Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Blog Post Number 1

As readers of our regular family blog will know, we are leaving for our big 6 month trip across America in about 2 weeks time. Rather than blogging on our regular blog I have decided to keep a special travel blog that our friends and family can read, and that we can look back on in years to come.

2007 was an extremely strange year for us in many ways, and has ended with the closing down of our beloved CD shop here in the town. Whilst we are sad that this way of life has come to an end for us, we are also excited by the change in our lives. We have both been self employed since the children were born. Whilst this has been a blessing to us in so many ways, it has also been a real tie and burden in other ways. So before deciding what to do with the next few years, we decided to take a 6 month life gap. We had so many ideas of what we could do for 6 months, some more adventurous than others. Dan wanted to spend 6 months at home doing nothing but resting, whilst I wanted to trek across Africa with nothing but a tent and some cooking equipment! After a year of talking and deliberating we decided that the best thing for our family (considering our needs and the ages of our children - 12, 11 and 4) was to take a 4 - 6 month RV trek across America.

We had various reasons for chosing this. Firstly there is no language barrier, which certainly makes things easier when driving a strange and unusual vehicle through unknown terrain. Secondly, it has the facilities in every state to cater for families travelling in RV's. Thirdly, it is possible to hire RVs for long periods of time, for far less money than possible in Europe. And of course America is a beautiful and vast country. It has absolutely everything you could want to see, from mountains, lakes, swamps, to mountains, deserts, snow, and so much more.

Because we couldn't decide whether to close our shop or not, we left the decision to the very last minute, and now I have appoximately 3 weeks to plan and prepare for the trip. As you can imagine, 1 week into it I am starting to lose my marbles. There are roughly 6 million things that need doing before we go, and I have ticked off about 3 million of them so far. But I am glad to say that yesterday we were granted our American travel visa's and have permission to stay longer than the average traveller.

The application process for the 5 non-immigrant travel visa's we needed was phenomenal. The amount of forms, information, proof of funds, proof of just reason to return to the UK that we had to provide took me almost a full week to gather together. I needed letters from the childrens schools proving they were reserving their places until their return. Bank statements, proof we owned a house, and lots lots more. Eventually we made it to the visa interviews in Belfast and met a very nice American man who asked us a few questions about what we do for a living, where we were going, about the kids schools and asked a bit about RV travel. He was kind enough to give us some weather advice and then told us we had the visas.

Dan has finally cleared out the shop premises so now we have the job of packing up the house, leaving it clean, and planning our route, all of which I will talk about in the next few posts. As you can imagine, the feeling in our house at the moment is one of excitement (except from me - its more a feeling of lunatic stress!)


onmywaynow said...

I was very excited to learn of your trip to america.

I can hardly wait to see my country through your eyes.

Have a blessed trip!

Colleen from USA

Kolfinna said...

ooohhh how exciting. I do hope we get to meet while you are here in the USA!


Bree said...

Thanks Colleen :)

And Hi Anna. Not yet sure if we are coming your way. It all depends how much time and money we have left once we get to California. If time and money are in our favour we would like to drive across the centre/ top of the US and end in Chicago, in which case we could meet you. But if not then we wont be near Kansas :( Will keep in touch though and let you know.

staninthedesert said...

I read you post on rvforum and wound up at your travel blog.
Now for a little bit of advice and information.
to the rental unit:
Check everything (especially Air Conditioning)before leaving rental yard and first night try everything out and stay close to rental place in case you have a problem.
Check for road conditions especially around New Orleans.

The best way to see this country is on State or County roads. Some of the small towns you will pass thru have city or county parks that you can camp in for a night or two. Some of them are free.

Looks like you will be coming across the southwest in May. I live in the desert and have traveled thru out the southwest during the summer months.
Yes, to us May is summer and the tempertures are in the high 90F+ and higher and very dry. Air conditioning is a must plus lots of water, and stay covered if you spent time in the sun.

When coming across the desert try to stay on major highways (Interstates). They are patroled and you can aways get help in case of a problem.
We live about 15 minutes from Palm Springs, Californina in a place called Sky Valley and if you need a place to rest up, we have the space and 30 amp power hook up and water.(also BBQ) Down the road we have a few RV resorts the Hot Mineral pools and dump stations for RV's.
We will be following you trek.
Stan & Isabel
If you need info on Ca. travel and camping I can send you my email address.

dawny said...

wowowowow you've been and done it,
I've not been in blogland much and when I go to catch up on you you're in America - so thrilled for you.
lovely to see your pics, you look so happy :o)
dawniy xxx