We do not have discord points at home. In fact, apart from our extremely different attitude to lace-up Giro shoes, there are no such topics. Maybe except one ... America - the best country in the world.
In States I once spent an epic vacation with my parents. Then I came back for a few months between high school and college to do things, I can not talk about. I will only say that these were times when, for the day of cleaning the toilets and floors in supermarkets, you could buy over 150 cheesburgers at polish McDonalds. IN San Francisco (+ Yosemite) I was also a year ago on Salesforce conferenceand a month later Vegas at Amazon (+ Death Valley and Grand Canyon). It was the year in which I decided that one day I would move to the Californian coast.
Why? Because people in the States are nice, the sun is shining, the ocean is cool and the huge mountains are close. There was only one link missing to complete the puzzle: my girlfriend had to stop living stereotypes and see this wonderful country.
There was only one way - an epic vacation. Next visit to Amazon in Vegas was a great excuse to extend the 5-day professional trip by a dozen or so days of vacation.
Doing anything in States is very simple - everything is prepared so, that you do not have to think too much. A few days before departure, we booked a car and the first hotel night. A few middle ones were also booked in Vegas because of the conference I was going to. The rest is spontaneous. Planned places to visit we have prepared beforehand in the application Furkot (I highly recommend), we also checked in it which way to go, what to see nearby and where accommodation may be missing (because, we go through deserts). It turned out that the motels are in abundance, and in every town is a visitor center, in which a nice guide tells us about what to see in the area. Similarly to national parks - we will get a "free" (for the price of the entry) map, guide, information about the state of the routes and a story about where to go under current conditions. Everything, of course, is marked with distances, levels of difficulty, expected time of passage etc. paradise for a lazy man.
In addition, I found some inspiration on blogs on the internet, for exampleniesmigielska.com(probably the only one that I read in its entirety), tips from colleagues (e.g. Piotr) and a brilliant website to search for trails and attractions: Outdoor Project. In addition, up-to-date information on the availability of routes, road transitions, messages and maps, both small and large, can be found on the website National Park Service.
Costs, reader's favorite part.
Well, it is not cheap - especially in California.
I do not give my total costs for the sake of my own mental health. In addition, they depend on a large extent on the length of stay, so I give you the components:
Car, because America without a car does not exist
In States I always use portal economycarrentals. I do not know if it is the best or the cheapest, but it has never let me down. Interestingly, in 100% of cases, he generates me offer of Dollar, which also never caused problems. Car return looks like this: an employee approaches and checks if there are 4 wheels and all doors. I do not know what would happen if one door was missing ...
We rent a car at the airport in Los Angeles (a free bus takes us there). For full-size (largest sedans that do not fall into the premium class), with full insurance we pay around 30 $ per day. We choose Chevrolet Malibu (which is Opel Insignia).
Important note: If the man in the window offers you FasTrak for $ 12 a day, saying that you will get the tickets differently, ignore him. Unless you plan to do a car marathon, driving every day on the SF bridges, it is not profitable.
We pay for the roads in a total of $ 5 (once a bridge in SF). That is, we would pay if we did not fuse with FasTrak.
The car consumes an average gallon of petrol for 35 miles ;-) It was only today that I counted it to be: 8l / 100km. The result was average, but there were hardcore conditions, which I write about later. I would also say that we are traveling like old people, but we just go like everyone else.
Within 18 days, despite several in which we did not get into the car, we were able to reach 3700 miles.
It's about 6,000 km.
Assuming a well-rounded price of gasoline to be 3.20 $ per gallon (the price could be really different between stations - eg in California it is 3.65 $, while the average in the US is 2.85 $) it gives you some $ 336, or 21 cents per kilometer.
When it comes to sleeping, we accept the rule: cheaply, but with dignity.
We spend each night in a hotel or motel guided by the price and ratings on the Booking. We reject those that talk about rats, worms, muck and so on. The average price per night is around $ 50 per night for two people. In San Francisco and Los Angeles twice more. We make reservations usually an hour or three before reaching the hotel, using the free internet in Walmart or fast foods. We get last minute discounts, which in combination with the Genius on Booking account allow you to save up to several dozen USD each day. In December, there are no problems with night accommodation, but we always aim at small towns.
None of the hotels chosen by us would be described with a word worse than "good". Chains like Motel 6, Ridgeway Inn or Super 8 always keep the same, reasonable level. With random, roadside ones it used to be different, especially with those on the old Route 66, but maybe we just had a lot of luck. If you are not a Booking fan then Hotels.com or Expedia probably would be a better choice. Comparison apps like Furkot would also probably save some dollars.
Interestingly, the worst quality hotel was probably the "luxury" ship Queen Mary off the coast of Los Angeles, for which we paid almost $ 150 per night. More about it in the paragraph about Long Beach.
It's hard to believe, but in 18 days we missed something that could not be described as "very good" or "a lot". Regardless of whether we eat Chinese food in China Town, pancakes in chain diners, hot dogs from a booth, ribs in smelly casinos or steaks in luxurious pubs.
The average price of breakfast in Danny's or IHOP is around $ 10 / person. The dinner price in most places is between $ 10 and $ 25.
For a two-person pizza somewhere in the countryside - $ 25. Too big Chinese food - $ 13. For a full dinner (starter + main + drink) in a good restaurant in the center of Vegas - $ 200 / person (dinner on invitation, I would not pay it myself).
Everything is big and tasty
Almost everything has an extra butter
Almost everything is sweet or salty and served with Cheddar cheese
If someone wants #onionstyle it is possible to live well and with dignity on the huge food from Walmart. A half-kilogram sandwich, in which there is more ham than bread - less than $ 6 and the possibility of discounting by 50%, if its expiration date is coming to an end. Desserts as good as from Walmart (half a kilo of probably the best cheesecake in the world - less than $ 6). (Panda: Oesuuuuu, how good !!!)
Do not trust our culinary taste - we have always been extremely hungry everywhere.
A good price for flights to California is around PLN 2,000. It can be cheaper, it can be more expensive. Direct connections from Berlin to San Francisco / Los Angeles can be found starting at PLN 1200 for a flight with hand luggage.
We fly directly from Warsaw to Los Angeles for PLN 2700 two-way per capita (with bicycles). Departure on Friday after work, return Tuesday evening (canceled by LOT, so we returned the day later). The cool thing is that we fly on Black Friday around 17, and we arrive on the same day before 20 - you can make shopping;)
For most things, we pay a total of $ 80 (that is, we would pay so much if we think faster). We simply buy an annual pass for two people to all national parks in the States.
In addition entrance to Antelope Canyon (the cheaper one) costs some sick $ 45 per person and a few USD for some State Parks, in which the fee is not checked by anyone (envelope with money), but we do not want to be beetroots.
The standard price for anything (museum, aquarium, gallery) is $ 25 per person.
(for 2 people, but the price of the accommodation probably does not differ much for 4):
good flights - PLN 2,000 + $ 50 per day to be divided for car plus petrol (LOTS of driving) + $ 50 to divide per night + 25 $ per day for decent food + some random costs.
Small costs is, for example, a cell phone: I turn on the Internet twice for a moment and once we did a call to LOT to ask what to do if they canceled our return flight. In total, for 4.5MB of data and less than 5 minutes of conversation comes out 218.33 PLN. MEDIEVAL TIMES WELCOME TO.
Generally, a very expensive trip, and for the price of 3 weeks in the US, you can probably stay in Canaries for half a year, but this trip is worth every money. Seriously. Now I will try to prove it:
We start with a flight to:
Half an hour walk around the airport between officials asking questions, if we really are not terrorists, half an hour looking for our car rental and trying to get there by bus, 10 minutes of formalities, 20 minutes of circulation around the square with cars to choose the best / prettiest and we can go sleep for a good start of the day. And so we wake up at 3 am by jet lag - we will wake up like this the whole week and we are reconciled with it.
Titta Inn: 70.01 $ / night (link)
Finding (decent) accommodation below $ 100 per night with a reasonable distance from center is not easy, but we get to Titta Inn and this is an excellent choice: clean, parking, nice people, 24-hour access to snacks and coffee. Price? $ 70.01 for two people - good deal.
We start early in the morning, because we are not sleeping anyway, through the Elysian Park, from which we admire the morning downtown skyline and the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball stadium. We park a bit further, in China Town, where private car parks cost $ 5 per day and we continue with our folding bikes. Our parking lot looks very good, because there is no charging person.
