USA Round-Up!

Yosemite in the Sunshine

Hello Crafters!

For those of you who don’t know, I have been away on holiday! I have been in the USA as it was my birthday and Mr Crafts bought me tickets to see Lady Gaga in Las Vegas last year for my previous birthday! Some of you may have seen my travel guide for crafters, if you haven’t  you can see it here. Otherwise keep reading to see how Mr Craft’s and I travelled two three states in 10 days!

This was so cool!

Los Angeles (California)

We caught a flight into Los Angeles and spent a few days there. We went to Disneyland which was great. I really wanted to as they have just opened a new park area – Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge. There is a new Millennium Falcon ride which is absolutely brilliant, it was the firth ride we went on and it was amazing!

While we were in LA we managed to get over to Hollywood, which we did not like. It is a huge tourist trap and it’s so busy. You can see the Hollywood sign without having to go down to Hollywood Boulevard so my advice is to completely avoid that part of town, unless you are desperate to see the walk of fame.

Sunset over Santa Monica

The final thing we did in LA was visit Santa Monica. The pier there is a really lovely and quirky place and it’s a lot more relaxed than Hollywood! The pier also marks the end of Route 66. I had promised some exciting news for you all, so here it is. Mr Crafts and I also got engaged at Santa Monica Pier! I actually thought he was joking and called him an idiot before I realised he was serious! Mr Crafts bought me a lovely silver and emerald ring and, as a bonus, it fits perfectly!

The views were impressive, the food not so much.

Palm Springs

After LA we moved on to Palm Springs. The town itself seemed very nice and we took a ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. This is essentially a large rotating cable car that takes you 2.5 miles from the desert to the top of the San Jacinto Mountains. The views are wonderful but the food up at the top is horrible and expensive! We only had one day in Palm Springs, which was a shame really as the town was so nice, so the next day we drove to Las Vegas.

Beautiful Joshua Tree

Las Vegas (Nevada) and The Grand Canyon (Arizona)

The drive to Vegas was very long so we decided to stop at Joshua Tree National Park which was absolutely beautiful. We walked round a small trail in the park where cattle rustlers used to hide the caws they had stolen and then made the long drive through the desert. The drive was very interesting and the landscape changed a lot more than we expected.

Wow, just wow

As we drove into Las Vegas we saw Seven Magic Mountains, a modern art installation, from the roadside. As we could see it from the road and we had been driving for ages we didn’t stop and just kept moving into town. That night we saw Lady Gaga and she was incredible. It also happened to be the night she fell off the stage! She was fine though!

The next day we checked into the Venetian Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. I have never seen anything so luxurious! The blinds and curtains were operated with a switch on the wall and there was a phone in the toilet! We also took a gondola ride through the shops inside the hotel and the gondolier sang Happy Birthday in Italian for me.

We spent the afternoon queuing to get into Zak Bagans’ Haunted Museum and then finally got in at about 5 o’ clock. The museum was very good fun, we thought it was something you could just turn up to but it was a guided tour, which explained the queue!

The Grand Canyon is Huge!

In the evening we went out with one of Mr Crafts’ friends from work who also happened to be in Las Vegas at the same time. Then we had to go to bed for a very early morning the next day.

We got up at half five; which felt far, far too early! A limo picked us up and took us to a small airport. I had never ridden in a limo before and honestly, it wasn’t that impressive. We had a safety briefing at the airport and were shown out to a helicopter with four other guests. We had a wonderful, friendly pilot fly us out to The Grand Canyon for champagne and light breakfast before flying back. The Grand Canyon is so beautiful and it’s so much bigger than pictures would have you believe.

The limo dropped us off at the hotel for ten o’ clock, we didn’t have to check out until 11 so we went back to sleep!

Bodie’s abandonned church

Leaving Las Vegas

The next few days we moved north and back into California. We left Vegas and drove through Death Valley towards Yosemite National Park. Before passing through the park we visited the abandoned ghost town of Bodie. Bodie was a gold mining town founded in the 1850s, the population boomed to around 10,000 at its largest but after a series of misfortunes including fires the town was abandoned. It is a very eerie place, but it is so well preserved and looked after by the California State Parks System. There is not another place like it, not that I have seen anyway, so I would definitely recommend a visit if you happen to be out that way.

Yosemite was beautiful and we saw a small herd of mule deer while we were there before driving through to San Francisco.

The beautiful Golden Gate Bridge

San Fransisco

We loved San Francisco. It was so beautiful and the people were so friendly. Driving in over the Bay Bridge at night all you see are the skyscrapers lit up, but in the day you don’t feel like you’re in a big city at all. We saw the Golden Gate Bridge, took a trip to Alcatraz and rode in the cable cars, which actually look a lot like trams. We also met some more of Mr Crafts’ work friends for dinner on our last night there.  

The Final Days

After our last night in San Francisco we drove down the coast to Monterey Bay. Having been in South Africa at the wrong time of year to see whales earlier in the year we were desperate to find some whales in the Northern Hemisphere instead. Monterey Bay did not disappoint.

A humpback whale shows of its flukes

I loaded myself up on three different motion sickness medications and carried a fourth with me onto the boat, just in case. I am happy to say that the strategy worked very well and I was, in fact, one of the few people who did not throw up on the boat! It’s nice to be the smug, non-vomiting person for a change.

As the boat left the harbour we saw a colony of young, male sealions, some pelicans, cormorants and a whole load of jellyfish. It wasn’t long after that we saw our first whale. In total we saw a pod of 11 individual humpback whales, as well as two mola mola (Ocean Sunfish) and a pod of harbour porpoises. We were so lucky. We spent three hours on the boat and for the whole time we were watching a huge raft of sealions and the pod of whales feasting on bait fish.

That was the end of our final adventure, once off the boat we started the long drive from Monterey to LA to catch our flight the next day.

I hope you enjoyed reading all about my travels. Now I have to sort through thousands of photos to pick some for the scrapbook!

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