Roadtrip USA: Beautiful Sedona and facinating Joshua Tree Park

When we first planned our roadtrip, Arizona was not in it. But when we did the day by day part we suddenly realized we had som extra time. So after some research we decided to spend a couple of days in Sedona, Arizona. That sure didn't dissapoint. Sedona is beautiful and again different from everything on this trip.

We had seen pictures of the red mountain formations and was a bit confused on our way into Sedona, we only saw green forrest and lots of it. But after a while the very special red mountains started to show. Because that's what is so special about Sedona. It was both. It kind of looks like å crossover between a very cool very red dessert with mountains and a Norwegian forrest. 

Beauty in all directions, the temperatur not that high, it even rained a bit. And we got the best hotel view I have ever had at the Orchard Inn. Big window and balcony with panorama towards the mountains. On our full day in Sedona we had a slow day. Walked around in the small city, bought some stuff, got surprised by the amount of alternative shops and healers and so on. It seems they belive that a special kind of energy radiates from the earth in Sedona... This must be the place on earth with the most readers and healers compared to the number of people living there. Not my thing, but it sure made Sedona a bit more colourful.

In the afternoon we drove through some scenic roads and planned to do a bit of hiking, but then a heavy rainfall came and we ended up relaxing with the beautiful view at the hotel instead. And got to bed early because the next day we were picked up at 4.45 to go on a balloon ride. Our first. It was fun and a beautiful way to start the day - seeing the sun rise over the mountains from a balloon. We first saw how they inflated it. It is way bigger than I imagined! And we were in the air for about an hour just floating by the woods and the mountains. Just beautiful! 

The rest of the day just felt very long. We drove for about 6 hours (after getting up that early) to our next destination, the Joshua Tree Park area. The reward was arriving at the most beautiful hotel in Dessert Hot Springs. El Morocco Inn and Spa is like a little Moroccan oasis. Everything so beautifully made and exotic. And one of the cheapest hotels on our trip. Go for it if you are in the area!

Having one full day there we took a short trip to Palm Springs. Yes, there are loads of palms - facinating many, but beside that Palm Springs didn't give us that much. Mostly resorts. But Joshua Tree Park did not dissapoint! Rather the oposit. Pictures from the park sure doesn't give it enough credit. We drove (hiking is not a good idea in 40°C) through the park to Keys view for the sunset and had to stop all the time to explore the facinating landscape. Again - like nothing I have ever seen before. Joshua trees and mountain formations in constant change as you move through the park. I could easely spend more time there. And the sunset at Keys view sure delivered as well!

After all these days through so many landscapes unlike anything I've seen before, we are getting to the end of our trip now. La Jolla in San Diego and some beach time awaits before we are heading home. It's been a blast!  

 

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Hotel room view in Sedona

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Sedona - green and red

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Just wow

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Hotel room view

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Driving through Joshua Tree Park

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Joshua trees as far as you can see

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Sunset at Keys view

Roadtrip USA: Death Valley, crazy Las Vegas and an amazing helicopter tour to Grand Canyon

Las Vegas was the next stop on our roadtrip. Leaving Bishop we decided to drive through Death Valley towards Las Vegas. That way is a bit longer and very very hot, but so worth it!

The views were great all the way, from plain desert to sand dunes and vulcano shaped mountains. My favourite stop on the way was  Zabriskie point. I really reccommend driving through Death Valley. But bring enough water (it was 49°c/121°f at the most there!). Also fill up the gas before you start and bring some food. You will drive for hours with no options for food, water and gas.

Arriving Las Vegas was even more crazy than I had imagened. So much of everything everywhere. And a bit sad to observe all the gambling. We stayed at the Venetian. So big! You could stay for weeks in Vegas without leaving that hotel. And it even feels like you are outside when you visit the Venetian canal and italian plaza inside the hotel. That sky looking huge roof almost fooled me. A must see in Vegas.  The hotel only has suites, they are nice! At first the price was nice as well. About 150 USD per night. But then we didn't know about the resort fee most of the Vegas hotels charges without really telling about it. Suddenly the price increased with 40 USD per night...

Taking Las Vegas in is fun if you go with the flow. It's like nothing else I have seen. The strip with all the hotels is just facinating, but I enjoyed the Fremont district more. That is kind of the old strip with old signs and stuff. Much more laid back and real fun. Like one big street party. 

The most fun we did in Vegas was definitely a helicopter tour to Grand Canyon. I don't think there is a better way to see the canyon. We flew for about an hour+. So amazing and well organized. They landed at a beautiful spot down in the canyon where we had 30 minutes. If you have the money - go for it! We went with Sundance helicopter, they did a great job.

Two days in Las Vegas is enough for more outdoorsy people like us. So next stop is Sedona in Arizona.  

 

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Death Valley

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Death Valley

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Death Valley

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Death Valley

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On The Strip, Las Vegas

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Fremont district, Las Vegas  

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The venetian canal inside The Venetian

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Grand Canyon

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Grand Canyon

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Grand Canyon

Roadtrip USA: Outdoorsy Bishop and the ghost city Bodie

Leaving Yosemite, we headed for even more outdoor fun. Bishop was our stay for the next two days.

