The Big Six-O has to come around at some stage and it has arrived on our front step, crying and mewling like a new born kitten, or 2014 as it is also called.
So what to do to celebrate? Unless we win the National Lottery or the Euro Lottery in the next year or so, it looks as though my annual leave expenditure will rise to ever higher levels. This year we are cruising to Norway and the Fjords. Not a biking holiday, but I guess something has to give a little as age and impending senility beckons. At least they feed you 24/7.
So where to go?
At a travel show earlier in the year we looked at some exotic and some less exotic places. The proviso for the trip is/was that we could use the timeshare exchange system and cover our accommodation that way. Touring sounds good, but Claire wants a mixture of looking at things and quiet time. So after my brother's experience on Route 66 on a Harley, that was scratched off the list. With Claire off the bike for a while, we'd have to hire a car in any case.
At the same travel show was an RV rental company displaying one of their four sleeper vans. These looked good and the example prices seemed pretty reasonable, but once I investigated, courtesy of the www, the cost was over $2000 for the base rental and the daily mileage allowance rued out LAX to LV and the Grand Canyon and other western movies sets. Florida was even more expensive!
We liked the idea of the US, and leaned more towards Florida. There are timeshares galore and I set about checking the RCI site to see what was available and when. It has to be after April 1st as that's the start of my annual leave year, plus I have great difficulty working in the education sphere to have two weeks off not in school vacation time, so it had to be when I could have a week off in term time and week in vacation. End of May was chosen.
So that's it. RCI checked, dates entered into the search, results sorted on reviews, best to worst in that order and I "held" a couple of places. One on the Gulf and one on the Atlantic near Miami. The costs is £169 per week, so about $250. Both get 4* from the other visitors. So I booked them.
The first place is called Fisherman's Village Resort in Punta Gorda and the second is Mizner Place in Weston.
Fisherman's Village should let us see the much talked about sunsets over the Gulf and Weston is in striking distance of Miami and of course US1 and the Keys. At $36 a night for two people what other accommodation could you expect?
The next step, and some months away, is to look at airfares to Miami. Orlando looks too far to the north and both sites look to be easy accessible from the I-75 main road.
After that car-hire. As this is a big trip and most of it paid for well before we are going, then I can look at what to have. I fancy something American. Last time I was there in 1991 (!) I had a friend's Toyota and it isn't the right car. Back then, tourists were told to avoid convertibles in the Miami area so maybe air-con is still the way to go. Suggestions on economical yank-tanks accepted.
So, here endeth the opener for Big Six-O blog.