Roadtrip California, Nevada and Arizona: Itinerary and things to do

Roadtrip on Route 66

28 things I did during a two week drive in California, Nevada and Arizona from the 21st of October until the 3rd of November 2007 in the company of friend and colleague Idar Thoresen Kvam. I remember looking for something like this list before leaving, in the event that someone else is too, here is one:

  1. Walked through the districts of Chinatown and North Beach in San Francisco to take in the atmosphere and in pursuit of a steak! Fell asleep while paying bill due to sudden and unexpected kick-in of jet lag. Saved from having all my funds stolen by travel companion Idar, who miraculously managed to stay awake.
  2. Strolled along Fisherman’s Wharf stopping by attractions such as Pier 39, the sea-lions (which I would be prepared to kill if I had to live close to them), innovative and aggressive peddlers and endless amounts of T-shirt outlets. Ate clam chowder and drank beer.
  3. Visited the once prison island of Alcatraz, now part of the San Francisco Bay National preservation area and major tourist attraction. Walking through the old cell blocks listening to the tales of former employees and inmates.Biking with Alcatraz in the background
  4. Convinced by bike rental people at Fisherman’s Wharf that it was a good idea, rented bikes and cycled the 13 miles along San Francisco Bay to Golden Gate, across the bridge and downhill to the charming village of Sausalito.
  5. Made use of the San Francisco cable car network on the Hyde/Powell line and learned that cable cars are more attractive when you are merely looking at them and not actually ON them.
  6. Visited Yosemite Valley, home to Yosemite Falls, Bridalveil Falls, El Capitan, Half Dome and many other spectacular natural attractions, enjoying the spectacular view as the sun set on the mountains.Yosemite Valley
  7. Drove up to Glacier Point, taking in the view of the High Sierra mountains south east of Yosemite Valley, and the characteristic profile of Half Dome.
  8. Spent the night at tacky, yet comfortable and enjoyable Cedar Lodge near El Portal, one of the entry points to Yosemite Valley.
  9. Walked among the giant sequoia trees in Mariposa Grove, feeling small between the enormous tree trunks, measuring up to 7 meters in diameter and 80-100 meters of height.Mariposa Grove Sequoia
  10. Visited the world raisin-captial Selma, just south of Fresno, spending the night at a run-down road-side motel
  11. Walked in the streets of San Luis Obispo on the USA highway 101 along the coast between San Francisco and Los Angeles
  12. Experienced the “genuine” Danish atmosphere of the settlement Solvang where they, among all the windmills and Danish flags, bake Danish pastries, sell Danish chocolate and drink Danish schnaps.
  13. Took the Universal Studios tour in Los Angeles and spent a day in the adjoining theme park, taking all the rides and visiting all the attractions. Highlights included Norman Bates’ motel and mansion (from Psycho), the plane crash set used in War of the Worlds, and the car explosion set from the Fast and the Furious.Fast and Furious car crash at Universal Studios
  14. Took the car for a spin along Mulholland Drive after dark to see the lights of Los Angeles from above and got lost on the hillsides after turning off the complaining voice of the woman in our Hertz Neverlost navigation system.
  15. Gazed at the stars in the pavement on Hollywood Walk of Fame, paying particular respect to Liberaces’ star by jumping up and down on it in rage over the damages inflicted on the musical world by him and his piano (and appearance).
  16. (Ate and) drank into the small hours of the night at the Los Angeles Sunset Strip.
  17. Sat in as live studio audience during TV recording for the Late Late show with Craig Ferguson at CBS
  18. Strolled on the Santa Monica Pier among merry-go-rounds, roller coasters and Ferris-wheels, eating a most mediocre dinner at the end-of-the-pier Mexican restaurant.
  19. Walked along the board-walk at famed Venice Beach, taking in the Pacifiv ocean breeze and the wide sandy beach
  20. Made a detour to the original Disneyland in Anaheim, seeing Disneyland as Walt Disney himself laid it out.
  21. Found myslef standing on Freemont Street in Las Vegas gazing up at ceiling of the 500 meter long covererd street, taking in the Freemont Street Experience with its giant multimedia show – subsequently gambling myself through the night at Four Queens Hotel & Casino.Four Queens Hotel & Casino
  22. Was present at one of the many, many stage productions in Las Vegas, Hans Klok’s “the Beauty of Magic”, featuring Pamela Anderson at the Planet Hollywood Hotel & Casino resort.
  23. Took in all the extravagant sights of the Las Vegas Strip such as Caesars Palace, the Bellagio Fountain, the Eiffel Tower at Paris and the canals and gondolas at the Venetian.
  24. Drove through the Arizona desert to see the vast and beautiful Grand Canyon from its south rim, marvelling at how the Colorado River had cut itself deep into the surface of the rock over thousands of years.The Grand Canyon
  25. Spent the night at former saloon, opium den and brothel “the Red Garter Bed & Bakery” in the small town of Williams, Arizona. In addition to the rooms being comfortable and the breakfast being outstanding, the hotel is also haunted by the ghost of a woman.
  26. Drove the historic Route 66 between Seligman and Kingman, Arizona, enjoying the vast, flat desert with its reddish rock-formations.
  27. On false pretence stopped by the Grand Canyon Caverns along Route 66, thinking that they were in some remote way associated with the Grand Canyon, finding out that they had nothing what-so-ever in common with the canyon except that the air in the caverns, allegedly, came from somewhere in the canyon. Sceptical. However, the caverns were a nice attraction in their own right.
  28. Took a closer look at the Hoover Dam on the border between Nevada and Arizona, built in the 1930s, at the sacrifice of many workers lives.