Now I’m not sure if many (or any) of you are aware, but for Mat’s birthday my dad booked a trip for myself, dad and Mat to go back to America, but this time heading to a state that Mat has never been to..NEW YORK.
I simply cannot wait to explore with them both and be amongst all the hustle and bustle of New York, I absolutely love it there. But as I’m looking forward to my next adventure to America, I saw it fit to reflect on my previous trip to America, which, unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 9 months, you must have seen that we went on. We went to America for 3 weeks in June 2017, travelling around different states and cities, seeing the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. It was truly the holiday of a lifetime, one that I’m sure we will all always remember, so I thought I’d share the trip with you.
I’m going to talk you through the route that we went on, including a picture (that Mat probably took) at each location. Then I’m going to tell you a little bit about what we did, and what I thought of each place, I hope you enjoy it!
It all started in June 2017, what was once just an idea of my dads in winter 2016, has become reality! So after dad generously upgraded us, we flew to LAX, eating 90% of the time (we were right at the front of our cabin and there was a kitchen area full of snacks, so naturally I made the most of it!). We picked up our car, it was a brand new car (it had only done 26 miles when we picked it up) and we drove 5 minutes to our first hotel. We we’re all pretty tired and jet lagged so we got an early night and woke up at 5, ready to start the holiday!
DAY 1: We drove to Palm Springs, which was a beautiful city in California. Our hotel was a resort called La Quinta, it was beautiful. We had the most incredible room and what was amazing about this place was that your stay included gym classes and other wellbeing classes. We were still quite tired from the travelling so coming here before a long few weeks of travelling was perfect. We chilled out by the pool despite the 35plus degree heat, and then did a yoga/meditation class, of which I found myself so chilled out that I actually fell asleep…twice! It was absolutely amazing here, the food was great, they had amazing vegan options and ahhh I just loved it! Would highly recommend, I think it would keep you entertained as a holiday within itself! It’s a good location and has lots of different places to eat within its premises!
I feel like I’m going on a little bit too much, I’m only on day 1! I’ll try and keep it more brief from here onwards.
DAY 2: From here we drove to Arizona, we stayed in an incredible golf resort. The view from our room was amazing, it was of the golf course and of a lake, if I can find a picture then I’ll insert one here! There wasn’t masses to do here but we enjoyed the swimming pools and the breakfast was on another level! Honestly those banana and pecan muffins were something else!
DAY 3: It was time to travel to the grand canyon, I’m sure all of you have heard of it but if not, its a national park in Arizona. Entrance into all the parks we visited were $20-30 per car. You can’t really prepare yourself for what you’re going to witness at the grand canyon, you’re sort of just walking and then all of a sudden it there and you’re just blown away by it…how is something SO big?! Mat had the good idea of going for sunset, we timed it perfectly and caught the sun going down passed the canyon, the colours and the shadows were insane.
We had a couple of days here and had planned and booked to do a helicopter ride around and through the Grand Canyon but it was too windy, we had it rescheduled twice but sadly it was too windy on both occasions.
DAY ??: On our way to Lake Powell mat suggested (gosh he’s full of good ideas isn’t he this one?!) taking a different route where we would pass something called ‘horseshoe bend’. My dad had done this route before many years before with my mum and my god parents and he hadn’t heard of this before, he loved it! It was breathtaking, it was basically a horseshoe-shaped meander of the Colorado River, the colours of the water were incredible! A definite must if you’re heading out this way.
We arrived at Lake Powell, again in Arizona. Here we went to see the antelope canyon, this was one of the best things I’ve ever seen, we had a guided tour through the canyon, it was so beautiful. We also walked to the dam, I’d never seen one before in person and I don’t think you can quite grasp just how big they are until you see one in real life!
On our way to the next place we picked up a speeding ticket on the way. I was just reading, minding my own business, when I looked up saying ‘why have we stopped?’ to see the blue flashing lights and a police officer walking over to the car. Safe to say we were incredibly polite, but dad had been driving in a 65 zone at just under 90 kmh! OOPS. So we politely accepted the 120 dollar fine and headed off again, using cruise control in the car from this point on!
From here we headed to Zion park, another national park. Despite doing this trip many years before, my dad had never heard of this place and my goodness it was actually incredible. The drive in was never ending with the best views from every direction, just hills and hills covered in trees. Here they had busses than ran all over and took to certain places within the park that had lots of walking routes on them. We had a great walk here and it was the perfect temperature for it, not too hot but certainly not too cold. Mat lost his glasses in one of the lakes trying to get the shot (doing it for the gram), and at the same spot there was a cliff where either frogs or birds where living in and you could just hear them communication with one another non stop, that was amazing.
From here we drove to my least favourite place of the trip, Las Vegas! For me Las Vegas is like marmite, you either love it or you hate it, unfortunately for me it was the latter. It wasn’t all bad though, one of my lifelong friends Michaela was in town and we caught breakfast together at our hotel, which was definitely the highlight for me. Second to that would definitely be the show at the Bellagio hotel that we saw. It was a water version of Cirque do Soleil, it was by far the best show I have ever seen. The same hotel also has water fountains and they’re incredible to go and see, definitely at night time! However, in general I found Las Vegas to be too hot, tacky, and just not for me, which was a shame because we had 2/3 days there, and I think we all agreed that the time would have been better spent elsewhere.
