Denise Goldberg's blog

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Manchester to Manchester?

One of my goals for this winter is to figure out my vacations for the year. Last minute planning worked for 2007, but I prefer to plan early, to have something to dream about, to look forward to (as opposed to dreaming about where I might wander).

I've been dreaming, and I have an early plan for what will likely be my second vacation in 2008. I still need to noodle through some options for a cycling trip for earlier in the year.

Where am I going? Caroline mentioned a photography seminar run by Light & Land in one of our email conversations, and the dreams started. I wandered through the web site, and my eyes were caught by a photography tour in the Lakes District of England. I emailed the organization with some questions, and I received their response. Hmm... Should I fly to England for a 3-day photography tour? I thought, and I thought. I toyed with different vacation options - after all, I have a limited amount of vacation time, and I need (yes, need!) to have some time to wander on my bike in addition to playing with my camera. Hey - it's time to stop thinking and start doing! Decision made; I'm going to be joining Caroline in Light & Land's Lake District photography workshop in September. Ah, a vacation to dream about...

But - I wasn't done thinking yet. Should I travel to England for just three days? I've traveled to the west coast for trips of that length - a little short of the distance to England - but this is going to be a vacation and not just a long weekend. I think I'll fly the Friday before the seminar and spend a few days hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.

Before I move off to dreaming of a vacation with my bike for earlier in the year, I started to look at transportation options, and at distances.

The distance doesn't really matter, but my curiosity got the better of me and I looked for a tool to show me point to point distances. I found MapCrow, a travel distance calculator. I suspect the distances shown there are air miles, and it satisfied my curiosity for now. Flying from Boston to Manchester, England shows as 3145 miles (5061 kilometers), and flying from Boston to Los Angeles shows as 2588 miles (4166 kilometers). So my gut feel for distances wasn't too far off.

Manchester to Manhester?
I suppose it's a bit silly, but I thought it would be fun to fly from Manchester, NH to Manchester, England. I live mid-way between two airports, Boston's Logan Airport and Manchester Boston Regional Airport. While it is possible to fly from Manchester to Manchester, the flights between those two cities exceed my annoyance levels. United Airlines flies from Manchester to Chicago to Manchester, but I really don't want to start my trip by flying backwards. Somehow flying 1000 miles to the west just to turn around and fly those same 1000 miles to the east before heading out over the ocean to England just doesn't appeal to me.

OK, OK, I knew before I rambled down the Manchester to Manchester path that I'd probably be flying out of Boston. Manchester is a great choice if there is a non-stop flight from there (on Southwest) to my travel destination, but Boston is the right starting point for this flight. I found two reasonable flight choices - American Airlines via JFK, or British Airways via London. Either way I will only have one plane change. Those travel paths are a little more expensive than the wacky flights that go through Chicago, but I'll choose cash over aggravation. I'd rather pay a little more for my plane tickets and spend less time in the air.

I find it amazing that the price of the flight is just over 53% of the total cost of the airfare, with the remaining 47% allocated to taxes and fees.

Rover said he's coming too. He says that he still prefers biking, but he thought that hiking in Death Valley was pretty cool. Oh, you haven't met Rover? He jumped into my panniers in Vermont just after I started my cross-country adventure back in 2002, and he's been traveling with me ever since.

Hey all - this is Rover! England? I went to Ireland with Denise back in 2003, and we haven't crossed the Atlantic Ocean since then. Wow! now I get to go to England too! I've asked Denise to bring her baby camera for me to play with; this dSLR is kind of clunky for me. After all, it's bigger than I am.

Hiking and camera play sounds good, but I want to travel somewhere on a bike too. So Denise - keep unwinding the thoughts wrapped around all of your potential cycling destinations.