Plans progress for the next trip - you lucky bloggers!
Bag End, May 2013 (updated below)
Staring out of the window at Bag End Travel Bureau, the thoughts are travelling ahead to May 2014. All being well, we should, by then, have our feet in a big SUV or under a booth table in a diner or, filling up with gas, again!
We thought our loyal fans who kindly follow our "Just Driving" exploits would like to know that, in 11 or so months from now, their insomnia problems and eating disorders will be at an end, at least for a month. Arthur (the bear)'s Blog will be back again by popular demand (well, there was one Email from someone called A.Bear@DennysDiners.com).
Why are we so premature in planning this trip? Well, as before, we have acquired the miles we need for award flights and/or upgrades on American Airlines. As soon as the flights become available, we have to book them in order to try and get the awards: these days, there are so few of them.
Of course, before we book the flights, we need to know where the heck we're goin'!
Again the theme will be "Just Drive". I have searched and searched, and simply cannot find a better track than this to set us off on our adventure... I really have searched! (Any ideas for a new theme, please? You have eleven months to find it!)
The main drive, and this is the most ambitious drive we've tackled, bar none, follows Highway 395. South-North; it's a sort of empty Route 66. It used to start in San Diego, now it begins in the Los Angeles outskirts and runs along the edge of the Sierra Nevada, then into Nevada, across Oregon and Washington all the way to the Canadian border.
When we stumbled across Highway 395 we took to it straight away. It visits many places we have not been to before, yet, will also take us to places we went to in the early days (1982/3), and always planned to visit again. It almost seems too perfect to be true. But it's not (too perfect) and it is (true).
We are going to divert into Death Valley (for the first time) and Las Vegas (far from a first, of course), then back on track, to Lake Tahoe, eventually crossing into Canada, where we plan to follow part of the Crowsnest Highway (Highway 3) from British Columbia into Alberta, dropping back down into Montana, USA, where we would pick up a flight to Chicago for our next far-from epic drive.
This can be viewed in detail here on Google Maps which says this drive is 2,414 miles.
After a rest in one of our favourite cities, Chicago, we´ll pick up another car and drive part of the "Great River Road", following the banks of the Mississippi River in Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin. Quite a short drive stopping at various riverside towns, entering Minnesota near the headwaters and finishing in Minneapolis, another city we wanted to re-visit after a brief stop there in 1996.
Then we hope to fly to Tuscon Arizona, and revisit Tombstone to repeat a memorable breakfast we once had there.
On through Organ Pipe National Monument to follow a route we first did in 1983 to San Diego, Southern California. Finally we would return to Los Angeles for the return journey to Spain.
Update: July 2013
Since writing the above, we have learned that our beloved lady cat, Sofi, has feline leukemia (following several attacks by a feral cat during the Winter & Spring). However, life goes on and we plan to continue with our trip. We are determined that Sofi will enjoy however many years, months or days she has remaining. At the moment, she is full of beans and quite a lot of food!
So.....the flights are booked. All award flights and first/business class seats secured. Hooray!
Still lots to plan, cars and hotels to book and research to be done. The problem with doing all this research these days is, by the time we get there, it's all forgotten. What's forgotten?
Please watch this space!