USA Western Road Trip 2011 – Video & Index

The Ultimate Road Trip

Over the past few weeks I have been blogging about my amazing experience in America this summer. Since then I have created a thirteen minute video edit of footage specially filmed along the way, which many have asked to see. Here it is:

Road Trip Video 2011

My first blog in the series, “From East to West”, went live even before I got back from the States. I wrote it from the hottest place I’ve ever been to, Death Valley National Park in California. It was then 7.40pm and it was a breezy 104 degrees Fahrenheit with the sun having just set. All day we had waited as the car’s thermometer hovered at 99 degrees only for it to skyrocket to a staggering peak of 123 degrees as the afternoon progressed.

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The blog itself, though, focussed on the start of the trip. On August 13th we went on an exciting Northern Michigan jeep ride then headed downstate to watch a Detroit Tigers baseball game. Next up was Chicago where we went up the Willis Tower and visited the zoo, before flying to Los Angles for the start of our road trip proper. We got lucky and ended up hiring a brand new Chevrolet Cruze which we drove out of LA and started to head upstate…

DSC02003My second blog, “California Cruisin’”, was about our camping adventures as we travelled up the Pacific Coast Highway One, along the west coast, via stunning locations such as Big Sur.

???????????????????????????????In the third blog, “Only in San Francisco”, I finally got to surf in the stunning location of Pacifica, before we finally got to the northernmost point on our road trip, San Francisco. We explored the city, walked the Golden Gate bridge, shopped and I even got my haircut by Lady Gaga’s hairdresser. Amazing!

???????????????????????????????In part four, “Welcome to Bear Country”, we left San Fran and headed into Yosemite National park, the most breathtaking place I have ever been to with more than its fair share of stunning waterfalls. We camped in a campsite where we had to put all our food and toiletries in bunkers to prevent bear incidents, of which there had apparently been over 100 in 2011 already at our small campsite alone…

IMG_8404In part five, “The Hottest Day of Our Lives”, we drove out of the staggeringly beautiful Yosemite National Park and into the incredible Death Valley. As we drove, we watched the car’s thermometer rise dramatically to a mindblowing 123 degrees farenheit. Cheese sandwiches became puddles and the landscape became barren as hell as we hit the desert. Death Valley was something else…

IMG_8633In the sixth blog, “The Trip Gets Even Better”, we reached the majestic Grand Canyon and watched the sunset, before getting up a few hours later to watch it rise. Bucket list stuff indeed. We also saw wild bucks just roaming about the campsite and got closer than I’d ever thought possible to them. Next on the agenda was Monument valley, where part of this year’s Dr Who series was famously filmed…

IMG_8909In part seven, “A Monumental Drive”, we ignored the advice of several people at the National Park and took our Chevy with its impossibly low ground clearance on the most perilous of treks into Monument Valley. I found the difficulty of driving the steep descent into the valley was matched only by the critical precision requirements for getting back out again on the rockiest of terrains. We then drove to the famous Monument Valley vista point with the monuments in the background before heading onwards for a spontaneous trip to Four Corners. Four Corners is the only spot in America where four states meet at the same point. An hour and a half’s drive each way and three dollar entry fee for what was essentially just a big plaque on the ground was hardly worth it, but then again I did get to play Twister with U.S. states which is pretty cool. We also bumped into some Navajo Indians in McDonalds on the way home.

???????????????????????????????In the eighth blog, “Time Travellers”, we found ourselves stuck in a rather confusing time zone situation. In Arizona we were in Mountain Time, in theory seven hours behind the UK. Except we weren’t because Arizona is the only part of continental USA not to observe daylight savings time. So it was not until Utah that we were actually seven hours behind the UK. Hence when we returned to Arizona and it came to came to working out when we needed to be up to check out of our motel, we thought “ah, we are in the Mountain Time Zone but they don’t observe daylight savings time so we can just treat it as California Pacific Time”. Except we were wrong as the Navajo Indian region is the one exceptional part of Arizona which DOES observe daylight savings. Or something. We also visited the awesome Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell, the most beautiful place I’ve ever been, where the astronaut shot the Doctor and where you can swim between monuments.

???????????????????????????????Part nine, “Vegas, Baby!” was all about bright lights and hedonism in Nevada, obviously. Watch out for the story about the fingers, the mouths and the elevator…

???????????????????????????????Part ten, “Gettin’ Our Kicks On Route Sixty Six”, described our travels along the original stretch of the most famous and atmospheric road of all, including ghost towns and the Mojave desert. After this I flew to New York to complete the trip and managed to not be allowed on my flight and got lost in New York twice.

???????????????????????????????For the final instalment I was in New York. I saw the Statue of Liberty, the Met, Central Park, the Natural History Museum and nearly got arrested in Manhatten, Ground Zero to be specific, a week before the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

I hope you have enjoyed reading these as much as I have enjoyed writing this series of Road Trip blogs. Thank you so much for all the comments from people who have said they have been inspired to do a similar trip of their own, I would recommend it to anyone.

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