Category Archives: Route 66 on a Harley

Fourth of July – why all the fuss?

Theresa Wilson is Bon Voyage’s resident Yankee Doodle Dandy.  Here she shares her perspective on the Fourth of July holiday……..

Happy Birthday, America!

I’ve now lived in England for 25 years and have fully embraced my adopted country.  But if there is one time I really do long to be home it’s the first part of July and all of the Fourth celebrations.

 On the whole, Americans are a patriotic bunch – we fly flags from our front porches; we thank our military for their service; we wear eagle and flag embossed clothing year-round, but give us a holiday where the entire point is patriotism and stand back.  Parades, fireworks, family gatherings, BBQs, picnics, baseball – God Bless America! 

It’s a tough one for those of us split between two countries.  On one hand, we’re celebrating the birth of a nation – on the other, we’re celebrating freedom from British rule.  I have a British husband, so you can imagine the jokes that fly around our family!  But I believe that both countries have huge amounts of respect and interest in each other.  Back in 1776, it was time to end the American Revolution and let the original colonies be independent. Although the war went on for another seven years, on July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence from Great Britain’s rule.  The Declaration of Independence was ratified on the fourth.  There is some historical debate on whether that is true, but no alternate theories here – the 4th of July is America’s Independence Day! 

As a child, it represented the first big weekend of summer.  Schools typically break up in the USA between the end of May and mid-June, so summer activities were in full flow, but everything stopped for the 4th of July.  Depending on when it fell, either the weekend before or after would be packed with family fun.  We were always involved with the local parade which included the whole community.  If you weren’t in the parade you lined the street waving flags, hoping to grab a treat that might be thrown from a marcher!  Then it was on to a good old family style BBQ.  Burgers, hotdogs and corn on the cob straight off the grill. I honestly dream about that corn – fresh from Midwest fields, dripping in butter. It’s as much a part of my Fourth of July as waving flags and sparklers!

Fourth of July as waving flags and sparklers

Evening Events

This brings me to evening events.  We’d all gather at the appointed family members’ home for an evening of backyard games, more food and ultimately fireworks.  Invariably, we’d fire a few rounds of our own that an uncle brought from a local stand while all the kids always ran around the garden with lighted sticks actively spewing sparks.  Of course, one of us would either be afraid and drop the ignited stick on the ground or get burned while the adults continued lighting roman candles and keeping fingers crossed that nothing flew over the neighbour’s fence!  It was the 1970s,  so don’t judge!  Then it was time for proper pyrotechnics!  Some years we’d watch local displays from the comfort of our own lounge chairs in the yard.  Other years, we braved traffic and crowds for an amazing vantage point along Lake Michigan.

Family Reunion


In my adult years, our family would undertake a huge reunion every other Fourth of July and religiously those of us who no longer resided in Wisconsin would flock home.  Ultimately, the Fourth of July is as much about celebrating family and friends and summer as it is about celebrating America’s birthday.  Don’t get me wrong – there is always a red, white and blue cake, but it’s more than just being American – it’s about the people we love, what we appreciate about living in a democracy and what we are thankful for. That’s Thanksgiving too, but one holiday at a time!  The funny thing is – every American I know loves all things British.  The Queen, Buckingham Palace, the accents, the pomp and circumstance…the list goes on.  The more I think about it, the more I realise – the Fourth of July today has very little to do with celebrating our break from Britain and more to do with bringing a nation together to honour where we came from and think about where we’re going.  Like any country, we’ve got our issues, but hopefully we’ll reflect, regroup and re-emerge stronger than ever.

I know I will be with my family in spirit and chances are I will wear stars and stripes to the office on the 4th. You can take the girl out of America…..

Theresa Wilson Celebrating 4th July
Theresa Wilson

Top 10 Route 66 Attractions for the Ultimate Road Trip

U.S. Route 66, the Will Rogers Highway or the Mother Road, whatever you choose to call it, it’s the ULTIMATE American road trip. Established in 1926, RT 66 was a major road for people driving between Chicago, California and the many states in between, covering 2448 miles in total.

Whilst the Route 66 no longer serves the same purpose (it has since been replaced as a major route by the U.S. Interstate Highway System), it makes for a fantastic road trip. And some of the original road can be re-traced today, so you can follow in the tyre tracks of those who made the road famous.

