British Airways were being a nightmare before we were due to fly: despite booking our Business Class flights many months earlier, a month before flying, BA emailed us to tell us they’d cancelled our flights from London Heathrow to San Francisco.
When we’d been trying to fly out to Corralejo to move into our place out there in 2020 and 2021, the UK and Spanish governments had been opening up and locking down and easyJet were cancelling flights, so I’d become adept at moving flights and amending travel arrangements, so I was straight back online to look at alternatives, finding that BA had flights later the same day. Not ideal, but beggars can’t be choosers. I changed the car reservation with Hertz, the limousine booking with Addison Lee and sat back to make sure our COVID-19 PCR test bookings would also still work.
Later the same day, British Airways then cancelled our return flights from San Diego to London. This was more of an issue, because it meant I had to extend the car hire and the hotel. The first would not work, and the hotel? Not so much as it was fully booked, so we decided to leave the car hire as it was and book ourselves into a hotel near the airport for the extra night to suit our flights home a day later. Thankfully BA ended up paying for the hotel as compensation for the flight delay.
Well 10 years after doing my Route 66 trip on a Harley in August 2012 to celebrate being 50, I’m back with another plan for my 60th birthday (and to celebrate still being alive after my little incident in 2019): Pacific Coast Highway, North to South during summer 2022.
We fly out business class to San Francisco, collect a Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible and then drive off to the Fisherman’s Wharf area of San Fran for a couple of nights (and a trip to Alcatraz), before we head off down California SR 1 with stays along the way in some of the coolest hotels we could find.
We stop off en route for a few days in Downtown LA during which time we’ll be popping in to the Members’ area in the Bike Shed Motorcycle Club’s LA clubhouse for drinks and food.
We end up with a couple of nights in San Diego before we fly back in Club World again back to the UK.
It’s all booked, so watch this space!
So then. Blogging, Facebook, e-mails, etc.
Yes, we all like to keep in touch with family and friends when we’re away and I will be taking photos and attempting to update this blog as I go. Which all means lots of data. Now, on Â monthly basis – without really heavy photo uploads of large RAW images – I’m using anything up to 5GB of mobile data with 3′s “All-You-Can-Eat” data plan at Â£25 a month, though they have one with fewer voice minutes and text messages for Â£15 a month.
When roaming in Europe, I’m now using their Â£5 a day Euro Internet Pass which is fab – in April in Ireland, it cost me Â£18 for a quick update one day – but sadly there’s no similar option for roaming in the USA. Instead, I face charges of Â£3/MB so even if I limit my data over the 2 weeks to, say, 500MB, that would be Â£1,500!
I was thinking of picking up an AT&T SIM when I arrived in the US, but there’s no guarantee I’d be able to find an outlet without going out of my way.
So last night, I tried something else, buying a Dataroam pre-paid Micro-SIM that I’ll load before I go. That should do in my iPhone. But then I thought if I want to start downloading photos from my EOS 7D onto my iPad and then uploading them, I’ll either need WiFi in the hotel – not guaranteed – or I’d need to tether to my iPhone. Sadly, that’s not an option with the pre-paid SIM, so I’ve also bought a MiFi Hotspot device that I can use with all my devices. That way, I can also keep my UK SIM in my iPhone for texts and talk from friends in the UK.
Well despite a few issues with making international payments, I’m now definitely booked with Bikers American Dream to hit Route 66.
Flights are now confirmed and the agenda looks great. Let the countdown begin!
Sadly, Global Enduro had to cancel the Sturgis trip as a group had had to cancel. Thankfully, there was another authorised trip on Harley Davidson’s website: Route 66 Westbound – 2400 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles with more or less the same dates, so definitely do-able.
This was on my bucket list and whilst I still want to do Sturgis at some time in the future, doing Route 66 will be an amazing ride with some sights along the way like Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon.
So I’ve booked with Italian organisers Bikers American Dream and waiting to hear further details now. Still aiming to book a Road King but I may have to go for an Electra Glide if not.
So then: a change of plan. The cost of shipping Blue Rex to and from the States was working out to be too expensive and too complicated to arrange.
Then a friend of mine announced he’d bought himself a Harley Davidson Street Bob. As I didn’t know which model that was, I went over to the Harley Davidson UK website to have a look and saw their link to their authorised tours. One happened to sit perfectly in terms of dates when London will be at a standstill for the Olympics and it also ticked other boxes: luxury, because I like a bit of that; and Sturgis.
Now since I was a young hooligan biker, I’d always wanted to go to the Sturgis Rally so this seemed too good an option to miss out on. Deposit was paid and arrangements made for “The Ride to Sturgis” with Global Enduro.
Today, I’ve had a phone call to confirm my choice of ride and I’ve gone for the Harley Davidson Road King Classic. This should hit all the right bases: a screen to stop the bugs and any rain; not too visually heavy so I can still see everything around me rather than just a load of fibreglass; some storage capacity for waterproofs and my cameras; light enough to handle reasonably; and not a ridiculous riding position or tank range.
Harley Davidson Road King Classic
Welcome to Blue’s Big Trip: it’s a blog set up for my trip across the USA in the summer of 2012.
I intend to take my 2002 Kawasaki ZRX1200R from the UK by airfreight to Anchorage, Alaska and then from there ride down via Seattle – where I have family – to Los Angeles and then via Las Vegas and New Orleans over to New York, from where I’ll airfreight the bike back to my home in London. Along the way, I hope to take in a bit of sightseeing like the Grand Canyon and some bike-specific ones like Deal’s Gap in South Carolina.
Well that’s the plan anyway!
By the summer of 2012, I will have reached the grand old age of 50 and London will be a hellish place to be with the London 2012 Olympics taking place. I’ve always wanted to do a big trip and so then will be as good a time as ever, I reckon. I’m aiming to take 2 or 3 weeks to do this trip which should be very do-able: I’ve done 900 miles in a day in 1981 on a Triumph T140V Bonneville, a few more trips every year like that to the Bol d’Or at the Circuit Paul Ricard in the late 80s and early 90s on a Yamaha FZR1000, and more recently 1,000 in less than 24 hours on the ZRX1200R and my Honda Fireblade.
Feel free to join in and give me some suggestions for routes, places to stay, etc