And the great American holiday adventure begins.
It began with the home-to-station taxi arriving early. And because I'd given myself extra time, on the assumption it would be late, I promptly arrived at the glamorous travel hub that is Bristol Temple Meads, with about 45 minutes to spare. And not a sniff of a holiday vanilla latte as nothing was open. Darn.
Plus - I also have in the back of my mind, as the cab was early, and was forced to rush slightly - have I left something on? Did I lock the front door? Have I left a naked flame burning? Well I am pretty confident on the latter - given I'm so paranoid about burning the house down - when I do have candles burning (rare) I usually have a bucket of water and some oven gloves nearby.
So - on the train right now. Pulling out of Swindon - and already (0740hrs) there are hoards of trainspotters. What could they be waiting for? Are they on hand to celebrate the rare occasion that First Great Western trains actually run to time. And in First Class travel news not only do I have to walk to the so called 'express cafe' (never has the word express been so mis-used) to claim my free coffee - they have no complementary biscuits. How very dare they. However the 'hostess' (not in a lap dancing kind of way) mentioned en passant that they're 'at the front of the train' - hurrah my carriage. And given I am alone in it - I spotted them in the luggage rack. Shortbread ahoy.
Am v much looking forward to spending a relaxing time Stateside - there's a fair bit of travelling but I am sure it will be such fun.
So - for those who haven't already been bored to death with my plans (am avoiding the word itinerary - as I've been beyond slack in planning it. Good job Darren is more on the case and we have hotels, internal flights and hire cars (I believe the American would be 'rental') galore) - the overall schedule is arrive in Miami (to stay with one of Darren's friends) for a few nights - then its a drive to Sarasota for lunch (I am so international) and on to Tampa airport for the hop to Nashville. Then it's Denver. Then Seattle. Then Washington DC. Then home. All in 14 days.
So Miami - been there before and am delighted to see a couple of the eateries (food photo alert) I went to before are still there - and have good marks on TripAdvisor. The one thing I HAVE done in terms of itinerary planning is the booking of a Segway tour there - HURRAH. Round the Art Deco district. I will also have the opportunity on that tour to do the infamous 'Sporting Versace's last look' outside of Palazzo Versace.
Not been to Nashville before - should be good (from the bit of reading I have done) and huge thanks to Phil at work who's managed to pluck all the insider gen on all things Nashville out the bag. Now whilst not being an especially renowned muso - I have tickets for Kylie's concert in Manchester in September - I'm going with an open mind and open ears. I also think desperately clinging to the fact that I am the only person I know with A-Level Music will count for something.
Just a short entry this time - essentially am writing this to make sure that my wireless keyboard/ipad/phone tethering are all functional - and have no doubt that over the coming days there will be hilarious updates galore with the mandatory food shots. Plus given I'll be segwaying on Ocean Drive in about 48 hours - expect to see a photo of Darren colliding with a plant pot and taking a tiny tumble - and me looking most likely burned in some 2012 Uniform shorts (thanks again Solie - they're literally the most versatile pair of chino-esque shorts ever!).
So - dear reader - subject to the availability of the wi-fi's on the plane - I will catch you on the other side of the pond.