First Things First

In preparation for my 1-month trip along the Westcoast of North America, I met up with my travel buddies last monday to decide on a possible route. We placed several destinations on a "must-see" list and then tried to work out any order that would make sense from a financial, chronological and economic point of view. Below is a rough plan of what we came up with. In case anybody has tips and suggestions, please let us know.

01 The first part of our journey will take us out of Los Angeles along the coast on Highway 1 up to Santa Barbara. With beautiful beaches and people, we will be in for a special treat.

02 After a hopefully relaxing time bathing in the Pacific, we're headed north through Santa Maria. We'll probably make a stop at Hearst Castle, a crazy funky landmark built by Julia Morgan for newspaper magnat William Randolph Hearst. Since the drive up to Monterey is approximately 5 hours, we will spend most of the afternoon cruising on Highway 1. I've done some street-view previews ahead of the trip to check for sea lions; sadly, I couldn't find any.

03 Having spent some time in the Monterey Bay area for approximately 1 day or so, our journey will take us through Santa Cruz away from the coast. Travelling further into the country, we will pass Cupertino and Palo Alto and will eventually arrive in San Francisco. From today's point, we reckon we will stay here for at least 3 whole days. I was planning on a bike or hike citytour with some locals. Perhaps Alcatraz. Cable-car. You know, the very typical San Franciscan touristy things.

04 We'll depart from San Francisco by crossing the Golden Gate Bridge heading further north into Napa Valley, famous for its vineyards. The plan is to stay in Napa Valley for at least a day of hiking and wine tasting. There even is a train that takes you around. 

05 This is where we really start to coil down the kilometers. It's a 5,5h drive from Napa Valley to Klamath Falls across the state border into Oregon. In the town of Weed, we will take a right turn further into the country and national park territory. This region is bound to be good for hiking and taking in nature at its fullest.

06 Next day will be another long drive from Klamath Falls to Portland. We're thinking of stopping in Eugene for a day, not only to divide the driving time into manageable bits, but also to check out the local landscape, including a Crater Lake and some more national parking. Portland is said to be a very green (and European) city. The plan is to stay there for at least 3 days. We'll see.

07 It's only a short distance of less than 3 hours from Portland, Oregon to Seattle, Washington. This is quite good as it gives us more time to enjoy these beautiful cities. To be honest, I know way too little about either city to properly decide how long to stay in each. I'll have some catching up to do until then.

08 Depending on the car rental deal we are able to sign, we might either take the rentals all the way up to Vancouver, Canada, or leave them in Seattle and take the Amtrak from there across the border. Either way, it's only a couple of hours from Seattle to Vancouver. The only problem if we take the train to Canada will be getting around in Vancouver. Perhaps we take the chance and decide on public transport. This is still being decided.

09 The next part of our journey will be traveled by plane. Namely from British Columbia down South into Nevada. We'll arrive in Las Vegas on a Sunday evening hoping to avoid ridiculous weekend prices of hotels. One full day in Vegas should suffice; after all, it's a good place to loose some money. 

10 The last and final stage of this epic Westcoast trip will take us from Las Vegas into Death Valley, further south to Palm Springs and then back to Los Angeles. Admittedly, this stage includes some d-tours, especially Palm Springs. We'll have to see if the architectural gems located there are worth it. This will most likely be decided ad hoc. The plan is to have at least another 3-4 days in Los Angeles for Universal Studios, Shopping and the City itself. We fly back to Austria from LA on Nov 17th.