Jan 10, 2010

56 Days

When we decided to do this thing we figured we'd have upto 3 months to do it in, 90 days being the term of a visitors visa to America. Back in August we booked a flight (a one way flight!) to Toronto (I know it's in Canada) and started planning. A week with friends in Toronto and a week with friends in Buffalo meant the trip could start on the 1st of February. Or, if you're an American, February 1st. It seemed like a nice date to start. The end would come sometime in mid April as Carol is due to start teachig English at an unspecified Japanese University at the end of that month. So all in all, we were looking at being on the road for up to 75 days. Or maybe 70, as 10 weeks seemed such a nice round number

Now being a romantic fool I really liked the idea of buying a car and selling it at the end of the trip. But after doing the math/s it was obvious that the practical realities of hiring a new car that came with breakdown cover and insurance was simply too good a deal and so the foolishly romantic notion of buying a somewhat older car with a little character was left on the shelf. The attraction of a new car is especially strong as we plan to head west from Buffalo through the midwest and then northwest up towards Seattle. Friends who've done America in a cheap old beat up mini-bus didn't head north in the winter months. And they still had plenty of repair bills.

So after sighing and moving on from that minor dissapointment I looked into hiring a car for 10 weeks and hit another problem. Here's a fact to bore people with down the pub tonight... hire cars get serviced every 56 days. I don't know if this is a world wide rule or just an American one, but in the USA after 56 days on the road you have to return the car to the hire office. Of course you could just hire another one, but the problem is you have to take the car back to the hire office you picked it up from or face a one way charge (which could easily have been $1000.) So if we had to be back in Buffalo 56 days after pick-up then that seemed like it would be the end of the trip. And though 8 weeks isn't as nice and as round a number as 10 weeks, it's still fairly nice. It's two months after all. If both those months is February, and it isn't a leap year.

So we're limited to 56 days. Which means we'll visit less places. Then again, we'll spend less on motels. It also means we can spend a little longer in Toronto and Buffalo before we embark and that means we can watch the Superbowl with friends before heading out on Monday 8th February. Or February 8th if you prefer.

Stop one will be this place

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