America by car, part 10/10 - Heading back to LA
On Friday we spent the night in Santa Maria , which we chose for our final drive - heading (back) to Los Angeles, for one serious reason - SHOPPING. Here the girls spotted their TJ Maxxx. Saturday, May 9, 2009 was actually our last full day in the states. Luckily, it was also the last day of the shopping frenzy ... In the morning, we went very smoothly in the shopping center and punctually at 2 p.m. - as we had previously assumed (i.e. we gently forced on girls who could do shopping like this for the rest of their lives) - we set off towards Los Angeles, specifically to the spot we had chosen almost two weeks earlier - Santa Monica . It was the last 170 miles on the road - quite nice road, in beautiful scenery (partly along the beaches) - first along their Interstate, then along a scenic mountain road, back to the coast. In the elite Malibu , we made a lunch on the beach - delicious sushi cut into the landscape known from the series "Baywatch - Sunny Patrol" (next to it, Pamela in an orange suit was running everywhere). Only the girls complained a bit when it was cold (for them it is probably not warm enough even at 30 degrees Celsius ...), so we did not extend our lunch and we went to Santa Monica. Leaving Malibu, we had a second traffic jam during our trip (the first one was on the way from Vegas to Hoover's Dam - about 45 minutes) - we rolled slowly all the way to the great beaches in Santa Monica. We logged in right in the center - on the promenade, almost overlooking the sea. Unfortunately, at the same time, it was the most expensive accommodation in the whole event - $ 137 after negotiations. However, this is nothing, because it was supposed to be (and was) - the last night - so we decided to go crazy! We packed our stuff, went to the pier and let the atmosphere carry us away. In an amusement park arranged on a pier, we got a taste of the roller-coaster (I guess that's what you say?) And the elevator launched upwards. We were also supposed to taste the Budweiser, but as soon as I fired it - despite the black foil bag - a huge black policewoman appeared from nowhere and took me to the trash with it. After a hearty dinner in the restaurant on the pier, a walk, we went to a well-deserved rest. It's been a pleasure ... after two weeks in the states - we are losing our native language ... Of course, this is not what Edyta Górniak did - we will not sing the national anthem ...
America by car, part 9/10 - San Francisco
As we approached the city on the highway, we expected a similar glow to the one over Las Vegas. Yes - the glow was - it started with the lights of the Oakland airport (actually the "suburbs" of San Francisco). The weather surprised us - a few miles before SF there was a beautiful starry night, clear sky, the moon two nights before the full moon. Moments later, a gigantic fog (cloud?) Hung over the city, giving us a gentle drizzle. As we pulled off the Bay Bridge, we turned towards (as our girls say) "the very center" of SF, and the scenery was fairy-tale-comic.
America by car, part 8/10 - Sequoia National Park
We found yesterday's accommodation from the so-called shoe - it was the first night for which we did not have an overnight stay booked. Arriving in Fresno, we expected a small town, which turned out to be quite a big city, so we didn't even drive into the center. We were tempted by a fast-food district (in one place, apart from McDonald's, you can find Wenddys, Taco Bells, Carl's Jr, In & Out burger, Denni's, KFC - a real paradise for American fat people) where we also found two motels. Such a roadside town, where truck drivers stop overnight, offers accommodation for only $ 67 for 4 people. And so, after unpacking the car, we went for a walk for delicious fat burgers. Then some duties - that is accommodation in San Francisco. On this occasion, a stormy debate took place - I and Ela insisted on living as close to the center as possible - that is, in the Union Square area, and the boys cheered on accommodation in our already friendly Travellodge chain. For us, however, 1600 meters away is a challenge not on the streets of San Francisco, which we intend to measure along and run along. In the end it was ours - we sleep in the Union Plaza Hotel. After processing the photos, we went for a conciliatory