The area around Bishop is heaven for outdoor lovers. Skiing at Mammoth, cycling, hiking, climbing. You name it - this area has it. Beautiful mountains and lakes everywhere! However we really wanted to see the ghost city Bodie just outside of Lee Vining (another cute little town). So we settled down with enjoying the mountains from the road. Really not bad that either! Especially driving with the cab down in the beautiful sun.  

And driving to Bodie sure didn't dissapoint. Bodie was first a mining town and then they found gold in the area. Around 8000 people lived there at the most. But they all moved away, person by person and the city was eventually left as it was with no people in it. It was first called a ghost town in 1915. This is a heaven for historians and photographers. We just walked around for 2 hours taking it all inn and off course did a lot of filming and photographing. You should really go there if you are in the area! But make sure you drive the right dirt road in there;) Not the old one. As we did.... Bumpy roads in a Mustang - not a good combo. 

Loved our stay in this area! And if you are ever in Bishop. Eat at Holy Smoke BBQ. Great texan BBQ! 

Next up on our roadtrip - Las Vegas! 

 

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Bodie

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Bodie

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Bodie

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Bodie

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Bodie

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Sunset in Bishop

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Roadtrip - Yosemite and a funny detour due to wildfire

Heading out of San Francisco towards Yosemite we had booked two nights at a beautiful farm in Mariposa. Well, that didn't happen... But Yosemite did as planned and we got a funny detour to Oakdale and cute Jamestown.

We drove of from SF and to get some nice views on the way we went to Oakdale and then towards Coulterville. Just before Oakdale we got the call that due to a wildfire around Mariposa we couldn't stay at the farm. We decided to head for Mariposa to find a motel there. But as we arrived the funny little village of Coulterville the road ahead was closed and we were told that the whole of Mariposa was evacuated.  It was then we realized that this fire was big. At this moment more than 150 km2 has burnt down! So back again we went to Oakdale and a motel for the night.  Oakdale wasn't much and we had a looong day....

The next day we got up very early to drive the 2,5 hours to Yosemite. You have to be early to get parking this time of year. Yosemite was just as beautiful as we had imagined and more! We hiked the Mist trail. Amazing waterfall views! Very crowded the first part, but to the top of Nevada falls it was ok. Stopping plenty of times to take photos the round trip took us 5-6 hours. Totally reccommend it! And driving or just walking around areas of the park gives you plenty of beauty to look at as well.

The day before we just pointed the map around Yosemite and ended up booking a night in Jamestown. That was not at all what we expected. This was the cutest little town with funny shops, historic design and a beautiful historic hotel - Royal Carriage Inn. The only open restaurant Willow, served local beer, good food and looked like something from the 1800th century. Jamestown also had about 10 antique shops. Even though we missed out on a ranch stay I'm sure glad we got to experience Jamestown! 

After Yosemite our next stay was booked in Bishop so the next drive was over the beautiful Tioga pass. We did actually want to spend more time in Yosemite that day, but when we got there the whole park was covered in smoke from the wildfire. So we spent some more time at the Tioga pass and also experienced a beautiful scenery from Lee Vining to Bishop. 

More to come!

 

Yosemite

Yosemite

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The hotel in Jamestown

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Tioga pass  

Roadtrip first part - San Diego to San Francisco

Roadtrip so far soooo good! Started of in San Diego since I attended a conference there first. Rented a cabriolet and headed towards the first stop Laguna beach. 

We only had a short stop there. But it was a really nice place. Beautiful beach and nice shops! Then we headed of to Venice. Oh amazing Venice beach. So lively, colourful and fun. I could watch people there non stop. On our drive this day we altered between Highway 1 and the motor way 101. Beautiful sea views on 1, but also a drive through amazing wine fields on 101. Our stop for the night was in Solvang, just north of Santa Barbara. Believe it or not, this is a danish city - looked almost like any small city in Denmark. A bit cute and a bit weird. Amazing breakfast at Paula's pancake house.

The next day our goal was Monterey. Because of large parts of Highway 1 beeing closed we drove 101 up there. Parts of it beautiful with more vineyards and historic roads. Parts of it more boring. Almost at Monterey we took the famous 17 mile drive. A really scenic and nice drive through woods and past beaches. We then headed to Carmel by the Sea (nice little town!) for some food before we headed south again on Highway 1.

We wanted to see the best part of this special road. We drove down to Big Sur and we got to see the sunset at the most amazing spot before we once more headed north to our stay for the night in Monterey. 

Monterey was a really cute town as well! And as many tourists do we wanted to see if we found some whales on a whale watching tour the next morning. We headed of with no expectations at all. But we sure got surprised. At one time we had 10-15 whales sirkling around the boat! 

Then we headed to San Fracisco to stay the night. Since we have both been there before we only took a walk down to the marina and Fishermvan's wharf. Very very touristy, but thanks to Foursquare we found the very best pizza in a side street - Carmel Pizza Company.  

Stay tuned for more roadtripping - next stop is Yosemite.

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The Cab! My man! 

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Venice! 

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Venice 

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17 mile drive - Spanish beach

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Big Sur

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Whale tail!

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San Francisco

3 weeks in USA ahead

Finally, vacation time is here. Well, there will be a light start this year. Tomorrow I'm leaving for a work conference in San Diego for one week. Then my man is flying in and we will spend two weeks roadtripping!

Yay! We are talking California, Highway 1, Cabriolet, Yosemite, Las Vegas, helicopter ride to Gran Canyon, Sedona, ballon ride and much much more!

Stay tuned for updates.

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