Caution:If you are about to eat anything remotely unhealthy then please skip toparagraph 8, it will put you off your food, trust me.
After nothing happened in Vegas theprevious night, the obvious decision the morning after was to head to the‘Heart attack grill’. The main purpose of this restaurant is to compact as manycalories as humanly possible into a burger; the beef patties are fried withlard; there is no salad and excluding the optional 20 rashes of bacon (alsocooked in lard) totaling over 8,000 calories. If anyone reading this has hadthe hangover blues and developed a craving for a certain type of food, whetherthis is a traditional English fry-up or a plate of pancakes, the last thing onyour mind would be this burger.
Let the challenge commence.
The quirky, yet slightly sickening natureof this restaurant permits anyone who weighs over 350lbs (159kg) to eat thereentirely free; with their double cream milkshakes or the lard drenched frenchfires. Unfortunately after Johno (the ex body builder) and myself were weighedwe fell slightly short of the target. Wehad found out however, that the week before a person had had a heart attackthere; entrenching their name.
Just short of the target.
The other four chose to take the hangoverrelatively easy and go for the ‘Double heart bypass burger’ without the extrabacon. I however had not taken part in a food challenge in the USA yet anddecided the ‘Quadruple heart bypass burger’ with extra 20 rashes of bacon was abattle I must win.
The look on Matt’s face when the first bitewas taken described a picture with a thousand disgusting words, a significantamount of liquid fat fell onto the plate below; with the unwelcomed assistanceof Paul adding a good helping of full fat mayonnaise to my face and burger, Iwent full bore.
30 minutes and a gathering of bemusedtourists later, I hit the wall; the sensation was overwhelming as only onequarter of the burger remained. My mind was still determined but my body was onshutdown; the ability to swallow any more cow vanished and the last threemouthfuls became agony.
The huge scales beckoned me and as I stoodon the weighing platform; I had gained 3lbs (1.3kg) in one meal.
Left defeated we headed back to the taxi;however the cow had the last laugh. Throwing up a portion of beef I had onlyjust seen 20 minutes ago into the charity bucket is one of those low pointswhere you are constantly reminded of in the future with a smell cooking beef. Ihave still yet to eat another burger…
After a scenic photo shoot at the Hooverdam the drive towards the Grand Canyon began; the taxi pulled into the motel at9pm and the realisation that the heater unit hadn’t been reconnected becameapparent. The temperature outside dropped below freezing but the heatingproblem was ignored in favour of sleep.
Hannah’s cooling failed miserably.
Waking up at 4:30am to get to the GrandCanyon at sunrise, the two cars headed down the dark in sub zero temperatures, conditionswere unbearable in inside Hannah and suddenly the realization that the enginewas overheating kicked in. Pulling in on the side of the snowy road in themiddle of Arizona; steam billowing out of the bonnet; the team was too cold,tired and in a rush to get to the view point in time. Locking Hannah up andleaving a note so hopefully she wouldn’t be towed we drove away in the othercar; returning in the afternoon where the temperature would increase and partswould become available.
Hannah didn’t make it to the Grand Canyon but Margarita did…
Anyone who has visited this natural wonderof the world before will understand when the sheer size and grandeur of thisgigantic scar in the Earth is overwhelming to the human senses. The snow lay onthe peaks of the canyon walls and caught the light as the sun rose; giving wayto an amazing gradient of colours and an excellent set of photos.
Collecting some repair supplies from ahardware store we headed back to the stricken taxi; fortunately she was stillthere and the weather had warmed up. An abandoned vehicle notice was placed ofthe windscreen by the local police department who obviously didn’t read ournote (Paul’s horrendous handwriting probably aided in the notice). Within anhour Hannah was back to life and the drive to Prescott, Arizona was underway.
Overland Journal and expedition portal arebased in the town of Prescott, Arizona. Anyone who is into overland travel willknow these guys. A sunset photo shootoutside the offices showing off Hannah’s limited off-road capability ended theday.
Overland Journal HQ. I bet your HQ doesn’t have a land cruiser in it!