We drive through the strict center - it is suspiciously empty on Saturday morning. We are standing for a moment at the famous Walt Disney Concert Hall, which probably is very nice, but it does not make much impression on us.
x. See the Walt Disney Concert Hall
Then come neighborhoods that look like the center of Mexico (I haven't been, but that's how I imagine it). As it turns out later, most LA looks like the center of Mexico. We fall by chance on Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook (almost a kilometer of asphalt with an average of 12%), from which we once again see the panorama of the city and the surrounding area, but this time in 360 degrees. This is the moment when Panda realizes for the first time that most Americans in big cities are not fat people in cars, but people doing sports in green areas.
x. Visit the American park during the weekend
We ride to the coast: the largest of the largest classics. An infinitely long bicycle path (as it turns out, the infinitely long is the opposite direction) along the Venice and Santa Monica beaches. On the one hand, the valley of kitsch, trash and generally like polish Krupowki, on the other - beaches, football pitches with afroamericans wannbes NBA, skateboarders, surfers, walkers, cyclists, runners and each subsequent combination, including surfers carrying their boards with a bicycle. There are also other classics: homeless in tents, the ubiquitous aroma of marijuana from the somewhat aged children of flowers and everything you can imagine. We spend half an hour choosing between chilli-fries, pizza cut to pieces and hot-dog on a stick.
x. Take the Venice Beach and Santa Monica promenades
We head towards the Getty Center, a place worth nearly 1.5 billion dollars with van Goghs, Gaugins, sculptures, gardens, panoramas, a 7-floor underground garage and everything. After all, the most visited museum in the States can not be bad. Maybe it's through the hills, or maybe we just realized that our passion for culture is a bit limited - we drop it halfway.
x. Visit the Getty Center
Instead, we visit the Los Angeles National Cemetery. I don't know if it's nice to visit such a place, but in my opinion cemeteries say a lot about the nation, and this particular one, with war veterans from Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, World Wars etc. makes an amazing impression. Rows of identical, white crosses located on perfectly cut grass stretching to the horizon clearly show the enormity of wars and remind everyone that after death everyone is equal.
x. Visit the American military cemetery
With such a well-received, positive attitude, we are ready for the program's clue: we're headed for Rodeo Drive through Sunset Boulevard. It's a street known for having expensive stores and Julia Roberts buying there clothes in Pretty Woman. If you are not psychofan of the film then, to be honest: better to visit Vitkac in Warsaw.
Further, we see a few more or less interesting installations like the Petersen Automotive Museum, the Museum of Art, some stone hanging over the tunnel, some parks and many other places that do not make much of Americanism, but which we know well from youtube blogger movies.
We are heading to the hills of Hollywood, on Mullholland Drive, at the Hollywood Bowl Overlook, which is another panorama of the city - in a nutshell: we drive on roads on which I could ride every day.
x. Take the Mullholland Drive
We descend from the hills to the most important attraction of the day: Avenue of Fame.
The Avenue of Fame is very important for one key reason: no matter what else you see in your life, nothing will ever be such a disappointment. It looks something like this: take a crowd, stench, homeless, kebabs, madmen, shops with crap and all the worst, put it in one line and place stars with names under them. The Avenue of Stars of the Walk of Fame, which we visit a week earlier (what sane person is going to Łódź only for shoe inserts?) Is about 18 times better.
It's not even that the Avenue of Stars is failing. You can be disappointed in a poor dinner at an expensive restaurant. Here it looks as if we got a unpolluted potato in this restaurant, which is still dug in the ground and dung. More than a job, you feel that you do not know what's going on ...
x. See the Avenue of Stars
Disgusted, we move to the Hollywood sign, which we ride on by bicycles. Along the way, Panda stands by the kids who sell lemonade. I thought that such things are only in movies. I have not drank such a sour and good drink for a very long time. The driveway itself is, to put it mildly - demanding, but also rewards accordingly.
x. Stand next to the Hollywood sign
In order to maintain the streak of drive-in, we cross the terrain (illegally) asphalt route to the Griffith Observatory - my black horse. We are lucky, because we get near sunset. While the crowd under the sign is large, at a slightly smaller mark, what happens at the observatory located a few kilometers on Saturday evening is some sodomy, gomorrah and apocalypse. The string of cars stretches to the horizon - a two-way road is converted into a one-way, leading a large detour. We do not regret, we avoid everything by bike, and the view of the city at night is unforgettable.
There is no photos, because the card in my camera has been shot and all pictures were not saved. There is a photo from the moment before.
x. See Los Angeles at night from the Griffith Observatory
I realize one thing in Los Angeles. Cycling in the American city is a paradise for us (confirmed later in San Francisco). It's really hard to find a road where a bike path is not marked out, and the famous four-sided feet at intersections make it necessary to try hard to cause an accident.
We return to China Town, get on the car and after less than three hours (with a break in Taco Bell and supplies in Walmart) we reach Ridgecrest.
Los Angeles -> Ridgecrest
Motel 6: 36.28 $ (link)
Ridgecrest is a 30,000th town in the middle of nothing. We sleep there in a hotel, taken straight from the American thriller - Motel 6: the shape of the letter "U", in the middle of the pool, in the morning police intervention, which escorts a nice lady to her car, and then deals with her black companion in the presence of the pastor - janitor object. We fought for such a holiday!
x. To be awakened by police intervention in a suspicious hotel, in a village off the beaten track.
I suffer a little in Ridgecrest, because it lies between Death Valley and the Great Sequoia and Yosemite. This means that next to it is a valley surrounded by huge mountains (such as 4 km high). As in America, a large part of the mountains is asphalt to make it easier to get to walking routes. We therefore avoid the biggest climbs in California, such as:
Onion Valley: 21 km with an average of 7.6% (you can drive up to 2800m)
Horseshoe Meadow: 30km with an average of 6% (entry at 3037m)
9-Mile Canyon Rd.24.5km with an average of 6%
Whitney Portal19 km with an average of 7.4%
You look at these numbers and think: WTF ?! I did not even hear about the area.
x. To regret that something has been missed.
Ridgecrest -> Death Valley
With Ridgecrest, we set off for nothing, straight to:
You can also read about Death Valley in last year's entry around Las Vegas:
The road to Death Valley alone is impressive. Going through deserts, mountains, passes, and somewhere in the middle of nowhere is a small town consisting of a large factory, pipes and scrap metal and houses spilling out. With luck, we can get to some hardcore places like the town of Darwin with a population of 35 people, of whom working: 1 (here a document about it:youtube).
It is very warm in the Valley of Death. The summer temperature is up to 50 ° C (the record reached is 56.7 ° C). That's a lot. The sum of precipitation is about 5cm per year. A little.
We start the tour of the Death Valley from the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. General the same as in Łeba, only instead of the sea, in the distance there are mountains. And closer to the parking lot, because it is parked practically a few meters from the dunes. Sand in shoes will remain with us until the end of the trip. Take a photo and go on, to the green oasis at Furnance Creek, where we leave the car in the free parking lot and change to bikes.
x. Trample on Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
I always wanted to do it, although it does not seem to make much sense. A better moment than this will probably never be. Driving from Furnance Creek to Badwater Basin and returning via Artist's Drive is only 65km, but it took us some 4.5 hours (of the same drive). While the journey was super pleasant, the return turned out to be a bit problematic. It's like when you go out in the spring for a ride and after 50km you start to wonder if you're so strong, it's just the wind. With us it was the second case.
On the way back, he spat in the face mercilessly, and Artist's Drive did not remember as a large driveway - it turned out that it consists of nearly 5km with an average of 7% and 1.5km with an average of 8%. I know that the number of impressions on the rider do not, but the conditions in the valley are far from perfect. There is no shop or shadow here ... there is basically nothing that could help. However, Artist's Drive is worth every effort. This is a swipe over the bars!
