The first week or so from my perspective (Chris)

I’ve been looking forward to this more than almost any holiday I can remember – a road trip in the US has always been a bucket-list item for me! I know Ann hasn’t had the same calling but I’m certain when we get into it she will come to realise just why I have always wanted to do it, and accept that I was right all along. That’s the plan!

You will see regular and detailed reports from Ann, which I have contributed to via editing. I won’t duplicate the content but will offer some more bullet-type points of my personal memories and takes on things. Here goes!

Great send-off the night before flying out, having dinner in an American style diner in Balham with Jo, Ash and Lotta. Thanks guys, hope you’re enjoying seeing and hearing about the trip.

Excellent Heathrow parking, hotel, transfer, breakfast and check in experience followed by a good comfortable flight into Chicago. Stunning views of the east coast of Canada, over and across Lake Michigan to Chicago itself.

Wonderful, pleasant surprise was how we felt about Chicago, want to go back!

The California Zephyr train journey to Salt Lake City was brilliant, highly recommended. Stunning scenery for hours on end, comfortable seating (including for sleeping overnight!) and some interesting fellow travellers. I feel a plan developing to take the first leg of this train journey from New York to Chicago and then spending more time in the ‘Windy City’, which it so deserves.

Simple car hire collection, well done British Airways/Avis. And a great car which was actually a free upgrade – we were due the Chevy Tahoe SUV but were given a GMC Yukon, same body as the Tahoe but with more features, and an additional 1.2 litres and 65 hp, adding up to 6.2 litres and 420 hp. I am coping!

As a lifelong fan of cowboy films the drive has been like a dream, passing through small towns steeped in cowboy history and tradition, as well as the country being packed with vistas that bring all the old films and tv series to life. Equally poignant are the many reminders of the Native American history of the nation.

So striking throughout the trip so far is the friendliness, and politeness, not just from shop and hotel staff, but also the general public. It’s a real pleasure interacting with people. They call you sir and ma’am just if you hold a door open for them! It’s what I would call almost old fashioned but very welcome.

The first week has exceeded expectations which took some doing. Here’s to the next stage as we move south through Colorado into New Mexico and on to the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas etc.