So term is over, the kids are out, and after the final-night-of-term dinner I can look forward to frantic packing and buying of those must-have-but-are-going- to-weigh-a-lot items for the holiday. Shampoo, conditioner, shower gel — the home comforts you don’t want to be without but will definitely get sacrificed on the journey home if necessary.

This year we seem to be taking an inordinate amount of tech with us. Last year we bought a GoPro and have spent some time checking out lapse times to get a compromise between filling up the memory cards in the first hour to so jerky you can only work out where we are if you’re quick. So, GoPro plus paraphernalia: five batteries, a charger, a holder, something to stick it to the windscreen with. Sam-Sam, our American version of Tom-Tom that we bought in Boston, MA, three years ago and who stopped talking to us the moment we crossed the Canadian border leaving us at the mercy of tiny tourist maps and Graeme’s amazing sense of direction. Cameras: one compact that we need a spare battery for having lost it recently and being unable to get a replacement due to it’s ancient age of about seven years old and the super Fuji X-1 that shoots everything from a close up of a flower to a close up of the moon. Chargers for everything; phones and a newly bought Samsung tablet, as the predecessors aren’t up to the task. Not forgetting the laptop for transferring all our thousands of photos — we are going to some very scenic spots — and of course the Bluetooth selfie stick so we aren’t reliant on finding a willing passer-by. Oh and an out of date MP3 player which was bought and pressed into service last summer for different reasons. We also have an aux cable hoping that our hire car has a jack. Thanks to Spotify Family (and my daughter) we should have an awesome library of music to play and Graeme has been hunting out suitable tunes for our various locations. Last but not least is my Kindle; Graeme is sticking to the tried and trusted (but heavier) paperbacks.

Graeme has researched our route to the nth degree so we will never be short of ideas of where to go, what to see and at what time. We know which restaurants, cafes and bars we will encounter and even,in some cases, the menus. This may sound a bit OTT but it is incredibly useful, for when you arrive somewhere tired out and wanting to eat, that the restaurant is just around the corner. He has driven every route on YouTube to check if the roads are suitable for our hire car, googled festivals, fairs, markets and also booked tours for canyons, helicopters and horse-back riding and boat trips.

Our suitcase weight will be important, especially on the way home, as this year we only have 23kg apiece. Last time we visited the States we went to the East Coast via Iceland and had a generous 46kg allowance (2 bags @23kg) but this year we aren’t so fortunate. Thankfully T-shirts don’t weigh a great deal and where we are going is very hot, so there should be enough left over for the glass I intend to buy. I can’t pass up the opportunity to buy glass that isn’t available in the UK, it’s just a shame the exchange rate has plummeted a bit and it won’t be quite the bargain I was hoping for but it will still be exciting to choose, order and receive new glass.

This holiday has been a long time coming as it was planned for last year. Unfortunate, unhappy events took over then but we’ve pretty much managed to recreate what we had planned.

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