Tuesday, 11 July 2017

The 2017 "Holiday of a Lifetime"

We seem to have the "Holiday of a Lifetime" around every 10 years, usually coinciding with there being a 0 at the end of our ages. So this year was to be no exception. Several friends have asked for highlights and recommendations based on our trip, so rather than stick it all on Facebook, I'm going to do a stage by stage bit here.

In the Beginning

It all goes back a very long time. Not long after we were married, in a time BC (Before Children) we thought about a holiday to the USA, perhaps Arizona or California. This was long before I started travelling to the USA regularly for work. It never happened, but the thought always was there.

Late in 2015, I came across an advertisement for an organised road trip from Chicago to Los Angeles, following the course of Route 66. It looked interesting, but a bit hectic, but the seed of an idea was sown. Rather than a rental car and hotels, why not an RV? A big, proper American RV... Where should we go? The lower left hand corner, taking in the Rockies, the Grand Canyon and a few of the National Parks looked interesting. And there are the two famous narrow gauge steam railways at Chama and Durango along the way. Ann wanted to see Mount Rushmore; it would add around 1000 miles to the trip, but why not?

And that was how it began.

RV options were researched; a route was planned (no more than 300 miles a day when travelling, ideally with stops of 3 days at each highlight) and possible RV Parks investigated. Either Denver or Phoenix were options for our starting point, but Denver had the advantage of direct flights and a slightly gentler climate. How would we get there?

Using the excuse of it being another "Holiday of a Lifetime", travelling at the front of the aircraft was justified. It wasn't, really - it never is - I detest flying having done so much for work over the years and Ann has only travelled Business Class of long haul flights, so has never experienced the sheer joy of being squeezed into Economy for ten hours or more. Research showed there were just 3 options - British Airways from Heathrow to Denver, Lufthansa from Frankfurt direct or from Munich direct. It so happens that there are flights from Southampton to Munich. Even with the cost of a hotel in Munich on both outward and return flights, the Lufthansa option saved us around £1000. Take into account the 10 minute journey from home to Southampton, rather than the 2 hours or worse to Heathrow and it becomes as they say, a "no-brainer".

What we didn't know at the time we booked the tickets was that we would be travelling over the same weekend that British Airways decided to pull the plug on their entire computer system worldwide... It may have been "the world's favourite airline" once, but not any longer.

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