I grew up in California in a small town in San Joaquin Valley. It is a very flat and dry place. It only rained in the winter and rarely very got cold, even in the winter. It was hot as the blazes in the summer time though. I remember blistering my feet on the pavement running bare foot across the street. This is where I called home for many years. I rarely left it. I saw mountains or the ocean maybe once a year. Even the foot hills were a rare treat. Snow was something you went to see. We might get a dusting every 5-7 years. My family pretty much stayed home, read books or watched TV. I rode my bicycle all over town, until my bicycle got stolen. Then I walked or stayed home till I was old enough to drive. There was no public transportation. As a teen and even older, big excitement was going to the mall and window shopping. We didn't have one where I lived and had to drive 20 - 30 minutes to get to a mall. I can remember going on 2 big vacations the whole time I was growing up. One to Yellowstone and one to Disneyland. There were a few camping trips. (in Grandpa's old trailer, Mom didn't do tents and sleeping bags.)
MY DH however grew up in Italy, Rome and Sicily and later Milan, were his to explore. Bicycles or public transportation were more common. His family traveled more and spent more time being active. (or hyperactive compared to the way I was raised.)
I guess that explains a lot about the differences in the way he and I see things. Especially physical activities, travel and vacations. His idea of a cool vacation is something that keeps you moving like going to France and doing the Paris-Brest-Paris ride. He's hoping to do that in 2011. My equivalent would be to go to Paris and visit Museums or drive around seeing the countryside. I've only been once, and with a 2 year old in toe, Museums were out of the question.
When we started talking about doing a bicycle tour as a reward for losing this extra 100 lbs I've been carrying around for more than 20 years, I was thinking something like a leisurely touring Ireland by bike. Seeing the old castles, meeting people and visiting a pub or two and taking a ton of pictures. Or maybe... I don't know there are loads of places where things like that are available to see and do. The thing is My DH isn't really interested in Ireland, castles or any place he's already seen. He's been there, he's seen that, so why not go some place else.
This leaves me kind of lost as to where I'd like to go. I want to go somewhere we will all enjoy. You have to remember, I've not been anywhere. I've never really expected to be able to go any where, so I've never really thought about where to go or what to do when I get there.
Someone commented about Switzerland being great for bike rides. They sure have tons of bike trails. Some countries don't have road systems as complete as Switzerland's bike trails, and it is beautiful there.
Then there's Italy, I have a built in translator in DH as he was raised there. I've heard that unless you are out of the more populated areas the drivers can be a big hazard, so that would restrict us to areas that had less services and would be harder to build our own tour so to speak. We would also have to spend extra time there beyond the tour as the relatives would never forgive us for traveling that far and not letting them spend time with DD. So the tour would have be more limited and to some extent more about what the relatives wanted us to do than what we wanted to do.
New Zealand is supposed to be beautiful as are many other places around the world. I just don't know enough about them to make a decision.
After considering a lot of places, I read a cool report about someone that lived in Germany that did the west coast tour from Alaska to Mexico. He mentioned that most US cyclists miss out on teh west coast ride because they travel out side the US for their longer rides. I've done the route but only in a car and it is indeed beautiful. I wonder if I woudl compare other locations against it and decide I would have rather ridden the west coast ride? We don't have the time to do a tour that long. (When you are self employed, if you don't work, you don't get paid. So paid vacations are not an option.) But we could train in Washington and Oregon and then tour for a week or so on the Northern California coast. Maybe the next year pick up where we left off and do the central to southern half of the state. My only concern is that I've driven highway 1. OK that doesn't really make sense unless you've driven highway 1 too. It's a narrow winding 2 lane road. It's awesomely beautiful. Today I can't see myself pedaling up those hills though. Maybe a year or so from now that will change. Hopefully in a year or so a lot of things will have changed.
Mostly I just want this to be a vacation that will be fun for the whole family, and I won't be dragging along behind, too fat and too tired, to keep up.