Published: June 4th 2009January 19th 2009
After our very official welcome to the USA with finger printing and a photograph we felt more like criminals than tourists. LA Airport was not as big as we thought it would be but we were happy to escape without a rubber glove examination!We gathered our bags together and made our way to the car hire company to pick up our American gas guzzling car which was, in fact, a small two door car but hey it was a Pontiac at least and looked kinda sporty! We were grateful for forking out the extra cash for the Sat Nav which ensured a smooth passage out of LA and avoided the accompanying arguments associated with map reading and navigation.
As soon as we got to the city limits of LA the landscape became one big open panarama of desert country which made for some spectacular highway driving, this was what the American road trip was all about. Dwarfed by all the enormous SUV's and pick up's on the road we managed to survive the trip into Nevada and out to Vegas with the jet lag not too much of a problem. We stopped off on our way for our first American
diner experience for a late lunch before hitting the bright lights of Vegas just on sunset.
Not much to say about Vegas really, as everyone already knows what it's about...bright lights, tack-o-rama, gambling, bright lights, gambling, over the top shows, did I mention gambling and bright lights! Anyway we had a great two nights staying at the Stratosphere hotel/casino celebrating Jason's birthday with some fun park activities and a night out on the town.. We didn't go too crazy as we are now living off savings from back home and money is something that is very easy to lose in Vegas.
We were ready to leave by the second night and looking forward to our time at the Grand Canyon. We had a stop off at the impressive Hoover Dam complex, an amazing feat of engineering, before driving across the dam and into Arizona. We arrived in the dark, with the drive in revealing there was still loads of snow about. We caught the briefest of glimpses of the canyon as we arrived into camp. Tired from the night before and the big drive out we had a quiet night eating at the lodge and off to bed
early for a early start tomorrow.
Up before the sunrise we drove down to a reputedly great spot to watch the day begin but unfortunately the weather gods were not kind and the skies were grey and the rain was drizzling. The rest of the day was unfortunately a bit the same although the sun did shine through at times to reveal the Canyon and all its colours. One of the most amazing places we have visited and one of those places that you don't really appreciate until you get there. Also one of the places that has a strange familiarity about it like you've already been there before as the vision is so familiar.
We had a lovely day exploring the rim of the canyon. Most of the ground was still covered in snow and we saw Elk and Mule Deer frollicking amongst it! No matter how many times we stopped to look we were still overwhelmed by the size of the Canyon.
We spent two nights at the Grand Canyon before another long road trip back to LA to finish off our time in Hollywood. Had fun seeing the main sights of Hollywood and LA
including Santa Monica beach (and the Baywatch Towers!), 'The Sign', the walk of stars and getting ourselves totally lost in the Beverly Hills. Caught up with an old uni mate of Jas' in Hollywood and at more cheap burgers than we dare think about. We found that LA does not seem to be the healthiest place to travel when on a budget: $6-8 for a salad or $1 for a burger...hmmm what to do?!
Overall we enjoyed our very quick blitz of this part of the USA. The people we met were friendly and so many areas seem very well set up for travelling, camping and road trips! Have vowed to return one day to fulfill our dream of driving our very own RV across the country....that is if all the RVs on the road now don't take all the fuel before we can get back!
There are more photos below