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Reisverslag Wild West USA
26 april 2014
Wild West USA
Departing Auckland April 2th, 19:15. Sitting out a rather long plain ride... But after watching 3 movies ("Last Vegas" sort of funny; "Gravity" super crap; "12 years a slave" really really really good!) and some sort of sleep/awake status, we arrived in San Fransisco at April 2th, 11:00. No typo, we arrived eight hours earlier than we departed. Now how cool is that! We went back in time / crossed the international date line. As my brother mentioned: we should be careful not to bump into ourselves (as in the "back to the future" movies).
Obviously we had lots of tourist must sees to check from the bucket list, but first don't you agree that the hostels are getting worse and worse (picture). Ok, obviously that is a cell (picture) on: Alcatraz Island (picture): a super interesting former prison. Famous inmates: as Al Capone, George "Machine-Gun" Kelly, Alvin Karpis (the first "Public Enemy #1"), and Arthur "Doc" Barker. In the end we even bought a book written by a former inmate. The author was actually signing them at the spot. We asked him: "Isn't it weird, even as a free man, still spending your time inside". Based on the look on his face, it was time to go...
Next was a visit to pier 39 (picture). Lots of male seals use these former boat docking mini islands as a resting place. Years ago the harbor master scared them away, as the seals attacked people whom parked their boats there (in New Zealand we discovered ourselves that they can be pretty scary ...) . Nearby restaurants and shops discovered that profit was way down. People came just to see the seals. So nowadays all restaurants chip in and rent all of pier 39, just for the seals to sleep on, and to sell more stuff obviously.
Then we just had to drive the famous old tram (picture), going up and down the San Fransisco hills. And rent a bike to cycle over the golden gate bridge (picture). Even the weather was Dutch,... yes indeed, it started to rain...
We went to a Baseball game (picture), the Oakland Athletics against the Seattle Mariners. Its amazing how much food drinks and snacks they try to sell. Seeing everybody around you eating and drinking, of course we went the american way and took a hotdog (picture).
Yosemite national park: a very beautiful wildlife park (pictures). We were instructed to keep a save distance of 20 meters from any bears we might see, and we really planned to stick to this, seeing previous wild life encounters. However what to do if a bear finds you? We where just walking around and a bear was apparently hiding behind a rock, just next to the path. When we finally noticed the bear, it was only 1 meter away. Luckily we remembered the instructions: do not make sudden moves or sounds, stay together, make yourselves as tall as possible and slowly walk backwards away from the bear. At some distance our tourist modus took over, picture time... We also followed the bear a bit and noticed that apparently for him a lot less traffic signs apply (picture). Later we spoke with a park ranger, she saw one bear in twelve years she was working in the park. Just our luck.
On route we also visited a rodeo. They where doing some sort of competition of how fast and how many cows a group of three man on horses could move around.
From San Fransisco we took a Greyhound bus to Fresco and from there rent a car to visit "Kings Canyon National Park" and "Sequoia National Park". On the way over we ate breakfast in a typical all American diner (picture)
The entree of the park is pretty cool, you have to drive under to huge rocks (picture) and the parks are home to the biggest trees in the world. The specs of some of the trees are amazing: - If you could fill the tree with water you could take a bath every day for the next 27 years, - the tree adds about the weight of an average tree in any forest near you every year, - they are about 1800 to 2700 years old, - the base of tree is so wide that blocks 3 interstate highway lanes at the same time and are so high as a line on soccer field from penalty spot to penalty spot. So what happens if they do fall down on a road? We can nicely stand under them (picture), or even park our rental car in the tree (picture). Also other wildlife was on camera, some deer and a sort of hamster/wombat/beaver lookalike.
Next stop: Los Angeles. Home to the Hollywood sign (picture), the Walk of Fame (picture), Hollywood boulevard, Rodeo Drive and Malibu beach. As you see the people at the hotel reception are getting more and more weird (picture). And while sitting, almost being lunch for a huge spider...(picture). No, obviously characters from the Harry Potter movies. Spotted when we visited the Warner Bros studios.