drink at the swimming pool - cheap hotels, as usual, offer a large pool - this one was for 16 people. And so we sat by the pool under the palm trees, drinking a drink at 12 am, trying not to wake up the sleeping drivers with their bursts of laughter, who parked their beautiful, big, colorful trucks in the parking lot next door. In the morning we got up at a decent time, although, as you already know, it is more and more difficult - we have already changed our time and even though the watch was set to 5 p.m. Polish time, it was hard to get up. Kuba, anticipating such a situation, also performed the procedure of hiding the alarm clock - so that no one could turn it off too quickly when it starts ringing. Who let's ago go - we went to Sequoia National Park which welcomed us with lush vegetation and huge trees. We climbed Moro Rock - I got the first two thousand meters high - hi hi - by climbing a prepared path consisting of almost 400 steps. The effort was only ambitious, because at the top it turned out that you could not see anything anyway, because we were in the clouds, which, unfortunately, was not blown by the wind today. Then we had a meeting with the Generals - Sherman and Grant. As for the Americans, they turned out to be quite obese - 12 meters in waist circumference ... of course, we are talking about the largest trees named after the distinguished. Everything around was also American-sized - generally the forest is called Giant Forrest. After all, after the previous attractions, today's ones turned out to be the least spectacular - perhaps because the landscape most closely resembles Polish conditions - such a larger forest, with larger trees. At the moment, we are already on the route to San Francisco, where the streets and attractions of this city await us. Today we are planning a night walk around bluss-jazz venues - we are closer to them by as much as 1,600 meters ... San Francisco is calling - read the next part !!!!.
America by car, part 7/10 - Yosemite National Park
Mammooth Lakes surprised us a lot, especially as after the hot climate of Death Valley, the ladies in the klapunias had to get through at 0 degrees in the rain and snow to the door of our room. We were not completely prepared for such a sudden change in weather ... We got up at 10:00, because today we had only 150 miles to go, so casual. Taking our time, we went to breakfast for real American cuisine. Looking around, it was easy to see people dressed in ski suits and boots scurrying with snowboards and skis. It was not difficult to find out that we are in a ski resort. What was our surprise when at the reception of the motel Kuba asked for a weather report - and this is a real winter. It turned out that many roads are closed and there is no chance to pass. Our route is closed from October to June (only access to Yosemite from the east, 10,000ft mountain pass) - so we'd have to wait a while. We quickly re-planned the route and to get to the next destination - Yosemite, we had to go around the entire Sierra Nevada mountain range - only 500 miles ... In other words, a whole day's journey. We left town in the rain, leaving the mountain ranges in fog. We managed to drive about 30 miles and a beautiful lake appeared, the weather also improved, although it was blowing like hell. Imagine my surprise when I grabbed the camera to capture these great views and here's a surprise ... the batteries were left in the motel. We weren't allowed to leave Mammoths Lakes, so we drove back to the lovely resort. Fortunately, the batteries were in place and still charging. We definitely left Mammoths at 1pm !!!!!!! Gmurcia grabbed the wheel and sped almost 300 miles without a pee stop (7 hours) in her new high-end 20-hole cap and stripped Vegas glasses. Along the way, we only had 3 refueling, a little shopping and I think we traveled through all the seasons of the year. We drove and rode until it got dark and the drivers changed. Kuba got to the circle at the right moment, because some great streamers started, normal as on a carousel. We regretted that the moon illuminated these steep slopes so poorly, because the views would probably be unearthly. Before midnight, we arrived at the Oakhurst - Americas Best Value Inn Motel. The room was great, but there was no fridge, which made the boys very worried ...
