This is the journal of a trip my younger brother and I took through the United States in September, 2015. We travelled independently by which I mean we did not use a travel agent, everything we did we arranged ourselves. The trip was my idea as I had always wanted to cross from the east coast to the west by train. When I suggested it to Cyril he quickly agreed and we set about planning it all and it then developed in to more than simply crossing by train. We would take a Greyhound 'bus we decided, from San Francisco to Las Vegas and then we should hire a car and drive back to the east coast, back to the condominium we have in Stuart, Florida, stopping at various places on the way.
I say 'we' set about planning it though the truth is that C did most of the groundwork involved while I took on the role of the 'grand planner': We should go here, we should go there, we should take this route, that route, stay there, stay here - that kind of thing. C spent a great deal of time on the computer, on the internet and sometimes on the 'phone, while I simply studied maps.
I'm getting on a bit, as they say these days. Late seventies. I may look a little older than when I was in my fifties but I don't feel any different. I may not be able to run as fast as I did then but what's the hurry?
Anyway, this is the record of our big trip. It turned out to be really enjoyable. We enjoyed each others company, met a few ordinary Americans, saw some beautiful scenery and travelled by 'plane, train, 'bus, car and bike.
Before leaving the U.K. we arranged the hotels in New York, San Francisco, and Las Vegas, and the train and Greyhound journeys as well as the car we picked up in Vegas, but apart from those nothing was pre-arranged. Travelling in the United States is very easy. The Interstate roads are good and well maintained and much less crowded than our motorways, and in some areas almost empty. Driving 300 miles in the U.K. in a day would be tiring, frustrating and hard work. In America it could almost be described as a joy.
Finding somewhere to stay for the night was simplicity itself (apart from when we reached Page, Arizona (see Saturday,19th September.) Even the smallest towns usually have three or four motels to choose from. Prices vary, according to where you are. In popular tourist areas it can be expensive, but most places are reasonable. The same applies for finding somewhere to eat. Most Americans eat out much more often than we do here in the U.K. so consequently there are dozens of places to choose from, diners, fast food outlets, family restaurants, sandwich bars and posh dining places - and what's more the service in each is excellent.
If you have plenty of time, and a little money to spare (and it's not as expensive as you may think) exploring America independently is great fun. I thoroughly recommend it.
Have a nice day!