Holiday of a lifetime – Part 1


Pre Departure

Our holiday started in earnest back in April 2015… the previous year we came into a little bit of money, and then came the inevitable decision, do we go on holiday and cheer up our kitchen or do we have a whole new kitchen refit?

Well there was no hesitation in my mind… holiday and new cupboard doors and floor.  That is what you get when you have two golden retriever puppies, chewed doors and lino tiles ripped up.  And as the dogs were now out of the stage of mass destruction we both knew that the kitchen needed doing.  So the burning question was whole refit or just a patch up job?

For months we have seen online a holiday in America where you tour the West Coast and we both fell in love with this holiday… so decision made… kitchen patch up and holiday.

Originally we booked our holiday for this coming September, but then realised that it was my father-in-laws 80th birthday the day after we got back… so we enquired about bringing our holiday forward.  By luck the dates we had now chosen were now cheaper and the even after having to pay the administration fee for changing our holiday… the money we saved paid for our night at a London Heathrow hotel along with the car park fee.

Courtesy of Renaissance Hotel Website

Our flight was due to leave at 13.55 hrs on April 30th… so the Wednesday before we packed the puppies off to kennels… (their first time) and headed towards Heathrow.  By luck we found the hotel without any major problems and parked the car and headed towards the reception, where we checked in…

By luck our room was on the ground floor, and was very nice… we hadn’t booked a room overlooking the runway, and can say even though we were within spitting distance of the runway… the room was pretty well soundproofed.

Courtesy of Three Magpies Public House

That evening we decided to have dinner at the local pub called ‘Three Magpies’. The service was excellent and the food was good too.  It was a friendly pub and we were made to feel very welcome.

Of course this being the first time the dogs were in kennels we were a bit apprehensive but our minds were put at rest when we called Mick (the owner) at Berry Court Kennels who told us that the dogs had settled down with no problems and they were fine.

For the evening we had a quick drink in the hotel and then headed to bed as we knew that the next day was going to be hectic and we had a long flight ahead of us. We had booked our taxi, via the hotel concierge, already for the next morning as we had to be at Terminal 5 by 10.30 am to meet our tour manager, Julia, prior to checking in at at 11 am.

Could we sleep properly… no the excitement was too much.  Plus I was a little apprehensive as it was a 10 and a half hour flight and I knew damn well, sitting there for all that time would make me stiff and sore.   And the last thing I wanted was to hobble off of a plane.

We awoke the morning of our flight early, had a shower, made sure we didn’t leave anything behind, had one last check of the car to make sure it was secure and headed off to Terminal 5 in our pre-booked taxi, which arrived on time… luckily.

Mind you the taxi driver did say that earlier there had been an accident and it was taking hours to get to the terminal… Thank God I didn’t know that at the time… otherwise I would have been in a right old panic.  Flight nerves was getting to me… I am a funny sort of passenger… I love flying, and have no fear of it at all… and I love the window seat.  It is just that damn take-off and landing I hate.  Once that is over and done with I am fine.

Our holiday was booked via Great Rain Journeys and here we are waiting at Terminal 5, all checked in and roaring to go on the Las Vegas and The Golden West Tour 2015.

Mind you the only criticism many of the people who were booked on this holiday did have was that Great Rail had booked a block booking of seats  on the plane.. by luck we were seated together but many of the other couples on our flight had seats that were not next to each other.  Mind you once we boarded the plane our tour guide managed to sort every one out and those who weren’t seated together initially, were now seated with their respective partners.  Wish was luck. But honestly this should never have happened.

Surely whoever was doing the seating plan whether it be computer or person, should realise that many people with the same surname would be wanting to sit with each other.

Anyway after check-in we walked around the duty free shops and then when called went, via the monorail, to Gate C (can’t remember which one) to board the A380 to San Francisco… Finally we were on our way… Our flight was due to take off at 13.55 but after minor delays we finally taxied to the runway at 2.25 for take off….. on no that dreaded bloody take off.

Phew… we are up…. now to sit back, relax and enjoy the view.

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