America by car, part 6/10 - Lake Powell, Monument Valley
Today we noticed that we start to wake up later and later - 8:00 and go to bed later and later 2:00, which means - we are slowly switching to the American time J Lamp from the morning, which makes me and Gmurcia very happy, because yesterday we were a bit blown in Grand Canyon. Śniadanko, as in a roadside motel, quite modest, so Jeż bought some ham and cheese so that we would not starve. We didn't start until 10:30 and it was a completely unplanned place. We bought a rally to Antelope Slot Canyon - a paradise for photographers, a very picturesque land, simply a miracle !!!! I was furious since the morning, because there is a fate hanging over my photographic equipment from the beginning of the expedition - one lens completely broken, yesterday in the Grand Canyon the "fool" fell and something is not in contact there and this problem with the batteries ... Luckily we have one more long lens and the great equipment of Jeż J, everyone admired him today, and the photos from the canyon were really amazing. Before the route to Monument Valley, we veered off the Page route to the dam, and only then experienced a visual shock. Sometimes it is worth changing the direction of the road, because the beautiful Lake Powell has appeared in front of us, with many bays - almost like "Norwegian fjords", all surrounded, of course, by mountains. We got to Monument Valley - a place known to everyone from westerns, fortunately we arrived before sunset, red rock blocks of various shapes, resembling people, dogs and even ET, red earth and poor vegetation - a real film landscape. And then on the road, there are over 200 miles of journey ahead of us, this time a super driver GmurciaJ behind the wheel. She quickly learned what and how in this great car and she liked the cruise control the most. At 8:30 PM we got to Page, for dinner at a typical country pub with live music, where we tasted a real American steak - yummy !!!! The pubs are closed quickly, so at 10 p.m. we moved on, as it turned out later - on a road full of surprises. Marcin took the helm. Initially everything was going as planned, all the way to Kanab (about halfway from Page, our dinner - to Cedar City, Utah, where we were staying. Then we took one of the two options - a shorter route but through the mountains (shortcut) ... It was past midnight. With time it started to get a bit dramatic - we drove, drove, drove ... Our Chrysler, which had been burning decently so far, on the winding mountain roads began to eat like a dragon and the fuel pointer dynamically moved towards the letter E for Empty. The moon on the left like from a fairy tale, hmm, rather like from a horror movie it was timidly low above the trees, then seeing our progressive stress with the situation, decided to throw in his three pennies and went out behind the clouds. So it got completely dark, we were driving with minimal visibility, and it started ... The first one shouted Ela: "BEWARE! ROE!!!" On the left side, out of nowhere, a giant deer suddenly jumped out in front of the car's hood (Marcin braked suddenly) and then passed (flew over) on his right side, passing the mirror with his hoof by about 5 cm ... Terrified, but at the same time happy that we are in one piece, we moved on with minimum speed and soul on our shoulder ... From then on, we looked for glistening - sinister - eyes on the roadside. And finally we saw - a fox, more deer, some furry the size of a monstrous nutria (or maybe a beaver?), A few more deer ... To turn up the already very tense atmosphere - only a hitchhiker with a saw was missing ... And our target town of Cedar City was still not on the horizon. Imagine our surprise when it turned out that we were driving at an altitude of over 3,000 meters and that we were surrounded by heaps of snow. At one point we passed over a meter long snowdrifts… Finally, a signpost appeared, which confirmed that we were going at least in the right direction - after 1 am we drove to the dormant, Mormon Cedar City in Utah. It is not difficult to guess that after these emotions we dreamed of a bottle of cold beer, but what was our disappointment when, at one of the few open stations, we found out that, first of all: after 1 am (until 7 am) in the whole city will not sell us any alcohol, and secondly: the time has changed - watches an hour ahead ... With our noses on the fifth, we were looking for our motel, going back and forth on Main Street - nowhere to find it. Desperate, we finally stopped the police (exactly) and here a pleasant surprise once again - after a short exchange of views, the policeman patrolling the city agreed, huh, he himself suggested that he would lead us to the place! And so - almost escorted by the police, in the middle of the night, thousands of miles from home, we happily drove to the next motel on our route. A very young and handsome (as the girls said) the policeman said goodbye to us with the words - "BE SAFE, GUYS". After 3:30 we went to bed and it was the shortest night so far.