Maybe it will sound Coelhowsko and is somewhat haunted, but exploring anything by bike or shoe is a completely different experience than the car. The can, however, strongly limits integration with the surroundings. Crossing this section by bike was a great idea.
x. Take a bicycle through Death Valley and Artist's Drive
Badwater Basin is known for being 86 meters below sea level. Interestingly, it is only 136km from the aforementioned Mount Whitney, which is 4.421m. The substrate consists mainly of salt and hexagonal shapes, which makes it quite spectacular. We walk for a photo and come back.
x. Go to Badwater Basin
We ended up quite unexpectedly (and we were planning a bicycle more than twice as long as he he he), so from the parking lot to Zabriskie Point we start the car to catch the sun. It's just such nicely formed rocks.
x. See the sunset in Zabriskie Point
The day ends in the only rightful place - Dante's View, from which there is a panorama of the Badwater Basin and the surrounding area. Unfortunately, it is too late, dark and cold to let us have dinner there (taken out of the trunk). If you want the right photo, I invite you to the link you've already made, last year's entry.
x. See (later) sunset with Dante's View
I see the Valley of Death 3 times in my life and unfortunately I do not feel like it once. Maybe it's because the intake air does not burn the lungs ... I do not know.
Death Valley -> Las Vegas
From the Valley of Death, we have about 2 hours of travel to:
Excalibur Hotel: 75 $, 00 / day (35 $ hotel + 40 $ tax: resort fee) (link)
You can love or hate Las Vegas - it's hard to imagine something indirect. We spend about 5 days in it (though somewhat of coercion, we would probably stay there for 2 to 3).
We like Vegas very much. This is a perfect example of what a human is capable of, having a lot of money ... or maybe simply because everything is shining and colorfully blinking.
This is a city where such a view in the hotel lobby is not strange:
We live in Excalibur Hotel for several reasons:
- it's super cheap for a hotel on the main street
- about 5 minutes from the hotel (20 from the room;)), in Tropicana there is a free parking lot
- THIS IS THE CASTLE
x. Live in an unusual hotel
What to do in Vegas if you do not find casinos, parties, concerts (during our stay there are some more or less known bands like Metallica or Skrillex, where I got an entry from Amazon)?
First of all, go to hotels on the main street: Las Vegas Strip, and then, in contrast, visit the old Strip, or Las Vegas Downtown.
It is a waste of time to describe hotels, everything is in last year's entry. In a nutshell: hotels are the master. How else can you call the second floor at the Venetian hotel, where gondolas sail between the streets modeled on Venice, and guests can have lunch at the square modeled after St. The brand (also on the 2nd floor)? There are dozens of such examples.
x. Spoil hotels on Strip. All.
The second obligatory point is the mentioned Las Vegas Downtown, or Fremont Street Experience. This is just a strip stripped of money and dignity;) Someone is somewhere puking, someone is lying somewhere, smoke of cannabis is swirling somewhere, a bit like a cross between a murder shop and a party room, well known to us on a larger scale.
x. Do not die on Freemont Street.
Besides, Vegas is cool, because you can type in any position on your "to-do list" and you can be sure that there will be a person who will help you, and people will not criticize. We do two of the alternative things:
We decide to see the panorama of the city, but from a less well-worn place than penthouses in hotels, the great tower of the Stratos hotel, the High Roller, i.e. a huge mill and the area around the famous Red Rocks and canyons. The choice falls on: Frenchman Mountain and is not very bragging.
High at over 1,200 meters (with an outstandingness of over 600) it consists of two hills, whose overcoming requires a very small technical ability but a quite substantial physical form. Our only regret is that we have not been able to wait until dark to see the city at night. Because the view is good, both on the city and on the mountains on the other side. An additional attraction is the roar of jets taking off from the neighboring military base.
The view from the top of the 360 looks somehow: YES.
x. See the city skyline in the version #cebula
Since I have a psychophagy of sharks and deadly orekeepers at home, we can not leave the oceanarium of one of the hotels (as I have already mentioned, there is everything in hotels). I do not know if it is much better than Wrocław and if the standard price of 25 $ per person is adequate, but if you like to look at sharks, rays and fish-sawing sharks floating above it, you can not avoid it. We did not have the exit.
x. Visit Shark Reef in Mandalay Bay
Admit it, Las Vegas is the last place you would think: oh, it's nice to have a road there. I would probably agree with you - what is cool about driving infinitely long and exaggeratedly wide roads leading through the deserts. The problem is I can't do it. We came across Henderson a bit, which for Las Vegas is like Piaseczno for Warsaw. Henderson is connected to Vegas by a network of bicycle paths, the length of which is calculated on an American scale, and the Lake Mead National Recreation Area begins there. This is another shocking stab! The route map can be found, as usual, at: https://www.nps.gov/lake/planyourvisit/maps.htm
In short: we ride perfectly smooth cycling routes that lead through the desert and next to Lake Mead. We plan to take them to the Hoover Dam, but unfortunately one of the tunnels that were hollowed on the route of the historical railway line was not well and we did not succeed.
We met some strange animals, we drove through a dried river tunnel, and for 70km we got 800 meters of surplus. It was a very good tour.
x. Take a bicycle path through the desert.
The Hoover dam is very large. Very.
Even if the dam is not spinning, it is worth seeing it - both from below and from above. It is worth parking at the Lake Mead Visitor Center and go through 3 tunnels to the bottom of the dam, then return to the car and go to the upper parking lot. By the way, during the walk, the time zone will change.
x. See the Hoover Dam
Las Vegas -> Zion
After a few days of degeneration in Las Vegas, we hit a nearly 4-hour route to:
Zion National Park
It's hard to say that something during our trip was the best. We were high, deep, where the cold, where the heat ... but Zion was probably the best - at least according to Panda.
This is not a big park - it is going on asphalt road, which is surrounded by rocky, ragged walls. The main routes are really two: Angel's Landing (considered the most unique and hardcore trail in the US - at least among those for ordinary people) and Zion Observation Point.
Taught by experience from Slovenia, where at the sight of rock shelves I stuck to the rock like Spider-man and turned a rock into a man, we decide on the second one. It is longer, taller, more diverse, more difficult conditionally and much easier technically. Was the selection better? I do not know - he was certainly very good, and Angel's Landing is seen from above - just like the whole valley.
In 3.5 hours, we make the shoe a little over 17 kilometers. If we started in the morning, we would probably give advice (at least conditionally) to skip both routes. Arriving from Vegas and waiting for a further journey, unfortunately, do not allow such luxuries.
Why ZION> EVERYTHING?
Because we go canyons, rocks, genius views, tunnels and most of all: for the first time in a long time we hear absolute silence. Ie. we hear a squeaking in the ears, but it looks like an absolute silence. It's perfect. It is a pity that due to falling rocks, Hidden Canyon is closed, which is a temporary reflection from the trail.
If that was not enough, we pass the villages next to Zion (Ziona?), From which I hear for the first time from Panda's lips: "oh, we can move here".
As if you have heard about cheap cottage with a ranch for sale in the area, please let me know ;-)
x. Follow the trail in the Zion National Park
We are heading to the hotel. Here is a real adventure!
The coincidence of various types of events and twists caused that we overcome the route at night, and if that was not enough - we are going around a bit. Along the way, we are surprised by the winter's attack. For the first time on this trip, we are definitely above the sea level - it is not known how much, but the time we spend riding upwards indicates that it is quite high. So much so that climate change makes the low-pressure lamp in the tires light up. In the middle of the night, on a road covered with snow, somewhere, but no one knows where.
x. Cross the snowstorm
It takes us an hour to beat the field serpentine last 20km. Only so that it turns out that we will not stay overnight where we planned on the way to:
Zion -> Panguitch
Bryce Canyon National Park
Our hotel is somewhere out of the way. We are finished off the route and there is no one at the reception. We quickly find a note that the weather is closed due to weather and lack of water - please go to the Quality Inn Bryce Canyon Western Resort. If you have internet on the phone it is probably not difficult, for us to look for a hotel named after the wasteland covered with snow to the waist - it is, especially in the middle of the night.
x. Change the time of year and time zone
The task turns out to be fortunately simpler than we think, and the whole operation is definitely worth the effort. We spend the night in a building with two higher classes:
If that was not enough, the morning view from the parking lot compensates for everything. It's one of those beautiful winter days when the snow is crystal white like ... I do not know, amphetamines? Our accommodation looks like taken straight from the western. We are starting to really enjoy the conditions that we found - despite the strongly negative temperature. In all hotels where we spend the night away there is an air conditioner with the option of heating (of course, electricity). I suspect that after our visits, several of the objects will get a solid bill at the end of the month.
