The West Coast Adventure continued.
We started the next leg of our journey at a thoroughly more reasonable time and without a hitch, leaving around midday to head to LA (just kidding - after awkwardly leaving the keys to the car in the House Of The Future, we managed to download a new key to get in, did one last extra thorough check of the house, and then went on our way).
Arriving in LA sometime that evening, we got to our Airbnb host and of course, everything went smoothly. But not actually. Our host lived in a gated community, and after awkwardly debating for several minutes who should be the one to press the buzzer to talk to him, we found out that not only would no one answer the buzzer, none of them were his anyway. Thus began the next hour where we had to go find wifi, message him, briefly split up so someone could meet him while the others could contact him etc. I chose to stay behind and so when the gates opened, I was first to be greeted by our host who’s English was about as good as my German (actually, to his credit, it was better, although not by much) and eventually we were welcomed into his mansion that was far too big for one person, or 4 people (seriously, it could have housed about 16 people or more).
The next few days consisted of Lena chilling, Jana driving and me navigating around the stupidly big highways and confusing 4 way stops (apparently North America is not aware of the concept of a ‘roundabout’). We visited all of the regular landmarks you would expect (Hollywood sign, Griffith Observatory, Hollywood Boulevard etc) and managed to make it out to the Orange County, spiritual home of the great TV shows Arrested Development and The O.C. as well as my all time favourite band The O.C. Supertones. It was there we chanced upon the kind of Americans I had been waiting to see (until then, they had all been decidedly normal people), where people were encouraged to ‘HONK FOR TRUMP’ and others yelled out inane phrases repeatedly as if they were caught in some loop. Of course, a trip to LA wouldn’t be complete without seeing Santa Monica Pier and doing some sort of theme/amusement park, so on two separate days, we met up with our friends from Camp Qwanoes Nic and Jenn, exploring the wonders of Universal Studios, and taking a dip in the Pacific Ocean.
Eventually it was time to move on to Vegas, a mercifully short 3 hour drive from LA. After dropping our stuff off at the new place, we took a trip the ‘miracle mile’ full of gaudy and over the top shops and decorations (that being said, there was a certain appeal to the city, and we all liked it much more than LA). We encountered various interesting characters, including those awful people who try and con you into taking a picture with them and then tell you ‘that will be a dollar thanks’. Again, we did the touristy things you’d imagine, visiting the engineering marvel that is the Hoover Dam, and lining up to get a photo in front of the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas’ sign. A particular highlight was the water fountain show in front of the Bellagio, themed to a different song every hour. We ended our time in Vegas with a special meal at The Cheesecake Factory, which I must admit sounded incredibly tacky to me, but managed to turn out a pretty decent meal.
The next day we were up and on our way with yet another early start, heading to the Mendocino Coast in California for my first experience of doing a "Workaway", but not before we drove through the Nevada desert, praying that our car wouldn’t break down and umming and ahhhing about whether we should get more fuel as we travelled through the ominous sounding ‘Death Valley’. You’ll be glad to know we made it, and you can tune in to find out more about our workaway stay and our eccentric host in the next installment.
Here are some more photos.
Here are some details about our budget so far (In US Dollar):
We spent around 450 Dollar per person.
Portland (3 Days):
Food etc: 33 Dollar
San Francisco (2 Days):
Food etc: 17 Dollar
Los Angeles (4 Days):
Accommodation: 130 Dollar
Food etc: 45 Dollar
Universal Studios: 115 Dollar
Las Vegas (2 Days):
Accommodation: 40 Dollar
Food etc: Secret ;)
Gas: ca. 70 Dollar
And this is our route so far.
It´s around 3.000km from Surrey to Vegas, which is more than 30 hours of driving.