Yes. It’s decided. We are going. This year. We are finally going. For the first time since we’re together, I’m letting the boyfriend decide where we are going for our big holiday. I’m not letting him decide what we are going to do or see. But… he could choose the destination. And he chose. And it’s decided. But to make this long story a lot shorter: we are going to the USA. For the first time in forever (there’ll be music, there’ll be light).
We plan on visiting California, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho and Nevada. Some states we only pass through though. I’m giving you our itinerary down below, together with some of the highlights that I’m looking forward to. Some are higher on the list than others, but who cares, right? We are ready for THE one and only road trip everybody should do (or so they say), the one through the west coast of America. Originality: zero. Epiceness: going through the ceiling.
Day 1 Brussels – (San Francisco) – Monterey
Nothing specials happens here. We just catch the flight, with a stop-over, to San Francisco. From there we immediately take our rental car and drive to Monterey.
Highlights: None. Or maybe a plane that arrives safely. Yeah, let’s take that.
Day 2 Monterey
Today we are heading out on the ocean to go and find us some whales. After that, depending on the time and the weather (fog?) we can do the 17-mile drive, with Carmel-by-the-Sea and maybe visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium as well.
Highlights: Whale watching (on a calm sea… and seeing more than just a tail of a sperm whale…which would be the completly opposite of my whale trip in Norway when I was young) and the 17-mile Drive.
Day 3 Monterey – Santa Maria
Another beautiful day along the Pacific Coast Highway. We first tried to find something to sleep in San Simeon, but prices made us decide otherwise.
Highlights: Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and the whole highway n°1.
Day 4 Santa Maria – Los Angeles
From Santa Maria we head towards Santa Monica and Venice Beach from where we drive into the busy center of Los Angeles to go and find our hotel.
Highlights: Solvang, Santa Monica and Venice Beach.
Day 5 Los Angeles
Nobody likes Los Angeles. Everybody, or most of them anyway say that it isn’t worth staying a long time. So we shortened our stay here and decided to only go for the fun parts. Today we are going to the Universal Studios of Hollywood and Hollywood.
Highlights: Universal Studios and searching for stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Day 6 Los Angeles – Kingman
Via the Joshua Tree National Park and maybe the famous Route 66, we are going to Kingman.
Highlights: Joshua Tree National Park.
Day 7 Kingman – Grand Canyon Village
Today we go out on the Route 66 and pass by Bedrock City (yes, we are going to meet The Flinstones) to get to the Grand Canyon National Park. We are planning a helicopter tour over the canyon and, according to the time we have left, doing the scenic drive as well.
Highlights: Taking the same picture as everybody else on the Route 66 and the helicopter tour over the Grand Canyon.
Day 8 Grand Canyon Village – Page
Today we may be heading out early to go and visit Monument Valley on our detour to Page. But we’ll see once we’re there if we want to make this gigantic detour or not. In Page we will make a little stop at Lake Powell as well.
Highlights: Monument Valley – maybe. Otherwise: Lake Powell :-p.
Day 9 Page – Tropic
We start out or day with a walk in the lower Antelope Canyon. Excitement level is raising here. After that we leave for Tropic, near Bryce Canyon National Park. Once we arrive there we’re taking the scenic drive and maybe a hike inside the park. I wasn’t looking forward to this park, because I wasn’t quite sure what to think of it, but it is said to be one of the better and more beautiful parks in America.
Highlights: Antelope Canyon, the Horseshoe Bend and Bryce Canyon National Park.
Day 10 Tropic – Salt Lake City
In the morning we’re planning on doing a horseback riding trip in Bryce Canyon. After that we leave for Salt Lake City.
Highlights: Horseback riding in Bryce Canyon National Park.
Day 11 Salt Lake City – Jackson
We’re coming closer to Yellowstone! We leave Salt Lake City behind us and go to Jackson passing by Logan Canyon and Bear Lake.
Highlights: Logan Canyon and Bear Lake.
