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What was the best trip of your life? Our Traveling Friends @flavio_14:_dh__ and @maria_rowling tell us theirs: A Road Trip through the western United States.
And they explain it to us in detail and with fantastic photos! An unforgettable trip for them that has influenced them forever and now they tell us with great enthusiasm. You are going to love how these young and intrepid travellers narrate their adventure through American lands. We have already taken proper note of the entire route!
ROAD TRIP WEST OF THE UNITED STATES
Hello, we are Flavio and Maria, we love that break from the daily routine that implies making a trip, that’s why, every time our commitments permit it, we don’t hesitate to get on a plane and visit other places in the world.
On this occasion we have the pleasure of sharing our experience in what has been the best trip of our lives, a Road Trip through the West of the United States.
After an important period of prior planning in which we adjusted our destinations to the time we had, we calculated the trips by road and we decided on the lodgings in which we would stop to rest, the day arrived: We were heading to Los Angeles where our route would begin and end.
We would define it as a film city, and it literally is. Everything has an air of what we have seen in series, cinema, etc…
From the moment you leave the airport you will find its famous streets full of palm trees. You’re in one of the most populous cities in the United States, yet it’s not overwhelming because of its large size and the fact that, with the exception of downtown, the buildings aren’t very tall. There is a great diversity of cultures, with that peaceful coastal air that you can breathe while strolling along the Santa Monica pier or in Venice Beach, the cradle of surfing and part of the hippie movement or the luxury and popularity of places like Hollywood, Beverly Hills or Bel-Air.
Pacific Coast Highway
After a few days in Los Angeles we headed north across the Pacific coast. In this stage of the trip we enjoyed the sunrise on the beaches of Malibu, we visited a Danish village called Solvang that transported you directly from America to Denmark, we were dazzled with the landscapes that the coast was offering us as we continued our way by the Pacific Ocean: places like Morro Bay, Big Sur, the McWay Falls, some waterfalls that lead directly to a paradisiacal beach, the Bixby Creek bridge and Piedras Blancas where a large group of elephant seals have turned the beach into their resting place.
At the end of the day we visited Carmel by the Sea, a beautiful coastal town with white sand beaches, where it is worth mentioning how intrigued the actor Clint Eastwood was in the past when he was the Mayor.
Our northernmost destination was the city of San Francisco, on the way to it we took the opportunity to visit Silicon Valley and see the famous headquarters of Apple, Google and Facebook as well as a NASA research center. Then we set off again and arrived at a city that was engraved in our hearts and when you arrive in San Francisco you fall in love. Its singular streets which are always steeply ascending or descending, its Victorian houses, the docks area, the historic Alcatraz prison or the iconic Golden Gate Bridge make you never forget this magical city.
After spending some fantastic days in San Francisco we headed east to Yosemite National Park. We decided to make a first stop at Mariposa Grove, a beautiful forest home to about 500 giant sequoias, the largest of which stands at 63.7 metres high, has a base circumference of 29 metres that leaves you indifferent and is estimated to be between 1900 and 2400 years old.
After having spent the night in the mining town of Mariposa, the following day we headed for the Yosemite valley; with the river Merced accompanying us along the way, we arrived at one of the most impressive places we have ever seen.
First we approached the viewpoint Tunnel View, where you can see a panoramic view of the entire valley and we were breathless when we saw so much beauty in the form of waterfalls, forests and mountains, this is a place that makes you aware of what this planet is and makes you think about what was before our passage through it.
We decided to go deep into the valley and discovered lakes that reflect the landscape as if they were a mirror, the verticality of mountains like El Capitán, the emotion of walking a few metres away from a waterfall… some friends joked that the photos we took there were not real but were photographs of a studio because of the idyllic landscape and Yosemite enriched us in a way we will never forget.
After spending the day in the park we set off north to cross the California snowy mountain range, 6 hours of mountain road, including a sudden snowfall, which took us to the town where we would spend the night, Mammoth Lakes, before continuing our road trip to the Death Valley.
Death Valley and Las Vegas
The next day we got up very early and left for Death Valley, the first people who passed by described it as a place “with no rivers to drink, and no trees to hang themselves from” hence its name. It is one of the places that boasts the highest temperatures on the planet although during our visit it was luckily quite cool. In it we were able to visit the Badwater basin, the lowest point in North America which is 86 metres below sea level or the Artists Palette a chain of mountains where the oxidation of the different minerals makes you see a palette of colours over them.
After spending the morning in the desert we took the direction of Las Vegas, change of state and change of air. We would describe it as addiction and madness. Every day at all hours is a non-stop party. The luxury of big casinos is intermingled with the chaos of the street resulting in a unique city that must be visited once in a lifetime (or severally if you are partying type).
