We went to the consulate to organise a six month visa and they offered us a five year one. The idea for this trip was to travel for six months in a similar fashion as to how we travel in Australia, so we needed a way of getting around and somewhere to live. But of course the USA is not Australia and things are very different there. We spent a lot of time researching what to get and how to do it.
There was a van for sale in the town we were staying in that could be converted, we pulled out the spare seats and made up a frame for our bed. We had already bought a number of things before we came over such as an Engel fridge, camping chairs, table and stove. When we camp at home, you can get things that you use everyday, but we had to start from scratch - kitchen utensils, bedding, camping gear.... We registered it to our friends address and took out insurance.
|home for the next six months|
|fridge is in, seats are out, pods are being made|
I was really annoyed that my iPhone 4 wouldn’t work with any carrier. So we ended up buying a new phone and signed up with AT&T as they were supposed to have the best coverage, but I'm not so sure now, we see lots of people talking on their mobiles when we have no coverage. We ended up getting a new Samsung smartphone as we wanted to have GPS when we were walking around. It has been invaluable for finding just about anything - propane (LPG) gas refills, the best petrol prices, stores etc. In America, both parties pay for a mobile call or SMS. To tether your laptop/ipod to your mobile you will need to take out the highest Gb plan whether you use that much or not, or they can cut you off. It turned out that Apple had been locked my iPhone when I got a replacement and they hadn't transferred the profile.
Americans can’t understand our accent a lot of the time. Lindsay more than me. We don’t realize that we drop our “r’s” and call things different names such as pumpkin/squash, pen/biro or just have sayings that are just completely foreign to them.
Unlike Australia, we couldn't just travel from one area to another as they appear on the map, as you have to take into account the altitudes. It might be the best time to go to Death Valley, but not to Yosemite even though they are close, as Death Valley can be below sea level and Yosemite is a higher altitude. Which means we had to do a lot of zig zagging and return trips to areas to visit places, not so much the best time, but the coolest time.