Panguitch -> Bryce Canyon
From our overnight stay to Bryce canyon is about an hour away in these conditions. Snow undoubtedly gives charm to the whole area, but it also worries me a bit. Rainbow Point, which is the last lookout point in Bryce, lies at almost 2800m.npm - according to my predictions, the road to it is closed. It does not bother us. I would normally say "about the hell, but the stakes" about the approach, but we are a little used to the deer that approach our car and rock tunnels. Road like everyone in the area:
The entire Bryce also seems to be exploring one of the smallest objects on our trip. Of the 3 hours we spend there, they are enough for us and do not leave the feeling of insufficiency that accompanies us so often. Maybe if it was summer and we could stop at the evening Rodeo, taking place in the vicinity, it would be different ...
What is Bryce? As usual: an asphalt road with parking lots, connected by a network of walking paths that alternate up and down the cliffs.
What distinguishes it from other places is the number of walking serpentines and interesting rock formations created by slow progressive erosion. It's hard for me to describe it, look at the pictures.
We loop through the Queens Garden Trail, the Navajo Loop Trail and the Rim Trail - the largest classic. Navajo Loop, unfortunately, we have to shorten it a bit, because due to the falling stones, it is temporarily closed.
It's hard for me to judge Bryce, because after Zion nothing will ever be the same in my life. Undoubtedly, snow was a significant added value. As we had Bryce along the way, we don't regret visiting. This is another place whose level of abstraction and size make it hard to understand and admire. We feel like we're observing a great picture. On the other hand, looking at the pictures now I wonder how it is possible that I came back with such an opinion. This is something amazing:
x. Follow the trail in the Bryce National Park
After a walk, it's time for another abstraction, somewhat unexpected. In front of us:
Bryce Canyon -> Moab
To Moab, we follow Piotr's advice somewhat around ... maybe not so much around as the shorter one, but two hours longer than the navigation shows us. Before us there is the road number 12, in Wikipedia it is referred to as:Highway 12 - A Journey Through Time Scenic Byway. Well, if something in America is called, it can not be bad. 200km of the road that throws on the floor and then tramples. There is everything on it: we ride the plateaus, we pass the towns that look like an open-air museum, we go along the slopes, winding mountain curves, pass the panoramas that are probably on the covers of books, we rise to around 3000m.npm and we do things that are not conceivable with our simple European thoughts. And ... and the road itself ends in the Capital Reef National Park, so when it comes down from it, it is not much worse. It's good that night falls.
This is a very good way. Very.
... and in the US, everything has its own website, even the way -> link
Breaking the tradition would, of course, not achieve the moment when we start to fear for our own lives, because when the sun starts to hide behind the mountains the last car we passed was alone I do not know when the temperature drops to some indecent values (then we still could not count Fahrenheits but the glutes in the nose were freezing), the road gets white, and we're just passing the plate specifying our height at more than 2700m.npm it gets a bit nervous. As part of the entertainment, I ran a picture in the parking lot, but running in the snow at this height and with a belly full of sandwiches mixed with cheesecake is a bit like running under water.
One of the observation car parks is located at 2865m.npm
If someone told me: "Hey, take the car and go drive a few hundred kilometers by road" I would think that some stupid and limited. Yes, I am telling you - you can not omit this road.
... and take my word for it - the pictures do not give it away.
x. Go through itHighway 12 - A Journey Through Time Scenic Byway
Inca Inn: $ 52.62 (link)
In Moab we sleep in Inca Inn. Maybe it is not somehow great, but it's hard to expect magic after a hotel that advertises as the cheapest in the area ;-) It's clean, people are nice, bathroom good, standard breakfast, spotless bedding - what more could you want. Moab is probably an equivalent of Jelenia Góra - the cradle of mountain biking. Everything is cycling here, and who follows Instagram Emily Batty knows ... The routes here are reportedly mega stakes and the day after we find out why. It is especially recommendedSlickrockBikeTrail - I recommend checking on youtube.
In addition, the standard - all smiling and in the evening we get to the parade of Saint Nicholas crossing the city - so the whole city happy, children dressed, adults sell homemade cakes. We fall into depression, we go to Pizza Hut. There people also smile, and cheap soup is great and delicious. Slowly, it starts to upset us all.
x. To hit the parade of Mykolaiv
x. Visit the cycling city
Moab -> Arches National Park
Arches National Park
It is a stone's throw from Moab to Arches and, to tell the truth, we did not plan to visit it. However, if we pass the entrance to it and the famous arches are half an hour away from us, it would be a sin not to enter.
Arches is perfect, because in the end we can say something that is so-so. It is not that he is angry. It seems to me that in the States there is no such thing as a "bad national park". Arches has exactly what you should expect from him - bows. In times when people dig tunnels many kilometers long, ordinary arches do not make such an impression. You have to make a little effort to appreciate that they were created by nature. We pass almost half of Primitive Loop and we turn back, because it's a waste of time. We are also probably the first tourists in history who have lost this trail several times and walk on random rocks, waiting only when the local ranger catches us. Along the way, we see a few bows, but it seems more unearthly itself asphaltówka, which we got to them by car.
In addition, we discover what is the essence of the local bicycle routes. The adhesion of the local rocks makes you feel like a spiderman. The shoe does not want to slip. This allows you to overcome steep slopes, which a man would not try to get on even all fours.
x. See arches in Arches
We leave the place quickly, because right next to it, on the other side of the main road that we have entered, there is something that seems to be good:
Arches National Park -> Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park
Yes, Canyonlands is something good and we find out about it "good morning" when we are in the first parking lot and approach the big hole. Well, you can not ...
We go a little further to look deeper and see the road recommended for cars with 4 × 4 and for bicycles - it has about 100 miles. It is not weak:
I do not know how to describe it in words, and as it turns out later - this is just the introduction.
The park is divided into 3 "regions", but we decide to visit only one of them - the "naj". We start from the north - we want to pass the route described as very difficult: Syncline Loop. It circles a huge crater, which is not quite known how it was created. Quite quickly, however, we give up the idea. The neighborhood, although nice, does not please us. It's great, but it does not put us on our knees - we're already very spoiled tourists. We drop in on some overlooks and head for random outcrops a bit farther south.
And I know that talking about something "average" is some pathology, but wait:
Because there is something a bit different. Such a "hole with a clearing," said a simple man. Next is simply the world championship, huge, shock, disbelief and many short strollers. Typically American - you drive up to the edge of the cliff, and the hour trail leads you further along its banks and you only wonder when you fall, trying to make a funny photo. My literary skills are too weak to describe, maybe just look:
x. See Canyonlands
Canyonlands -> Blanding
From Canyonlands, head straight for Blanding, where we found the hotel. We travel generally through the desert, at night. It means that you can not see anything completely. It's great because we usually wake up in the morning, we are surprised. It usually turns out that the area looks completely different than we imagined. Before these 3 hours of driving (with a break for food in Moab) the temperature drops slightly, but not enough to prepare us for what will find us in the morning in the hotel.
Hotel very decent, because the chain Super 8 by Wyndham Moab. Today I see that he even had a swimming pool outside. That morning, it would be difficult. Why? Because:
Super 8 by Wyndham Moab: $ 49.35
In the morning television they say something about the collapse of the weather and that it should be better in the future. Our trip plan does not assume waiting, we are on the road. Our Malibu was not ready for it - especially with its summer tires.
Maybe I did not mention it before. In the US, everyone drives at speeds similar to the maximum limits. Interestingly, the trucks run exactly the same. We leave Blanding on a single-lane road, where the limit is around 60m / h. It's a bit too much for my car skills. If I had a car like everyone else, whose bumper is at the height of my head in Malibu, it would probably be simpler. We drive about 40 miles / h and for the first time during this trip something is ahead of us. In general, for the entire 3,700 miles that we did, I saw the overtaking maneuver on a single lane maximum 5 times. Being overtaken by an American TIR during a snowstorm is an unforgettable experience ... and I had the impression that my last one:
Blanding -> Page
The road from Blanding to Page is another unforgettable experience. The road is, as usual, incredibly picturesque, and the areas inhabited by Navajo Indians have their own specific atmosphere. Every now and then we pass closed booths with Indian jewelery or other local businesses. Such a country in the country.
