A Travellerspoint blog


Sequoia to The Grand Canyon via Las Vegas

From the sublime to the ridiculous and back again!

Hi everyone again!

Apologies for taking so long to do another update, we've been seriously clocking up the miles on our last week in the US to try and cram as much in as possible!

We visited the Sequoia National Park about a week ago, leaving the tranquil shores of Morro Bay behind.

As we climbed the 6,500 feet into the park, the windy roads with snow on the sides hinted that perhaps our attire of shorts and t-shirts may not have been entirely appropriate!
Funnily enough, the sun was warm enough to keep us comfortable as we explored the melting winter wonderland of giant Sequoias, including of course the largest tree in the world - the General Sherman.

Following an overnight stay in a quaint lodge-style motel, we hit the road once more towards the Mojave Desert in order to reach the decadance and indulgence of Las Vegas in Arizona!

We attempted to climb the 700-foot Kelso sand-dune in the Mojave during mid-afternoon as the sun beat down mercilessly - we got about a third of the way there before our water supply became depleted and we were both feeling the pace and the heat! So we contented ourselves with running back down some of the bigger dunes and taking some photos of the area.

We then drove through the largest concentration of Joshua Trees in the world en-route to Las Vegas, a surreal sight as it approaches after a long drive through a largely featureless and perfectly straight highway in the desert.

Vegas was everything we expected - an assault on the senses as you wander around in awe of the super-casinos with their themed frontages, water-fountain displays and lights piercing into the Arizona night.

We decided to gamble big-time and tried our hand at the one-arm bandits, raising our stake to a whopping 2 dollars and 80 cents at one point before losing it all on the (not so) Happy Days machine in New York New York - it was a dizzying hour and a half of high-rolling gambling madness!!

After a couple of days, the dubious delights of Vegas began to wear a little thin and so we elected to drive to Flagstaff, which would be our base for 2 days in order to visit the Grand Canyon.

Flagstaff is 6,000 feet above sea level and substantially colder than Vegas, so again we got a shock when we got there! Taking plenty of layers, we headed out to explore the Grand Canyon.
We weren't disappointed by the views when we arrived - the Canyon is beautiful and awe-inspiring in equal measure. At some points you can view ridges 45 miles away as it drifts around corners, while the Colorado River can be seen a mile down and the Canyon itself is 18 miles wide in places.
It's hard to comprehend these distances when you look at the Canyon, and so it's best to walk one of the trails in order to view it from different vantage points. Every corner turned offers a different perspective on one of the wonders of the natural world.

The following day, we chose to drive a whopping 501 miles back to the Californian coast, meaning we had 2 days to chill out by the sea before heading to LA International Airport tonight to fly to Auckland - next stop New Zealand!

Hope you're all well and take care for now!

Posted by rioandlucy 12:45 Archived in USA Comments (2)

From San Fran to Santa Cruz

Highway 1 in the sun!


Hi everyone, hope you're all okay and life in the UK is treating you well?

We're currently in Salinas, a large town slightly inland from the Californian coast - we're here for 4 nights as the motels on the coast are more expensive at the weekend, and so this is a good base for visiting Big Sur and Monterey over the weekend while staying at a nice motel for the bargain price of $45 a night for both of us. Not bad!

We flew from New York to San Fran last week and were very impressed by both cities, though obviously they're very different.

San Fran is a chilled place as you can imagine, very green and fresh (and expensive) - it would be a great place to live if you could afford the mortgage and high prices!
We sailed under the Golden Gate, visited Alcatraz, watched Sea Lions sun-bathe, road the famous street cars and visited some great museums and aquariums.

We've now got a brand new Ford Focus, which seem a lot bigger in the US, and it's a great way to explore the delights of the coastal road Highway 1. We left Santa Cruz Thursday morning, it's an amusing hippie town with a boardwalk, funfair and big dipper rightby the beach! We stayed there for 2 nights and have seen some huge redwoods in a national park nearby - one of the trees there was around 2000 years old when it fell in the 1930's and the others were breathtaking in their size and form. I hope our photos do them justice! We watched seals rounding up fish near the pier before diving in for dinner and whales coming to shore for a breather, the wildlife is really something!

Highway 1 is just beautiful - difficult to drive down without saying 'wow!' all the time - dramatic waves crashing in from the Pacific on one side, and lush forests and meadows sitting on rolling hills as far as the eye can see on the other. It's largely quiet and wide too, so just a great drive all in all.

This weekend we're going to expore Big Sur and the upper-class delights of Monterey, plus a national forest or two in the area which I'm sure will be fantastic, just like the one near Santa Cruz we visited. We do have pictures to share with you but it's been hard to find PCs which allow us to upload photos, so bear with us on this one!


Posted by rioandlucy 17:01 Archived in USA Comments (2)

New York, New York

The Big Apple surpasses expectations


New York is an amazing city, so much better than we thought - everything has been fantastic so far.

We've done the Natural History Museum, Central Park, Statton Island Ferry, shopping at
Macy's, watched 'Avenue Q' on Broadway, went to the top of the Empire State Building, gazed in awe at the splendour of Grand Central Station and watched the St Patricks Day celebrations. We've eaten countless hot-dogs and sampled award winning cheesecakes....delicious!!!

Best of all we're staying bang on Time Square, which has to be seen to be believed.
We even got a free hotel room upgrade this morning with free internet access!

We leave for San Fran tomorrow - not sure we could afford to stay here for much longer anyway, there's just so much great stuff to spend your money on - clothes, food, sightseeing, tours...they're all fantastic!

We've met some really lovely people too - strangers offering directions, a lovely old lady in the theatre box office who gave us a discount after taking pity on us, friendly staff in hot dog joints in the suburbs...perhaps not what you'd usually expect from a city like New York.
We've have had some spectacularly good, and bad service too - ask Lucy about the camp guy in Macy's some time - hilarious!

The picture above is a screen grab from the online CCTV cameras at TGI Fridays on Times Square. We will be uploading more as soon as we find a pc that will let us!!

Posted by rioandlucy 09:51 Archived in USA Comments (3)

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