1 camper van
over 4000 kilometres
Our plan is to travel though the Southern states of the USA in 20 days with an amazing camper van. We start with the van from San Francisco and finish our trip back in New York.
By coincidence we will also meet some of our friends and go to the wedding of Stefan and Nicole in Huntsville, Alabama.
We are ready to roll (and you can scroll)!
Already the start of our trip has been adventurous - first our car didn’t start when we were rushing to the harbour to catch the ferry to Stockholm. The next day, Stockholm airport was on fire and our next flight from Berlin to New York was 3 hours delayed. Seems promising!
As a background story, we found extremely cheap return tickets from Stockholm to New York, so our travel to the US took more or less three days. First, we had some fun at Tallinn-Stockholm cruise ferry where Fabian was actually the first time.
The next day we had a sunny walk and lunch in Stockholm and continued our trip to Berlin. And imagine now this - we arrived to the Stockholm Arlanda airport and wanted to take an elevator to the terminal, but it said “Brendalarm”. We thought “Pff, ok..” and took the stairs. And as we were walking up, we heard the announcement saying “..all people must evacuate immediately!” We were welcomed by some calm looking fire fighters, so we also felt quite calm to walk out. After that we spent two hours waiting outside the terminal, but for our big surprise we were still allowed to fly from there. In the end, got to Berlin only two hours late.
Danke für Marcus und Rike for hosting us!
The delay continued in Berlin where our New York flight was over 2,5 hours late. But all in all, we finally arrived in the States!
As we had just one day in New York, we tried to have the most out of it. We compromised between touristic route and experienced route as Fabian had already been to NY and Liisi not.
So we started from Broadway street, strolled a bit on the Times Square and the High Line and finished in China Town with a dinner.
In the evening we went to a stand up comedy evening and thanks to some reviews online, we understood that a lot of places in NY are actually scams, but we got really lucky.
One of our favourite joke: “I just have to vote for Hillary Clinton, because I’m afraid what will happen if I don’t. It’s kinda like saying ‘I love you’ to your step dad.”
Next stop - San Francisco!
We took another 6-hour flight from New York to San Francisco with a layover in Minneapolis. And went another 3 hours back concerning time zones.
We arrived into amazing sunset colours and our hotel was just next to the cable car route, so we just wandered around for couple of hours and enjoyed the hills and views.
Next day we met up with our friends from Germany, Sophia and Chris to explore the city together. By coincidence, they also started a road trip to the North of the US on the same time.
We walked the whole day around the city, mostly in rain. (Good that Walgreens has massive umbrellas!) By the evening we had literally made a circle around the city and our feet were killing us. Peet’s coffee helped to get over it.
We decided to join Sophia and Chris for a day to the Yosemite National Park. The drive from San Francisco took us about four hours and we arrived next to the park just after the sunset.
The cool thing is, that you can legally camp in the National Forest areas all over the country. We did that. The directions from the nearby campsite ranger were a bit frightening: don’t leave the car windows open or bears will get their claws between them in the search for food. Sophia and Chris had now windows to close in the tent. Luckily the night was super calm.
The next day we woke up really early to beat the crowds streaming into the park. Sophia and Chris checked in at the campground and we took a hike to the Upper Yosemite Falls. It was a truly nice walk with views to El Capitan, impressive falls and got company from some curious squirrels.
After another looooong drive we arrived at Los Angeles - or to be more exact, Santa Monica. There we met with our friend from Estonia, Sandra, who is having her vocation here. We could camp out in front of her friend’s house in a super posh neighbourhood. Our van on that street was a little like from another galaxy and brushing teeth on the street next to a three million dollar house seemed surreal.
Finally our companion Florian also joined us and we had a very sunny day roaming the beaches of LA. Even though it was too cold to swim, the view and summery feeling was absolutely stunning. Our starters: Shrimps from the Bubba Gump Shrimp fast-food chain. Mains: grilled violet cauliflower and watermelon radish. In the night, we checked out Hollywood, the Walk of Fame and the School Night! party at the club Bardot.
The drive through the desert to Las Vegas was absolutely mind-blowing. Imagine vast nothingness, a straight road in the middle of sand and cactuses and double that. The feeling of being literally in the middle of nowhere is haunting. (As does the revealing feeling of seeing another car or house on the road.)
We made it to Vegas just after sunset and the city was in full lights and the party was on. The only word describing the first impression is „SICK!“. And it was a Tuesday evening. Everything is 10 times bigger and brighter than imagined.
We stayed at the very nice Linq hotel. Good value for money and the hotels in Las Vegas are comparably cheap (they make their money anyway). We checked out the famous Bellagio casino and hotel and just strolled around the streets. It’s kind of a huge street party, ending surprisingly early. (Everybody is drunk or having no money left to spend.)
The row of cars driving towards the Grand Canyon National Park was frightening. We approached the Canyon from the Southern rim and took the Bright Angel day hike. Well, the crowds we have been warned about are definitely there and it’s a little less wild than we imagined. But amazingly impressive in any way. And hot.
After some kilometres on the hiking trail and the Rim trail, we found an amazing spot just next to the RV park close to the Desert View campground for a dinner and to enjoy the sunset.