So – I don’t know how to start this post, but I try it shortly: We travelled and worked in Vancouver and the surrounding area, and the weekend we arrived in Vancouver after Vancouver Island was our last weekend in Vancouver.
Just a comment: While I am writing this, I realize it for the first time that we are not going back to Vancouver. Wow … a great city and nice people I would love to meet again. But back to topic:
So we planned a little bit the road trip, dealt with some formal things, played soccer with a local guy we met in a coffee shop. So our last weekend was more like saying goodbye to Van and organize stuff. Playing soccer for me was horrible because of my foot, and actually, we realized that we have to do sport! Endurance didn’t exist ^^.
Moreover, we met another German traveller for walking around in a park, talking, drinking coffee and yeah, just having a good day.
Sunday evening, I dealt with the US Border. Wow, I got so nervous and goddam: I started a Facebook post in a traveller group and asked a lot of questions. Read good experiences and bad experiences… really bad… nothing for someone like me. In general things like no fresh food, no meat and stuff like that. At this moment I realized that it was a bad idea to buy bananas, cucumber, tomatoes and so on. So you get it: we ate a lot of fresh food in the last 12 hours.
And after my research, we had our one last night at our famous spot near Tim Hortons, our lovely home you could say and Monday was the day:
We started early, got the final paycheck and then we drove to the border. We stood in a long line, and after an hour, we arrived at the border. I could write about the whole process, but again, I will try to make it short.
She – the officer – asked us formal questions like how much money do you have, what is the reason for the trip, if we have ever been in the USA and so on. After that, we had to drive to a parking place and walk into a building for entering the USA. We’ve got a yellow paper with shortcuts, and one officer looked at these papers, and nobody was interested in us. But after a while, another officer was so kind and dealt with us. Alex had to fill out a form, however, I had an ESTA due to my recent trip to the US, so I felt more comfortable. After Alex finished his formula, we went back in the line; and the next officer was the same officer from the border. And you have to know: never laugh at the border, we did and had to explain things now twice and yeah… that was not funny. So there we were: the same officer and more questions about us. And in the end, we had to tell her about our destination(s), and because we are travelling around the whole time, we didn´t have a first fixed destination. So we explained the situation, and she said something like: Guys you are crazy – just go ahead…
While we were in the building, maybe they scanned our car, we don’t know.
And just a tip: If you are driving to the USA, say that you have a hotel for the first days or camping spot – but you have to know them, and I heard that they sometimes want to see a proof of reservation. We had luck. And then the officer will be thankful – because they want a contact address for you in the USA.
And since that moment we are in the USA.
We drove directly to the west coast to a lovely spot. However, it rained. And it rained all the time, and it was windy.
We planned to stop at the Crater Lake, San Francisco, Los Angeles and then Las Vegas. This is our first Part of the US Road Trip.
Between that, we had small stops for the nights.
Well, just as in information: It rained the whole time and was windy while we drove down the west coast. We had luck because in SF, LA and LV, it was sunny or at least cloudy.
So our first real stop was Crater Lake. And yeah we had two meters snow, no view and well it was a little bit disappointing. However, we met friendly Rangers and watched a movie about Crater Lake. And if you have no view, it is a must-have! The film is worth it. We learned interesting things and saw the beauty of the Lake!
Our next stop was San Francisco, and we looked on the internet for the weather forecast because we didn’t want to walk through San Francisco while it is rainy! So we took the time we needed, but we spent nowhere more than we had to because there was only one sunny day in the forecast. We planned a night at Lake Sonoma. And while we drove to the Lake, we drove through the Drive Through Park. Incredible: our car fits through a tree.
Moreover, Lake Sonoma felt like – in the middle of nowhere – so it was great. We spent the night with two other Vans. And sure, next morning we figured out that our “neighbours” were German people. Off course German … that’s not funny. Okay it was funny at the moment, but we left Germany to leave the Germany people, and we see them always. That’s annoying.
However, they had the same destination: San Francisco.
The Golden Gate Bridge is really beautiful and we had luck with the weather the whole day.
