Our final destination on our big trip around USA was Honolulu, Hawaii. After four months travelling, we’re sad for it to be coming to an end but at the same time we feel our motivation for running around seeing sights is waning so the timing is good. In Honolulu we mainly walked around, went to the beach, shops and pub. Also we walked to the top of Le’ahi volcano crater to the observation post at diamond head. The last night of our travels we went to the beach and watched the sunset, grabbed a burger for dinner then hit the hay early in preparation for our early flight the next morning back to Brisbane. What a wild last night. We’re showing our age.
That’s it for international travel for a while. In the last 12 months we’ve done 4 months in South East Asia and 4 months in USA. We’ve been pretty lucky to be able to do it. Needless to say our bank accounts are depleted!
If there’s one thing we’d say is a “must do” in Los Angeles, it would be travelling on public transport. What an exciting and informative exhibit of LA culture! We saw an African American lady with a tiny waist and huge ass swaggering like she was a super model shaking her booty up the escalator, an African American little fat kid dancing like Michael Jackson up and down the steps and onto the train, a dude who started rapping and tapping a beat on the door of the train, a big fat lady talking loudly and singing who could have been Eddie Murphy dressed in a fat suit and a super cool teenager with a sideways cap and very loose pants.
We had to give our van back upon arrival in LA, hence the need for public transport. No more sleeping in Walmart carparks either. We stayed in a dodgy hotel in Hollywood. The area was somewhat less glamorous than we envisaged. We caught up with the chaps we met in San Francisco and had dinner at their house and donated to them some of our blankets, left over food and the guitar that Daryn gave to us in Texas.
Did you know there’s actually a guy named Wayne King and he was famous? And that John Howard was a famous actor before becoming prime minister of Australia? Incredible.
Sadly that’s it for mainland USA. Next stop Hawaii and then back to Brisbane. We’ve had a hell of a time in USA. Friendly people, massive country, more attractions then you could ever visit, endless natural beauty and cheap! In no way did we see all of the country but we were lucky to have a few months to give it a good crack!
Two days at Disney World, two days at Universal Studios and a day at Six Flags Over Texas wasn’t enough theme parks for Sharni. So off we went to Disneyland, California for another two days of theme parks. Actually only Sharni went. Joe had a bit of a fever which was a good enough excuse to be a tight ass and not blow another few hundred dollars on theme parks. Instead he slept in the van one day (in a random carpark in the suburbs near Disneyland) and another day hanging out at Newport Beach.
Sharni’s view on Disneyland vs Disney World: Disneyland is mine blowingly good. But Disney World is even better! Newer, fancier, bigger, better.
Wouldn’t be right to miss out on one of the most famous zoos in the world so we dedicated a day to San Diego Zoo. It’s freakin massive. We got there just after opening and powered through at a fast pace and it got dark before we managed to see everything. We got to the panda enclosure after dark but the line was still huge. Took lots of happy snaps and had a good day.
We bypassed LA as we travelled south from Big Surr so we could hit up San Diego for a few days. The weather was awesome and we enjoyed walking around the city and the beach. The San Diego beachfront was terrific – sunshine, nice beach, restaurants, pubs, shops and cool dudes with ghetto blasters riding bicycles with huge chopper handlebars. At San Diego Old Town we got ushered into this nice looking building thinking it was a museum or something but actually it was a Mormon recruitment centre.
San Diego would be the last time we got to visit Walmart (excluding Hawaii on our way home). It was a sad moment since Walmart had played such a big part in our road trip around USA. We reminisced about the delicious chicken tenders, $5 roast chickens, 30 cents / pound bananas and various other favourite Walmart items that were staples on our road trip. To mark the occasion we hired a DVD and watched it in the van in the Walmart carpark. We wanted to sleep in the carpark just like we’d done many times before but it’s not really tolerated in San Diego. There’s a security guard who asks you to move on. Must be too many tourists. So after the DVD we went to another set of shops with a quiet carpark to camp in.
We had a day at San Diego Zoo but that will come in the next post.
Heading back towards the coast from Yosemite, we passed through a town we’d never heard of before nor knew anything about – Los Banos, California. We needed somewhere to clean up after roughing it through Yosemite and we needed somewhere to celebrate new years. Los Banos seemed like a good enough spot!
So we got ourselves a good cheap motel and hung around Los Banos for a couple of nights. For new years we went out for dinner where we were served up a gargantuan multi course meal. They eat a lot in this town. Then onto the pub where we had a couple of drinks and mingled with some locals. We bought a huge bag of beef jerky from the supermarket at Los Banos. Check out the huge strips it came in. Kept Joe busy for a good few days.
From Los Banos we continued west and made it to the coast where we checked out Big Surr – a famous stretch of rugged coastline in California. Then we trekked south where we camped up at a rest stop on the side of the highway on our way to San Diego.
Yosemite National Park, made famous by Yosemite Sam, is yet another great natural attraction in USA. Spectacular scenery and some great hiking is on offer. Dam cold though! We packed our cold weather gear deep into the bowels of the van once we entered sunny California, thinking we’d not need them for the rest of the trip. We were wrong. It was well below zero at the elevations around Yosemite.
The carpark at the main visitor centre is massive. Took us 15 minutes to walk from the car to the visitor centre, slipping and sliding over the icy ground. Yosemite is one of the most visited parks in USA and there’s plenty of shops, resorts and varied accommodation options. We drove around checking out the main central attractions and then camped in the van, enduring a pretty cold night. Next morning we got up early and did a big several hour hike up to Vernal Falls and back. It was one of the most roughest, toughest, root’nest, toot’nest hikes we’ve ever done. Then we hit the road back towards the California coast.