If you were born in the USA you will havelost this by the time you were very young, maybe even before you could drive. Inthe UK however we have yet to experience this phenomena; I am talking aboutguns. Yes, guns are used for crimes and violence against other people andanimals; but when a person tells you that in Arizona where the gun laws are notlax, they’re just aren’t any, the idea of shooting turns you into a giddylittle child.
We drove 50ft away from the nearest road(yes 50ft!) and we were allowed to shoot. The only main restriction that existsin Arizona is that you have to apply for a fully automatic weapon and pay acash bond for the purchase of a silencer. That’s about it.
Someone’s bright idea.
A pile of ammo, a 22 rile, Walter PPK, AK47, M4, 45, and a Swedish rifle we had never heard before were placed in frontof us. Chaz, from Overland journal wentthrough some safety rules, which pretty much boiled down to ‘don’t shootanyone’ and we were free to start. Paul and Myself had never really shotbefore, Johno and Matt were bothpreviously in the armed forces so had experience; but even they were excited bythe idea of shooting without extremely strict guidelines.
Several Boxes of ammo later we had our fun,Matt shot off rounds from the AK pretending to be a lunatic and we all slightlyamused when Paul took his stance before shooting (looked like he just defecatedhimself). Packing up and heading back in the bed of a pickup truck, we all felta little bit country and a little less rock and roll.
The long drive to San Antonio began, 1050miles in eighteen hours and Hannah finally arrived in the city. John was happyto show us around as he was now in his native state, Texas.
Like many people I had my stereotypicalviews on Texas, full of oil wells, desert, republicans, evangelist Christians,guns and cowboys. Only two out of six were true from what we experienced. We werein the triangle of Houston, San Antonio and Austin; an area where the civilisedportions of the south are populated.
In San Antonio we were witness to a fakegun/cannon exchange re-enacting the battle of the Alamo and the start of theTexan war of independence, the short explanation is as follows. A small numberof Texan rebels who wanted the right to own slaves and the reinstatement of theconstitution; fired cutlery out of a cannon and shot a man from the Mexicanarmy in the head with a fork; they were surrounded and murdered by a largerarmy, but held out long enough for the message to get to other rebels(basically the film 300).
The Texas way of getting rid of pigeons in the city centre.
After exploring the river walk whichresembled a city in Europe than a stereotypical image of a Mexican border townwe made our way towards Austin; a wild party city where streets are closed forthe revellers in the evenings. Johns step brother’s step brother Justin who was20 and underage for the consumption of alcohol; even though he had beenstudying in Austin, he had never been out. Within one hour he acquired theBritish accent, the ID and hit the town. Just like a kid in a candy shop, hewent from bar to bar exploring the possibilities that were still just one yearout of reach. Bless him.
An hour and a half outside of Austin was a ranch owned by John’s friend who had gladly invited us to come and shoot some more guns; he was out of town however so left the care and attention of the 300 acres of land over to us for the day.
Finding a spot by the edge of the lake we set up some clay and zombie targets (yes you can buy zombie targets as well as zombie ammo!) The second round of shooting began. It was late and the sun was setting when we finished off the last of the ammo. In three hours of play, $150 of ammo was polished off and not only a excellent finish to the day but a great start for the Texas Rodeo.
Don’t rely on Matt in a zombie apocalypse.
The final stop in Texas was the Rodeo, yesthe rodeo. When we found out the world’s largest bull riding extravaganza wason this week in Houston the excitement could not be contained, this would top offour southern USA experience. Making our way down the food halls teeming withcowboys and cowgirls we made our way to the Alliance stadium where 80,000people gathered to witness a man being thrown from a raging bull, awesome!
She landed flat on her face in the end.
The crème de la crème appeared in twoforms; a group of college students wrestling calves around the arena for thechance to have their college paid for. Mutton Busting has two ingredients, asmall child and a sheep. Place the child on the sheep and see how long they canhold on for. Probably the funniest thing you can ever observe in a stadium.
Next stop Graceland…