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USA - West coast

The USA - its biggest flaw may be that it's too big

In July and August of 1997, I took part in a 25 day camping trip along 10 states at or near the west coast of the USA, organized by American Adventures. The trip was called 'Wild Westerner'. I can safely say that this was the best holiday I ever had!17-No-U-turn.jpg (21236 bytes)

We travelled using an air-conditioned Ford Mini-Van which could seat 13 people plus a driver-hostess who was hooked on making at least one u-turn a day. The participants, aged 17 to 43, came from all over the world: Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Belgium, Scotland, Germany, Austria, Holland, Australia and Israel. The first part from Los Angeles to Seattle (10 days) there were only nine participants, so we had a lot of room in the van. In Seattle four trippers had to leave and eight new ones joined us, so the second 15-day part (back to L.A.) the van seemed a lot narrower - but we had just as much fun.

I used a book during the trip which I can recommend to anyone, in fact the whole series looks excellent. The book is titled Insight Guides US National Parks West, and it contains lots of color photos, good descriptions and tips, and maps of states and some major parks ( review,  Amazon). There are 150+ Insight Guides which are available in English and often in other languages.

The trip took us to the following states, cities, sites and National Parks. I have included links to the NPS (National Park Service), (Great Outdoor Recreation Pages), and others.

Los Angeles (Hollywood Boulevard 'Walk of Fame', Beverly Hills, Universal Studios)
Santa Barbara (town with all Mexican style buildings)
San Luis Obispo (Madonna Inn)
Big Sur (beach and surf area)
Monterey (fishing and fish restaurants)
Yosemite NP
Columbia City (gold diggers' town)
San Francisco (Golden Gate bridge & park, Fisherman's Wharf, Alcatraz)
Redwood NP
Oregon Caves (unfortunately too crowded to enter)
Canyonville/Days Creek (home of our hostess)
Oregon Dunes (beaches with -very- hot sand)
Florence (beach town)
Battle Ground (near Portland, which we couldn't visit because we were running late)
Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
Seattle (fish market; here 4 people leave, 8 new people join)
Coeur d'Alene (with a nice camping, near a cool lake)
06-Coeur-d-Alene.jpg (24155 bytes)07-Coeur-d-Alene-Swimming.jpg (27416 bytes)
Virginia City (old cowboy town)
Yellowstone NP (Yellowstone River, mineral hot springs and a Park Ranger to tell us all)
00-Yellowstone-River.jpg (29899 bytes)17-Yellowstone-Hot-spring.jpg (24305 bytes)
27-Yellowstone-Mammoth-Hot-Springs.jpg (35643 bytes) 34-Yellowstone-Ranger.jpg (34002 bytes)
05-Jackson-Rodeo.jpg (23018 bytes)
Grand Teton NP
Jackson (Cinema, rain and Jackson Hole rodeo)
Dinosaur National Monument (prehistoric excavations)
Moab (Colorado River rafting, Bar-M Chuckwagon live Western show and Cowboy supper)
06-ArchesNP-Tree.jpg (20510 bytes)02-ArchesNP-Arch.jpg (17334 bytes)Arches NP (strange rocks, natural arches and dry trees)
19-ArchesNP-BalancingRock2.jpg (7498 bytes)
Canyonlands NP (impressive canyons - note the edges shimmering from a past rain shower)
27-CanyonlandsNP-Rain1.jpg (19629 bytes)28-CanyonlandsNP-Rain2.jpg (12280 bytes)
Monument Valley (Navajo tribal park, with traditional music and dance, sleeping in the open air and watching the sun rise while -ouch- riding a horse)
Page (on the camp site the scarce showers were several miles away)
Lake Powell (they actually overflowed half the original Grand Canyon just to generate electricity, can you believe it?)
Zion NP (back into Utah for a day)
Grand Canyon NPGC junkies)
Williams (Route 66, and the start of the steam powered Grand Canyon Express)
Hoover Dam (it connects the two states, the border line is painted on the road on top of it)
Las Vegas (reckless gambling and even more reckless bungy jumping)
Los Angeles (Hollywood Boulevard and Beverly Hills once again, for the new folks)
And there -about 5000 miles later- our ways parted again, which nobody liked at all after all the fun we had had. But of course most of us had to go home, to resume work or study.

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