As you read this chances are I’m on my way to Heathrow or already tens of thousands of feet up in a
death trap plane. Do feel free to say a little prayer for me and my safe arrival or if you’re not the religious type then a shout out to the commanding forces of the Universe will do just fine. Jolly good.
Plane journey aside I am hugely, massively, enormously stoked to be spending a month on the West Coast of the USA and what makes it even more exciting is that I’m taking my Warriors with me!!! Ok, so you won’t be joining me in person but I’m going to try and report back in such a way that you will feel you are with me every sunny step of the gosh, darn way. You see if I don’t!
A month, four weeks or 32 days to be exact. That calls for a serious itinerary and some serious planning! Or does it? Well, it could. I could plan every single day in advance ensuring my vacation is chocca full of adventure and activity. And I’m confident that it will be but I’m just not the plan-my every-day kind of Ginger Warrior. Sure, there are some very specific sights I wish to see and places to visit that are positively set in stone but I also like to approach my holidays with a certain level of flexibility and a “let’s play it by ear” attitude. We all need a little je ne sais quoi in our lives, n’est-ce pas?
So what I wish to propose to you today, Warriors of the World, is a provisional itinerary of my West Coast Tour. Please feel to jump in at any time (comment box is all yours) if you believe that there is something missing from my itinerary that I would be a damn fool to overlook. I would hate to return to Old Blighty feeling as though I had missed out on a must see.
Wednesday 23rd July
Direct flight to San Francisco. Somehow get from San Fran to San Jose which is where my blogging conference, BlogHer 2014, is taking place. Haven’t quite worked out the logistics of that one yet but I will defer to the knowledgeable locals upon arrival.
Arrive in San Jose and check into the Fairmont hotel:
Anxiously and excitedly await the arrival of Mrs Celia Schauble, my roommate for the next three days:
I have never met Celia, nor have I spoken to her - we have only ever communicated via Twitter and Facebook - but I just know we’re going to get on like a house on fire and not just because she’s a flaming hot red-head! I just have good vibes and where people are concerned the GW’s vibes are generally spot on.
Thursday 24th-Saturday 26th July
Meet, mingle and LEARN at the blogging extravaganza that IS BlogHer 2014!
Only my second conference to date. My first, if you remember, was at BritMums in London just last month and it set the bar pretty darn high I tell ya! Extensive video coverage of conference sessions, the parties and, of course, the people at the very heart of the event, the fabulous bloggers themselves, will be coming your way!
Sunday 27th July
This will be a day by the pool, a day to recline, relax and reflect… Who am I kidding??? I’ll be editing video footage like crrrrrazy to get it uploaded asap for you fine people!
Monday 28th July
I’ll be leaving one saintly city for another - San Jose to Santa Cruz, a mere 32 miles to the south east and renowned for its beautiful coastline, redwood forests and “socially liberal leanings,” apparently. As appealing as all of this sounds there is a particular reason for my visit to Santa Cruz and the particular reason is:
I met Hemie and Adriana whilst backpacking in Costa Rica last summer and enjoyed their company and general awesomeness so much that I cancelled plans to visit Nicaragua in order to rejoin these two gorgeous gals on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. It blows my my mind that a year has already passed since we feasted on sopa de pollo at Veronica’s in Puerto Viejo, where the whiff of marijuana drifts in the air… It will be a short but surely the sweetest of reunions. Adriana and Hemie: Cer-Bear is on her way!
Tuesday 29th July- Friday 1st August
These four days will see me spending some quality time with one of my ultimate besties, Miss Denise “Nise Nise” Frandsen!
This darling girl and I became the bosomest of buddies back in 2000-2001 when I spent a year in the States after graduating. Denise moved from Utah to Sacramento, California, just last week in fact (fortuitous timing if ever there was!) and as such I will be her very first house guest. Some of the sights we plan on taking in include Lake Tahoe, Napa Valley, Carmel-by-the-sea and Six Flags theme park. Not set in stone, however, so watch this space!!
P.S. How’s this for a house-warming present, Nise Nise? :)
Saturday 2nd August
This day, I am sure, will be one of the highlights of my trip since I will be spending it in the company of a dear, dear friend that I have not seen in over 16 years. His name is Tegan Summer and we met for the first time in 1995 at a Science Fiction convention in Great Yarmouth. Yup, you did read that correctly. From 1996-2000 I travelled the country far and wide going from one Star Trek convention to the next! I bet you didn’t take me for a trekkie. We all have our secrets… ;) Unfortunately I don’t have my old convention pictures to hand but this is me holding a picture of Tegan when he was accepted to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York.
