Macro Travel Interlude
Three days from now I will be a month into my two year adventure. It’s gone very quickly; however, I’m not too worried – I have a huge amount more to see in the near and distant future. A good friend has suggested that over the last month I’ve been writing in a constant micro-style, focussing always on a span of a few days. And they are correct. It is very easy for one to lose sight and sense of time whilst travelling for such a lengthy period, so the aim of this post is to focus more on the macro aspect of my trip:
- What’s coming up in the next month?
- What does the end of 2013 hold in store?
- Will 2014 continue in the same fashion?
Short answers: lots, lots and yes/no. Not detailed enough? Allow me to explain…
I have spent nearly a month in Portland, Oregon with some of the most kind-hearted people one can ever hope to meet; especially Joaquin, who is giving over use of his home and car to me for free. Such altruism is rarely found, and I’m very lucky to have stumbled across it in droves whilst touring Southeast Asia.
I have been introduced to a friend of Joaquin’s, Marina, an Argentinian who has worked in Portland for the past year. She will soon be leaving her job at Nike and moving to Europe, but understandably wants to use up her holiday first. That’s where I come in. We have planned a road trip that will take us through eight states in around twelve days. The route is circular, 3,100 miles long and will pass through some of the most incredible scenery and natural beauty that the USA has to offer.
The graphic above shows the route, with each pin marking a destination that we wish to visit. Thus, in order:
- A: (Hidden behind F) The start: Portland
- B: Glacier National Park Conservancy, Montana
- C: Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
- Between C and D we will pass through Idaho and Salt Lake City, Utah
- D: Las Vegas, Nevada
- Before heading South West, we’ll make a quick detour to the Hoover Dam
- E: Los Angeles, California
- We’ll make a stop in Sacramento on the home stretch
- F: the end – Portland
And that’s that. Petrol, being as cheap as it is over here, will cost no more than $300 in total, and using tents and the car as sleeping vessels, expenditure should be kept to a minimum.
Macro, Zulu, macro…
When I eventually leave Portland (A) sometime in the second week of August, I will be spending between a week and ten days in San Francisco (B), Las Vegas (D) and Los Angeles (F), with shorter stopovers in Yosemite National Park (C) and San Diego (E).
This will bring me to mid-September, when I catch a 1,601 mile flight to Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada via Phoenix Sky Harbour Airport in Arizona. I would have ideally liked to have stayed in the USA for longer and take in some of the more longitudinally central states: Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, the Dakotas etc., but due to strict tourist entry rules allowing me to stay for only 90 days, my flight on day 89 is already cutting it a bit fine.
Once in Canada, I will stay a while in Vancouver (A) before heading to Whistler (at point B). The gruelling part of the journey comes in mid-October with a three-day coach journey along the Trans-Canada Highway from Vancouver to Toronto (F) with short stops in Calgary (C), Winnipeg (D) and Kapuskasing (E).
From here I’ll take approximately two weeks to explore Ottawa (G), Montreal (H) and Quebec City (I) before returning to Toronto in time for November 1st, when Vicki, a friend of mine for over nine years, will fly from London via Reykjavik to join me. Her brother, Dave, lives in Toronto and has been kind enough to offer us accommodation until we leave on the 12th.
From here, everything is pretty much planned to a T. We will take a coach to New York (marker B on the above map) on the 12th November, where my brother Sterling, his wife Jesslyn and my gorgeous niece Clover (who I’ll meet for the first time!) are kindly accommodating us. We stay with them for just under a week, leaving on the 18th for Washington, D.C. (C).
Three days later and we head to Miami (D) (on a 24 hour coach) for a couple of days on the beach after the inevitable cold of the north. I’ve been advised that it is near impossible to get anything done in Miami without the use of a car, and seeing as neither Vicki or I are old enough to hire one (the legal age is 25 in the USA), a taxi to the beach will have to suffice. Oh well. We’ll live.
On November 24th we will fly to Grand Bahama, where my Mum and her husband Russell live during the winter months. Two and a half weeks of good food and every affordable luxury later, we will be back on a plane to undertake the 5,350 mile journey to London via Lisbon, landing on the morning of the 13th December.
That, however, is not the end. Nowhere near. December 21st sees me fly back to the Bahamas from Birmingham Airport (this time via Charles de Gaulle and Miami – incidentally, a total mileage of exactly 5,000 miles) for Christmas and New Year celebrations, returning to the UK on January 5th 2014.
From then on out, I am 95% sure of what is happening, but will write more when our plans are cemented. Between July 21st 2013 and January 5th (168 days), I will cover no fewer than 37,539 miles. 2014 will more than triple that…