California road trip 2014 – My Story

So… here it finally comes, a little "short" story to all the photos you've seen.

We flew with Norwegian airlines and their bran new air plane Dreamliner air shuttle 787. I am kind of afraid of flying and absolutely don’t like it but I must say the ten(!) hours flight to San Francisco both went quick and smooth. The plane was spacious, comfortable and the light setting was regulated to set the passengers jet lag to its minimum which worked very well. During the flight we saw a couple of movies, slept for 4-5 hours and ate the two meals served and then we arrived. The worst part with the travel was the security queue that we had to stand in for at least 1,5 hour, really annoying.

We rented a car straight at the airport to take us around to the city destinations we had chosen to visit and Christoffer proudly choose the most American car they had at the car rental parking, a Dodge Challenger. In my eyes it was the most ugly car I had ever seen but as Christoffer was the only one driving I let him choose and now afterwards I can say that the ugly car offered a very comfortable drive experience.

Our first stop was Santa Cruz, one of the most famous surfer cities on the Californian west coast. We didn’t see much of it and wasn’t overly impressed so we stayed very short. In the evening when we went for a long walk it just felt dark and insecure. The morning after was better as we headed for a morning walk so see the sunrise at the pier and for a great breakfast at one of the coffee shops along the sea coast. We were impressed to see lots of sea elephants and pelicans which we didn't really expected.  

The first day we travelled 450 km along the amazing High Way 1. The sea view and the landscapes around where absolutely breathtaking. We had one major stop at the beautiful Hearst’s castle and then obviously we stopped hundreds of times to take pictures of the impressive scenery. Our second night we stayed in Santa Barbara, another cost town slightly bigger, much cleaner and more organised than Santa Cruz. We liked it a lot.

Third day we had a short drive of 15 km down to Los Angeles and we stopped at the massive Camarillo fashion outlet half way. Here many of the famous fashion brands were sold at what we know as “H&M-prices” but we didn’t buy that much anyway. Our third night we stayed in Hollywood and got quite of a shock when we first walked out on Hollywood boulevard. So many impressions at the same time; weird people, impressive buildings, strange shops and then all the famous stars underneath our feet on the “walk of fame”. Let’s say that Hollywood by night was a fun and unforgettable experience.

All our days during this trip were full of plans and things to do but our fourth day won it all. We managed to cruise though the massive villas in Beverly Hills in the morning, have lunch down the sea in Santa Monica, have a romantic walk in Venice beach and along the Venice Canals in the afternoon and go shopping and stroll around down town Los Angeles in the late afternoon/evening. Great day but we were deadly tired when we finally got back to our hotel in Hollywood.

On the fifth day we took off early for Las Vegas, had a lunch stop at another fashion outlet half way and arrived in Vegas in the late afternoon. We were prepared that Las Vegas would be impressive, all fake and kind of weird so we didn’t get the same kind of chock here as in Hollywood. Actually Las Vegas was much better than I would had ever thought. Even if everything is fake and full of copies of famous monuments from France, Italy, New York etc I did believe everything was very well made and I found the attractions beautiful, impressive and fun to see. We stayed two nights in Vegas and except for a half day tour in the Red Rock Canyon national park and a couple of hours by the pool we spent hours of strolling around “the strip-street” in Vegas and I could definitely have stayed longer so see more of it. I actually loved it.

But the time was short so two days later we headed off to Palm Springs; a beautiful, cute and kind of posh little town in the middle of the desert. We both loved it and spent the whole evening strolling at the main shopping street which was full of different kind of small shops and restaurants. Not the big and famous fashion stores or fast food restaurants we had met everywhere during our American trip so far.

Our 8th day we stayed at the pool in the morning before it was time to drive off back north along the coast and towards our next destination Pismo beach/San Luis Obispo. Not a famous place at all and the reason we headed here was to visit a friend of Christoffer, a French engineer working in the US since few years. We spend the evening with him and his friends and saw his beautiful favourite surfing places where we saw jumping dolphins, ate at their favourite restaurant and heard lots of interesting stories about California. It is always great to have a private guide taking us to all the places worth to see instead of searching in guide books. By the way, San Luis Obispo is famous for one thing - being the happiest city in America :)

Ninth day and we drove all the way back to San Francisco, our last destination. Don’t ask me why but neither Christoffer or myself had very high expectations of San Francisco and that is why we had decided only to stay one nigh here. Oh, we were so wrong! The one and the half day we had of exploring San Francisco were far too short as the city was fantastic. It felt like it had collected the best parts of New York, Los Angeles and Palm Springs and had left the bad parts out. It was cosy but big and impressive at the same time. It had it all. We felt in love with it and I really hope to go back one day to stay much much longer. 

I guess this was one of the best holidays in my life. It was filled of so much adventures and impressions that will be lifelong memories.


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