As my daughter was finishing her year of study in San Luis Obispo she wanted us to fly our to join her. She had started her holiday on the last day of term, 16th June, and embarked on a road trip north through California, Oregon and Washington with two of her friends from University of Birmingham who had been studying in Chicago. From Seattle they flew Chicago and after a few days there with her friends they returned to the UK and she flew to Ontario for a week with a Canadian friend she had met while the Canadian had been on a student exchange in Birmingham.
A week in Canada, then to New York for a few days with another "overseas exchange" friend and then back to Los Angeles to her boyfriend and an almost three week trip around the national parks, Grand Canton, Bryce, Arches and Zion. She finally few from Phoenix to Houston the meet us at the George Bush International airport at the end of the first week of August.
After two previous holidays on the West Coast I had declined to go there again while there was still so much more of the country to see. Although I'd made the occasional work trip to the East Coast my previous holiday in the US had been 30 years earlier.
My US friends, none from the South, had told me to expect something completely different. "It's like another country down there" one of them had said. And with the recent inauguration of Donald Trump, the fuss about immigration and the threat to build a wall across the boarder with Mexico it had all the ingredients for an exciting and educational trip. We knew the weather on the Gulf Coast in August isn't the best for travelling, but it was then or never.