finished and excitement about getting home to see our family and friends.

All too soon it was time to head to the airport, complete with all our luggage and some slight hangovers from a great final night in Brooklyn with our friends Patty and Will.  Despite our huge 46kg luggage allowance each we were slightly over that due to all Sarah’s new shoes but happily Virgin didn’t look too closely and before long we found ourselves settled on the plane and, finally, on our way home.

It’s a huge cliché but we can’t believe 18 months has gone so quickly. Yet as we sat waiting for the plane looking back over all the places we’ve been and the things we’ve done it feels like a lifetime ago that we were heading off on the Eurostar with our heavy new rucksacks and then spending the first night of the trip in a couchette carriage in Gare d'Austerlitz station when our train was cancelled. Can’t barely even recall why we did that now, oh wait, it was of course a French strike.  Since we left home we’ve visited 44 countries (according to this here nice blog that records such things), taken more buses than anyone could ever want to and travelled more than 150,000 km - and that doesn’t include all the times we got lost. We’ve met some wonderful people and really loved being able to see so many of our wonderful friends & family around the world.  We’ve also done some things that we never thought we’d do (Sarah jumped out of a plane and Gordon went to the Russian ballet for goodness sake!).

 We can’t even begin to list all the highlights and hilarious wonderful moments, there have just been so many.  It has absolutely been the trip of a lifetime. For now though, it’s time for home and back to normal life. Oh, and a salary.
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