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USA West Coast

We're back from a three week vacation on the US west coast and this is the usual pic dump. This time we rented an RV again and had a long road trip seeing California and bits of Nevada and Arizona.

pics and diary after the jump



Below is our diary we took to remember what we saw. It's just a rough outline but together with the pics it should give you a good idea of what we saw.

Monday

  • got up super early and took a taxi to the airport
  • flew Turkish Airlines to SFO via Istanbul
  • Susi and K. picked us up at the airport
  • had dinner and beer with Frank, Susi and the Kids

Tuesday

  • breakfast with Susi and K.
  • tried to create an Uber account, failed
  • registered at Lyft and got driven by Julio to El Monte
  • got the RV
  • drove to Walmart and bought some food and camping chairs
  • visited the Winchester Mystery House $90
  • drove to Santa Cruz and saw the Natural Bridges State Park
  • drove to one state park but it was full
  • stayed at the next state park $55 right at the beach

Wednesday

  • eggs and bacon for breakfast
  • paid the ranger (ex military stationed in Berlin)
  • took a walk along the beach, saw pelicans and seals
  • drove to Monterey
  • woman at a parking lot shouted at us
  • parked at the wharf $14
  • visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium $100
  • saw sea otters, jelly fish, kelp forest. touched a bat ray
  • bought cups and a T-shirt
  • had clam chowder
  • drove along the 17mile drive $10
  • in Carmel tried to get money, bank said no
  • asked tourist info for rv park
  • stayed at Carmel by the River $75 with full hookups and wifi
  • sandwiches and wine for dinner
  • podcast before bed

Thursday

  • showered
  • eggs and bacon for breakfast
  • phoned the bank via Skype (no success)
  • emptied the black and gray water tanks
  • saw a colibri
  • filled up gas
  • drove along highway 1 via big sur
  • saw lots of water, rocks and beaches
  • stopped at one beach and saw dolphins
  • saw a deer jump across the road in front of us
  • had a bit of a shock when the display said Tow/Haul googled and figured out its a mode of the Ford engine
  • stopped and saw elephant seals
  • visited Hearst Castle $50
  • bought spaghetti sauce at a mini mart
  • stayed at San Simeon state park for $25
  • had spaghetti, beer and podcast for dinner
  • went to the beach
  • saw a skunk at night

Friday

  • started early to enjoy the fog
  • had breakfast in Cambria (excellent Sandwiches)
  • drove the 101 to Santa Barbara
  • visited the old mission $16
  • went shopping at Ralph's
  • drove to the beach, walked a bit and went for a short swim (saw a seal)
  • drove on til oxnam and visited Walmart and staples (no Wipebook)
  • tried an RV park but noone was at the office and we didn't like it there so we drove on
  • tried one state park but it was full
  • were lucky and got a place at the Sycamore Canyon state park $45
  • fired up the BBQ and noticed someone had stolen our potatoes (terrible firestarter)
  • had steaks and salad (with too cold red wine)
  • walked a bit for better cell phone reception and booked a place at KOA in LA for the next night $75

Saturday

  • rose early again to have enough time for the day
  • emptied the tanks at the dump station before leaving the campground
  • saw a bike race in preparation on our way to Malibu
  • filled up $100
  • bought Tickets for Universal Studios online on the way there $210
  • had to pay extra for parking $25
  • spent the whole day at Universal: Studio Tour, Waterworld, Food, frozen Butterbeer, Flight of the Hippogriff, got annoyed with the locker situation at the Forbidden Journey and skipped it, Shrek, Special Effects, Transformers, Jurassic Park, Minions
  • briefly saw the Hollywood sign from the freeway
  • drove through LA rush hour traffic jam (on a Saturday!)
  • self checked in at the campground (county fair right across the street - noisy)
  • had sandwiches and fruits for dinner
  • went to the pool but only Andi went in

Sunday

  • got up, showered, emptied and filled the tanks
  • drove the I-15 towards Las Vegas
  • stopped at Barstow to fill up
  • drove through the whole town til we found a Denny's diner
  • had breakfast
  • drove through the desert
  • saw a solar plant
  • arrived in Vegas and decided to spend the night at hotel
  • parking attendant at one hotel was rude so we picked a different one - Hilton Vacations at the Flamingo
  • walked down the strip
  • tried to check in at the Flamingo which was wrong got directed to the right Hotel behind the Flamingo
  • drove to the marriage bureau and got a license $80
  • stopped at a chapel and got married $290
  • walked the strip by night
  • got pizza at food court in one of the casinos

Monday

  • woke up early
  • told our parents and friends what we did last night
  • bought tickets for the neon museum $39
  • had “breakfast” consisting of a toasty with ham and some egglike substance
  • drove to the neon museum and had a tour
  • drove over to the “Welcome to fabulous Las Vegas” sign and took a picture
  • next we were on route to the Hoover Dam with a stop for gas and water in Boulder City
  • went swimming at Lake Mead
  • saw the Hoover Dam
  • from there we drove towards the Grand Canyon and saw a coyote and a few cows
  • we stopped for the night at Mead View RV park $27
  • after bacon cheese sausage for dinner we saw a bunny and some bats on our evening walk
  • when trying to plan the next day, we read the really bad reviews of the Grand Canyon Skywalk and knew we didn't want to do that. however the next access to the Grand Canyon would have set us back a few days in our plan so after a long discussion we decided to go back towards Vegas