At Bon Voyage we have helped many people make this trip unforgettable. Here’s 10 Route 66 attractions you have to do on your fly drive holiday:


  1. Enjoy the views across Chicago from the Willis Tower Skydeck. Chicago is a classic place to start your Route 66 adventure. Recover from your 9+ hour from London before hitting the road and enjoy a full day in the buzzing city. Once you’ve seen the views from the ground level, head up the Willis Tower to the look over the city from the 103rd floor. The Skydeck boasts a Ledge which stretches out 4.3 feet from the building, complete with a transparent floor so you can see right down to the street below. Probably not one for those who are scared of heights!Willis Tower Sky Deck
  1. Cross the historic Martin Luther King Memorial Bridge. Next on your RT 66 road trip is a cross into St. Louis, Missouri over the Martin Luther King Memorial Bridge. St Louis boasts some super cool diners, and there’s also another chance to view the sights from above by taking a lift to the top of the Gateway Arch, giving you spectacular views of the Mississippi River.Martin Luther King Bridge st louis


  1. Get your music fix in “The Live Music Entertainment Capital of the World”. Whilst your journey takes you through Missouri, you may wish to take a pit stop in Branson to catch some live music or a show. You’ll be met with a whole host of theatres, pubs and music halls, plus many attractions, including the Branson Scenic Railway and Branson Zipline.branson live music


  1. Cruise in a stylish convertible. If you’re looking to complete the entire Route 66 journey, you’ll need to allow for a full 14+ days, and this will mean driving every day. At Bon Voyage we would recommend a roomy, comfortable car for the trip. However, we can also arrange for you to have a convertible for part of the journey – Las Vegas to Santa Monica, for example. Oklahoma boasts the longest stretch of original Route 66 miles, and here you’ll start to enjoy a beautiful change in landscape, from the rich croplands of the Midwest, to the red, dry and dusty Southwest.couple sitting on car


  1. Enjoy the scenery in the Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas. You’ll soon cross into Texas, where you can enjoy the best scenery in the beautiful Palo Duro Canyon State Park, the second largest canyon in America. Here you’ll learn about the Apache, Kiowa and Comanche tribes who took refuge here. Whilst you’re there you can camp for the night, and explore the canyon by foot, mountain bike or even on horseback.palo duro canyon


  1. Leave your mark, if only for a few hours. The Cadillac Ranch has become a popular stop when travelling the Mother Road. Made up simply of 10 cars stuck in the dirt and decorated in layers upon layers of graffiti, it’s certainly something you won’t see everyday. Enjoy the sight from the sidelines, or grab a spray can and get involved. But don’t get disheartened if someone comes along and sprays directly over your art, unfortunately it’s inevitable!cadillac ranch


  1. Take a classic holiday photo (or 66). There’s no doubt that you’ll fly home with many new memories having crossed through eight states and three time zones. But there’s also a lot of iconic pictures waiting to be snapped. Tucumcari, is a must-do stop photo favourite, with the ’66 neon signs and that historic Tee Pee Trading Post. And it’s not long before you head into New Mexico, known fondly as The Land of Enchantment, with the second longest stretch of original Route 66 highway and perhaps the most unique roadside landscape. Make sure you’ve packed spare camera batteries!tucumcari trading post


  1. Meteor Crater. Before you rush off to see the Grand Canyon (that’s next up, we promise), take a pit stop at the fascinating Meteor Crater, approximately 30 miles from Holbrook, Arizona. The 500 foot deep hole was created by a meteorite 22,000 years ago. Not quite as impressive as the Grand Canyon, but certainly an attraction to make time for.meteor crater


  1. The Grand Canyon. Told you we’d get there eventually. Also in the state of Arizona and number 9 on our list is possibly our favourite stop en route, and how could it not be? The Grand canyon is an incredible 277 miles long and 6,000 feet deep. It’s a natural wonder of the world and an absolute must-see attraction on every Route 66 road trip. Words cannot describe how big, beautiful and truly impressive this sight is. You really need to see it for yourself…Grand Canyon Overlook


  1. The Neon Museum in Las Vegas. This one is technically off track, but how could you not make a pitstop in Vegas when you’ve come all that way? Love it or hate it, it’s certainly an experience and the Neon Museum is worth a visit. Quite simply it’s a collection of Las Vegas signs displayed for educational, historic, arts and cultural enrichment. The Neon Museum is only available for hour-long guided tours, so make sure you book.Las Vegas Neon Museum

Then, before you know it you’ll have passed through the Mojave desert, over mountains and through the lush inland valleys of California, where you will reach the bright lights of Hollywood and the beautiful beaches of Santa Monica. It’s here that your Route 66 trip must come to an end, and you can enjoy a dip in the beautiful Pacific Ocean before getting a flight home.

