Published: June 22nd 2006June 14th 2006
Sunset over the bay
We were a short walk from the bay, and could see the bridge and Alcatraz
We left you in the 'Land Down Under', and since then we flew out of Sydney and over to the USA, probably our last stop in this trip! OK, its a pretty big stop and there is a lot for us to see, but still coming to the last country does seem really weird after all this time. For those who weren't bored into a coma after asking us 'Where are you going?" you might remember we were planning to go to New Zealand after Oz. Well, we decided in the end to skip NZ for a few reasons. We really want to go there, and still plan to one day, but we wanted to do a proper camper van trek around the isles and after 6 weeks in Percy we were pretty campered out to be honest. It was really a great way to see Oz, but after all that time the walls of the van seemed to be getting a little closer in each night.
So we arrived in LA last week. Ive got to be honest and say that we didnt really get into LA at all. Sure, Beverley Hills was nice, Rodeo drive had nice houses
Entering the prison
This was the sign that greeted you as the boat pulled up....in case there was any doubt
and all, and there was a certain cache in walking around the Kodak theatre where the oscars get given each year but generally it just seemed a bit, well, crappy really. Im sure there were loads of good bits we missed, but what with the pollution, loads of homelesness and it being too spread out to walk anywhere it didnt grab us at all. We got asked for change or a cigarette more times in a three hour stroll than in the entire 6 weeks in Oz!
Anyways, it was only ever intended as a starting point for our US trip and to allow that we hired ourselves a car, a really cool car. It was a Pontiac Grand Prix, and the name says it all really. Only took a few screamed reminders from Jo to drive on the right and we were off. We decided to rent the car for a week and drive north from LA to San Francisco along the famous route one. Now after the Great Ocean Road drive in Oz I was expecting this road trip to run a pale second, but what a drive! Maybe the sports car added something to it, but
Her rightful place?
Jo looked kind of nervous in here....especially as my hand went for the door handle
all in all the scenery was amazing. The road winds for miles along the west coast, up and down the sides of cliffs. It blew us both away.
We took two days to drive to San Francisco, stopping off midway to sleep and grab a bite to eat. Actually, we've realised already in the states getting a 'bite' to eat isnt really possible. The servings of everything are just madly big, huge even. As an example, we had breakfast in an IHOP (International House of Pancakes) and I ordered bacon and eggs with toast. I got four slices of bacon, three of toast, three eggs and just to finish me off a side plate of 3 pancakes! Last night we ordered a nachos starter and the 18 inch wide plate was stacked to 6 inches high. Prices for these culinary marathons were really good too - has to be said that we seem to pay far too much back home for food compared to the likes of the states and Oz.
Obviously having trouble typing at the minute with my rapidly fattening fingers, but i digress. We got to SF and fell in love with the place. Its
Yosemite definately had far too many beautiful views for any one place.
just like in the movies, obviously with the bay, Golden Gate bridge and all, but also hills everywhere which is strange in a city. Also, it has the most maddening series of road priorities ever. Each junction was either no left turn, no right turn, one way or wrong way. We kind of had to do a series of circles around block after block to get anywhere. They also have really strange 4 way junctions everywhere where all the road have stop/give-way signs, kind of like a roundabout without the round bit. No idea who had priority, I just tended to drive until someone beeped (pretty regular event)
Had a couple of days there and went to one place i was really excited about - Alcatraz. On the boat over I was shocked to discover Jo had never seen the film with Clint Eastwood 'Escape from Alcatraz' so bored her sensless with that for a while. Then we landed and took an audio tour of the prison. Not done one before, but was kind of surreal with a couple of hundred tourists walking quietly around with headsets on listening to different parts of the 45 minute narration. Really interesting
What a view.....
Words and pictures dont do it justice to be honest
stuff. Oh, and just remembered another funny bit - Jo got attacked by a giant seagull as we waited for the boat. It was after her sandwich and would have succeeded in his daring attempt if Jo hadnt thwarted it by cunningly throwing her hands and food into the air in horror as the bird swooped. Luckily both Jo and Bird were unharmed, though the sandwich was a gonner.
From SF we drove then across California to Yosemite National Park. Now again after the beauty of so many National Parks in Oz we werent expecting to be dazzled, but in fact it turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip so far. This place was amazing. It seemed every few hundred yards you drove we had to pull over and take another set of pictures. valleys, forests, mountains and more giant waterfalls than you could shake a stick at. On top of that was also a grove where ancient giant Seqouia trees still grew. These things are the biggest living thing on earth and we spent 5 hours wandering around the grove trying to fit them into picture after picture (God you lot are gonna be
Seriously big trees
Before anyone asks, it wasnt Jo who knocked the tree over
bored of photos when we get back!). They grow to over 300 feet high, can be twenty feet in diameter, and live to over 3000 years old!
Anyways, we left Yosemite this morning and drove back to SF for our flight out tomorrow. Im really excited about this next bit as we have booked ourselves into the MGM Grand hotel in Las Vegas for a couple of nights. Jo has never been to a casino before and Ive never been to one and not lost the money i took before so we both are hoping for a new experience.
Love to all, missing you all loads!
There are more photos below