America by car, part 5/10 - Grand Canyon
Let me start at the end - it's 10pm and we've just got to Page (pronounced whip), where we'll be spending tonight. When we entered the city it was already dark but we came to the conclusion that it was a city of motels, churches (of various denominations - free market?) And fast food. Unfortunately, at 10 pm everything was closed and we were directed to a 24-hour roadside pub where we took a small dinner (according to Marcin: approx. 700 kcal per person). We went back to the hotel, booked a night in Cedar City for tomorrow so it was close to Bryce Canion and Zion Park, which we are going to visit tomorrow. We also bought an overnight stay in Las Vegas - we have a really cool hotel ( www.stratospherehotel .com ) ... but today it's the first obsówka in the plan, because we decided to stay in the Grand Canyon until the very end, so from the beginning ... Waking up before 7 without an alarm clock, fast morning toilet - 4 people in one bathroom is quite a challenge J, breakfast which turned out to be "Just cold breakfest" and we were displeased that there were no eggs and bacon. We are already leaving before 9 am. Today Marcin takes the baton of the court driver - the guys are brave enough and despite the pre-departure threats that they will chase us behind the wheel, because they will have better classes, they have not allowed the "woman" to get behind the wheel to this day. We arrived at the Grand Canyon around 11 o'clock, wanting to first take advantage of the helicopter flight over the canyon and admire the beautiful nature from above. Unfortunately, first of all: it was too windy today and the flights were under a big question mark. Secondly, it turned out that in this part of the canyon, helicopters do not fly between the rocks, because it is the area of the national park - it is forbidden. We found out that there was an option to fly from the eastern side of the canyon and we decided to take a flight from Las Vegas. It is cold and windy, as I have already mentioned, so we have a little dressing up in the car - we jump into long pants and sweatshirts, trying not to throw Kuba's drying underwear from the car shelves. We enter the park and we are immediately greeted by a few deer - the animals I mean ... They are grazing in the forest by the road. We reach the first vantage point, park outside the designated places (not us alone) and we see an indescribable sight - the reactions of all four of us were similar - uncensored, so we will not quote or quote. So, being unable to give up such views, we spend the whole day there, moving from place to place and admiring this wonder of nature from different perspectives. We stay until the sunset and we do the most kitschy photos that you will have to watch, whether you like it or not.
America by car, part 4/10 - Joshua Tree Park
We woke up after 6 am as usual, in a real motel from American horror movies - the Safari Motel Inn - straight out of Hitshckock's Psycho. Plywood walls so all night we heard cars passing and neighbors farting. We know what our motel catches for - well, the slogan "large pool" is displayed. This time we had a breakfast prepared on our own and went to Joshua Tree National Park. It turned out that we lived (we did not notice it at night) at the entrance to the park. So at 9 o'clock we were already after visiting the Visitors Center, where we equipped ourselves with all the maps and set off to conquer the park. An elderly gentleman (guard), who provided us with the necessary information on moving around the park, recognized us "by the accent" and - probably for the second time so far - it turned out that the Americans recognize our language :-) At the beginning we were delighted to see Joshua trees, which gave the name of the park, amazing in their appearance. Later, a total change of surroundings - Hidden Valley - a hidden valley welcomed us with fabulous rocks. Including we took a walk to the Skull - Skull Rock (a piece of cool rock ...) We even took a small walk (going back to the car) for a moment losing orientation - and everything around so similar ... Generally speaking: desert, Joshua trees, larger and smaller stones and so few hours. Kiey View - a view of the cosmic landscape from above - a great vantage point. Every now and then we pass bikers rushing on their machines in the wilderness of an American park. Finally, a cactus garden. The cacti that looked like hairy tarantulas turned out to be aggressive - they attacked Gmurcie - as the bloodthirsty creatures threw, they DIRT their spines into her leg. Documentation on removing the foreign body from her leg soon. The rescue operation was successful (Jerzu, like an experienced surgeon, with truly watchmaking precision, picked up several dozen needles from Gmurcia's leg.) It was bloody, the operation was successful, the patient survived :-) And so again, on the route from where we write to you, driving the legendary Route 66. We are looking for some food, but for over 200 km only a desert, the road ahead, and beautiful mountains on the horizon. It's past 1 am. Of course, the whole company is long asleep. A little