Would you like to find out more about booking your dream Route 66 trip? We help people plan USA holidays every day!
Contact us to find out more

Hey! Harleys Aren’t Just for the boys!

Eagle Rider bikes in Monument ValleyShe’s an adventurous lady. That’s for sure. But not an adrenaline junkie. Not a barmy thrill-seeking, middle-aged woman who is rebelling against the inexorable slide towards chutney making at the Women’s Institute. It’s just that she’s reached a time in her life when she wants to experience “stuff”. And according to research there are countless women who feel the same and are embarking on great travel experiences as their lives at home start to simplify – and according to some research it it the girls who are more adventurous than the boys! Fair enough, I say. Macchu Picchu, The Great Wall of China, Cambodia – adventurous without being unreasonably reckless. The travel trade, rather patronisingly in my view, dubbed this sort of thing “soft adventure” some years ago.

So there we were the other evening talking about some of the things that Bon Voyage offers to its clients. A glass of chilled Sauvignon blanc may have been involved.

“Hey, I’ve done that, and it was great fun,” she squealed, rather animatedly, when I mentioned Harley adventures across America (click here for info), and in particular the iconic Route 66.

It turns out that she was a pillion passenger on a Harley and did part of Route 66, up to the Grand Canyon and then on to Las Vegas.

“Really?” said I, just a touch too sceptically. “Wasn’t it a bit boring just sitting on the back of the bike for hours at a time, with nothing but desert and tumbleweed to look at? Oh, and the back of somebody’s head?”

“No more so than riding the bike” she replied “but at least those bikes are built for comfortable cruising. And the amazing, breath-taking scenery is constantly changing. But it was sooo much more exciting than that” she gushed. “Riding without a helmet and the strange feeling of vulnerability, yet freedom, chasing a mile-long freight train , joining a group of hairy bikers for part of the trip , eating at the Road Kill Café and experiencing some parts of the Grand Canyon that we might never have seen. Not just for the boysThe exhilarating sweeps and twists of Red Rock Canyon to Sedona and wanting to exchange the bike for a horse, chaps and a cowboy hat! The ferocious sun burning through my jeans, and even the taste of the dust after a day on the road, and the sweet ecstasy of washing it away with an ice-cold beer. But it can get really hot coming down through the high plains at the Canyon and down into the desert as you approach Las Vegas. What with the sweltering desert temperatures and the heat coming off the Harley, I couldn’t wait to get off the bike and into the pool! Oh and to the shops at Caesars…erm, for the air conditioning, of course”. Of course.

So I guess at Bon Voyage we might have been guilty of thinking that Harley holidays would only appeal to the boys. Maybe living the Harley dream – the open road and bugs-in-your-teeth cruising on a throbbing, classic motorcycle – appeals to a wider demographic that includes the girls too!

If you like the sound of a Harley Davidson holiday in America click here.

About the author: Phil Newcombe is a director of Bon Voyage.

Born to be Wild! Travelling Route 66 on a Harley

Since Billy Connolly and his greasy pony tail cruised along Route 66 on the popular ITV series in 2010, the bike- riding British public simply cannot get enough of Harley Holidays . We recently arranged a Route 66 Harley Holiday for a terrific group of guys from the UK and Phil Colman did a great job of blogging about the trip: He’s kindly agreed to let us publish his account of the adventure. Over to you Phil……(far right)

Santa Monica Pier – the end of Route 66.

Day 1: May 2012. Getting there.

OK, so the day had finally come – all packed and ready, say goodbye (and happy birthday to Melanie my wife) with lots of ‘be carefuls’ being offered. Continue reading Born to be Wild! Travelling Route 66 on a Harley

Route 66 – Escorted Harley Tour

Born To Be Wild! Travelling Route 66 On A Harley

Since Billy Connolly and his greasy pony tail cruised along Route 66 on the popular ITV series in 2010, the bike- riding British public simply cannot get enough of Harley Holidays . We recently arranged a Route 66 Harley Holiday for a terrific group of guys from the UK and Phil Colman did a great job of blogging about the trip: He’s kindly agreed to let us publish his account of the adventure. Over to you Phil……(far right)

Santa Monica Pier – the end of Route 66.

Day 1: May 2012. Getting there.

OK, so the day had finally come – all packed and ready, say goodbye (and happy birthday to Melanie my wife) with lots of ‘be carefuls’ being offered. Continue reading Route 66 – Escorted Harley Tour