If you are thinking: did I not see those buildings in the background before? You could be right, these outdoor studio buildings are used in many series and movies. About everything is fake, or removable. If you take a close look at the picture you can see that the trees on the sidewalks have a bit different color concrete around. This is because the trees are in big pots and can be placed in or out depending on needs of the movie. Many adjustments in movies are done by simply placing a plant in front, or use big stickers to tape on just about anything.
But any proper tv-series watcher should at least recognise the couch where we sit on (picture) and the room it's in: Friends. Nice of the tour guide to let us actually sit down. For us, knowing that this studio is really small, it's cool to see that on a 2D photo it actually does like as on tv. As we learned, they use technics to trick the viewers: stuff in the background is smaller and darker, so it seems further away. In addition, we saw a lot of costumes used for movies, including for the movie 'Gravity' (movie seen in the plane).
In San Diego we visited the USS Midway, an aircraft carrier actually used in Operation Dessert Storm. Obviously I just had to sit in one of the fighters (picture), in the helicopter (picture), hold the wheel (picture) and sit in the Boss chair (picture). Boys will be boys. The Boss and the Mini are responsible for all aircraft movements on the ship and in the air. Fun fact: the GPS system on board has an accuracy of about 30 meters, nowadays a smartphone has about 3 meters. If you are interested in this kind of thing, we recommend to go soon, as tours are given by actual members of the crew, and they are getting older.
In Death Valley, which is indeed salty and very hot, we spotted a road runner bird (1/2 picture) (from the comedy cartoon). It's very fast, or we moved slower in the heat... The cartoon is not correct at all: a coyote does not hunt a road runner, as the bird has not enough meat to compensate the effort. And the coyote would actually catch the bird as it is twice as fast. Besides the hot open field with salt and sort of nothing, there is a nice alley to discover (picture).
Time to put our waterproof plan in action, and win back our holiday money: Las Vegas (picture). A place where we can walk from the Brooklyn Bridge (picture), pass the Statue of Liberty and see the Eiffel Tower (picture) all in an hour. We also saw a Franky Moreno show (picture).
The nearby Hoover Dam (pictures) is a nice excursion to escape the Vegas temptations.
On way to Denver we drove a while on famous Route 66 (picture) and made stops in the Grand Canyon (picture), with again stunning views. The Antelope Canyon (picture) is discovered not that long ago by a shepherd whom was looking for a sheep that apparently fell into this rock split. Via Monument Valley, used in countless Hollywood wild west movies (picture) and also used in the comic: "lucky luke", we arrived in Arches National Park (picture), which is full of.... arches... Also stopped in Canyonlands Park (picture).
In Denver we will leave the car behind and fly to Washington.
This will be our last reportage as from Washington we will go to New York and then back to Europe.
Thank you for following us in our adventure trip around the world. If you like to hear the last part of US, and as our waterproof plan didn't work, you are more than welcome to invite us for dinner... :)
Foto's bij verslag (72)
26 april 2014 09:09 | Door: Auke en Adrie Burrie
Een heel mooi verhaal. Het wordt tijd dat jullie weer in het Hollandse keurslijf terugkomen, anders lukt dat nooit meer. Onze etensafspraak staat al. Wij gaan maar eens aan koningsdag beginnen. Nog veel plezier dat laatste stukje. Oh ja, Obama deed het heel goed in Nederland.
27 april 2014 19:08 | Door: toni
prachtig weer allemaal, eng verhaal van die beer,, erg dichtbij, beer gelukkig geen trek in toeristen. grote bomen zeg, leuk weg eronder door, ieks!!!!grote spin, mooi gemaakt..leuk road runner, net klein stukje gemist..geen succes in las vegas gehad, jammer , anders hadden jullie nog veel langer op wereldreis kunnen gaan,, reis al bijna voorbij, twee weekjes nog,,,,dan gauw komen eten bij ons
28 april 2014 22:43 | Door: sandra
Mooi verslag weer. Deze foto's zijn ook fascinerend, ik vind ze nog leuker dan de Australie/Azie foto's. Het is 'veel' en 'groot' allemaal. Jullie hebben ook nu weer veel gezien.
Iig was het een reis om nooit te vergeten!
Toch een gek idee dat jullie straks weer gewoon in het kikkerlandje meedraaien, zal wel weer even wennen zijn.