BECAUSE SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO CREATE YOUR OWN SUNSHINE
So, I am finally over my post-holiday jet-lag after a week of endless cups of tea and struggling to stay up in a re-adjusted time zone. I was on an exhausting but absolutely fantastic three-week road trip on the U.S. West Coast with my boyfriend and two girlfriends! It is a busy vacation with a lot of time spent on the road so I thought I would share my experience with fellow and future road trippers. I usually opt for the more relaxed holiday away from work life, preferably by the beach but the road trip made an interesting change and the sceneries were memorable and breathtaking. Our first stop was in Las Vegas, Nevada and from there we travelled through parts of California, Arizona and Utah. I could natter on about every detail of the trip but in order to keep readers awake I will simply highlight each stop from our trip and share a few shots so
here we go!
Day One – Arrival in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Everyone was wiped out with jet lag after an 11 hour flight and long car rental registration process at the airport but we managed to make it out onto the Las Vegas strip and find a bar serving buffalo wings and frozen margaritas. Perfect start!
Day Two – A day and night in Las Vegas.
We spent the day exploring the Las Vegas strip and managed to fit some shopping in the one of the fabulous malls. Afterwards, boyfy and I caught a helicopter ride over Grand Canyon. It was freezing cold but the views were wonderful. In the evening, we dined and then visited a couple of hotel casinos for drinks and a quick gamble. Boyfy won US$250!! Upon returning to our hotel we diverted to the hotel bar where we met an awesome and rather tipsy couple living in the outskirts of Las Vegas. We nattered on with them over some cocktails until the lady in the couple realised she was drunk and had work in 3 hours.
Day Three – Drive from Las Vegas to Bakersfield, California
This was a long drive of about 450km. Bakersfield was a pit stop on our way to San Francisco. We took our time driving through the Nevada desert roads, arrived at our our hotel late in the evening and then passed out straightaway from fatigue and post-Vegas tenderness.
Day Four – Drive from Bakersfield to Modesto, California – about 330km
Modesto was also a pit stop on our way to San Francisco. This route enabled us to drive through Yosemite National Park and Yosemite Valley where we were wowed by the ‘snow-kissed’ enormous granite cliffs, numerous waterfalls and clear water streams. This park is so biologically diverse and one is surrounded by nothing else but the wilderness. We arrived at our hotel in Modesto at sunset and made it to dinner at Olive Garden (yes!). Boyfy and I went for a nightcap in the hotel bar where we met a friendly fellow hotel guest from Reno. He was that kind of drunk where it took him an hour to put on his flip flop, only to lose it again and start the process over. It was great to mingle, laugh with and share random tales with such a friendly extrovert character.
Day Five and Six – Modesto to San Francisco, California – about 150km
We left Modesto in the early morning and arrived in San Francisco. This city oozes culture, diversity and style. It felt like I was in the New York City of the West. We spent both days exploring the city, notably China Town, Little Italy, Union Square , Fisherman’s Wharf, The Haight district (known for its hippie movement in the 1960’s) and the Castro district which is apparently the first and largest gay neighborhood in the United States. During the evening on the first night we spent our cocktail hour in The View, a swanky rooptop bar in San Francisco Marriot Marquis Hotel.
We met up with a school friend of my boyfriend who now lives in the city, ate at the Cheesecake Factory (yes!!!!) and toasted in boyfy’s birthday at midnight with some flutes of champagne in The Clock Bar at Union Square. The next evening we spent my boyfriend’s birthday in the Bourbon and Branch, all of which was organised my old school friend who now lives in San Fran too. What a wonderful evening spent drinking in this beautifully classic bar which exists since the prohibition era in the 1920’s. A simply unique experience which began the moment we rang the doorbell and gave the secret entry password is only received after making your table reservation. The password is given together with a list of ‘House Rules’ to be followed. The host was elegantly dressed with a 1920’s touch to her outfit and so was the experience, style and music equally as elegant. Photography is prohibited in the bar as part of the house rules so all I can do is stress that you make a reservation there yourselves!
Day Seven – Drive from San Francisco to San Luis Obispo, California – about 420km
We left San Francisco with great hesitation to our next pit stop but we were consoled by the drive along the Pacific coastline on Highway 1. It was a perfect scenic route and made the long driving distance more bearable.
Day Eight – Drive from San Luis Obispo to Los Angeles, California – about 260 km
We woke up at the cusp of dawn and drove directly to Universal Studios. My boyfriend has never been there. We were lucky enough to have a Front Line Pass so we skipped the long queues and enjoyed a stress-free day on the theme park rides and studio tours. Boyfy even won a Valentine’s Day teddy bear for me on one of the theme park dart games. The highlight was the Transformers 3D ride on which boyfy and I were just as scared and loud as the eight years old girls riding with us. After Universal Studios, we went to visit boyfy’s family friends at their beautiful home in Studio City where we would also be staying during our visit in L.A.
It was a relief not having to stay in hotel after a week of luke warm showers and constant checking in and out. It was also influential to meet some successful but down to earth individuals working hard as executives in the publishing and entertainment industry; a totally different industry to mine. The day turned into the perfect evening when we ate Valentine’s day dinner in a quaint and trendy restaurant called Bagatelle followed by after dinner drinks in The Hudsonbar; both located in West Hollywood. Perfect Valentine’s Day spent with boyfy!
Okay here is a quick a pause. Part Two to follow…