Universal Studios

I didn’t sleep so well last night, probably because driving in Los Angeles before going to bed was quite intense. Nevertheless I feel rested when I wake up around eight in the morning. I get dressed and brush my teeth while thinking about what to do today. Then I see a friendly guy walking his dog and I ask him for advice. He tells me that Universal Studios might also be fun to visit and he also shows me where to take the tram to downtown. I’m not sure yet what I’ll do today, but the tram goes by Universal so I can still decide on my way there.

I drive to the Hollywood North metro station and park my car. I decide that I go to Universal Studios in the morning and then see what the day will bring.


Warner Brothers studios

When I woke up this morning, I didn’t know this day would be so exciting. As I’m writing this, I’m sitting in Central Perk, the coffee place from friends. But let’s start at the beginning of the day.

I wake up around six o’clock when one of the guys goes outside for surfing. I grab my laptop and update my blog. Then I take a shower and drink a cup of coffee. The nice thing about being on a road trip is that you appreciate simple things like a shower much more. When I’ve packed my bag and said goodbye to me friends, I start driving downtown via highway 1.


Highway 101

When you’re on a road trip there are two kinds of driving. Functional driving and recreational driving. Functional driving is to get from one place to another and recreational driving is just because of the beauty of the ride. Last days was quite a bit of functional driving to get to the west coast as soon as possible, but today is totally recreational.

Around sunrise I wake up. I walk to the beach, brush my teeth and start driving again. After about fifteen minutes I see a Starbucks and stop there to update the blog and to do some work.


Joshua Tree National Park

The sun is already high in the sky and it’s getting warm outside when I wake up around seven o’clock. It’s clear that I’m in a different area now. I freshen myself up, get a coffee and also fuel up the car. In the desert you don’t want to be without gas, so I make sure my tank is completely full before I hit the road. It’s about one and half hours from here to Joshua Tree National Park and then a few more hours to San Diego. It’s already very warm early in the morning, so today I can wear my shorts again. I like it that I’ve crossed so many different landscapes and weather types in just over a week. Snow and rain yesterday, a dry hot dessert today.

It’s nice and warm in Joshua Tree National Park, but no extremely hot fortunately. It’s mainly a road through a big dessert. At the first stop there is a garden and cactuses.


Another day of train riding

The great thing about parking next to a hotel is that you can use the facilities like the restroom when you need them. I woke up a few times last night, maybe because it was snowing again and quite cold. When I wake up around 5.30AM it’s light outside and I decide it’s time start the day. I get dressed and walk to the hotel lobby where I sit down with a book next to the fireplace, a great start of the day.

I remember from yesterday that there was a wooden desk upstairs in the lobby, so I walk upstairs and sit down behind the desk to write in my journal for a moment. Around seven o’clock I walk to the restaurant. I liked the breakfast so much yesterday that I decided to have it one more time.


Riding the Grand Canyon train

It’s nice to sleep in a bed and have a shower again. I don’t sleep in though, because I’ve got some work to do this morning. I wake up early to work and hope I’ll have time to also hit the gym. Unfortunately when I’m finished with the things I had to do, it’s time for breakfast already. I pack my bags and walk to the same restaurant as last night. There is a big breakfast buffet with yoghurt, fruit, pancakes, eggs and bacon and a lot more. I eat it all in that order and talk with some people.

After breakfast it’s time to go outside where there is a cowboy show before we get on the train. It’s very funny and we laugh a lot. Just before I get on the train I run back to my car to exchange my shorts for my jeans, because it’s much colder today. I run back to the train and go aboard.


Back at the Grand Canyon

In Arizona it’s one hour earlier, so I wake up somewhere in the middle of the night again. I try to go back to sleep, but I can’t and so I get dressed and start driving. Driving at night is peaceful, because you’re alone at the road. You also have to stay alert though, for deer and other animals. After about three hours driving I arrive at the Grand Canyon. For a moment I’m afraid that my expectations are so high from the last time that it might disappoint, but that is absolutely not the case. As soon as I see the canyon, I’m blown away again. The view of the Grand Canyon is so spectacular, you have to see it yourself.

When I arrive at the first view point there is only one guy there. His name is Mike and he came here hitchhiking. We talk with each other and then get the idea to do some rock climbing to the edge. Of course we are very careful.


Zion and Bryce

It’s Sunday morning, so I sleep in a bit. After all, you don’t need to see the sunrise every morning. When it’s becoming light outside I get up and get dressed. I get a cappuccino at McDonalds before I hit the road. I like camping near the big yellow M. They provide all you need: food, coffee, a restroom and internet. Well rested I started driving again. It’s about half an hour to Zion National Park. Just as the previous days there is no one at the entrance. My tip if you’re traveling on a budget: go to the National Parks before eight in the morning and there is a big chance you can enter for free.

While driving in Zion I listen to the music of my favorite movie, Elizabethtown. The songs are about death and life, just as the movie, and it makes me thankful to be alive. Traveling alone is such a great way to help you think about life and yourself.


Arches and Monument Valley

When I’m on a road trip I usually don’t drive at night, because you don’t see so much and it’s a bit harder. Driving at night in America is also more challenging, because you have to watch out for deer crossing the roads. Today I break the rule and start driving after I wake up around 4.30AM. I drive so early, because I want to arrive at Arches National Park in the morning, before it gets too warm to hike.

Me seven years ago and now at the same place.

Because I don’t dive at night so often, it’s something special for me. I remember the one night driving in New Zealand last year very clearly. Also dring this early morning is very nice.


Switzerland of America

Today the road trip continues. After having a relaxed day with Wes and Amy yesterday, I feel like traveling further again. In the morning Wes tells me that I’m about to travel to the most beautiful part of Colorado. He didn’t say too much, it is indeed an amazing landscape. It makes me think of the beautiful nature in New Zealand. High mountains covered with snow and many rocks and wide views.

The first destination of today is Black Canyon of the Gullison National Park. This wasn’t originally on my list, but we saw it in my book about the National Parks yesterday morning while looking at my route.