The South Western USA
1st Saturday: London to San Diego
1st Sunday: San Diego
1st Monday: San Diego
1st Tuesday: San Diego
1st Wednesday: San Diego to Palm Springs
1st Thursday: Palm Springs
1st Friday: Palm Springs to Las Vegas.
2nd Saturday. Las Vegas.
2nd Sunday. Las Vegas.
2nd Monday. Las Vegas (Hoover Dam).
2nd Tuesday. Las Vegas (Red Rock Canyon).
2nd Wednesday. Las Vegas to Grand Canyon.
2nd Thursday. Grand Canyon to Las Vegas.
2nd Friday. Las Vegas.
3rd Saturday. Las Vegas to London.
3rd Sunday Heathrow
1. The Americans in the South West of the US are genuinely friendly and when they say "Have a nice day" they really do mean it.
2. The Americans in the South West of the US are much more laid back than we British, or indeed, anywhere else in the US. Whenever we made a mess of things driving, the other drivers would just pull back until we had sorted things out. No impatience, no hooting, and a friendly wave sometimes as they drove past.
3. The cost of things, although marginally lower in many areas, are just that, marginally. Since Andrew was last in Las Vegas in 1989, prices have almost doubled and it is not the inexpensive haven of yesteryear.
4. Las Vegas is growing so rapidly that dust is permanently in the air and every tourist we spoke to who had an allergy, had had it increased whilst in Las Vegas. Andrew's asthma got considerably worse and Pam had lots of irritation of the skin and tightness in the chest. If you blink an eye, another hotel has gone up! If you do have a breathing allergy, do try and get there, it really has to be seen to be believed. Ask your doctor whether it will be alright to go, even if only for a couple of days!
5. Whilst not the most luxurious, the best-appointed room we stayed in was in San Diego. Andrew thought he had booked us into the larger, more plush 'Holiday Inn on the Bay', but the travel agent booked us in a similar named 'Holiday Inn - Bayside' which is most confusing, especially when they turned out to be in the same road!
The most luxurious room was at the Mirage in Las Vegas. The most imposing hotel from a British point of view (quiet dignity) was the Wyndham in Palm Springs. Not to be left out, the Hilton in Las Vegas had the best third floor balcony!!!
6. It's not always a good idea to book and pay for your hire car in the UK. Although it is cheaper from the UK, it is not always so flexible when you get to the US. For example, if you want to change anything you may find some US companies are unable to alter contracts made with their UK agents.
7. If you book your hotel through an agency in the UK, your hotel won't be sent details of your arrival, by the agency, until a week or so before you are due to book in. They do make the bookings, but don't send any names. This is probably in case you cancel your booking. This way they have a chance to sell your booking to another customer. If you want to arrange things well in advance this can be awkward though.
8. Once you book your air tickets, immediately phone up the airline to get good seats. The later you leave things, the less chance you have of getting a window or isle seat, or avoid the bulkheads, or even sitting with your accompanying partner!
9. When you purchase gas (petrol) at a filling station in the South West, they won't turn on the pump unless you leave a twenty-dollar bill or register your credit card with them.