Traveling in the USA is Hard Work.

My friend, Ken, suggested in a comment, that I was becoming integrated as an American when I referred to a service station (as we would call them at home) as a gas station in my last post.

Sometimes it is just easier to go with the flow and use local terminolog because that’s the common nomenclature of the country. I already have trouble with people understanding my accent, so it’s easier to use local terminology (when I know what it is). In some cafés I’ve actually found it’s easier to tell them that my name is Tom because that’s a name that local people can hear correctly.

The biggest problem I am having while I travel around the USA is with measurement. It is so different here, and I am having trouble making conversions to something that I understand.

I look at the outside temperature displayed on the information screen of our car. It’s 49 degrees. To make any sense of this, I have to convert Fahrenheit into  Celsius. Forty nine sounds like a big number, but that’s really only 9 degrees where I come from. I know. that you can reverse 61F into 16C and 82F  reverses nicely to 28C, but as for the other numbers ,who knows?

I notice on the highways as we travel, that there are signposts telling me that there will be a rest stop in 1500 feet. How far away is that? I can work out 500 yards because that’s close enough to 500 metres (meters in the USA) which I understand but 1500 feet is such a weird measurement, I have no idea how far it is at all.

Petrol ( Gas in the USA) is around $2.45 a gallon. But that’s a US gallon of 16 ozs instead of the UK gallon of 20 ozs which.I remember before we in Australia changed to metric measurements in the 1970’s. There’s another conversion I have to do. Next, I have to work out how many litres I am using per 100 km when the car tells me that my average fuel consumption is 29.6 mpg (using US gallons)

The driver on our trip through Denali National Park today described an animal as weighing about 30 pounds. Now I have to divide 30 by about 2.25 to get an equivalent number of kilograms. That’s around 12 kg. I can make sense of that! He also said that the size of Denali National. Park was around 6 million. Acres. For the life of me, I can’t work out how big that is, but I do understand 2,240 square kilometers which it roughly equals.

Gosh, this is all hard work. Its just a lot easier for me to use local terminology for the every day things we see and do and use the calculator on my phone to handle the conversions as best I can

 Its just easier to use local terms like candy instead of lollies, cookies- not biscuits, gas instead of petrol and train depot instead of station.

One thing I don’t understand though, is why the USA still persists in using old imperial measurements. There are only three countries in the world who still do so. They are the USA and the third world countries of Liberia and Myanmar. Enough said!


Bruce is a keen traveller and photographer. This web site describes his travel and family interests

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