The Californian road trip begins!
21.06.2012 - 24.06.2012 30 °C
Our first day in LA didn't start so well as it took us 3 hours to get out of LAX airport when we arrived because there are so many forms to fill in and so many queues for everything, it’s really inefficient, so most of our day was wasted! Luckily we’re spending another 3 days in LA later on in our trip. Our hostel was in West Hollywood so there were a lot of cool things to see within walking distance, including the Farmer’s Market, so we just wandered around on our first evening. Stephen wanted to buy some ‘potato chips’ and hummous, but of course the smallest size was big enough to feed about 10 people!
On our second day we went to pick up our car and have a little practice drive around. I was a bit nervous about this as, although it’s Stephen driving, it’ll be pretty scary driving around on the busy streets of LA. Everything was fine though and we’ve been driving for over a week now without any accidents! After parking the car at the hostel we walked up to Hollywood Boulevard. It was a lot further away than we thought and the walk took us nearly two hours, but we got to see lots of interesting streets, shops and cafes on the way, as well as quite a few crazy people! We also got our first glimpse of the Hollywood sign:
People in LA must really love their dogs; we saw so many dog food and clothes shops, and even a ’’dog agility training centre and canine social club’’ which held ‘doggy discos’:
When we finally got to Hollywood Boulevard it was all a bit crap, but you have to do it! We strolled down the walk of fame and watched the impersonators outside the Chinese Theatre. I did obviously really enjoy standing in Robert Patterson’s footprints though!
The cast of Twilight's footprints outside the Chinese Theatre
On our way back to the hostel we walked down Sunset Boulevard as the sun was setting and got quite a nice photo:
Sunset on Sunset
It was time to leave LA and drive to Palm Springs. We stopped off at a huge Walmart on the way to buy camping equipment for when we visit Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks. We spent an absolute fortune and realised it would probably have been cheaper to stay in motel, but oh well!
When we arrived in Palm Springs we stopped off at the Indian Canyons to do a bit of hiking. This didn’t really go too well and we only lasted about 45 minutes as it’s pretty hot in the desert! We reckon it was about 40 degrees or more!
Our lovely Nissan Versa
We were pleasantly surprised how nice our motel room was, but I guess after spending so long in Asia even the most basic room in the US would feel like luxury! We went into the town for dinner and it was so nice. It was so warm in the evenings and the streets were lined with nice looking bars and restaurants and it was really busy with people (I think everything escapes from LA to Palm Springs at the weekend). We were finding it hard to choose where to eat when a man came over with free samples of pizza from his restaurant. This made our decision easy as the pizza was one of the best I’ve ever tasted!
Statue of Marilyn Monroe in Palm Springs
Driving from Palm Springs to Las Vegas:
This was a very long day of driving! We left Palm Springs at 9am and arrived in Vegas at 7pm. I’m not really sure why it took so long, but we did do quite a few stops along the way. The first stop was Pioneertown – an old film set in the desert where they’ve shot over 200 Western films. It was pretty cool but also a bit quiet and creepy!
Some of the set at Pioneertown
We then drove along a section of the famous Route 66, where we obviously had to get out the car and take a picture of the sign!
The rest of the drive had some amazing desert scenery and we even saw a little tornado!
Our last stop of the journey was at Hoover Dam which was pretty spectacular. You can walk across it on the road which is the state line between Nevada and Arizona, so one minute you’re on Pacific Time in Nevada and 100m later you’re on Central Time in Arizona!
Standing on top of the dam
The view from the bridge opposite the dam
Shortly after leaving Hoover Dam we could see the Vegas Strip in the distance through the dust - we were very excited about getting there!