2009 trip to California and West Coast USA

Santa Monica & Los Angeles


LA is a joke of a city.  Approaching it I expected to see a nice view coming in from the hills, however we were greeted by smog and traffic.  The drivers are erratic and aggressive, the traffic jams are enormous and there are virtually no useful road signs telling you where to go.  With the help of Google Maps, we managed to navigate ourselves to the Hollywood sign view point and when we finally arrived, the car park had just 8 spaces, as well as some minibuses parked so that people couldn't get in or out of the place so it took a while before we could actually get out and see it. 

Grand Canyon


Keen to get away from the tack and crowds of Las Vegas, I was pleased to be headed to the Grand Canyon which I have always wanted to see. On the way, we visited Hoover Dam where we had an interesting tour and learnt such fascinating facts as it being over 720ft tall and, at its base, around 660ft thick. It is a massive structure and I really enjoyed the tour.

Las Vegas

The saying goes that "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas", but obviously that would make for a pretty crap blog entry, plus we haven't done anything outrageous, so on this occasion I am prepared to share!

Death Valley

On Saturday, we left Lone Pine and headed towards Death Valley. We didn't really know what to expect, other than a valley where little grows/survives, and so it was quite exciting.

Wow, the scenery was stunning, like nothing I've seen before ever.  Was really bleak and barren and no sign of intelligent life except a few snakes and lizards and insects.  The geology was amazing, rock strata and tilted rocks, outcrops, alluvial fans and stuff, was so interesting.


We've had a really cool 2 days in Yosemite (well,driving into Yosemite from our motel which was quite a way out). However Yosemite has got the most spectacular scenery I've probably ever seen - mountains, lakes,valleys, outcrops, rivers which I liked to paddle in, meadows, forests... and all this with endless sun and cloudless skies.  Can't be bad. 

San Francisco

The holiday didn't get off to the most perfect of starts when, on arrival, we were told that our flight to Toronto that was supposed to leave at 3pm was going to be delayed until 9pm. As someone who despises sitting around in airport terminals waiting for gates to open and boarding to begin, the prospect of waiting an additional six hours did not fill me with joy. The annoyance was furthered by the fact that this delay - caused by either "maintenance" or "weather problems yesterday" depending on which Air Canada rep. was speaking - meant that we would miss our connecting flight to San Fran, along with our hotel for the evening and the pick up time for the car we were to hire.

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