Over our ten years as WorldMark South Pacific Club members, we have stayed at many of the resorts within Australia, but this year we used our membership to take a fantastic overseas trip arranged for us by the friendly consultants at the Travel Club.
A Members’ evening in 2011 reminded us that the Travel Club was our ‘one stop shop’ for all travel arrangements, so using our Vacation Credits as payment, planning began in earnest (Editor’s note: Visit Owner Education for more information about these Ownership support evenings).
The USA was our choice, and we soon settled on a Cosmos ‘Trans-American Adventure’ Tour, which certainly lived up to its name, taking 23 days to cross the United States by coach from New York to Los Angeles. The tour, additional hotel accommodation in New York, transfers and airfares were all organised for us by the Travel Club.
When we set off at the end of September, flying Qantas to Los Angeles, then American Airlines to New York, everything had been done for us.
We were so excited! Our time in New York saw us walking the length of the famous 42nd Street from Times Square to the United Nations building at the far end of Manhattan, taking in the Grand Central Terminus, and the Chrysler Building.
Our tour then took us to Philadelphia and Washington, where we had a local guide to show us around the somber and dignified Arlington National Cemetery and the National Mall before we used our free time to explore the National Air and Space Museum full of early planes as well as famous space rockets: it is the most popular Museum in the US!
Then it was north to Niagara and the “Maid of the Mist’ boat ride near the Falls, with everyone wrapped in blue plastic ponchos, and then turning west to the fascinating Henry Ford Museum at Dearborn, full of interesting displays about the struggle for civil rights in America, as well as early cars and Presidential limousines. We had time to walk along the chilly shores of Lake Michigan and among the magnificent skyscrapers of ‘the Windy City,’ Chicago.
As we continued to travel westwards through prairie, grasslands and the famous Black Hills of Dakota, temperatures fell further, and we even experienced sleet and snow on our way to Mt Rushmore, meaning a trip to the local Walmart store to buy beanies, scarves and gloves was in order!
Once we arrived at the national parks in the Rockies, the weather stayed sunny but very cold: at Yellowstone the overnight temperature dropped to -13 degrees and there was ice on the cars in the hotel car park! We saw bison, elk and coyote among the spectacular geysers, and on our next stop at Bryce Canyon, we hiked through gold and orange-coloured rocks down to the bottom of the canyon. Dragging ourselves back up, breathing with difficulty as the rim was at nearly 9000 ft. We walked along the gorge at Zion National Park,and this part of the tour finished with a spectacular sunset and pizza all round on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
Visits to Salt Lake City, Las Vegas and finally Los Angeles saw us arrive on the west coast, 3 weeks after we had started.
We saw sights we will never forget, and constantly found Americans we talked to amazed at the extent of our travels, exclaiming that we were visiting places they’d never seen themselves! Now we have over 500 photographs to show for our travels and many memories of spectacular sights and dreams turned to reality, courtesy of our Travel Club: thank you to our consultant, Makyla, and to Worldmark South Pacific Club by Wyndham – you made it so easy and helped us enjoy the trip of a lifetime!
Philip and Rosemary
WorldMark Owners since 2002