London to San Francisco

Golden Gate

Alcatraz

Born to be Wild

Yosemite

Mammoth Mountain

Death Valley

Scotty's Castle

Hoover Dam

Bryce Canyon

Capitol Reef

Natural Bridges

Monument Valley

Grand Canyon

Wupatki National Monument

Petrified Trees

Lake Havasu City

Joshua Tree National Park

Ventura

Hearst Castle

Pacific Grove

San Francisco Airport

United States of America.jpg

If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them something more than the miracles of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it.

Lyndon B. Johnson

Road Trip ! Road Trip !

In August and September 2002 Kas and I took our longest ever holiday together, driving a grand tour around the Southwestern United States starting from San Francisco and taking in the Sierra Nevada mountains, the Mojave Desert, Southern Utah, Northern Arizona and the California Coast. Here are our adventures.

The wind whips through the canyons of the American Southwest, and there is no one to hear it but us – a reminder of the 40,000 generations of thinking men and women who preceded us, about whom we know almost nothing, upon whom our civilization is based.

Dr Carl Sagan

Preparations

Preparations

So what do you need for fly-drive in the USA when you haven't decided where to go or what to do ?
London to San Francisco

London to San Francisco

Ten hours of flying from Heathrow to San Francisco and it was still only mid afternoon. Oh yes, jet lag !
Golden Gate

Golden Gate

Isn’t the weather in San Francisco bizarre ? It’s 60F and this is a mini heatwave, apparently. We were warmer at home.
Alcatraz

Alcatraz

Alcatraz, one of the most infamous prisons ever built, and the setting for many a good film staring Clint Eastwood and Tyne Daly.
Born to be Wild

Born to be Wild

Get your motor runnin', head out on the highway. Looking for adventure In whatever comes our way.
Yosemite

Yosemite

After a number of days of relative inactivity by our standards, the first excursion of the morning just had to include some walking. Up the side of a mountain.
Up, Over & Down

Up, Over & Down

Time to cross the divide and get down onto the other side of the Sierra Nevada, a trip which is very difficult in the winter.
Death Valley

Death Valley

Nothing prepares you for the heat of Death Valley National Park in August.  You could use a few old clichés to try to paint the picture, but basically, it’s hot. 
Not Las Vegas

Not Las Vegas

We had it in our minds that we'd stay in Las Vegas.  We hadn’t booked anywhere to stay, and hadn’t tried to book anywhere, so it was going to be an adventure.
Hoover Dam to Zion

Hoover Dam to Zion

Hoover Dam was just a couple of miles away.  The new visitor centre cost more dollars than the original dam, apparently.  That’s inflation for you.
Zion to Bryce Canyon

Zion to Bryce Canyon

A day in Zion National Park looked like it was going to be fairly strenuous and action packed, so what better way to start off than with a substantial breakfast. 
Bryce to Capitol Reef

Bryce to Capitol Reef

You can’t really get a feel for Bryce Amphitheatre if you stay on the rim, so we decided that one or two of the loop trails below the rim were necessary.
Bridges & Cliffs

Bridges & Cliffs

Capitol Reef was about the most lonely place we visited.  It is a very long, thin area of land which follows a geological feature called the Waterpocket Fold.
Monumental

Monumental

This morning started off as a complete disaster for us.  Overnight, Mexican Hat had been hit by a power cut as a result of the thunderstorm the night before.
Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Over breakfast we were debating most was whether to take some sort of flight over the canyon. We decided to go for it.
Off to Flagstaff

Off to Flagstaff

We wanted a walk along the rim of Grand Canyon, so we parked up in a big lot in what looked like an old railway yard, and found our way to the bus stop going to Hermit’s Rest.
Petrified Trees

Petrified Trees

It's a long drive east along I-40 to Holbrook to visit the Petrified Forest National Park   There isn’t much to look at in that direction.
Too Much Driving

Too Much Driving

We set ourselves the target of getting to Joshua Tree National Park from Holbrook in a day, which meant we had to cross all of Arizona and half of California.
Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree

A Rangers at the Park Headquarters told us that we should leave the park in mid afternoon and return in early evening, because the afternoon temperature would be too hot to bear.
More Joshua Trees

More Joshua Trees

A new day dawned, and another whole day in Joshua Tree was in the offing.  We began with the customary free breakfast at the Best Western.
Freeway Frenzy

Freeway Frenzy

This morning we suddenly got very conscious of the fact that we had just three nights left, and that we had to get all the way from the south-east side of Los Angeles to San Francisco.
Highway 1

Highway 1

The breakfast at the Bella Maggiore was extremely good, so we left in a good mood and with full stomachs.  We hadn’t really decided where to go or what to do on this day, so the whole thing was a bit hit-and-miss.
Monterrey

Monterrey

Our final full day in the USA, and we decided that it would be a good day for doing as little as possible, so we just planned to look around Monterey and do lots of eating, drinking and relaxing.
The Final Leg

The Final Leg

And so came the day that comes at the end of all good holidays – the one where you have most of a day to kill before your flight home, and no particular enthusiasm for doing anything.


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