Day 12 Jackson– Canyon Village
Today we are finally going to Yellowstone National Park, but first we pass by the Grand Teton National Park (!!), where we are going to spend our entire day.
Highlights: Grand Teton National Park.
Day 13 Canyon Village
The lower loop of the Yellowstone National Park. There’s nothing more to be said here.
Highlights: Everything we see on the lower loop.
Day 14 Canyon Village
The upper loop of the Yellowstone National Park. Period.
Highlights: Everything we see on the upper loop.
Day 15 Canyon Village – Salt Lake City
Today we are heading back to the normal route of the road trip. We might be stopping by the Idaho Falls or maybe we’ll be stopping by the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge near Birgham City. Either way, sleeping we do – once again – in Salt Lake City.
Highlights: Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge.
Day 16 Salt Lake City – Springdale
Today we’re headed to the Zion National Park and Sprindale. In Zion we plan on doing a small walk, to stretch our legs.
Highlights: Zion National Park.
Day 17 Springdale
Another day in Zion National Park. Depending on the weather conditions, we (I) really want to do the Narrows trail in the park.
Highlights: Zion National Park.
Day 18 Springdale– Las Vegas
We leave Springdale and go through the Valley of Fire to get to Las Vegas.
Highlights: the Valley of Fire Highway.
Day 19 Las Vegas – Panamint Springs
I’m sure I’m not going to be a big fan of Las Vegas. Once you’ve seen it… you’ve seen it. I’m also sure there’s enough action going on in that place to stay here for more than just one night. But there are way better things to be seen in the upcoming days. So why stay longer? So this day we head towards Death Valley National Park. We’re also staying the night. We thought a lot about it… because we’re going to be roasted here. But I’ve been told that you can see the most beautiful nightsky here… So fingers crossed for a starry night!
Highlights: Death Valley National Park and – hopefully – a sky full of stars.
Day 20 Panamint Springs – Mammoth Lakes
We leave early so we can see enough in the Death Valley National Park before the sun is burning our skin off again. After that we head towards Mammoth Lakes.
Highlights: Death Valley National Park.
Day 21 Mammoth Lakes – Mather
Yosemite National Park – time! Tuolumne Meadows, Mono Lake, Bodie, the Tioga Pass, … highlights here, highlights there, highlights everywhere!
Highlights: Yosemite National Park.
Day 22 Mather
Another day in the Yosemite National Park, this time it’s a hiking day! We are going to walk along the Tuolumne Grove and see some giant sequoias and hike to the Brideveil Fall and do the Mist Trial.
Hightlights: Yosemite National Park.
Day 23 Mather– San Francisco
We leave the beauty of Yosemite behind us and head back to San Francisco. The end of our journey is up ahead, but before we think about that, we still got some time to visit San Francisco!
Highlights: San Francisco.
Day 24 San Francisco
Another day in beautiful San Francisco. From east (Lombard Street) to west (Land’s End).
Highlights: Land’s end in San Francisco.
Day 25 San Francisco
Our final day, time for some history in Alcatraz. After that we go biking over the Golden Gate Bridge.
Highlights: Biking over the Golden Gate Bridge.
Day 26 San Francisco – Brussels
Tears and sad faces today, as we leave our rental car behind and go on board of our plane. A smiley face as well, because we’re going home. Traveling is nice, but only because you can come home afterwards ;-). Maks and Nova, we’re coming for you! 😉
Day 27 Arriving in Brussels
After a long flight with a stop-over, we land in Brussels.
It’s a busy schedule, but we only have so much days to spend. And I only wanted to go to America, if I could include Yellowstone in the itinerary. My way or the highway ;-).
My top ten of the highlights:
- Yellowstone National Park
- Grand Teton National Park
- Whale watching in Monterey
- The Narrows in Zion National Park
- Yosemite National Park
- Death Valley National park
- Horseback riding in Bryce Canyon National park
- Helicopter tour over the Grand Canyon
- San Francisco
- Universal Studios of Hollywood