Our fifth wheel and the truck

Sunday, February 28, 2010

More plans - Sunday 27th February.

Today has been one of those days. I started out with the intention of booking overnight accommodation in Auckland and LA, flights from LA to Houston and accommodation in Houston. Well it has taken all day but it is almost finished just have to finalize the booking in Auckland.

We have decided to finalise the purchase of the fifth wheel from Australia before we go so it is ready to be picked up when we arrive.

The plan is to arrive in Houston on 25th July and hire a car for a week. We will have a quick look around on the 26th for an F250 and then go off to Livingston to establish our address and (try) for our Texas drivers' licenses. Once we have them we can purchase and insure the vehicle. After we get the F250 we will drive to wherever the fifth wheel is, pick it up, deck it out and finally begin the holiday. Hopefully it won't take too long.

And then we meander up to Seattle for our cruise!!! Can you believe it? It is still sinking in!!!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

The visas and the tickets.

The visas were delivered on FRIDAY! Can you believe how easy it was? And we got a five year visa which means we can come and go as often as we like to the US.

Well we went to the Travel Expo, paid our $10ea to get in and the first booth we came to was the STA Travel one. We sat down and booked our tickets! That easy - we have tickets that are valid for our return for 18 months - the mind bogles! We have also arranged for a stop over in Auckland on the way back - if we are not too exhausted and eager to get home. Paid for the tickets on Sunday and got the e-tickets on Monday. There is going to be no stopping us now.

Next job is to arrange the first few days in Los Angeles and Houston and to book the Alaska Cruise for September. That is the job for this weekend.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Visa Success

You ripper!!!!! We went to the consulate today with all this documentation that they just might need! Evidence of this and that and the other thing and guess what.....? They didn't ask for anything - AT ALL! Just chatted with us about our plans and where we were going. It was so easy!
We were supposed to be there 1/2 an hour before our interview. Got there 20 minutes before the 1/2 hour but hardly had to wait and in fact we were in and out before our 10.20am interview time.
The gentleman indicated that we should get our visas in the post tomorrow or at the latest Monday. This means that when we go to the Travel Expo this weekend we can actually book flights and an Alaska Cruise.
Yesterday I had a meeting with my director and told her that we are planning on retiring so now I guess I am past the point of no return.
I am getting just a little excited. Huge understatement that!!!! LOL

Monday, February 15, 2010

B***** Red Tape

Yesterday I started the process of applying for a 6 month visitors visa to the US. It is not easy to say the least. One has to provide evidence of sufficient money to keep them for the entire holiday and evidence that you intend to come back to Aust. Trying to figure out what constitutes evidence that you intend to come back is difficult and trying to get an answer from anyone is a b***** nightmare.
Finally got in touch with a guy who has already done what we are going to do and he told me to take our rates notice for Gidge. Owning property indicates to them that you have ties here and are not going to try to stay in the US and try to get a Green Card.
Today Norm and I went and had our photos taken for the visa application (ugly like passport photos!) and tonight I got all the stuff together for our interview on Thursday! All I need to get now are some bank statements. It really is happening!!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Travel Expo

Yesterday (February 13th) we went to a travel expo to investigate our possibilities. We looked into insurance, airfares and the Alaska cruise. We think we will be leaving around 21st July going to Los Angeles. From LA we will fly down to Houston and buy the F250 truck and the 5th wheeler. From there we will head to Livingston in Polk County, Texas to get our driver's license and set up our residency.
From there we think we will be heading off out west and up the west coast states to get to Seattle about 1st September.
We may be going to take a seven day cruise up to Alaska and return. It is all so exciting, can hardly wait.
We thought we would have to wait till September to leave but it looks like we will be able to go much earlier. Woo Hoo - the start of an amazing retirement.
We will be going to another travel expo next weekend so we will have more than enough information to make final decisions.