Our first motorhome trip in America
This trip was the first of two we made during 2008 in our motorhome which we flew out and purchased in Texas in July 2007.
Our original plan was to make just one trip, which was to last two years. We intended to rent our house out during our absence to cover the cost of the mortgage. Funding for the trip itself was to have come from savings. At the end of the two year trip we planned to ship the motorhome back to England and sell it. We would have made a good profit on it which we would have used to cover the trip costs.
Unfortunately American Immigration officials at their Embassy in London had different ideas.
Having made such a large investment in the motorhome we were keen to do things properly and play by their rules, though finding out just what those rules were became a nightmare.
At a total cost of £500 we made two visits to the American Embassy to seek visas. The first was unsuccessful because what we were asking for was "Impossible, there's no such thing as a two year visa. That's immigration through the back door" and the second unsuccessful attempt was because apparently we matched the profile of people unlikely to return back to the UK afterwards.
The most annoying thing of all, was that these applications were made following advice from the Embassy 'Helpline', a premium rate phone number which I suspect they had outsourced to a call center somewhere in Scotland, because everytime we called we spoke to somebody with a Scottish accent.
These refusals meant we had to go back to the drawing board and produce two 90-day trips using the Visa Waiver Programme. This would put us on pretty tight schedules to see everything we wanted.
Although this particular trip didn't really warm up until we arrived at Williams, Arizona, to visit the Grand Canyon,it was an amazing experience and we are posting it here to share, should you consider doing something similar.
For both American trips I have put all place names in italics.