I had been meaning to go on a US road trip for years, but the reality of making it happen was, as always, a bit more complicated than one would hope. However, a strong will and a few months of thorough planning helped make an idea become a ‘dream come true’ which is why we are now here and why I am making this post the first one on my blog. In the posts to come, every destination will be covered separately – plus there are many more to come, from whole wide world.
When I say I love traveling, that doesn’t even come close to describing how I really feel whilst packing suitcases and preparing to conquer new destinations. Every trip is like a dose of medicine for me, so when I am under a lot of stress, even when I can’t realistically go anywhere, researching a possible destination acts as therapy. Sometimes I go as far as planning a trip in detail – a trip that might never happen… The planning itself incentivises me to try to ensure that I can make that trip a reality. Sometimes even the universe can give a helping hand and then all the pieces come together!
That is somewhat what happened with my dream vacation. I have always wanted to go on a US road trip, to go from coast to coast, to see all the different sides of this incredible country, to get to know its culture, try the food…you know!
I had been surfing the internet, Roadtrippers.com in particular, and for weeks I had been making a map of places I would like to see. My husband was making his own and then we started looking for compromise – what is it that we both want, what is a must on my map and what is a must on his.
After a while, the decision was made – the starting point would be New York, in which we had both fallen helplessly in love in 2013 when we had first seen it, and where we had gotten married. Even then we’d known that every other time we come back to this country, we would have to visit, in our opinions, the most beautiful city in the world. The second decision was to make San Francisco the ending point of this trip. Truth to be told, my first, and as it turns out – completely unrealistic – idea was to “stop by” Hawaii, but that will have to wait a bit more.
Bit by bit, the pieces were coming together, and then one day we just said – we are going and that’s that… We bought the tickets, booked the accommodation and transport and then all that was left to do was patiently wait for our three week long vacation that was booked for mid-May as that was the ideal time for visiting each of these destinations.
On a morning flight from Belgrade via Amsterdam, we arrived in New York, where we spent an entire week.
We crossed both the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge on foot, walked all of 2.5km of The High Line, the disused railroad spur that has been transformed into a park that millions of tourists visit every year. We kept going back to Central Park, where we had gotten married the last time we’d been there, whilst Bryant Park was my everyday relaxation spot. It was true enjoyment sitting there and watching the city go past.
We tried the famous New York bagels with scallion cream cheese and smoked salmon and I completely understand why they are so popular!
We also went out on Broadway and watched “Les Miserables” which was truly fascinating. After that, it was time to say good bye to the Big Apple.
Our next stop was Las Vegas, which looks great at night, but when the lights go off, all that stays is tackiness and buildings that look as if they were made of cardboard. That is where our journey really began. With a few friends we got in the camper van we had hired and traveled 2.000 km in the next four days. It was exhausting, but it was worth it. We saw the most popular national park in Utah, Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, a horseshoe-shaped loop of the Colorado River and Antelope Canyon which is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen but at the same time it’s the place that has the biggest number of tourists per square metre. Rain and fog almost spoiled The Grand Canyon experience but the weather gods cleared up the sky pretty quickly. All of these places left me with one impression – magnificent in every possible way.
On the way, we visited Williams, a little city on the famous Route 66, a city that’s still alive, unlike other places on this route that are completely deserted. We stopped by Bedrock City, inspired by The Flintstones television series, and also stumbled upon the Apple Dumpling UFO Docking & Teleportation Center (used for teleportation to Uranus obviously) made by an enthusiast, without any real reason or purpose. We also drove through Colorado City, the capital of polygamy, on the border of Utah and Arizona followed by some strange looks if I might say so.
Our mobile home was replaced with a more appropriate and faster vehicle and crossed another 2000 km in five days traveling towards California. We visited the Mojave Desert and the little town of Kelso, which actually consists of a single building that serves as a tourist centre and a museum with a jail (metal cage, used for offenders and drunkards).
Calico, where people extracted 20 million dollars worth of silver during The Gold Rush, is now completely deserted and has been made a tourist attraction called Ghost Town. We had to make a stop in Barstow as the most important unimportant thing of all for all women out there is shopping. There is a mall chain with a variety of brand-name and designer outlet stores and the prices are very reasonable.
After spending two days in Los Angeles, I wished we’d put something else on the map. Although it has several really nice areas, this city didn’t make any good impressions. Nevertheless, I was looking forward to what was coming – Yosemite National Park, Napa Valley and San Francisco. I was sure they would be impressive and I wasn’t wrong.
Yosemite park covers an area of over 3.000 square kilometers and it’s a true wonder of nature. It would take days to see every inch of this park, its sequoia trees, waterfalls, and lakes… I wish we had more time in Napa valley but, even in that short span of time, we did manage to try some of their famous wines which counts for something. San Francisco is a completely different city to any other that I have ever been. The Golden Gate Bridge, the most colorful houses (called Painted ladies), China Town, Fisherman’s Wharf, Union Square, winding Lombard Street and the Castro District – all locations that are an absolute must see. All this aside, the best thing about this city is the unbelievable energy of its people – everyone is really nice and smiley so it’s no wonder it’s known as The City of Tolerance.
After many kilometers under our wheels and feet, thousands and thousands of photographs on our cameras and with hearts full of joy we came back home. I am already planning where to go next because if only I wish hard enough, dreams will come true.
If you want to go on a road-trip yourself – click here to find out how to organize it and how much does it cost.