Friday, September 10, 2010

4 days to go.....

So, here it is! 4 days to go and I leave for the US and Canada for 93 days!

When the show dates were first released and I sat down and looked through the schedule I though NO WAY am I going to be able to travel round and see every show of the North American tour, I looked at flights, trains, cars and even ferry's but it just looked like it was going to be impossible to plan and make all the dates on time.
The first thing I wanted to do was book all my travel plans.  Hotels, staying with friend etc could be booked later on.
After breaking the tour down into 3 monthly sections I stated to look a little bit closer and thought this thing COULD actually work! Of course it could, Roger and the band are doing it!  Mmmmmm they have the luxury of a private jet, something I was not going to have unless those Nigerian scammers would finally send me the $14 million they keep telling me I‘ve been awarded! After realising I was going to have to without the Nigerians help I started to plan flights for the shows that were the farthest apart.
The first month of the tour could have been done with a rental car all the way and I could have driven to each show without any flights at all, I didn’t just want to be driving non stop from show to show and not having any time to hang out with friends and arriving at places dead on my feet just to make sure I hit every show for the sake of it! Fortunately in the good old US of A there’s some great budget airline companies and some excellent connections between cities.
14th September to 15th October, 18 shows in 31 days
The first month was pretty straight forward and after a few plans and then a few changes its worked out like this:
Fly London to Toronto
Fly Toronto to Chicago
Fly Chicago to Cleveland
Drive to Pittsburgh
Drive to Cleveland
Drive to Pittsburgh
Fly Pittsburgh to Boston
Fly Boston to New York
Drive to Buffalo
Drive to Washington DC
Drive to Long Island
Drive to Hartford
Drive to Newark.

I’ve always been the type of person that likes to plan things, get things booked (and even paid for) well in advance, it’s just the way I am, I LOVE the planning aspect of things and by booking things so far in advance (April/May of this year) I was able to get some great deals on flights.

Due to Rogers last minute addition of four extra shows I’m not going to be seeing the 4th show in Chicago, yeh im a bit disappointed but my plans were already booked and I would have lost out on a non cancellable flight and car rental, what’s one show out of 52! though  (No comments that this will be the show which Gilmour shows up at please)
So with the above all sorted out I moved on to the 2nd section.

16th October to 11th November, 14 shows in 26 days
Getting from Newark to Ottawa, Canada for the next day by car could have been done but I booked a flight instead. Bob and Andy my friends from Toronto would be picking me up in Ottawa and after seeing the show there we’d be driving on to Montreal together. This leg of the tour had a few “long hauls” in it which included:

Montreal to Columbus (720 miles plus crossing from Canada to the USA)
Detroit to Omaha (750 miles)
Omaha to Kansas City via St Paul and St Louis (1230 miles)
Kansas City to New Jersey (1120 miles)

One thing I had to try avoid was the drop off fees that car rental companies charge, these can be more than the actual car rental cost! Therefore I had to return the cars back in the same state (sometimes the same city)  unless I was able to find a rental company that didn’t charge them! I found ebookers online which was one of the only companies that actually showed you the fee’s for one way rentals and furthermore a lot of the prices either included these fees or were waived totally! This became invaluable when booking my cars. 
There was no way i could rent a car in Canada and drop if off in the USA so a flight from Montreal to Columbus was a given. However prices of flights made me book the flight into Cleveland where I’d pick up a rental car and then drive to Columbus and the rest of the journey, then drop it off in Kansas City before flying on to Newark. So my plans for the 2nd section look like this:

Fly Newark to Ottawa
Drive to Montreal
Fly Montreal to Cleveland
Drive to Columbus
Drive to Detroit
Drive to Omaha (longest drive of the trip but I have 2 days to do it)
Drive to St Paul
Drive to St Louis
Drive to Kansas City
Fly Kansas City to New York
I was 2/3rd the way through and the trip was coming together now.

12th November to 15th December, 19 show in 33 days
This leg of the tour had a few more “long hauls” in than the other two, I would have to book a few more flights if I were to see the shows.

Ft Lauderdale (990 miles)
Atlanta to Houston (800 miles)
Dallas to Denver (800 miles)
Denver to Las Vegas (750 miles)
Los Angeles to Oakland (350 miles)
Back to Los Angeles (350 miles)
San Jose to Vancouver (981 miles)
Tacoma to Anaheim (1250 miles)

Most of the above I booked flights for and booked rental cars in between, the only one way drop off I was unable to avoid was picking up in Ft Lauderdale and dropping off in Atlanta, I looked all which ways to try avoid this but it just wasn’t possible so I booked the car with a $100 drop off fee. 

The rest was pretty straight forward apart from a show that was added later on  in Oakland. Most of my plans had been booked by the time this show was announced and this show was in the middle of 3 Los Angeles shows, he would play 2 shows in LA, then one in Oakland and then back to LA for a 3rd show! Again thank heavens for cheap airlines and I booked a flight up to Oakland for the one night and back to LA the next morning, only to then have to drive back up to San Jose 2 days later!

So with the 3rd and final months plans all sorted it looks a little like this:

Fly Philadelphia to Ft Lauderdale
Drive to Tampa
Drive to Atlanta
Fly Atlanta to Houston
Drive to Dallas
Fly Dallas to Denver
Fly Denver to Las Vegas
Drive to phoenix
Dive to Los Angeles
Fly LA to Oakland
Fly Oakland to LA
Drive to San Jose
Fly San Francisco to Seattle
Drive to Vancouver
Drive to Tacoma
Fly Seattle to Anaheim
Fly LA to London

Originally there were a few things I was going to do travel wise which I didn’t in the end due to friends inviting me places along the way and me deciding to do those instead of what I’d originally planned. I’ll write about these as I go along and get to the places. Whilst I really am looking forward to seeing friends, the travelling and seeing the shows I'm also going to miss home and the people I'm leaving behind for 12 weeks who without their love and understanding this trip wouldn’t be possible.

OK, off to start packing for Summer, Autumn and Winter all in one case!


  1. If the weather holds they will open the Omonia patio for us in just 4 days my friend. Safe travels for you and see you very soon.


  2. If the weather holds , they will open up the Omonia patio for us in just 4 days my friend. Safe travels for you and see you very soon.


  3. Wow! What an incredible esperience you'll have! Hope our paths cross somewhere along the way. And looking forward to the blog and your reaction to the various cities/venues/fans/customs/weather you'll encounter during your journey across NA. Above all, have fun and safe travels!

  4. I think theres only 5 or 6 cities i havent been to on the tour schedule but looking forward to the travelling for sure.

  5. Looking like an epic trip Si! Can't wait to meet you in Chicago and I'm sure we'll be meeting up in Boston!

  6. You take care with all that driving, my dear chappie! Hopefully there won't be any extreme weather for you to deal with.
    Julie :)

  7. Thanks for documenting your travels Simon...little_syd

  8. You take care out there, Si, and raise a glass for me in Chicago! x

  9. Travel agents could learn from you, Simon, heh :) This blog is great. See you in Vancouver!


  10. awesome planning, buddy! safe travels, see you soon.