Bryce Canyon and Page
After our ” Hangover in Las Vegas ” we left for the state of Utah to visit the Bryce Canyon, a national park famous for its reddish rock formations in the form of chimneys. It is a very comfortable park due to the fact that you travel along the viewpoints in what they call the amphitheatre.
We were amazed at how capricious the erosion of nature can be due to the uniqueness of the site and we continued our journey as our next destination was still several hours away; This time we headed for Page, a town within the “Navajo Nation“, in the state of Arizona, where we would spend the night and visit the Horseshoe Bend, a steep curve of the Colorado River in the shape of a horse-shoe, which together with the sunset that was happening in the background and the characteristic reddish tones of Arizona offered us an image and sensations that we will never forget.
Antelope Canyon and Monument Valley
At this stage of the trip we were heading east but, before leaving Page, we made an obligatory visit to the Antelope Canyon: a crossing through a narrow canyon in the ground where its reddish colour, its narrowness and its curves combine with the light that filters from the surface and make you enjoy a surreal experience.
In addition, we were accompanied by a young guide from the Navajo tribe (who organize these excursions) who greatly enriched our visit with his knowledge and anecdotes of the place.
Once our visit was over, we went to the border of Utah with Arizona to visit the Monument Valley, which is the scene of many western movies due to the spectacular formation of the mountain tops in the middle of the great valley. Here we spent the afternoon driving our car through the park and being fascinated by the mythical place in front of us.
We spent the night in a hotel inside the park and after hosing the coach and eating breakfast watching the sun rise between the Monument we got back on the road, this time the course was west and the first stop was the Grand Canyon.
As in each stage of this trip we were overwhelmed by the bittersweet feeling of leaving behind another wonderful place but we quickly got excited about what was ahead. 3 hours and 176 miles of travelling (283 km) later we arrived at the entrance to the Grand Canyon National Park and once we sat there on the first viewpoint, we discovered why it deserves its adjective; your sight is lost in the immensity of that gorge that for millions of years has been escarpment of the Colorado River, being 29 km wide at some points.
We enjoyed a sunny day touring the different viewpoints that can be visited and that allow you to have different views of this testament to the history of the planet as evidenced by the rocks that it consists of which has been scientifically proven that can be up to 230 million years old. A place that is undoubtedly impressive.
Our next stage consisted of travelling along the so-called main street of America: Route 66, back to Los Angeles. After leaving the Grand Canyon past noon we decided to spend the night in one of the mythical towns of 66, Williams, a town full of shops with neon signs, classic gas stations, road motels and the famous dinners in which you recovered energy based on a good milkshake.
The next day we left towards the west, with the forecast of about 500 miles ahead (804 km) we stopped at the most interesting points of this route, it was here where we experienced the classic American atmosphere, in this iconic road trip. These are places full of nostalgia for what was once the most important route in the United States and now lives off its tourist attraction having been sidelined from its importance by a fast and direct highway.
We were able to visit from the typical fanciful places full of classic American cars to an old mining town in the middle of the desert called Oatman, where the protagonists are donkeys that wander the streets and shops waiting for tourists to give them an appetizer (you can buy food for them in the shops for $1).
Our last stops on this route were for lunch, in another classic dining room and in an authentic ghost town called “Cálico“, where we travelled a hundred and forty years back in time.
Finally, at dusk we arrived again at our starting point: Los Angeles, specifically at the Santa Monica dock where the famous sign indicating the end of Route 66 is located.
Los Ángeles Universal
The last day of our adventure. As a reward for those who have reached the goal, we decided to dedicate it entirely to Universal Amusement Park, in Hollywood, where we enjoyed its attractions as children, we walked through the streets of Springfield, rode on roller coasters and experienced the magic of visiting Hogwarts.
In the evening we decided to say goodbye to this road trip going up to one of the most iconic places in Los Angeles: The Griffith Observatory, which due to its high position is one of the best viewpoints from where you can appreciate the immensity of this great city. From there we could see the street lights moving away until they got lost in the horizon and after 15 days we still couldn’t believe what we had experienced and we were already beginning to wonder when we would visit all these amazing places that will always have a place in our memories again.
Without a doubt, the best trip of our life.
Flavio and María.
Nuestra comunidad de Amigos Viajeros
Amigos viajeros de diferentes nacionalidades nos cuentan sus viajes y destinos favoritos, así como sus experiencias más increíbles, reflexiones, vivencias y opiniones. Además, nos muestran con sus fotografías y vídeos los bellos rincones de nuestro planeta que han visitado.
Our community of Friends Travelers
Traveling friends of different nationalities tell us about their favorite trips and destinations, as well as their most incredible experiences, reflections, experiences and opinions. In addition, they show us with their photographs and videos the beautiful corners of our planet that they have visited.