Countdown to California Road Trip

IThe countdown to California is now down to ten weeks. On Sunday 6th August 2017, Sarah and I will be jetting from Manchester Airport to San Francisco, in preparation for our third American road trip. It has become addictive. The combination of the diversity that the USA has to offer, together with our love of being on the road has drawn us over the Atlantic once again. Oh, yes… and the heat – we love the heat. Can’t get enough of it. The 51C we experienced in the Nevada Desert on our Route 66 detour to Las Vegas in 2014 was a little too much to bear, but the general 40C that is too much for many is just perfect for our bodies.

Golden Gate Bridge

                             Golden Gate Bridge

Our plans for the journey haven’t yet been finalised, although the coastal landslides on the California Highway One are likely to make us rethink our journey back to San Francisco at the end of our trip. I intend to blog each day, although I can’t guarantee 100% commitment at all times. I won’t be a slave to my writing when other things may take priority. However, whenever we go on holiday, an hour or so online in the evenings is just a part of our fun. One of my blogging followers told me that keeping up with our Florida road trip blog last year was “like sitting in the back of the car with us”. I hope to make it at least as entertaining. I have a hunch that this year’s blog will be a little more interesting, as California does lend itself more to road-tripping than Florida does.

The rough plan is as follows:

  1. A brief visit to the city of San Francisco the day we land (we should have late afternoon and evening to explore if we have the energy after an 11 hour flight).
  2. Pick up the car the following day, drive over the Golden Gate bridge and up to the Napa Valley.
  3. Spend two days driving to Yosemite National Park, probably stopping overnight at Sacramento. I guess that we’ll be staying at Yosemite between three to five days.
  4. Drive down to Death Valley, via the edge of Area 51. Although it is a top secret military site, it does have a visitor centre. We’ll be close to Las Vegas here, but it doesn’t call us. You never know, though!
  5. Drive back to San Francisco via Highway One – well that was the original plan. If some bits of it are open, maybe we’ll drive up and down it for a while!
  6. Spend three or four days in the city before flying home on Sunday 20th August.
  7. Meet up with any swing dancing groups along the way.
  8. Anything else that crops up in between – that’s the beauty and the freedom of road-tripping.

Death Valley 1

                              Death Valley

Regarding the swing dancing, we have already been invited to a class and social dance on the Wednesday we arrive back at San Francisco by a group called Mission City Swing. There are swing dance communities all over the world. Last year we were able to meet up and dance with some people in Miami. We all dance the same language, wherever we are in the world.

Of course, we’ll be doing the obligatory day trip to Alcatraz. Sarah wants to cycle over the Golden Gate bridge on a tandem (oh, my word!) and she wants to go on a tram up some hill or other that she’s seen on the TV.

Me? My only demand is this:

I’m not coming back home until I’ve seen a BEAR!


I hope to make our blog as interesting as possible. However, people tell me that my book I’M NEVER ILL (A journey through brain surgery and beyond…) is an inspirational read. It tells the story of how I survived a brain haemorrhage (and brain surgery while awake TWICE), and then subsequently Sarah beat breast cancer four years later. It is our illnesses that have motivated us to do American road trips and swing dancing. We have learned just how short life can be and we thank our lucky stars to still be alive! Visit our website for book details:

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