Tuesday

  • we were kept awake for long parts of the night by a storm shaking our RV
  • in the morning we emptied and filled up the tanks and set off north
  • we had one idea of still being able to see the Grand Canyon and went to Boulder City airport trying to get on a helicopter flight. Unfortunately all were booked out already
  • we drove very far around Death Valley and back to California with a tank stop in Indian Springs
  • We stopped in Beatty for Subway sandwiches and bought some beef Jerky
  • in Big Pine we got some noodles and cheese sauce as well as some beer and checked into a simple campground for the night $14
  • early bed after dinner and a short walk

Wednesday

  • again a stormy night but I slept much better, Kaddi not so much
  • we had bacon and eggs for breakfast and started the day slow
  • we drove up the 395 north and made stops for gas and food on the way
  • next stop was the Mammoth Lakes visitors center where we got some flyers and directions
  • hiked to Devils Postpile (basalt columns)
  • saw lots of squirrels
  • it began to rain
  • we hiked to the Rainbow Falls
  • the rain stopped
  • we hiked to the Lower Falls
  • we hiked back to car
  • drove to the Mammoth Mountain RV park $51
  • the rain started again
  • had Tacos and beer for dinner
  • temperature dropped a lot and we turned on the heater

Thursday

  • woke up and turned on the heat again
  • emptied the tanks
  • went to the nearby bakery for coffee and baked goods
  • drove to the various mammoth lakes. only got out for short times. freezing cold
  • saw a guy fly his drone
  • drove the mammoth scenic loop
  • visited the Mono Lake visitor center
  • visited the South Tufa at Mono Lake
  • drove to Bodie. the Las three miles of the road are unpaved. horrible drive. we parked after two and walked the last mile
  • visited Bodie Ghost town $18 (with guide book)
  • got cloudy and cold again
  • an elderly couple picked us up and drove us the last quarter of a mile back to our RV
  • we were super hungry. no food except some cookies and beef jerky since breakfast
  • stopped for huge burgers and fries in Bridgeport
  • drove further north and it started to snow!
  • we decided to use the passes while still possible and drove for Lake Tahoe
  • self checked-in at KOA Lake Tahoe $71
  • ran the heater again, had beer

Friday

  • woke up to 2°C outside
  • turned on the heater and hot showered
  • had scrambled eggs for breakfast
  • went grocery shopping
  • got gas
  • got beer
  • drove to South Lake Tahoe
  • road to Emerald Bay was closed
  • we got off the road at Valhalla and had a look at the lake
  • Kaddi got her feet wet
  • had the idea to rent bikes to see Emerald Bay
  • bike guy told us that the road is closed for bikes as well
  • drove west
  • had ice cream on the way
  • visited Sutter Creek
  • stupid foody restaurant had closed the kitchen and had no burgers for us
  • Andi was hungry and grumpy
  • swam in the pool
  • checked in at Gold Strike Village RV park
  • they had no BBQs!
  • Andi was more grumpy
  • had noodles and beer
  • took a small walk to the local gold mine entrance. saw a bat
  • had another beer

Saturday

  • woke up and it was cold again (not as much as yesterday though)
  • we paid the RV park $38 (cash only)
  • had very good breakfast (meat lovers omelet and French toast with strawberries) in Angel Camp
  • visited Columbia Historic State Park, saw all the different stores there. beautiful
  • bought sweets at Nelson's Columbia Candy Kitchen
  • had fried noodles with eggs and sausage
  • drove back north to see Calaveras Big Tree State Park $11
  • Saw huge beautiful Giant Sequoias. stupid people with misbehaving kids. had to shout at the kids when they started to hurt trees. little dipshits.
  • Kaddi bought a t-shirt
  • drove back to Columbia. checked into Marble Quarry RV Park.
  • no barbecues! God dammit.
  • Kaddi washed some clothes and set up a cloth line
  • made potato and steak on the propane hearth. bit of a waste, but what can you do. had beer

Sunday

  • it was still relatively cold in the morning so we used the heater again
  • had left over steak on toast and boiled eggs for breakfast
  • we paid the RV Park $49 and left for Yosemite
  • near Big Oak Flat the “check gas cap” light came on. the cap was properly fixed so we called the road side assist. they say we can safely ignore it and that the “check engine” light will come on next. we should ignore that too but make sure the fluids are properly topped up
  • we checked the oil and decided to fill in a bit more.
  • we also filled up the gas
  • at Yosemite we visited the restaurant first and got cheese burgers, fries and fruit punch Gatorade (yuck)
  • we then walked to the Yosemite falls which were totally dry
  • we hiked a bit more but Kaddi didn't feel too well and we aborted that
  • got ice cream
  • tried to stay at Wawona camp ground but it was full. the Ranger recommended a different place but we couldn't find it
  • bought Kraft Mac'n'Cheese and beer
  • looked at the camp ground of an Elk's Lodge but didn't really like it
  • finally self checked in at High Sierra RV & Mobile Park in Oakhurst
  • Had Mac'n'Cheese and Beer

