I have uploaded a very condensed photo album with less than 120 pictures of the trip to my Flickr. This set may or may not grow in the future, depending on my free time and motivation to post process more photos. Also, there's a roadtrip movie I have been working on the past couple of days coming up pretty soon. Stay tuned and enjoy the photos.
Following Grand Canyon, we headed West to Las Vegas. Before driving into the city, we made a short stop at Hoover Dam to see what all the fuzz is about. This dam is far from the largest or highest out there, however considering it was built in 1931-35, I couldn't help but be impressed. The dam provides both water as well as power for Las Vegas – a completely insane city. Let the pictures do the talking.
After not getting in to Yellow Stone National Park, the groups moral was broken. We travelled further down south to find hot springs close to Idaho Falls. Once we arrived at the site, we found them not only closed as well but also not charming at all. We all decided that the day was officially the worst day of our journey. Later in the afternoon, we pulled up to a gas station to fill up the cars. We started talking with the cashier who told us, that there are other hot springs which are usually only visited by locals. So we took off once more in search of hot water. We climbed a mountain, following a rather warm river in hope of finding hot spring at the top. Sadly, there were no springs to be found however, once we turned around and looked down the mountain, we were rewarded with one of the most beautiful sunsets. Idaho is vast. Very vast.
Seattle and Vancouver. Two amazing cities, similar in many ways and yet so different. Vancouver definitely is one of my highlights of our journey. The Canadian lifestyle and mentality is something I can relate to very well. Vancouver’s 10-step program of becoming the world’s greenest city by 2020 is ambitious and gives the right impulses. Vancouverites are open-minded, ride their bikes in every weather and love their Stanley Park as if it were their own child. I freaking love it here!
This is a little teaser of what happened in Vancouver. (More photos of Seattle as well as Vancouver will follow soon.)
Starting in Klamath Falls, we headed north west to Crater Lake National Park. I have to be honest: this has been one of the most beautiful days of the journey. Just 1,5 weeks ago, we were bathing in the Pacific in Orange County; today, we hiked through snow at 2500m altitude. After 3 hours of pulling our bodies up and down the mountain, we headed west to check out some waterfalls in the middle-of-nowhere. Another 3 hour drive and we are calling Portland our home for the next 3 days.
San Francisco is long gone and feels like a lifetime ago yet it has only been 48 hours since we left the Bay Area. On Sunday morning, we packed our bags, had one last breakfast and said goodbye to an amazing AirBnB apartment. Since we have crossed the Golden Gate Bridge by tandem bike two days before, we decided to drive up to Napa through Berkley and the harbor bridge. A short stop was made directly in Berkley to check out the campus of the University of California. Just three days prior to that day, we had the chance to take a look (and actually get a tour) of Stanford. It was interesting to compare these two well-known universities.
The drive from Berkley to Napa took only an hour and soon we would find ourselves in California’s famous wine region. To be honest, when thinking of Napa Valley, I imagined something completely different. The valley was barely a valley with its vast open, flat landscape – you would only occasionally find hill slopes covered by vineyards. The next shock was the whole wine tasting experience itself. Many wineries are aligned on the main road through Napa Valley, but mind you these wineries are at a scale you simply will not find in Austria (and Europe).
Once gift shops not only sell wine but also T-shirts, hats and wine glasses with the family’s name printed on them, you know that a new level in marketability has been reached. Restroom facilities are dimensioned in a way to accommodate hundreds of guests per day. Another thing that surprised me were the prices. We only had the chance to visit three wineries since most of them close at 5pm, however none of them had prices of less than 20$ per bottle. The cheapest usually started at 22-25$ with an average of around 50$. Definitely not a destination for a bunch of students to stay for more than one night. To balance our individual budgets, we slept at a motel and rented a room for four people. There are eight of us. Let's just say the night was cosy.
Today was spent mostly in our cars. We drove up to Klamath Falls in Oregon where we arrived at 8pm. A short stop was held in Redding to take a look at a pedestrian bridge by Santiago Calatrava. Tomorrow we’ll go for a hike at Crater Lake reaching an altitude of 2900m. Since the temperature here in Klamath Falls is 3 degrees, we expect pretty frosty conditions up in the national park.
On our fourth day, we headed north along the Monterey Bay. Our destination would be Santa Cruz, a place with divine beaches and amazing waves – 'surfer's paradise' as some travel guides claim. Upon arriving in Santa Cruz, we were welcomed by 10°C, fog and ocean winds. Needless to say, our breakfast on a park bench overseeing the beach was held short. After a quick stroll on the pier, we got back into our cars and drove north to Henry Cowell National Park, home to the famous redwood trees. Obviously, these trees did not approach the height and size of their brothers in Yosemite NP nearly as much as we had hoped, the trail through the wood was an exciting change to one month of hot Orange County nevertheless.
After some nature impressions it was time to hit some more technology-oriented sites. We visited Apple's mothership in Cupertino, popped by at NASA in Mountain View and biked across Google Campus in Shoreline. The day was topped off with the arrival at our amazing AirBnB apartment in San Francisco. We have the most incredible view of the city from our terrace, the rooms are generous and spacious, and the home-cooked dinner was just the best thing ever.
Today, we visited Monterey Bay Aquarium – one of America's largest aquariums. Most impressive was the 'Open Ocean' tank filled with hammerhead sharks and tuna alike. I've been filming a lot in the past days and can't wait to start cutting a movie once I'm back in Austria.
Tomorrow, we'll be heading further north around Monterey Bay into Santa Cruz. From there on, the journey is bound inland to San Jose and Palo Alto. At the end of the day, we'll hopefully be our AirBnB Apartment in San Francisco.
Day one was spent in Los Angeles on Hollywood and Sunset Boulvard. In the evening, we drove west to Santa Barbara where we stayed for the night. After an awesome breakfast on the beach, we got in our vans and headed north along Highway 1. These photos are just a small collection of what I saw.
A friend of mine was kind enough to lend me his GoPro Camera. Being equiped with both my Lumix G5 as well as this Hero1, I'm definitely looking foreward to filming on the upcoming roadtrip.