This thing on?

By Colin McFadden
This post is part of a series called UK 2021
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So uhh, what’s new?

Obviously it’s been a bit since we had occasion to do a travel blog post. However, we’re currently somewhere over the Atlantic on our way to the United Kingdom. The lead up to this trip has been an emotional roller coaster, to say the least. We booked it on December 24th, 2020. It was an optimistic time – Biden was about to be inaugurated, vaccines were coming. Surely by August, we’d be back to normal! We watched as the UK aggressively rolled out their “jabs” (said with an implicit eyeroll). Surely they’d be welcoming visitors any day! We got our shots in April and began traveling domestically, enjoying the freedom of our 95% effective mRNA vaccines – who cares about those idiots who won’t get a shot, we’re safe!

Summer ticked on by, and the UK still hadn’t welcomed back tourists. An inscrutable “traffic light” system meant they added and removed countries on a near daily basis, but the US was nowhere to be seen. A commission was formed to reopen US-UK travel, which promptly stalled out.

By late July, we’d all but given up hope of being able to go on the trip. But then, as is so often the case (for better or worse) capitalism rode to the rescue. If one reads between the lines, a number of international airlines offered to do all the work to verify the vaccination status of tourists coming from the US and Europe. In return, the British government agreed to let those tourists in without the mandatory 10 day quarantine. All systems go!

And then vaccinated people started getting sick. As Delta ran roughshod over the UK and the US, travel started to sound scary again. In the days leading up to our trip, delta struck close to home, and we were back to hovering over the cancel button. We’re embarking on this trip with very conflicted feelings, and plenty of guilt. Check back for exciting news about whether we made the right decision!

Oh right, the trip! Why are we going to the UK in the first place? Normally we travel to culinary destinations like Malaysia or  Vietnam. That’s not generally considered a prime reason to travel to the British Isles. Instead, this trip is about taking a drive.

Back in 1936, the Morgan Motor Company in Malvern Link started making a car called the 4/4. They forgot to stop making it. So in a few days, we’re headed to the Morgan factory to pick up a “Plus Four” (thoroughly modernized! It has a heater!) to drive around Wales. This is part of a “Morgan Experience Drive”, in which they arrange our lodging, our routes, and the car. We’re expecting to spend a lot of time being slightly damp, looking slightly silly.

After a few days in the “moggie”, we’ll be driving down to the southwest of England to spend a few days hiking in Dartmoor national park and along the Jurassic Coast. Dear reader, we have packed so many books about geology. Prepare to be educated.

We’re kicking things off with 36 hours in London, the highlights of which will be a dinner at Nopi and a visit to the British museum. We’ve got a packed schedule that assumes we’ll suffer no jetlag, in spite of our 6:45am arrival time. Fingers crossed!

5 thoughts on “This thing on?

  • Judith Shekmar August 21, 2021 at 1:09 am Reply

    Sounds absolutely fabulous – enjoy every moment – damp or dry – cloudy or sunny – eat well, rest and take care of each other 🙂

  • Susan August 21, 2021 at 1:22 am Reply

    This has cheered me up immensely — thank you! I second what Judy said!

  • Deb August 21, 2021 at 1:22 am Reply

    Yay—I’m so glad you are having adventures and blogging about them! Please don’t feel guilty—I feel like you are doing us a big favor. Enjoy every minute and all that geology. Now I have to Google that car.

  • Mike Stratton August 23, 2021 at 1:52 am Reply

    I can’t wait to read your narrative and vicariously travel with you two…

  • Judi Orr August 23, 2021 at 2:37 am Reply

    Sounds wonderful. Most interested in hearing your impression of Wales. We visited many years ago but don’t know anyone else who has. Safe travels !

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