In San Francisco we walked through the harbour, went to the Dungeon & Madame Tussauds. Furthermore, we drove with the famous cable car and walked through China Town. San Francisco is a fantastic City. Expensive but nice. And the Cable Cars – I fell in love a little bit. And our driver was so funny. San Francisco was a good time – we thought about spending a second day
And this night was a great night. We found the right spot for parking and sleeping. But after a while came some locals. They said that we could sleep on their farm, but it was already dark, and we were ready to sleep. Also, we didn’t know them, so we took it as a backup plan. And after the offer, we talked about general stuff. And always we have to talk about our home. And sure my hometown is connected with Volkswagen (VW). And the guy loves VW and had an old beetle, better know as “Käfer” in Germany. First, we were not sure what he was talking about, but we had to figured it out later.
He came back with a light up and loud beetle. Just look at the picture – the picture is better than thousands of words. Moreover, it is not only looking like a regular beetle; it is not a typical beetle: 4.3-liter engine, 280 PS cut to 140 PS. And he let me drive it. The first time I drove an old beetle, not the original, but a beetle. Amazing. You cannot compare it to a car today. So funny and thrilling as well.
But we slept at the spot, not on his farm — crazy and weird experience.
Next stop was Los Angeles.
Our plan was arriving at 8 pm. So we can sleep enough. The first day we made a Hop on Hop off tour – great to see all essential sightseeing points. And Los Angeles is big, so it was good that we could hop on and hop off.
The weather forecast was like sunny for the first day and the second day cloudy. After that rainy again.
We had a lovely time at the Santa Monica beach and in Downtown as well. The walk of fame is, I don’t know, cool but also a little bit stressful – there are so many people :/.
All nights we spent in Malibu. There is one road where it is okay to spend one or two nights.
The second day we went to Universal Studios. Expensive, but it is worth it! There is so much love, all theme parks a lovely created. The best theme park for me was the Harry Potter park. But something about me: I was never a Harry Potter fan. I saw all the movies last year for my first time. Okay sometimes between advertising of my picked channel on the television. But, I never was a fan, and now I say: The movies are lovely and the productions are amazing and professional. Well.. good films.
Off course we did the studio tour and saw the special effect show. That was totally great. The food options are great, and the price was okay. Not cheap, but not expensive. And we had a typical German meal: sausage with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes. Great!
First I thought about why you could buy a two-day ticket. But at the end of the day, I recognized that a second day would be good. Well, we had just one. And please: Buy the ticket online, you save a lot of money!
Before we left the Park, I bought myself some merchandise – sure ^^. But I will not say what, because my family don’t know it too. It will be a surprise – so it would be dumb to write it here down.
After that, we indulged a pizza. We spent so much money on this day – holy shit – but it was a day for eternity. I don’t know if I will revisit it, maybe someday with my girlfriend or with my family.
There we were, faster then we thought. We thought about swimming, laying on the beach and things like that but it was always rainy and yeah. That was not cool! So we left the west coast. Next stop: The desert/ Las Vegas ^^. On our way to Las Vegas, we passed the Route 66, while it rained…, and slept the first time on a camping site. And like always: We had one beautiful day for Las Vegas before it was going to rain again. We arrived late at 8 pm at our Airbnb for this night, so that we could spend the whole day in Las Vegas. On our way to the Airbnb, we visited the Hoover Dam. There was a security control and sure: They took us out because our windows are covered and yeah – but we were fine! They looked for fire guns and explosive things.
We got a tip for the next morning, so we went to IHOP. We’ve got a crazy breakfast there. For myself, pancakes and for my cousin a classic breakfast wrap. We totally can recommend it! We had to wait because it was really full there, but the waiting was worth it. But be aware: Everything looks great, but you should order twice not things at the same time.
We walked through the Las Vegas Boulevard and all the fantastic hotels and shopping malls. Sometimes we thought we were in Venice, then Paris – a little bit funny.
Moreover, we watched the water shows. And I repaired my sunglass after weeks (it was broken since our Vancouver Island offroad experience). On our way back to our car, we were followed by a weird guy. We lost like 1 hour and listened to dumb stuff. Welcome to Las Vegas… baby… crazy people out there! I don’t know what his plan was, but he was not smart because he lost more the hour than us. Because if he tried to sell something we are the wrong people for this and we showed him that.
However, we were under 21, so Las Vegas was nice to see but nothing more.
At the end of the day, we drove back to the Hoover Dam, spent there one night and yeah – that’s part one. Stay tuned for the rest of our US Trip.
Now we are going to National Parks, wildness and things like that! Going to be great.
Your traveller cousins,
Alex and Janik