USA Short Trip 2017 – Three States in Seven Days – 11/2017

Hi there,

When summer ends, vacation begins! :)))
This year Julia and I visited the USA, and my beloved California plus two other states: Nevada and Arizona. Okay, I pretty much missed that we hadn’t enough time to drive along the coast on highway 1 and 101, but – believe it or not – the desert has also its charm! 🙂

With every visit of your favorite place it’s getting harder to decide what to shoot and therefor which camera gear to take with you. This year I took my Nikon D700 DSLR and my Nikon FM2 film SLR with me. Why the SLR? Because of nostalgic reasons. I mean, those film prints have more emotion and power of the moment to me. But this time I’ll have to find a better photo lab than a drugstore.^^

Finally I ended up with those two cameras, my smartphone and a YI action cam. Never had that effort before to gather all the files and save them onto the hard-drive. :/

But lets get back to our trip. We had seven days whereof two days were only half days because of arrival and departure.

Our USA Route 2017

Day 1

We started at Frankfurt/Main airport, as always. Best airport beside LAX! 😉
We arrived by BMW 5 Series with a chauffeur (thanks to my father! ;P) at Frankfurt/Main Airport on Friday around 8 o’clock and – WOW! What was that?! It was SO crowded! I’d never experienced that bunch of people on my US flights. Plane was the A380 which was booked out. Unfortunately it took us 2 hours to check in our luggage, passing security and an additional hour because of a flight delay. While waiting, we met a young mother with her baby and she was also waiting because there was no priority boarding for parents with baby’s – strange. We met her again later in the plane. She was visiting her brother who lived in LA. The rest of the flight we dreamed of having relatives in LA. Haha.

Waiting for our plane at Frankfurt/Main Airport

Finally arrived at LAX we jumped onto the ALAMO bus which transferred us to the rental station where we got the keys to the expected Chevy Tahoe with a V8 engine and 345 hp. I really need this car here in Germany. Haha! 🙂 After 1h LA traffic we arrived at our motel in Lynnwood. After a short break we headed to Pizza Hut. That’s always the second action when arriving at the 1st motel.
The day ended with a TV party at the motel.^^

Downtown L.A. Night Drive

Arriving at our Motel in Lynnwood, LA

L.A. Downtown Skyline


Day 2

Getting up early was our plan and we got up at – 10? xD No hurry when we reved up with our brand new 2018 Chevy Tahoe in blazing whiiiiite! Haha, all those jealous  m… nah, okay. 😉

First stop: HOLLYWOOD – Walk of Fame, Stores, Stores, Stars and uhm Stores, yup. After walking along the Walk of Fame we drove to the Hollywood sign – bling, bling sign view! Please feed the meter!^^

Hollywood Love

Hollywood posing *lol*

After funny driving we arrived in Santa Monica where we walked through the Palisades Park to the center with all its shops and restaurants. I was wondering why Tesla hadn’t those jackets to sell anymore and I was also missing the Model 3.
That day it was Halloween and when we walked back to the park we saw that garden which was decorated with Halloween stuff. So cool!
Before leaving Santa Monica, we were standing arm in arm in the Palisades Park, watching the sun go down. So romantic! Lovely! =)

Halloween Gardens

Well known tower of the TV series “Columbo” 🙂

Palisades Park Sunset, Santa Monica


Day 3 

Sunday started with a great breakfast at Black Bear Diner in LA! My friends Mikey and Kristina showed me that place years before and I remembered it so we went there for PANCAKES! To keep it authentic I wore a forest camo hunting cap that morning.^^

Having Pancakes at Black Bear Diner

Strengthened we drove to Las Vegas, so the half day we were on the road what really was NOT a boring time. Julia was driving and I had time to took some photos out of the car during the drive. We had also several stops at diners and so. Really enjoyed the monotone landscape and atmosphere.

Desert Road

Desert on the Fly

Endless Desert Roads – Rear View

Driving the Desert – Vegas, here we come.

After a five hour drive we arrived in Las Vegas, ready to hit the bed in Palms Resort. But not before having strolled along the strip and through the casinos (without wasting money). 🙂

Las Vegas View from PALMS Resort

Water Show at Bellagio’s, Las Vegas

Bellagio’s Romance


Day 4

Our last day in Vegas, we had breakfast at iHop and afterwards visited the Hoover Dam before we were heading south to Lake Havasu City, Arizona.

Hoover Dam, Nevada

In Arizona we made the first stop at Buckskin Mountain State Park. A more luxury campground along the Colorado River. In the summer here you can watch the Americans driving their speed boats and doing water-ski. In the late fall it’s already too cold, so we had just silence and no sports action or any camping neighbors – a bit boring for 30 bucks.^^

Camping at Buckskin Mountain SP


Day 5 

The next day we arrived at Lake Havasu City where we bought everything for our upcoming stay at Joshua Tree NP, visited the city and made a boat trip (better: a ferry trip) across the Colorado River and finally settled the Tahoe heading off to Joshua Tree NP after having ice-cream from this cool ice-cream shop (cannot remember the name, but you should visit it) and a walk over the originally rebuilt London Bridge.

Along the Colorado River, Lake Havasu City

Havasu City Sunrise Reflection on our Chevy Tahoe

As we arrived at Joshua Tree NP it was the same feeling I had five years back when I first visited the park on my own. Although it’s just desert and trees, it has a special atmosphere that I like.
We drove around, looking for a nice campground, but the most ones were almost full. There were that “hipster” campground we wanted to join first, but because we felt too old in our mid-thirty’s, we decided to choose Jumbo Rocks campground with families and so. Haha. I really like Jumbo Rocks, its big rocks allow you to overview the whole wide desert and watching the sunset on the horizon. Wonderful! Especially when sitting with your partner on the rocks eating your steak or salad, watching the sun go down and thinking about life.

Mojave Desert Sunset


Day 6

Before we were heading back to LA, we visited some palces, hiked and drove some “backroads” at Joshua Tree. Unfortunately without 4WD you cannot drive the real backroads, but I did that one time and I was lucky when escaping the desert. Not funny doing this all alone, but great memories.^^

Hitting the Mojave Desert Backroads (2013)

Mojave Desert Panorama, Joshua Tree NP

Joshua Trees

Barker Dam

Driving Dirt Roads

Mojave Desert Fauna

A Day in the Desert ends

The last stage: Huntington Beach. Always worth a visit to get this surf city feeling and watching the greatest sunsets and surfers on earth. 🙂 We had diner at Sizzlers and you should have too, even people say it not that delicious – to us it was delicious and cheap. 😉

Surf City Huntington Beach

Surfer, Huntington Beach (2013)

Huntington Beach Pier Sunset (2013)

But no trip to LA without visiting the best place of the city: Griffith Observatory! I felt in love with it the first time I was there when space shuttle Endeavour had it’s last flight above LA. <3

LA Overlook from Griffith Observatory

And so the last day ended with cleaning the car, throwing away the whole camping equipment and checking in for the flight back home.

Well, maybe not that interesting trip for you, but often there is more than just doing a lot of things – because often you are in a wonderful mood, experiencing a feeling just by driving, walking sitting, watching or talking to people and enjoying the lifestyle instead of trying to make it an educational leave. Enjoy! 🙂

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