I was a very proud friend and sent him this homemade card to duly inform him of my pride. Check out how young and innocent I look!
Tegan founded and continues to run his television production company, Prospect House Entertainment, and even boasts his own Wikipedia page which you can check out right HERE! Both he and his lovely girlfriend Maria are making the almost 6 hour car journey just to come and spend a day with me and they have no idea how happy this makes me feel. Well, they do now. :) During that blessed day we shall take in the hilly terrain and Victorian architecture of San Fran and I just know our time together will be as golden as a certain bridge we will soon be standing on.
Sunday 3rd August - Sunday 10th August
Fly from Sacramento, California to Phoenix, Arizona! (It’s a very short flight, I can handle this one).
What takes me to the well-endowed desert country that is Arizona?? I hear you ask. These incredibly special people do!
My beloved Webster family, consisting of John, Hillary, Sam, Emma, Noah, Joshua and Julia. Julia is absent from this picture because it was taken in 2006 and the little ball of sass and energy had yet to be born! This is how the Webster kiddies looked 2 years ago when I last saw them in Colorado. Spot the Lorax:
An American military family, the Websters were stationed in Oxford for three years and that is where our paths crossed and I thank the sun, the moon and the stars that they did! I try to see the Websters annually and have followed them around the world wherever John’s work has taken them: Virginia, Finland, Colorado and now Arizona! Some might call it stalking, I simply call it love. I have no specific plans this week other than to spend time with John and Hillary and the kids and any scorpions or snakes that may come our way.
Sunday 10th August - Thursday 14th August
Fly from Phoenix, Arizona to Salt Lake City, Utah! (Another short and manageable fight). I’m actually picking someone up from the airport, someone that you are all very familiar with...
Yes indeedy, that man of mine will be joining me for the latter half of my whirlwind tour and despite my free-spirited independence I just know I’ll be ready for reunification by that point. (Don’t you dare tell him I said this but after two weeks in Costa Rica last year I really, really missed him.)
I’ve been to Utah many times before but it’s Craigy Boy’s inaugural visit and I can’t wait for him to meet all the people I’ve been telling him about for years and years. Faces to names at last!
Activities are flexible but will definitely include a day in downtown Salt Lake and a fancy schmancy dinner somewhere to celebrate our five year anniversary on August 11th. One, two, three…AWWWWW!!!
Friday 15th August - Sunday 17th August
A cheeky little road trip will be the order of the day!
Along with my friend Jamie and her family we’re driving to St. George in southern Utah where we have rented a condo complete with swimming pool, of course - St. George isn’t renowned for it’s cool climate!
Forty-five minutes drive from St. George is Zion’s National Park
where you can “Follow the paths where ancient native people and pioneers walked” and “Gaze up at massive sandstone cliffs of cream, pink, and red that soar into a brilliant blue sky” and “Experience wilderness in a narrow slot canyon”.
Hmmm.. two out of three to appeal ain’t bad since I won't be venturing anywhere near a narrow slot canyon. The very thought makes me shudder! Craigy Boy is quite keen to hike amongst the red rock canyons and in the 100ºf plus heat. Me and my pale freckly skin may take some persuading…
Monday 18th August- Wed 20th August
Considering Vegas is a mere 120 miles from St. George it would be extremely rude, foolish and frankly quite dull not to! With a plethora of stunning and some not quite so stunning hotels we have opted for a suite in the imposing megaresort that is the Ventian:
Coming to this resort is supposedly the next best thing to visiting Venice itself since with its fresco ceilings and canals and gondolas the spirit of Italy is alive and kicking on The Strip!
I must point out that neither Craigy nor myself are fans of gambling and potentially leaving the USA without a penny to our names HOWEVER I fully intend on trying my luck on the odd slot machine or two and I may even seek out an older and erm… affluent gentleman and ask if I could be his lucky mascot for the night. I’m sure Craigy won’t mind. What happens in Vegas and all that…
Thurs 21st-Sunday 24th August
The final few days of our holibobs will be spent back up in northern Utah in the bosom of dear friends chatting, eating, reminiscing and eating. I’m not terribly hopeful of coming back to England the same shape and size as when I left.
ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END
We fly home at 4pm on Sunday 24th August and have a connecting flight in Chicago before landing in Heathrow on Monday morning and if you have reached this point without collapsing in exhaustion (or falling asleep with boredom) then you have the stamina and staying power of a true Warrior of the World!
Ginger Warrior, over and out.