We head towards Page, enjoying several impressive stops along the way. The first of them is to be Valley of Gods, which is a road leading through interesting rock formations. Unfortunately, it turns out that the road is gravel and already marked with a great sign at the beginning that when it is wet, it is impossible to cross it. We find that the snow is certainly not wet and we try to cross it ... after 100 meters we turn back, understanding our mistake. Malibu will not cross the river;)
x. See the Valley of Gods
The number of spectacular places must match. A bit of luck, and a bit not, I notice a sign at Goosenecks State Park. With state parks is a bit different than with national - not all are obligatory to visit. In this case, however, something dawned on me and we bounce about 10km from our main route. I admit honestly - we met quite a surprise. Such Horseshoe Bend (which was planned for the evening), but multiplied. The trough laid out before us, according to Wikipedia, is up to 300 meters deep. I must admit - they have the momentum of bastards in this country:
x. See Goosenecks State Park
And this is not the best thing we see that day. A bit further, the Mexican Hat is waiting for us. If it's hard for you to come up with where she got her name, I have a clue. We are trying to walk to this rock, but it turns out that as in America it happens - since there is no parking next to it, it means that it is best to watch it out of the way:
x. See Mexican Hat
We get to the place that I am enjoying the most: Monument Valley. If I write that it is again perfectly equal to the asphalt road, let go between the amazing rock formations, surrounded by the desert, it will seem boring. How much can you look at similar things?
If you wonder where John Ford and other well-known directors shot their Westerns, the answer is simple: right here.
Monument Valley is not boring, regardless of what you have seen before. However, it is not the same that I enjoy the most. As a hardcore fan of Forrest Gump, I can not stand in the place where he ended his legendary run in 1980. I respect such tourist initiatives:
x. Drive through Monument Valley
x. Take a picture of yourself at Forrest Gump Point
We go further - it is a very long day. In terms of attractions, I would say that it was record-breaking. We still pass Indian places as in the picture below. Let me put it straight - they look like a pervert cottage, which came up with an idea to hang a "jewelery" sign instead of "free candy". In this way, she attracts girls instead of small children. Places are usually very good, because they are about a dozen or so kilometers away from any civilization. However, we can not stand it once. It is probably awarded with the best ribs we ate in our lives. We let ourselves be tempted by an elderly Indian who stands by the road with a big BBQ sign with a huge grill. We learn later that it does not surprise our Polish origin. She knows Janusz, who brings her meat from Phoenix.
x. To be ravaged in an Indian booth
x. Eat roadside ribs
And we're going further, to the main day of the trip - in fact two
Page: Horseshoe Bend
Let him first throw a stone, who has never heard of the Antelope Canyon.
It turns out that there are two - upper and lower. The Internet says that reservations should be made in advance both times. We're going to YOLO and we're on a lot. It turns out that with a bit of luck, we catch on moving in 20 minutes, the last group.
The upper one is the one where the canyon grows up, the lower one is descent by ladders to the ground. The upper supposedly better photos (because the famous light rays), the bottom supposedly slightly more interesting. I boldly assume that the last day the group, going to the beginning of December, will not get a good light for good. We decide on the lower one
because it is cheaper by half, because these ladders are wondering and there will be no children. The price hurts - our park pass is not working anymore - it's Indians in the end. The ticket is about 35 $ per person, but after adding Indian taxes, I am getting $ 45. I am apprehensive about spending such money for a half-hour walk in a crowd of people. Is it right ... unfortunately not.
Antelope Canyon is exactly as you can imagine it after taking pictures on the internet. And here's a curiosity: most of the photos are as good as they are similar to each other. There is a guide with us that does not allow using GoPro. He has another important function for it - he tells you exactly what and how to photograph so that the effects are the best. Ba, even tells exactly what frames to choose and which filters on Instagram to use to make it good. Those less-trained photographers can even give him a camera or phone to take a photo for them. This is a shock and genius.
The guide has one more useful function. You can see that walking there repeatedly every day, he bores slightly and finds interesting shapes where we would not normally see them. Somewhere a woman, somewhere Indian, somewhere a bird. We know this game - we played with it a lot of times during visits to canyons (especially in Arches). The problem was just that I saw siurki everywhere, and Panda's backside.
When it comes to photos, well, I will not come up with anything new. I can only tell you that the pictures do not lie and it's exactly like this:
x. Visit the Antelope Canyon
Page: Horseshoe Bend
I have already mentioned that it is a very long day. Visits in the Antelope Canyon are not over. The end of the day is approaching, and this is the perfect time to go to Horseshoe Bend, which is about 10 minutes away.
Horseshoe, like the Antelope Canyon, is exactly what we saw on the internet. This is not a disadvantage. Usually, the effectiveness of the things we see in the leaflets is divided by 3. In the pictures it looks always better. It's different here. In America, big things are really big, and impressive things really impress. Almost always (and I almost add only because we have not been able to find a denial, but I do not believe that it really is).
Well, Horseshoe Bend is SZTOS. Really, I do not know how one corner of the river can make such an impression, but it does. You stand with this crowd of people, like in Antylope, you look at the same place, you take the same picture, you feel like a primitive tourist, but damn - you feel exactly the same as they do. Our tourist contempt for people fell along with our dignity and conviction about being better tourists.
I say this with a huge heartache, but this damned corner of the river at sunset is one of the better things we've ever seen in our lives:
So I'll throw in the second same photo, only at a slightly later time. We also got a good condition for Warun. Nothing else is there - just this one bend, this one river, seen from one point.
You can not do that…
x. See the sunset over Horseshoe Bend
It was an amazing day. We set off in a snowstorm from a small Indian town and saw more things than sometimes during a week's vacation. We end it with the cheapest accommodation during our entire trip - at the hotel Page Boy Motel. The term luxury would be very out of place here, but it is located in the center of Page, has clean bedding, is neat and the curtain sticking to the body in the shower is not at all oblique. And of course, there is a modest but sensible breakfast. That's enough for us. In the evening we fall into traditional American food, a Mexican burrito in a pub where no one speaks English.
We get our portions and ... we are a bit disappointed. Both size and quality. I immediately apologize to the entire American people for my moments of doubt. The profession breaks up three minutes later, when more plates appear, and we realize that things before us were just additions. As part of strengthening the effect, the dish is set on fire before serving.
We spend a little longer in the pub than we planned. Mainly thanks to Panda, who came across a supper in her dinner a little bit sharper than she had expected. So I managed to think about the number of the ambulance and how in Spanish will be "please, a lot of cold milk". I think it will be the most memorable meal in her life. Price? Nearly 30 $ for 2 people
x. Eat "spicy Mexican, which smokes at least twice"
Page Boy Motel: $ 34.89
In the morning we set off to the most epic site in the whole country:
Page -> Grand Canyon
The Gerat Colorado Canyon
What can you say about the Grand Canyon? Many. As for many issues, you can also argue - one thing is certain. The Grand Canyon is really great. I wrote about it last year - for me it is probably even too big. You can not catch any point of reference and create a meaningful connection with it. I must admit honestly, the third visit in my life over him is quite a profession.
We start our sightseeing tour from the east. We are standing on the first parking lot with a panorama, we are looking ... hole. We look further ... continue the hole. Perhaps it would be super impressive, but we have already seen so much space during the trip that it is hard for us to rock and chasm. I do not remember it so much, I am telling Panda that the view will be better.
We go to the Visitor Center, which is the center of every American tourist attraction. Routes on both sides of the edge spread out. We go a piece, but something is still wrong. We decide to take a chance and take a free bus to the route going down. On the way, we encounter a sign ten times that attempting to go down to the Colorado River itself is very dangerous, people die from it and you should contact the ranger before taking it. We see the warning so many times that we decide to take into account that there is snow on the trails and we are starting a walk at noon. So we decide to follow the South Kaibab Trail only to Skeleton Point (the last point before reaching the river). It turns out to be a hit.
The edges and bottom of the Grand Canyon are different climatic zones - there is usually a dozen or so degrees below. Going down there are some 40 layers of rock from 270 million to 1.75 billion years.
Instead of a crowd of people near parking lots, we pass an average of one person for half an hour. The Canyon itself from below and from the wall also looks completely different. I am sure that when I will be there again, we will be tempted to take a full day trip to the river or even one that takes the night down. It is a completely different experience than walking with the crowd on the edge between parking lots.
Along the way, we also meet a team with picks and shovels, which confirms our belief that such things have no right to arise only thanks to nature.
We end the day with the result of 19 km and the feeling that we could safely go down to the river itself, although deep down we are proud of ourselves that we did not try. Well, not us! We also have some time to watch the sunset from the Rim Trail.
