After all our adventures, we arrived to San Francisco in a very relaxed mood, to enjoy our last vacation days. The first impression was that of a very interesting city, with its hills, its cable cars, its Victorian houses and of course the Golden Gate. It reminded us of Lisbon, these are cities with much in common.
One of the most extraordinary aspects of American Far West is its huge diversity: this is the only place where you can leave the desert at lunch time with countless alerts related to extreme heat dangers, and be in the mountains after a 3 hours drive, where alerts are about the dangers associated to the bears! In few hours everything changes, the climate, the people, the landscape… We feel as if we left one world to step into a new one, completely different, and at the same time equally beautiful and inspiring.
As the time to leave towards Death Valley National Park arrived, our anxiety increased. Every time we checked the weather forecast, highs were getting higher… we knew it would be hot, but when predictions got at 129, 131, 133ºF (54, 55, 56ºC)… we started to worry! News were all about historical highs, and the 1913 record of 134ºF (56,7ºC) was expected to be exceeded.
Grand Canyon is one of those very difficult places to describe, because of its singularity and uniqueness. It is also hard to picture, the photos never depict its greatness, we always have the feeling that they are not as beautiful as what we saw… it is undoubtedly one of the most impressive natural phenomena, the views are incomparable: the Colorado river down in the gorge it carved over millions of years, forming the Grand Canyon. It stretches over 446 km (277 miles), 29 km (18 miles) wide at some points, and only a few meters in others, and it seems completely impassable.
Expectations were high along the route between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, around 280 miles through Mojave desert. We were sure that we would either love or hate Las Vegas, because it didn’t seem like a halfway city to us, and one question kept coming up to our minds: is it really as crazy as everyone says?
California, the American Far West… if there’s a region which is part of our imagination, this is the one. This is the land of Hollywood – the studios, the gigantic cinema industry, the stars, the Oscars, the dreams… We’ve all seen countless movies and TV shows filmed here, and easily remember the ones that left their mark some way (or at least, that almost everyone has seen): starting on old westerns, to E.T., Jaws, Back to the Future, or TV shows like Baywatch… this is an endless list, and all of you will certainly add a new name to it!
We’ve been dreaming of visiting American Far West – California of course, but other states too – for a long time (this was definitely on our wish list). We waited until the kids could endure a long haul flight, and last summer we finally took the decision to go, and there we went! It was a memorable trip, driving around for two weeks and having the time of our lives. The itinerary went through California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah and back to California, we had a great time! We will share this trip with you over the next posts, we hope you’ll enjoy reading about it!
First Stop: Los Angeles