more and I will be accused of drawing power from some suspicious "ecological sources" ... This is how it is - on vacation - LIKE THIS - it's a waste of every hour slept, sometimes literally. In the afternoon, the legendary Route 66 turned into an ordinary "freeway", which significantly improved our speed (from about 60mph to 80mph). We have to admit that from the very beginning we are going "as God commanded" - we only exceed the speed limit by 5 miles (we set the cruise control). Unfortunately, today's "duty" behind the wheel was mostly a chore - speed limit 55 mph - we were trailing (60 mph) less than 90 km / h, which in a situation when you have an empty road, endless space around, visibility for hundreds of kilometers, dry road, ah ... it would be a bit squeezed ... Unfortunately - every now and then there are warnings about "radar control", and the top of everything is the message "radar control by aircraft" ... Hmm, at least it's safe :-) At one point, we passed a significant mark: "NO SERVICES NEXT 90 MILES". It took us a long time to wonder if this was a joke or not. Luckily we had an almost full tank and a few bottles of water because for the next AT LEAST 90 miles there was nothing ... Ie. yes, there was a beautiful, gradually changing landscape - a DESERT. Sand, bushes, mountains in the distance and no living soul for about three hours in this heat. I would like to add that when I say (by writing?) "Zero living soul" I mean: ZERO LIVING SOUL. Neither pear nor parsley - Jerzu (then seated as a passenger in the front) shouted: "-Tree with shoes on the right!" At first I thought that the poor fellow was just beginning to be hurt by the heat - in this heat Marcin (Jerzu) probably started to see some hallucinations ... A tree with shoes, sure - and were the socks there too? (one would like to ask…). We went back to this place and… we have some pictures of the tree with shoes! A few miles later, Jerzy shouted: "A tree with panties!" Similarly, this time he was right (I saw), but there were too few panties (recently planted ?!), so we let it go. Our spontaneous idea for the girls to start a new tree at Route 66 - WITH STEPS - unfortunately remained unanswered ... :-( Much earlier than expected, we reached Flugstaff - a town on Historic District Route 66. Our motel - Travellodge turned out to be a very nice place. Again we have 2 quennsbeds and all the necessary equipment we need. All for just $ 65 (4 all).
America by car, part 3/10 - Kodak Theater, Staples, Chinatown etc.
Oh, that we should always get up like this - wake up after 6 o'clock - our organisms wake us to life on their own at the crack of dawn. It is known - we change over J Today, after breakfast, we packed, we said goodbye to our friendly boss and went to the Kodak Theater (once again), where we took some photos on the Walk of Fame, in front of the Chinese Theater and nearby ... We did not go without a visit to the Virgin Store music store , where I and Jerzy dived between records, books, T-shirts, gadgets ... It was clear from the beginning that the schedule was quite tight - so we headed towards Chinatown (by car). There it turned out that it was enough to leave the main artery for a moment to be in the middle of Asia. Chinese, Chinese all over J Los Angeles Downtown is actually the only thing that remains to be seen (about the so-called Pueblo in a moment) in strict LA today. Skyscrapers - different than in New York, as if "newer", gathered in a practically small space and ... no parking spaces L Unfortunately, there was no chance (due to time constraints) for a quiet parking and a walk around the extinct (today was Sunday) Downtown. In the end, we managed to find a new (after the legendary Great Western Forum) Los Angeles Lakers hall - Staples Center - we did not do without a lightning photo session J When talking about Pueblo, they mean an old Mexican city, or rather a settlement that over 150 years ago lay at the foundations of today's Los Angeles. The church, the chapel and the railway station, which dominates the area of Union Station, are the main, but not the most important attractions of this place. The preserved villa of Francisco Albeda and - which we had the pleasure to visit seems to be the most important. The Crystal Cathedral in Anaheim is an incredible attraction - all glass and steel. Protestant church built in 1980, perhaps. Beautiful weather, a soaring glass tower, a gigantic cathedral building, organs from all over the world - all this contributed to the amazing atmosphere of this place. Finally, we got to the tape (after a great dinner in an atmospheric town on the outskirts of LA - to, attention, ... PALM SPRINGS! A beautiful town, low-rise buildings, lots of tourists, and most of all - a cable car to the nearby summit (approx.2500m above sea level) - there is a photo session and return - a great experience! From there, we went at night to the most charming theme from which I am writing to you. I do not go into details, because I do not have the strength anymore, and tomorrow we will have a big challenge - we have to visit Joshua Park quickly and drive to Flagstaff for the night ...