In the Grand Canyon for the first time a very sad and at the same time terrifying thought appears in our heads: what if we are already blasé and bored. What if crowds of impressive landscapes have made us immune to everything and now instead of enjoying the views, we will only "desecrate" them. Well, my doubt in America once again turned out to be unjustified ... faster than I thought.
x. Go down the Grand Canyon Colorado
Grand Canyon -> Needles
The next goal of our trip are the Great Sequoias about ... about 10 hours by car. Without a night's lodging, there is no chance for it. So we drive as much as we can without causing danger and we are looking for a hotel. Free WiFi is found in Walmart in Kingman. We also go to hambuks for In-N-Out burger, which I value very much for the menu. It boils down to choosing the size and information whether the bread roll should be with or without cheese.
We find accommodation in Needles. It is one of those towns located by the old and legendary Route 66. The buildings located on Route 66 are Łódź Fabryczna. I would describe most buildings as "somewhat suspicious" and "having glorious years behind". Where is the Mojave Needles located by the Mojave Desert known? I think it's just that Spike, Snoopy's brother from the great fairy tale "Parsing" came from this area.
Our hotel is straight from the movie - I do not know what genre. This River Valley Inn. We call the bell, there comes a very sober gentleman who quickly turns out to be a lady. He comes also after a while
his her husband. Both are somewhere far away, in the land of rainbow and unicorns. They are bravely trying to keep the pawn, although they do not really like it. They look a bit like they've been sitting for the last 13 years at a party where the main guest was methamphetamine. Pan with a big magnifying glass trying to read from my phone how much we paid on the booking, the lady disappears trying to locate a computer. It takes a good 15 minutes and ends up being loud "Oh, you must be kidding me!"when he finds the final amount in my Polish e-mail. Then he scoops my credit card and for 10 minutes tries to make use of it in the back. Panda at this time is trying not to die of laughter ... or fear, I do not know myself. The gentleman's hair that he combed and put together on the gel some 22 years earlier does not help in this. One can not be denied them, despite the huge difficulties they are incredibly nice, and the room we received was nice and clean. Maybe he was pounding a bit with him, and trying to grab toilet paper meant that the hand was also pounding with pet for two days, but it was generally good. In retrospect, it was super funny.
River Valley Inn: $ 42.33 (link)
Needles -> Sequoia National Park
In the morning we set off for probably the longest journey of this trip. We drive through California: through the Mojave desert, we pass the NASA research center, fields, meadows, hills, generally everything. The landscape changes diametrically on average every 2 hours. We also encounter a gale that makes the city of Bakersfield look like Detroit in movies (more rubbish than cities). The road thanks to this is not long: sometimes we are going through a dried-out desert, and a moment later, in green fields of crops, advertised signs about "the sweetest oranges in the world". Of course, everything in the American edition - even a silly farm of windmills is somehow "much more" than those we know:
Sequoia National Park
I was very scared of Sequoia Park. In the end, it's just big trees. Not only that, the weather forecasts did not optimize. At night the temperature could drop to minus 20 degrees. No wonder, then the area is more than 2 km above sea level. Here, too, we make the biggest logistic mistake. The warnings "chains may be required in the car" have been read for a long time. I did not predict that the point is that the chains in the car will be required and their use is possible. Mrs. Ranger turns us back at the entrance, and we start looking for chains.
The local souvenir shops are too prepared for this. Renting a chain for our car is $ 100 and an additional $ 40 deposit if we planned not to give it back. And in the plan we had a completely different way back. The right method of preservation here is "for Kuźniar", meaning to buy at Walmart, not to use, pay back. It turns out, however, that the chains can actually come in handy, because if only from heaven starts to sprinkle anything, we would die there trying to leave. There is really a lot of snow. The mere pain of spending $ 100 just to look at the trees for 2 hours is going away quite quickly. I know it's hard to believe, but Redwoods are worth every money. Really.
Sequoias are simply large trees.
I did not know that large trees can make a bigger impression than the canyon with dimensions: 446km x 29km x 1,85km
But they can ... and they do
Even after more than half an hour stop 5km in front of the parking lot (we get just for the renovation of the road and shuttle traffic). We are in a serious traffic jam 3 or 4 cars, because to our happiness, the number of visitors in the winter is incomparably smaller than in the summer. I think that hardly anyone can say that he came to the moments when he saw no other man in Sequoia.
Ah! And on the way, we get to a house like a fairy tale, in which ice cream, cookies, breads and chocolates are hand-made. We spend an awful lot of time in it, of course, explaining that the car must be properly weighted in such conditions. We also leave too much money there, but a nice lady keeps us from going out for free testing cookies. For a moment I am reminded of a tale by the Brothers Grimm.
x. Eat chocolates and not to eat
Returning to the trees, because they were the most important (he he) - I did not think that a piece of wood can make such an impression. Such General Sherman who stands in the middle and is supposedly the largest tree in the world. Its height is almost 84 meters, and the circumference at the height of our heads - over 30 meters. As it's America, Sherman grows in the Big Forest, which has five of the ten largest trees in the world. You look at yourself and you think it is not possible.
At us, Sequoia Park is a lot more impressive than the Grand Canyon.
We're coming back, unfortunately, the same route we came, because we're sorry for those $ 40 for chains. The thought is still in the head that what if they are useful the next day on the way to Yosemite?
x. See the Great Sequoias
Sequoia National Park -> Fresno
We sleep in Fresno, where for the first time we realize that California is governed by its own laws - both in terms of gasoline costs and accommodation. This is probably also the best accommodation (outside Vegas) we get. star:Days Inn by Wyndham Yosemite Area. Nothing is more optimal on our way to Yosemite, and after a day in the car, our bodies require a bit of rest.
Days Inn by Wyndham Yosemite Area: 58.02 $ (link)
We have some two hours to Yosemite, which due to the circumstances of nature - occupy us 3. Again we go through cultivated fields, through vineyards, through the region, not without reason named: Madeira, through forests that suffered quite recently in recent fires and finally, through Yosemite itself, to get to Yosemite Valley.
Fresno -> Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park
There is a problem with Yosemite. I know what it looked like that day, and I know how it should look like on a beautiful winter day. You can see this in the relationship (at the end of the post) from the best trail in my opinion (4-Mile Trail, which trained sprinters can combine with Panorama Trail and John Muir Trail): w last year's entry.On this day, Yosemite looks a bit more dangerous, and worse, in early December, most of the high routes, including Glacier Point and Sentinel Dome, are already closed ... and in fact converted into cross-country ski runs.
After a short consultation with the lady at the Visitor Center, we decide to go towards the waterfall of Yosemite Falls, and maybe even at Yosemite Point. We were very naïve believing that such an operation could be successful at such a high snow cover and strongly irresponsible, after all trying.
The beginning is quite good, I would even say that without snow. From the moment when the view towards the waterfall that we are going to open opens before us, with every serpentine (and there are millions of them) of snow, it gradually arrives, until we begin to doubt whether we can go any further. Probably it would be a bit easier for me if I had not worn summer mountain boots, which served me as a tool to overcome in May Karkonoszmana. Here you need a lot of congratulations for the waterproof Dexshell socks, which we tried a year ago, a bit of a try. Although my shoes were completely soaked (well, because it was finally lukewarm and low), the foot remained dry and relatively warm - a deep estimate.
It's a beautiful feeling when you slowly climb up for 10 kilometers (at the end at a rate of several meters per minute) and watch your peak slowly clouding. It will only reveal itself when you turn back. That's how it was - I view the view from the top like a view from our window in Warsaw, when the morning mist covers everything. We, like us, are moving temporarily. According to our calculations, we should get to the car exactly at sunset. However, we did not predict that going down the slippery snow and stones will be much harder than going after it. A lot of the routes go down to the squat or go down to "Małysz". On this day, 23 kilometers of us are caught in just over 5 hours of walking (counting only the time when we move), without stops. It's been a long time since we were so tired and so happy that another stupid idea was finished. This could have a bit worse than usual ...
Yosemite looks like a place created to attract climbers
... and then eliminating them
Either way, this route was probably the best thing we could do in these weather conditions. Even if Yosemite did not leave the right "WOW" impression in Panda, the vertical walls that we pass on the way, and even the waterfall, which is 5x larger in spring, can not be denied the classic American gigantism.
