I am lucky enough to work for a company with very flexible work hours and also the possibility to work remotely. Everything can be done from a phone or laptop as long as you got an Internet connection (#millennialworkstyle).
I went for the second time to the US, but first time on the `West coast visiting California. I had to go to San Francisco for work reasons and I seized the opportunity with couple of my colleagues to book a few days off and make a road trip. We planned to do it in 5 days.
Day 1: San Francisco To Sequoia National Park
San Francisco is a great city with a lot of character. The victorian houses, the green space, the cafes, bars and the epic views make the city very charming.
There are also the main landmarks that give you some flashbacks from all the movies you have watched: Lombard street, Coit tower, China Town, Golden gate bridge, Alcatraz.
It is very easy to visit downtown by walk if you are up for the challenge to walk up the steep hills! Otherwise the use of the famous tram is also an option but might be a bit pricey depending on the distance you are planning to cover.
After visiting San Francisco, we rented a car and hit the road direction Sequoia National Park.
Day 2: Sequoia national park to Las Vegas
We arrived at Sequoia National Park after a long drive under the rain of 4h30. We first stopped not too far away from the entrance of the park at Gateway sequoia lodge where we slept for the night. Perfect spot to be cut off from the outside world, surrounded by a forest and a river nearby.
If you plan on going to Sequoia National Park make sure to check the weather forecast and the official website. At this period we arrived, there was some risk of snow and that is actually what happened, and snow chains are mandatory to drive up to the park. You can rent them before the entrance of the park. We got ours at the hotel we stayed at.
The higher you drive, more you can see the change of weather. We went from a warm and sunshine weather to snow and cold in a matter of 10 minutes. But once up there, it was like being in a wonderland. The snow made everything looks so awesome and peaceful. Even though we could not go to most of the hiking trails, the view was just amazing and satisfying.
After visiting the Sequoia National Park we hit the road, direction Las Vegas. A 7 hours long drive through the desert. It is crazy how the closer you get, the more light you can see from the city even though it is in the middle of the desert. Las Vegas deserves its nickname of city of lights. Everything is out of proportion there, all in excess, the city never sleeps. We arrived late in the evening and went straight on the main strip to visit the casinos until early in the morning. This city has everything to offer for everyone: Vegas shows, gambling, sport events, parties in night clubs with guest stars... the choice is yours, just make sure to plan everything is advance.
If you are tired of gambling you can still go shopping to the famous Vegas North Premium Outlet where you can find great deals from brand products like Nike, Levis, Under Armor, Diesel, etc... So make sure not to spend all your money on gambling!
Day 3: Las Vegas to Los Angeles
After shopping in Vegas we drove direction Los Angeles where we got stuck in traffic because of several accidents. It took us about 5 hours to get there. But we arrived right on time for the second quarter of the NBA game we planned to attend. A dream that finally came true. We saw the New York Knicks played against the Los Angeles Lakers. As a big fan of basket-ball, it was a great moment to assist at one of the last games of Black Mamba aka Kobe Bryant. They unfortunately lost that game but the last minutes were intense!
Day 4: Los Angeles
We just visited the two main Hollywood studios: Warner Bros and Universal. Warner Bros offers a behind the scenes tours and tells you about how movies and TV shows are made starting from the script with all the different steps and team involved until the final edition of the movie.
There, you can visit the main studios where most of your favorite tv-shows and movies are shot. And if you are lucky you might see your favorite actor on this large campus. On that day we visited, they were shooting one of The Big Bang Theory episode. Unfortunately, we did not see anyone from the cast.
The Universal Studio offers a studio tours as well to show you the behind the scenes of how the movies and video clips are shot including special effects like fire, rain or even crash scenes. But also many other theme attractions like the Harry Potter one that opened couple weeks ago or Jurassic Park and Simpsons to cite a few.
We managed to do the two studios in one day without rushing at all. But if you are a big fan of attractions, I would advise to spend at least a day at the Universal Studios. In the evening, we went to have dinner on Venice Beach and finished the day on Hollywood Boulevard.
Day 5: Los Angeles to Dublin
We spent our last morning in LA driving around the city where we saw the famous Hollywood sign. If you are looking for a great spot, you can either go to the Griffith Observatory or the Hollywood reservoir.
After then, we drove towards Santa Monica beach where we saw the Santa Monica Pier where ends the famous Route 66 before heading to the airport to catch our plane to Dublin. If you live in Dublin, there are direct flight with Aer Lingus for a very decent price, don't miss their sales.
It was a great road trip overall. Driving in the US is very easy with an automatic car and their one way only roads. There is no excuse not to hit the road. I wished I could have seen more, especially Vegas and the surrounding canyons, but also Los Angeles, I really liked that city. I guess it will be for another trip to drive along the Route 66.
The best thing about doing a road trip is that you can stop anywhere at any time and if you are sharing this moment with some friends, you will always remember these special moments you spent together killing the time in the car!
What about you? What has been your best road trip experience so far? Or where would be your next one?