This road trip has been a figment of our imagination for years, possibly since we owned a Chevvy Camaro back in the 1980s and used to go to American Car Club rallies in the UK.
We seriously started planning on making the idea a reality a good 12 months before making the trip. Once we agreed that we would visit this great country to embark on the Pacific Coast Highway, I thought where else should we go and started to develop a plan to take in as much as possible and cover many items of my USA ‘bucket list’.
So where should we go to ….
I started to look at the many places to go and decided that although New York is on my bucket list I have this romantic idea that the day I visit the Big Apple, will be from a liner sailing out of Southampton. Given that a sailing to USA would have added several days, a visit to New York will have to wait for another day.
I then looked at how we could cross the USA to take in a bit more of the atmosphere of this nation and came across the California Zephyr train. We could fly to Chicago and cross the country that way, before we pick up our car and start the road trip. The embryo of a plan was born.
So then we considered the various stops on the train and where this could take us – we settled on Salt Lake City and from there started to plan a route. This would take in Yellowstone National Park en-route to Mount Rushmore, via Cody. We wanted to go to Route 66 and the Grand Canyon so then looked at how we could do this, before heading to Las Vegas, Yosemite and San Francisco – before heading on one of the most famous road trips on US1 Pacific Coast Highway to San Diego. Once at San Diego, we thought, well it is only a short haul flight (ish!!) to Hawaii – so let’s take in the 50th State and visit Honolulu and Pearl Harbour before returning to the UK.
Lots of hours of searching on Google, Trip Advisor, Tour Operators, Hotel sites, Tourist Sites and Travel Blogs, as well as reading maps and travel guides helped me develop a plan. From there I was able to focus more on timescales and exact tourist attractions, length of stay needed and cement our plan.
Whilst we have pre-booked a lot of our accommodation, in areas that get booked up well in advance, we have remained flexible. We felt it was important in case we want to ‘stay longer’ in a place, felt too tired to drive, or simply we may decide to change our plan and visit somewhere else. Fortunately, some of our hotels offer a 24 hour cancellation in advance policy which we do not plan to use, but if need be we will do.
As with any large trip, it is important to check out what you need well in advance. This blog will give you an insight into the sort of things we did in advance.