America by car, part 2/10 - Universal Studios
Today is a great day almost entirely at Universal Studios. We were at all the attractions we wanted. The Simpsons went to the first fire. I have to add here that after opening the gates, some Americans ran to be the first in… fast food bars… Jerzu is a big fan of the Simpsons, so it was obvious that for him it was a must on the agenda. I was very skeptical, but what we saw / felt exceeded the wildest expectations of all four of us! A one-of-a-kind show that allowed us to move into the world of Homer Simspon and FEEL (literally) a few minutes of adventure conducted at a frantic pace. Then we went to the attraction called "Mummy's Revenge". Horror rollerkoster in the grave (mummy?) Darkness, thanks to which we screamed into the heavens. We decided to finish by entering the "House of Horror", but only at times it was really scary here. We were stuck in a narrow room, rubbing against the corpse of foil hanging on ropes ... "Terminator 2: 3D" is a show lasting a dozen or so minutes that cannot be missed when visiting Universal Studios. Robots, lasers, explosions - all in special glasses, on special chairs in harmony with light and touch (yes, touch). The amazing show "Waterworld" turned out to be a hit. Daring stunts, gigantic explosions and a lot, a lot of water ... This show attracted the largest audience (at one time). A visit to Universal Studios would not be complete without visiting the well-known Jurassic Park. A dinghy on the river, among lush vegetation, friendly (and not) dinosaurs ... Actually, it would be worth repeating only for the final scene itself! "Backdraft" is a show of the filmmakers' ability to master, or rather try to control, fire. We learned about the complicated production of this film, how much time and resources were devoted to achieve the intended effect. Kurt Russell himself told what a challenge for him and other actors was to play in this film, and at the end we saw a few minutes long show of a rapidly spreading fire in the old hall. "Special Effects Stages" is nothing but the "skinning" of some amazing scenes from widely known movies - rich in special effects. We were shown what it looks like from the kitchen, we were told some techniques used every day in the production of films by computer scientists, sound engineers, etc. Finally, we went to the "Studio Tour". It is an interesting journey on a guided train, during which we visited, among others to the street known to all fans of the series "Desperate Housewives" ("Ready for Everything"). The preserved sets from cult films were the icing on the cake today. Well, unless you consider our evening car trip through Beverly Hills as such, a glance (in the falling dusk to the Pacific) and a walk in the main "Fight" of Santa Monica. At night - last, but not least - the famous Kodak Theater (Oscar-winning galas are held here), Chinese Theater, hundreds of stars underfoot at the Walk of Fame, El Capitan Theater and Wax Museum.
America by car, part 1/10 - Los Angeles
We're leaving in a moment… 12.00 from Okecie; 15.30 from London. At 19.30 (their regular time) we will be there. BEST REGARDS!!!. The 22nd of our now (Los Angeles) time has passed. We sit in our motel which is a bit dingy but can be for the money. And the seat reservation - on Hollywood Boulevard - a stone's throw to the Walk of Fame, Universal Studios and many other attractions that are nearby. So far everything has sounded - it's a wonder - planes on time, flights without disruptions, free bus from the airport to the door of the rental company, in the rental shop we rented a Jeep Liberty (a little bit small for our big needs) in a quarter of an hour - and Chrysler Town & Country - a cow like this and white in addition. And in the motel there was a room waiting for us with a bathroom, fridge, TV, microwave, etc. There is even a swimming pool, but the girls agreed that they do not intend to swim in it ... A bit tired, but very happy !!! We are about to go for a walk around the area and probably around midnight (it will be 9 am in the homeland) we will log in to sleep.