We carried on driving through the desert and arrived in Death valley, it was 54 degrees! Our ‘ranch’ that we stayed at had no food to serve when we arrived because they had ran out of water! Generally it was too hot to do anything but swim in the pool…but we got some good views on our way into the park. The pool was not a heated pool but my word it felt like swimming in a bath! In the evening we went on a drive called artistes palette, which got its name because of all the different coloured sand that you can see in the dunes, as well as the effect that the sunlights reflection has on it. This was great, a definite must if you go there!
Now it was time for Yosemite! I myself had butchered the word every way possible, but after finally learning the proper way to say the word, I was so excited to see what all the fuss was about. Nothing is easy though, is it? It was an 8 hour drive anyway, on top of the queues that we endured, but this was not the end of the drive for us. We finally got to about 10 minutes from our hotel, to find out that there had been a rock fall on the part of the road we needed to get to our hotel on. We had to drive out of the park (an hour-two hour drive within itself), drive right round to the other entrance and try from the other side! It wasn’t all bad though, we did get to see El Capitan on our way into the park which was breathtaking!
A Chinese for dinner and a breakdown about its lack of vegan options later, we drove for another 4 hours to finally get to our hotel. Dad had been driving for over 14 hours, it was 9pm when we arrived. Our room backed on to the fasting running stream you’ve ever seen, it was honestly so loud but we all loved it. Another thing to remember from Yosemite was the stars. I find stars absolutely fascinating, and I had never seen so many stars at one time in my life! The longer you looked at the sky the more you saw, I think I can speak for myself and my dad for sure that that was definitely one of our highlights for the whole trip.
The next morning we went and walked around the park itself, honestly I fell in love with this place. We may have had only a few hours here to explore but it was by far my favourite place for the whole trip. Waterfalls are my thing, I LOVE a good waterfall, and my word I was not disappointed here. Despite the bad luck the day before with the 14+ hour drive, we were apparently so lucky to see the waterfalls the way that we did. Apparently due to the heavy rainfall previously, the waterfalls had gone from their usual trickle, to a huge, continuos stream of water…ah it was incredible! Please please go and visit Yosemite, you will not be disappointed, its 100% the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, which sounds extreme but almost a year down the line and it still gives me goosebumps just thinking about that place.
Ooops, I’ve rambled on again, but I just couldn’t hold back any details about my favourite place. From here we drove to San Francisco, I think this was one of Mats favourite places, bearing in mind he went running in most places we visited so he got to see it very well. We walked up what felt like the steepest hill EVER, to get to look at a street called lombard street, which is definitely the coolest street you’ll ever see, I’ll insert a photo that speaks for itself!
We did a day trip to Alcatraz Island which was amazing, as well as watching the sunset over golden gate bridge.
Then we headed to a little seaside town called Morro Bay, we were all a little apprehensive because we had never heard of it, but it was such a quaint little place. We had a walk along the front and watched the Sea Lions and then we went to a sea front restaurant where Mat and dad had, if i remember correctly, the best scampi and chips they have ever had?! Must have been good! Oh and here we picked up another ticket, but a parking ticket this time, but oh well, why not add it to the collection?
We drove to our last stop before LA, Santa Barbara. We had a long walk to and from the pier, as well as finding an amazing vegan cafe much to my delight! We had a nice chilled time here, I really liked this place and could definitely see myself living here.
It was time for our final stop on our road trip. We were staying just off of the walk of fame, it was a great location. We went to six flags one day, but it was way too hot! We also did an open top bus tour which was a good way to get around and to see all the different sights. We queued for nearly an hour so that Mat and dad could get a world famous hot dog…just let that sink in for a moment…the things you do for love! We also went to venice beach and watched the skateboarders, which dad loved.
We had an evening flight home so after a day of walking around and watching a film (the worst film, it was called 47 metres down), we were ready to fly home. Dad upgraded us again on the way back as a final treat, isn’t he good. Safe to say we were all shattered but especially dad from all the driving and Mat from all the directions, I have to admit I did sleep most of the journeys to and from places!
I know that it was an incredibly long one for me this week, so well done if you’ve managed to stick it out till the end! Whilst I could have done bullet points or not gone into any detail, I didn’t want to do the trip an disservice, so detail it is!
This was probably the best holiday I have ever been on, I feel so lucky to have been able to experience it, and especially to have experienced it with my dad and Mat. My dad did ALL the driving, including the 14 hour drive to Yosemite, he never moaned and did such a good job, so thank you! Thanks to Mat as well for doing all the directions, I would have been HOPELESS. Thanks to you both for allowing me to chill out in the back and take in all of the scenery. Love you both lots.
If you’ve done a similar trip or just been to one or two of the places we went to, I’d love to know what place that was and what you thought, there’s a comment section down below!
Until next time