Before visiting Yosemite, you must watch movies about climbers who gain these walls without protection or on time. One of the best is for this Rebels at the Edge, available on Netflix. This is one of those hardcore films, when you say that it is impossible, and then live, it turns out that it is not impossible, it is even unimaginable. However stupid it would not be - an estimate for the boys. After this document, even leaving the car alone on the famous Camp 4 was an experience.
We leave Yosemite with a very dark aura. Two days later, there comes the perfect sun and blue sky, changing it into a completely different park.
x. Follow the trail in Yosemite
Yosemite National Park -> Sonora
It is not easy to find accommodation (reasonably priced) near Yosemite. We're standing in the first pub behind the park (a brilliant burger and yet a brilliant soup at the Hungry Bear Cafe in Groveland) and using the free WiFi, we find ourselves in Sonora, which lies near our route. We have to accept the fact that finding cheap accommodation in California is very difficult. We get toHeritage Inn - Yosemite / Sonora.
Heritage Inn - Yosemite / Sonora: $ 65.22 (!) (link)
Sonora> San Francisco
From Sonora to San Francisco we have about 3 hours of driving, because for the first time we see a big crowd on the road - regardless of whether they have 1 lane or 5, it is just as cramped.
On the way, we take a break, which is very wise, because thanks to this we fall into the city during rush hour and get stuck in traffic jams on the bridge. We stop at:
Mount Diablo lies in Mount Diablo State Park and we know of the Tour of California. We can not afford to run our folders on them. In the end, it is over 17km of driveway with an average close to 6%. This is one of the big three so-called Bay Area next to a slightly lower Mt. Tamaplais (on which I was last year) and slightly higher Mt. Hamilton, which is still waiting for us.
It would be a serious faux pas, if such a well-known driveway was not the BEST thing in this country. Well, ladies and gentlemen, it is said that Mt Diablo in terms of the area that can be seen from the summit gives way only ... Mt. Kilimanjaro. Yes, this is Kilimanjaro. The driveway itself is quite heavy and very nice in terms of view - but it is not easy to hit the day with good visibility enough to see the areas behind both the Golden Gate and ... Half Dome in Yosemite. Along the way, we see cones as big as Panda's head and chestnuts as big as ... I won't say what.
The traffic is small - on Thursday in the south there are definitely more cyclists here than cars. Every now and then we pass warning signs about cyclists, requests to "share the road" and information that cyclists can move the full width of the road.
Mount Diablo - like nothing, but if you think about it
just 1% and 4km less than Stelvio from Bormio
This is also the first place where Panda is experiencing a California shock. It's hard to survive. We leave the car in a side parking lot, where hiking and MTB trails start. By default, an envelope, a mailbox and a request to leave $ 5 are waiting for us. We do it without a problem. Next to it is a cabinet in which we can find all bicycle tools, a stationary pump, wet and dry lubricants, and even inner tubes of various sizes. Yes, it's high-life. Overcoming random suburban streets only strengthens us. Houses, under which usually 3 cars are parked: antique, sports and family Tesla, beautiful gardens, palms, and all this with some such moderation. There are no large concrete eagles, kilometer driveways, Roman columns - it is somehow beautiful, but simply. Yes, this is a place where I could live. We check real estate prices - most of the houses are around $ 2-5 million. Good.
x. Enter Mount Diablo
We are slightly tired and move towards San Francisco. We get stuck in one of those monstrous traffic jams around 17 o'clock on the bridge between Oakland and SF. Full 6 lanes covered with cars. Separate lights for each belt, which change in a random order, allowing one car from the belt to the bridge. Everything goes slowly, but politely - completely without nerves, without guests constantly changing the belt, blinking with lights, etc. In the background of the head, however, I'm joking on the famous scene with Michael Douglas from the movie "Fall." In such a place, you can not stand ...
We arrive at a hotel in San Francisco, where we will stay 3 nights. Finding meaningful accommodation below $ 100 is also a challenge here. We stay in a standard hotel, but in a great place - at the famous Lombard Street -Lombard Plaza Motel - a few minutes from the bay and a dozen or so minutes from probably the most famous pedestrian street in the city (at least from those located by the water).
Lombard Plaza Motel: $ 307.78 ($ 102.5 per night) (link)
I can calmly recommend this place.
I am sorry to write about San Francisco itself - it is one of the best places in the world. The text about him, along with a list of things to visit, was on the blog last year:
We spend the first evening walking about a dozen kilometers through the downtown streets.
The first day is the most well-worn cycling route in the city. We go by the wharf, and then the bridge on Hawk Hill, from which we descend to the Point Bonita lighthouse. As it happens in California, expensive roads, drivers for nice cyclists, and bicycle paths almost everywhere. The only problem is the time we need to cover the next kilometers. Getting around in the San Francisco area is really tough. On this day, traveling 78 km takes us 7.5 hours (same driving).
x. Get Hawk Hill
It is beautiful - we pass, for example, through the Golden Gate Park, a 5km long city park, where you can meet buffalo, or kids on sleds coming down from the snow hill next to the mined volleyball players. We also visit Twin Peaks, which is one of many surrounding hills. The perfect place to look at the sunset.
We spend the second day without much plan. We move randomly around the city visiting interesting districts. 60 kilometers takes us well over 6 hours of driving, and another 3 are probably spent standing and looking.
Because there is one very serious problem in San Francisco. Virtually every street looks here so that you could easily make it the main tourist attraction in every other city. All houses have similar stylistics and, combined with incredibly steep streets, make an electrifying impression. Regardless of whether it is a Latino-hipster mission district full of murals, or the gay district of Castro full of colorful flags and manifestoes. Yes, in San Fracisco almost every street is lined with such houses (and such a system of cables with electricity):
x. Tire on city hills
We also visit, of course, the cult, open-air MASH store, which turns out to be open only on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 12 to 19. For consolation, we go to Rapha, where we are experiencing a profession. First of all, there is no characteristic car-patio in front of her, secondly there is no favorite collection of SALE, and thirdly - there is no cap with the inscription San Francisco. In spite of trying hard, we do not buy anything there.
x. Buy a nice piece of clothing
We visit a much better place than shops:Church of 8 Wheels. The advertisement says that it is a church turned into a roll. We did not imagine that. In fact, it is a church - such an ordinary, completely standard church. We are there too early, the Friday party has not started yet. We are greeted by a guy in a big hat and with colorful pompoms. There is also music, lasers, balloons and in general loud and colorful. We will go back there one day.
x. Visit the church in which they ride on roller skates
At the end of the day, we are shocked. We see one hundred Santa Clauses and Snowflakes gathered at the pub. Some thematic party - we think. It turns out that this is not a thematic party at all. The string of Christmas disguises continues for miles. People in red are visible to the horizon and suppressed at every possible pub. It's probably the biggest Christmas party I've ever seen and seen in my life. The picture does not come out, because everything is winking and spinning, and the music makes the hand bounce inertly.
We are disgruntled from San Francisco. This city is too good. Ocean, beaches, hills, high mountains - all this is within easy reach. It is a pity that the average price of renting a "one-bedroom" apartment is about $ 3,300 per month.
More to put it: we are running away from this city. All we have to do is go to Los Angeles and have a day in place. We have little hope that LA is so bad that our memories will cease to be so positive, and the road itself will bore us, thanks to which we will lose any desire to extend the holidays. America - I'm sorry that I doubted you again.
San Francisco -> Big Sur -> Morro Bay
ABOUT CIE BRIGHT (W) UJ ...
We are waiting for over 700km by road, which practically stretches along the coast almost all the time. We ride cliffs and with each subsequent kilometer the jaw drops more and more. We make the first stop in the cradle of surfers - Santa Cruz. In winter, this city is practically non-existent. It is rather empty and rather sad. The closed amusement park looks a bit like The Walking Dead. The upside is that once again we meet sea lions, with whom Panda can talk peacefully.
We reach the coast to the famous Big Sur. This is a final blow for us (not at all, then it turns out that you can still kick a lying one). It's like a combination of all the best coastal roads we've seen. these GC-200 on Gran Canaria, combined with Cap Formentor in Mallorca and Anaga on Tenerife. This road is the final road and even the fact that all tourist routes are closed, it does not bother us at all. We are again this handicapped tourists who admire everything from the car, going only to the parking lots for the picture. In each of these car parks you could sit down and look blue all day long.
The only place where we have to walk a serious 500 meters is the super-similarly-famous McWay Falls, or a waterfall falling straight to the beach. I've been waiting for more than two weeks to say: THIS IS SO. On the other hand, I have an irresistible feeling that it might as well be in Cyprus and be one of the most important tourist attractions on the island.
