After a visit to a Starbucks in the early morning for a coffee (there were none in the forgotten parts of the world I stayed in throughout the last week) I drove from Visalia to San Francisco and am staying at yet another very lovely AirBnB. The road trip is over, and I celebrated it with walks on the beautiful beaches of California! Tomorrow will see me flying to Chicago for a conference, so the work part of my trip continues after these 3 amazing weeks of vacation.
This is the perfect time for a recap. Overall, I hiked around 350 km. And that is pretty lazy compared to my car, who hiked considerably further, about 6400 km (4000 miles). I visited four States, and was incredibly lucky with the weather: only once did I get wet, and that was on the morning of the very first day in Tucson in Sabino Canyon.
I visited ...
Grand Canyon National Park
Petrified Forest / Painted Desert National Park
Canyon de Chelly
Lower Antelope Canyon
Zion National Park
Bryce National Park
Amargosa Opera House
Death Valley National Park
Yosemite National Park
Sequoia National Park
A few things remain to be said.
Californian highways: so the driving in Arizona, Utah, and Nevada was much better than I expected ... Europeans have a lot of stereotypes about Americans that cannot drive. Actually, most Americans complain a lot about American drivers in general as well. All was good until I drove in California ... it's a nightmare here. I've been on highways at least 20 hours in total, and the only judicious model that generates the observed pattern of behavior is this: as soon as there rare 3 lanes and a speed limit of 65mph, drivers seem to (1) choose a lane at random, (2) pick a speed between 50 and 75 mph at random, (3) and stay in the respective lanes and at the respective speed. They do avoid the right lane which is mostly empty, apart from random trucks that are usually quite fast. So the only way to make progress is to pass cars left and right like in a bad action movie, which is somewhat dangerous. Meh.
Best road sign today: "Next stop - Freedom"
Amazing basketball team name: "New Orleans Pelicans" (pelicans??)
Thought of the day: "Woodpecker" is a weird word
Best typo on my trip: "Expresso" on a huge professional Subways billboard in Southern Utah. Note that many Americans for some reason actually pronounce the way with an "x" in it.
That's it folks. Roadtrip Eiko over and out!
I left Yosemite veeery early in the morning, and the atmosphere had something from the Blair Witch Project.
It's a 2.5 hours drive to Sequoia National Park, where the biggest trees on this planet live: giant sequoia! First, I climbed Moro Rock ...
... and then I said "Hi" to some well-known giant sequoia.