So it begins: the second of my escorted tours to the USA. For those of you not up with the play of what I get up to, I organise and run an escorted self drive tour to the USA, driving around California and Arizona for the sole purpose of photographing scenery - and any trains that might get in the way - yes, it's a trip for railfans, or trainspotters.
I held the first trip in March/April 2013 and it was really really good. One of the guys on that trip was so impressed he's doing it all over again this time.
This year's trip is almost the same, but I've made some subtle changes to the itinerary (dropping Las Vegas, staying an extra night at Auburn and Flagstaff etc.) which will improve it ten fold.
Attendees on this trip are myself (Erin Johnson), Jamie Barrow from Upper Hutt, Paul Richman (token Pom) from Wellington, Chris Smith and his partner Judy Davidson from Feilding (yay!! Feilding) and Jimmy Bruce from Australia. Jimmy went on the last trip, but because he was in the other vehicle, we only really bumped into each other during the evening meals, so it will be cool to listen to his stories all day as well.
At 21, Jamie is a young pup compared to the rest of us, so I've promised his mum to keep him out of trouble and to ensure he washes behind his ears !
Because of the Air New Zealand time travelling machine we'll be flying on, we depart Wednesday evening and arrive Wednesday morning. Cool. Apparently it's raining in San Francisco and expecting snow for Donner Pass - can't wait to report on that one.
Touch wood, we all get over there safe and sound, with the next blog being from South San Francisco from the Comfort Inn & Suites.
I hate flying long haul sitting in a seat - give me the comfort of a C130 Hercules any day. The things we have to put up with...
A special shout out to Maree Thompson at House of Travel, Papamoa. Maree fully understands what my requirements are when it comes to running these trips and never questions my judgement when choosing motels to stay in or places to go. No-one in their right mind would ever intentionally choose a motel beside the railway tracks, but in this case, it's preferable.
Yes, I could have done all the bookings myself, but when it comes to getting people from all over the country (world) to meet in one place at one time, a Travel Agent (especially a good one) is the way to go. It saves me the hassle, for which I have no time for. Her efforts are always appreciated and I'll always go back to her for future trips.
PS. The blog is dated for USA time, not NZ time.