Monday

  • took a bit to get started (heater again)
  • paid for the RV park $45 and bought some ice cream
  • had breakfast at Danny's
  • went on the road again
  • on the way our “check gas cap” light went out again. nice.
  • stopped at Target in Fresno to buy food, CaH extensions and a present for P.
  • saw deer next to the road
  • arrived at Kings Canyon National Park
  • asked for camping at the Visitor Center
  • self-checked in at Azalea campground $18
  • saw deer very close right on the camp ground
  • hiked to the General Grant Grove and did the self-guided tour $1
  • left our chairs at the campground and drove half way to Cedar Grove to see the canyon
  • drove back to the camp ground and walked over to the general store. bought fire wood and beer
  • made fire (we tried with Kaddi's fire starter first but got impatient and used a lighter)
  • grilled steak, vegetables in bacon and potatoes. had beer.
  • watched the stars

Tuesday

  • woke up early
  • saw no bears
  • drove to Stump Grove and walked the trail. no bears
  • bought gas at Stony Creek Village
  • got mediocre breakfast at Lodgepole Market
  • saw the General Sherman tree. no bears
  • saw the Giant Tree Museum (it's not very giant)
  • hiked the Moro Trail
  • climbed the Moro Rock
  • hiked the Soldier Trail back
  • had Beef Jerky and cookies during the hike
  • saw a stag right next to us
  • no bears
  • made a coffee break at Stump Grove. no bears
  • bought groceries at a tank stop. they had no single beers (WTF is wrong with this country?)
  • checked into River Bend & Kings Canyon RV Park $35
  • ran the AC (it's so unbelievable hot once you leave the mountains)
  • showered (we were super dirty from all the hiking)
  • made Mac'n'Cheese with bacon (delicious)

Wednesday

  • woke up late after a good night's sleep
  • had small breakfast with bread, cheese and jam
  • drove all the way to Mountain View
  • visited the Computer History Museum $26
  • had sandwiches at the Museum Bistro
  • saw a Google self-driving car in real life
  • drove over to Half Moon Bay
  • checked in at Pelican Point RV Park $84
  • walked to the beach
  • saw a seal
  • bought beer at the RV Park shop
  • had bread and egg for dinner

Thursday

  • had some bread and eggs for breakfast
  • drove north
  • stopped for gas
  • bought a pumpkin as a gift for Susi
  • drove to the Golden Gate Bridge $1.50 (parking)
  • saw Hummingbirds
  • took lots of pictures of the bridge in the fog
  • visitor center was closed
  • bought coffee and bakeries at the Bridge Café
  • drove across the bridge
  • stopped at the north Vista point and took more pictures
  • drove to Sausalito through very narrow steep streets with low hanging trees
  • took a while to find a parking spot $12
  • Kaddi bought a hoodie
  • walked through Sausalito and enjoyed the little shops
  • had tacos and chips with salsa for lunch
  • first RV park we tried was full
  • checked into the Alameda County Fair Ground RV Park $40
  • packed our stuff
  • made Mac'n'Cheese again

Friday

  • we woke up early at the alarm
  • after a quick coffee we packed our remaining stuff, emptied the tank and went off
  • after a stop at the gas station we returned the car. no new damages.
  • after some little trouble with the network connection we ordered a Lyft and got driven to Susi and Frank
  • we spent some time having breakfast and talking
  • Susi made an awesome wedding cake
  • Susi went to her ceramics course and we explored San Mateo downtown and sat in the sun
  • in the evening we went to a fund raiser at Devil's Canyon Brewery. drinking for education. Lyft for transport
  • some cards against humanity afterwards

Saturday

  • had breakfast with Frank, Susi and the kids
  • borrowed Susi's car and drove to Milbrae station
  • took the BART to Embarcadero $20
  • walked along the pier
  • ate corn dogs
  • walked up the hill to Lombard street
  • took the cable car to China Town $14
  • visited the Fortune Cookie Factory
  • bought adult themed fortune cookies
  • took the BART and car back to Frank and Susi's
  • took lyft to The Refuge. had glorious food and beer
  • played some Cards Against Humanity

Sunday

  • had coffee and watched some Futurama
  • borrowed Susi's car again and drove to the De Young museum
  • realized that I've seen it already
  • went to the Japanese Garden instead $12
  • had Miso Soup in the garden
  • bought clam chowder and fried calamari at a food truck
  • ate while listening to the Golden Gate Park Band
  • went to the California Academy of Science $70
  • saw an awesome rain forest with lots of butterflies
  • had coffee at the cafeteria
  • visited the earthquake simulation
  • drove back and filled up Susi's car
  • had dinner and beer, played Cards against Humanity

Monday

  • packed our stuff
  • relaxed
  • drove to the Cheesecake Factory with Susi and had too much food. yummy
  • took a Lyft to the Airport
  • flew Turkish airlines back to Berlin via Istanbul
  • took a taxi home
Tags:
photos, vacation, usa
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Posted on Friday, October the 7th 2016 (13 months ago).

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