Cabrillo Hwy, meaning the road number "1" is crushing, but driving it hard tires. There are a lot of curves, and the viewpoints are scattered around each turn even more. We go a little, we stand a little, then go again and stay again. From each point the view is similar, but for the first few dozen kilometers we can not omit any of them.
x. Drive along the west coast
Everything that is good ends, Big Sur and we go back to "the usual path along the coast". We stand in the parking lot marked as "Vista Point", but not to see something, but to pee. There is no toilet, but there is another surprise for it:
Officially, we have enough. Transfer, too much, too good. Now it must be bad, so we can be happy to go home.
x. Have enough of beautiful
We are just waiting to get to an accommodation in the town of Morro Bay (because the name is funny - we imagine beja in the camo). It sounds bad.
I apologize for this phrase and your language, but as if it was written by another cycling blogger: "ME ME"(Quote).
Morro Bay is Calpe, only American. Sea lions scream, birds sing, people eat sea food in cheap and expensive pubs, big rock grows out of the ocean, people smile, and we walk along the promenade, which is again shops with genius things. Funny (but wise) books, funny (but nice) clothes and so on. We drop in to the pizzeria, where we are served by lokales in a cap that looks like a native from an American comedy.
We live inMorro Bay Sandpiper Inn.
Morro Bay Sandpiper Inn: $ 50.83 (link)
Morro Bay -> Long Beach
We leave Morro Bay in the morning. A long trip to Los Angeles awaits us, whose task is to spoil our vacation memories. After all, who will you ask for - Los Angeles is always the biggest profession. Our first day of vacation also did not indicate that we would remember them particularly well.
We go again through some parks, a bit over the water, sometimes there is a lookout point, sometimes a dam, sometimes a beach - it was all there. Not that it is ugly so we stop constantly. Such a drive through Los Padres National Forest or a stop at Lake Cachuma is still worth recommending, but I can not write about it here. If I started to crumble so much, the entry would be long ;-)
In Malibu, for example, Leonardo DiCaprio, Miley Cyrus, Jack Nicholson, Ellen DeGeneres, Jennifer Aniston, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Angelina Jolie, John Travola and the spire, wieeeel others ... (here are photos of their homes… and many other)
From places worth noting - we drive through Malibu. A district where beaches can and are not the best, but buildings are already like that. Such houses as in Malibu, with the candle look for anywhere else. In the end, how often do you see a row of small buildings with a private beach, and not much further, on the hill - large and modern (or slightly already bitten by the tooth of time) villas.
On Wikipedia, there is a separate chapter describing the natural disasters that have affected Malibu
Of course, our outlook is slightly disturbed by the effects of the recent large fires in California, which clearly left their mark on the area. Instead of through green meadows and forests, we drive through burnt ruins, which from time to time are cut with intact houses and green lawns. It's hard to judge whether they have been bypassed in some magical way by the fire, or simply the owners have quickly brought them back to their original state.
Then it seems to us that all this is a nice luxury. A few hours later, we change our mind, because we reach:
We can not walk on the beach, because all private.
x. Be the creepy visitor who watches the expensive houses of others
I do not know if Long Beach is still Los Angeles, just as I do not know if Pasadena, where we slept on the first day, is also included in this city. I suspect that it is not, but it is probably the same as with the Silesian agglomeration - no one in general knows where, what ends and where it begins.
Anyway, we landed in Long Beach and unfortunately - it was the best and worst that could happen to us that day. The plan was simple - to see this terrible LA and erase slightly too positive memories of the holiday. I couldn't succeed more than I could have imagined. The day before I checked quickly, where in the area is best to look at Christmas tinsel - an anonymous page wrote that one of such places is the islet of Naples. It so happened that it was 15 minutes folding from our accommodation. A trip to an island whose radius is maybe from 500 meters destroyed the pine eventually.
There were two reasons. The first of them is access by the coast. It turns out that there is a bicycle path along the coast. Unfortunately, this is not a path on the street - it is run along an ideal asphalt that crosses the beach and tens of kilometers. From the far south of the city, up to the beach in Santa Monica. If you ever wondered why a beach cruiser bike was made, I have an answer for you.
On the path we encounter abstraction, probably the most red-orange sunset we've ever seen in our lives. In conjunction with the beach, ocean, ports, houses and blocks, which go directly to the sand, we felt sorry. It's really stupid to put in pictures because they look like I'm a bit overdoing with color sliders. But this is nothing, because the worst was yet to come.
Naples - I have never heard anything about it in my life. It is such a mini-island connected to the mainland with 3 bridges and a small river in its center. I would say that it looks like a miniature of Venice. If I did not check the islet on the map, I would probably never have noticed it myself. So what's so unusual about her?
Let's start with the fact that each of the houses looks like the owner said, "Hey, you have 3 million dollars here, put me in a small and modest, but elegant hut." I checked, that's what the prices of houses are there, which are relatively small: 200 to 400 square meters. Due to the limited space, there is no such thing as a fence. Each property is completely open, and passing a sidewalk, we feel as if we were walking through someone's garden. We avoid big steak grills and garden tables. There is also no invention like curtains or blinds, but it does not bother anyone. I feel a bit like in Sims, where as an invisible creation I could, without arousing suspicions, look at the everyday life of others. Yes, Naples is a voyeur paradise. The sidewalk is opened so close to the porches that each of the people passed there welcomes us as if we were neighbors. This is not the worst, of course.
Have you ever watched Griswolds, or more precisely: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation? Do you remember Clark tuning his home? It was nothing. Believe me, the Royal Garden of Light in Wilanów is not enough shining to stand there. Naples looks like a holiday arms race for people whose budget is completely unlimited. Everything moves, everything glows, music plays everywhere, everything blinks, Santas is everywhere, and two days earlier there was a parade of glowing boats. Well, I forgot to mention that each of the houses has its own private yacht dock.
x. See the best in life Christmas decorations
They pour the bitterness of children at one of the houses (exactly on the sidewalk), singing Feliz Navidad along with the guy with the guitar. We are officially fed up with this country. We are going to our last night. Not any, because Queen Mary ship.
Yes, it is the same liner that in the mid-20th century traveled between Southampton, England and New York, carrying people such as the Queen of Great Britain, Marlena Dietrich, Eleanor Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, and Inston Churchill. A piece of history.
The Queen Mary: 146.77 $ / night (!!!) (link)
I will skip the unnecessary interrogation: accommodation in Queen Mary is, in my opinion, the most overpaid and probably the worst in which we were. Our "cabin" is a converted room of the former 1st class. Maybe she was the first one sometime. Now there is no window and the air-conditioning is controlled verbally at the reception, about 100 meters away, with two states: cold / warm, receives a bit of luxury. In combination with empty corridors, we feel a bit like in a horror movie or Titanic scene, in which a wall of water will appear behind us. However, we do not include accommodation in "lost", because otherwise we would not find ourselves on Long Beach, and what we saw there was worth every money.
x. Sleep on Queen Mary
That's how we spent the last night on this vacation. In the morning, of course, pancake in the IHOP, watching surfers on Manhattan Beach and returning from LAX home ... for a week, because then we move to Morocco.
I'm not proud of this text. Just as I'm not proud that when I tell you about these holidays, I have to lie. Otherwise, people would think that I'm a good ciul. I do not want to be the guy who "in America is ...". I will not hide - I am a psychophile of the American way of life and it seems to me that I managed to get my girlfriend a little bit into it. It's not about having everything NAJ, it's just that everyone (generally) is nice. People smile, greet, do not break the rules without sense. As it is clearly stated that "no overtaking cyclist", the visitor will follow you until the mark is removed. Even if the road is empty. All you have to do is say "no overtaking when cornering". Similar observations apply to all areas of life. That this is mindless life, top-down, artificial? I do not know, it does not matter to me. Moving to the west coast continues to be "real, not too distant plans for life" in space.
I do not recommend such holidays to anyone. It was a holiday where there was no time for anything. There was a morning wake up call, 2 hours by car, a few hours of sightseeing, 3 hours by car - on average. In each of the places we visited, you could spend a week without boredom. We did not have so much time. However, if you are hardcore with limited holidays, I guarantee that it's hard to make a better vacation.
... I'm just afraid to think about how many things we have missed.