Travelogue West Coast USA

Who I am
Martí Micolau

Author and references

It was not a trip in my strings. Has the United States never intrigued me again? from time to time. Then, pushed by my partner, we decide to undertake a road trip on the west coast of the USA.

Result:? it was such a great trip that the following year we returned!

1 day

Could Stephen King write a book set in Turin Caselle airport at 04 am - squeaks in the night in a deserted place. Does it start like this? our adventure made in USA!

After 11 hours of flight Turin-San Francisco with a stopover in Frankfurt we finally touch the US soil. An invigorating night are we ready to visit the city? from a thousand hills!

2 day

We start the day with a typical American style breakfast: pancakes with maple syrup and fruit salad for me while a pie filled with eggs and bacon for my companion.
Despite the strange weight in the stomach we head immediately to Fisherman? S Wharf, one of the most? famous of San Francisco.
Strolling among the shellfish vendors, we see a colony of sea lions beached on barges. A billion photos, a hundred of? Ohhh? and? Ahhhh? with every movement of these cute animals and away! We rent a bike and cross the Golden Gate, the symbolic bridge of the city.
Do I always overestimate my abilities? sports.
In fact, after having crossed the Golden Gate on a magnificent sunny day and after having gone up and down every hill in the city, I understand that I have exaggerated: I don't feel anymore. legs!
We rest with a refreshing beer and, thanks to jet lag, we finish the day just after sunset.

3 day

The start of the day does not? of the best ... since we have not found better than a breakfast in a Mc Donalds (on Sunday? all closed!).
The day quickly resumes thanks to a morning walk where we see the beautiful Cable Car (the typical trams of San Francisco) and Lombard Street, a steep stretch of road in a residential area of ​​the city.
Around lunchtime we head to the port where guided tours for Alcatraz prison depart. It is essential to book the ferry well in advance (we booked on the following site as soon as the flight was purchased).
The penitentiary is located on a very windy island that stands right in front of the San Francisco bay.
Alcatraz can be visited independently, but to control the flow of tourists, there are time slots in which the ferries depart.
Once we arrived on the island, we went into the maze of the famous prison where, among others, Al Capone lived, trying to capture the emotions felt by the inmates in those cramped cells.
The excellent audio guide (also in Italian), the dilapidated structures and the strong wind transport the island into an abstract dimension, which has remained unchanged over the last 50 years.
Alcatraz alone is worth the trip to San Francisco!

4 day

The next day, we leave for the dusty roads of the United States!
The misunderstanding occurred with the Avis car rental makes us nervous (we had booked the car from Italy but once we arrived at the office, we discover that there are no cars and all the people who have a reservation for that day must go to retrieve the half in the airport at your own expense) but we roll up our sleeves, share a taxi with two nice girls from Quebec who had the same problem, and head to the airport to finally take the car that will allow us? to get lost on the American streets!
We spend the first day of "on the road" traveling, between the desert areas of California and remote dining areas. We have dinner in a steak house and find a small motel just off the highway perfect for our few pretensions.

5 day

After a breakfast of delicious burritos (we like to stay light in the morning) we leave for Death Valley.
Lunar landscapes and expanses without the slightest human trace.
With its 45 degrees to keep us company we cross the canyons passing by the famous Zabriskie Point, Dante's View, Mustard Canyon (where we have fun on pieces of dirt road) ending with the Badwater Basin, which is the most? lower western hemisphere (86 m below sea level).
The recommendations of the rangers are wasted in the Valley of Death, every year this valley honors its name by making several victims: poisonous snakes and dehydration (very important to drink a lot) are the main causes of deaths.
We close the day with a twilight visit to Rhyolite, a city? ghost abandoned in the early 900s by its inhabitants. Dinner in a diner and motel near Beatty (Nevada) notorious town known for UFO sightings as it is close to Area 51.

6 day

We leave early and after a while we see the skyscrapers of Las Vegas ... uaoo !!
At first glance it looks like an alien base in the desert: where do they get all that light? And the water for the immense fountains of the sumptuous hotels? ... we are in the middle of nowhere! Is it a city? alienating, a succession of huge buildings where lights, sounds and gaudiness? I'm at home.
Despite appearances, the sumptuous hotels are ... cheap !! To be clear ... they have the costs of the motels (70 $ per night). So we decide to sleep on the Strip, the main street, allowing ourselves a "luxury" room at the Tropicana (if you are not cool in Las Vegas where are you doing it ?!)
Did we wander around the casinos in the evening? pi? famous, passing from the reproduction of the Eiffel Tower to the water games of the Bellagio, from the Roman splendor of Caesar's Palace to the reconstruction of Venice of the Venetian hotel, and then ending with the plays of light and water of the Mirage volcano. Special mention to the Egyptian pyramid of Luxor and the New York skyline with the built-in roller coaster (never seen so much kitsch all together!).
It's our time: do we decide to enjoy everything at the casino ?! I sit in front of a slot and play well ... 2 $! After so much thrill we go back to our suite at 16? plan for a well deserved rest.

