Fly Drive USA Experience

Copyright by Moyan Brenn


Descending over Los Angeles for the first time flying into LAX, you get to fully understand why the Americans are known for ‘Big’. Big food, big cars, big people and big cities. From the air LA is one very big mass of sprawling concrete, dissected with the busiest (and biggest) roads that stretch as for as the eye can see. It was on these roads that I would make my road trip from LA to Flagstaff (home of the Grand Canyon) with a quick stop in Las Vegas to see how sinful it really it.

As this was my first time in the states, I was grateful to be meeting up with a local girl that I had met a few months earlier whilst traveling in Australia. She was joining/ leading this trip of mine.

LA with a personal tour guide who is from the city and knows where the cool kids hang, is definitely the way to explore. Yes, we went to Hollywood, the Hollywood sign and Venice beach as was suggested in the guidebooks, but as every budding tourist wants, I also got see where the locals live and eat.  Downtown street festivals, Mexican restaurants at the end of a dodgy back alley, oh and to hang out in a Beverly Hills 90210 mansion.

After 3 days of being driven around, I was starting to get a grip not just on the scale of the city or how good the food is, but also its cultural diversity. However it was time for me to get behind the wheel, adjust my senses of being on the opposite side of the road and head out to Vegas.

The 4.5 hour journey along the ‘15’ highway goes by surprisingly quickly. Take into consideration all the “gas” stations every half mile each offering a different type of good old American junk food. Crossing the California/ Nevada state boarder where casinos pop out from nowhere, catering for all those who just can’t wait out the remaining hour to Vegas and need to fuel those gambling needs, and then finally arriving with the sight of the famous “welcome to fabulous Las Vegas”sign. Driving down ‘the strip’ is where you start to get really excited. I’m not really sure why, but there is a buzz in this place that really is quite electrifying (maybe it’s all the neon signs) and I couldn’t wait to dump my bag in the hotel room and explore. Well needless to say these hotels are very good at not letting you out once you are in. I don’t even gamble, but with free cocktails and beer being handed out whenever a cocktail waitress walked by, it becomes more and more difficult to leave the slot machines. After dancing a somewhat sweaty night way in an outdoor bar overlooking the strip, steak and eggs at 5:30am for only $7 is the only route to go. (Warning: a kebab after a night out will never suffice again). Throw in a bit of sightseeing, people watching and another night out and Sin city does live up to its name.

Back on the road for another 5 hour journey to the Grand Canyon, where some non-hedonistic activities are beckoning. Feeling a bit worse for wear, stopping to see the Hoover Damn is a welcome break. A spectacular feat of engineering, not only does it look cool, but you really can appreciate how strong and powerful it is to contain and command control over that amount of water. Unfortunately I didn’t see any Decepticons.

Continuing to Flagstaff is more of the same true American driving culture. Miles and miles without a turn in the road. Spectacular ever changing landscape. And lots of really tasty burgers.

After 2 nights in a hotel shaped like a castle, camping in a tent under the stars next to the Grand Canyon has a slightly different feel to it. (Namely twigs and rocks I think). Waking up freezing cold in the middle of the dessert when its dark is not a lot of fun. But as you sit on the edge of the Grand Canyon waiting as the sun rises, the landscape changing colour with every passing minute, witnessing one the great natural wonders of the world, the grumpy sleepiness disappears very quickly. For me this one the most spectacular places to visit in the world.

 

Author Bio

Harry Jarvis is a professional travel blogger who has been on the road for nearly 4 years. Harry writes for caravan and motorhome specialist Tourer Trader.

 

 

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