Hi all. Welcome to my blog for my USA trip.
I soon learned that if you tell someone that you're driving Route 66 they get all excited and wish you well, whereas if you tell them that you're spending a month on the road chasing trains, they look at you sideways and with that look in their eye that says "and you're doing this why ??"
Never mind. It's 9:30 am and this will be my last day at home for a month. This trip has been two years in the planning and the wait has been worth it. It's allowed Dave and me to go over the itinerary with a fine toothed comb and weed out the rubbish so we can spend more time on the good stuff.
"Dave" is Dave Simpson - a retired loco engineer who lives in Hamilton. I've only known him for two years and together we've put into action a self drive tour of California, Arizona and Nevada, lasting 4 weeks. There are a total of 10 people split between two vehicles. Three are from Australia - little do they know they're there to carry my bags... We'll all be meeting at Maccas for dinner at Auckland Airport where I'll meet most of the guys for the first time.
My flight from Palmy leaves in 6 hours. Bags are packed, weighed and ready to go. The last thing to do is pack up the laptop and my reading glasses - heaven forbid I forget those, or my driving glasses. Passport sorted, cash sorted, credit cards sorted, on-line ESTA sorted, International Drivers Permit sorted, maps loaded into Google Maps, all batteries charged and I've memorised the journey from the car Rental Terminal at San Francisco Airport to the Hotel in South San Fran. Of all the places we're staying, this is by far the flashest.
I've packed my tripod in my bag, which by itself weighed 5 kg, add to that all the cables, power supplies, paperwork and spare camera, there's not a lot of weight left for clothing etc. Not much point going to the USA to film trains if you don't take a tripod. My carry-on consists of my laptop and my video camera.
Here's a link to the map of the entire trip: http://goo.gl/maps/FCly6 It's got a few glitches in it, but gives an overall idea of where we're off to.
Next blog will be from San Francisco - not looking forward to the 12 hour flight.