7 day

We spend the morning in the swimming pool of the Tropicana hotel (you won't believe it but there is a black jack table inside the swimming pool!).
In the afternoon we leave for the Grand Canyon, calculating well the times to transit on Route 66 at sunset. The warm light of the setting of the sun pervades the deserted street, a coyote walking on the prairie, old gas stations with creaking signs seem to be there? why? time yes? stopped. We turn up the volume, stop talking and let ourselves be lulled by the music of Creedence Clearwater Revival. A unique moment.
Do we arrive in a remote place with few houses, now dark? around us and we see a typical diner where we dine with a huge black angus burger. We spend the night in a motel in Williams, at the gateway to the Grand Canyon.

8 day

The Grand Canyon? a feast for the eyes, stones corroded and polished by the years stand desolate for thousands of kilometers.
The day goes by quickly with pleasant walks among the vegetation and the cliffs of the canyons. We interrupt the visit for a sudden storm that forces us to travel ahead of time for the nearby Monument Valley.
On the way, we stop at the Native American stalls along the way and let myself be conquered by the beautiful handmade objects.
We arrive in the evening near Kayenta, we proceed with the usual ritual of asking the various motels for the prices for a room and we discover that in that area the prices are exorbitant for our tastes (200 $ per night in an average motel).
Small emergency meeting and ... we decide to sleep in the car!
We enter cos? in a parking lot near one of the motels (it made us feel safe) and we prepare to spend the night more? travel budget!

9 day

After 3/4 hours of sleep (I said cheap, not comfortable) we find a diner to freshen up and have breakfast. Once resumed we are preparing to visit the Monument Valley!
The plan for the day? clear: spend a few hours to see the beautiful views and in the early afternoon find a motel where to regenerate a bit.
As usual we let ourselves be carried away by the scenarios that Nature gives us.
We wander among these bright red rock formations positioned in the middle of desert moors that are lost visibly. Horses in the wild running freely, animal carcasses by the roadside and rivers flowing in perfect curves within the earth.
Nature, in my opinion, has created such a place on purpose to be admired.
In the nearby Bluff (Utah) we visit a nice reconstruction of the old west with attached museum, made by some Mormons. Thanks to the audio tracks inside the reconstructed homes, we retraced the life of the Mormon missionaries who, received "the call", sold all their belongings to buy the equipment and colonize those lands. Endless journeys in which there were no roads, but only a starting point and an arrival point, decided on a map.
Back to the present day,? now late to implement our initial plan, so we drive non-stop until evening towards Flagstaff (Arizona), find a motel and after a dinner in downtown we collapse.

10 day

In the morning, after a short tour, we leave for Sedona, locality? famous in America for the swirls of positive energy that are released inside the rock formations. We get lost in the hippie spirit of the town and towards the late afternoon we begin the long journey towards the last stop: Los Angeles.
Heading towards Los Angeles we see a sign indicating the junction for Prescott (Arizona) ... quick look at the Lonely Planet that describes it as an old-fashioned west town and without delay we take the junction. Let's decide so? to spend one more night on the road.
After booking a room in a motel, we have dinner in a room in an old saloon and enjoy a country music concert in the town square.

11 day

In the end we really leave for Los Angeles.
After going through a sandstorm we arrive in Los Angeles in the late afternoon. We find a motel quite easily in Orange County, a residential area just outside LA but in our opinion much more? livable.

12 day

I did not particularly love this city, not very close to man, sumptuous on one side and dilapidated on the other.
Seeing Hollywood seems like a must, and we spend an afternoon strolling on the nearest sidewalk. famous in the world, and see its luster and its contradictions.

13 day

In addition to the sea and the immense beaches, we decide to visit Santa Monica, which with its boulevard makes it one of the most? trendy Los Angeles.

14 day

Wake up in the late morning, after a breakfast made of fruit juice, we spend the day lounging on the beach, reading and naps (swimming is prohibited, due to the very high waves perfect for surfers)

15 day

The day is repeated as the previous one: sea, sun, beaches, aperitif in the evening and dinner.

16 day

Unfortunately we arrived at the last day, and in conclusion, as pleasant as the beaches of Orange County are, nothing? comparable to the emotions of America on the road!

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