The day we left LA we started to experience a very different America. After the green scenery of the coastline we quickly found ourselves in the desert, hot days and very cold nights.
Our goal was to cross the USA starting in LA, travelling through Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana and the finishing line in Miami, Florida in time for our flight to Cuba.
DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK, CALIFORNIA
Only a few hours north east from Los Angeles is Death Valley. A National park with amazing sand dunes, salt flats and lots of desert, where the stars light up the sky, freezing cold hits just after sunset and hot rays warm you to wake. There are many hikes with different lengths in the valley, we chose the Golden Canyon. An amazing difference in colours as the canyon takes you through a labyrinth of jagged cliffs, sandy mountains, hidden valleys and delivers amazing views back across the maze of cliffs at the top of the Red cathedral. Highly recommended.
Camping is available in a few different locations. Be prepared to pay a park fee and bring food and water with you, as there’s not many restaurants or grocery stores around. We found a great camp in the middle of nowhere, made a bonfire, lied in our van with the back open and watched the never ending bright stars untouched by light pollution.
If you like this tin mug, visit www.tvoritalubit.com
To buy this amazing dress visit www.augustethelabel.com
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
Speaking of light pollution, the next day we hit the big lights and big money. Las Vegas was an unplanned stop but being so close we decided to bet our remaining travel money and try to double it up. Just kidding. Vegas was a very full on contrast after our weeks of time camping along the quiet coast and than driving from the desert to this craziness.
Traveling in the campervan we found a great spot actually right in town at CIRCUS CIRCUS casino. They have a campground behind the hotel itself, $20 per night with showers and walking distance to the main strip. Don’t forget, you drink for free if you’re gambling.
BRYCE CANYON, UTAH
From desert to snow. Beautiful red peaks go forever and such a striking contrast was the white snow covering the top of everything. We did quite a short but demanding 1.6 mile hike down into the valley through beautiful red rocks and winding trails. Ice slightly covered the path so it took us twice as long as it was predicted, but definitely worth while.
Camping in winter is a big challenge for sure. Falling asleep in -6 degrees Celsius and waking up with frozen windows from inside and out is not fun. Lots of campgrounds are closed during the winter but we found one open year round in a small town called Panguitch.
BOULDER & KEYSTONE, COLORADO
If you love nature, hiking, outdoor sports and snow then you’ll be in heaven in Colorado. This state has so much to offer. Beautiful mountains, cute little mining towns, great breweries and lots of ski fields.
There are some great hikes just outside of boulder town. We hiked near bear canyon just an hour and a half long trail that gives you amazing views all the way to Denver.
Golden is another small town worth a visit. The Main Street has that old country feel with a lot of nice pubs, restaurants and cafes. Just above the town is the massive rock called Table Mountain suitable for all hiking levels overlooking the town and beyond.
On the way to Keystone ski resort, make a stop at the cute little town of Idaho springs for a short stroll through the Village where everyone says hi and welcomes you with a smile. We visited Tommyknocker Brewery, definitely try their massive nachos, they also make our Top 5 Craft breweries list!
And finally Keystone. If you are not a skier/snowboarder there is a gondola available to get up to the peak but quite pricey.
We wasted away the day in a few different café’s and bars while our friend snowboarded. Highly recommended is Inxpot Coffeehouse with great Coffee, amazing wraps, pastries and hot alcoholic drinks and an open fire to warm you up.
White Sand dunes and Mexican food was the main reason for travelling through New Mexico. La Nueva Casita Cafe was a recommended stop for best Mexican food in the area. Pretty simple interior, but huge servings and very authentic. Being so close to the Mexican border be prepared to show your passport at a few checkpoints. White Sands sand dunes are really worth a stop. Plan your visit during the day all the way to the sunset for amazing colours.
Yoga and music were 2 reasons for us to visit Austin. Yoga because of amazing Adriene from Yoga with with Adriene, who has become a huge inspiration along our travels and helped us to get rid of our sore bumps, achy backs while sitting on buses, driving across the country and carrying our backpacks for hours. Follow her inspirational videos here. It was an absolute honour to visit her class at Practice yoga.
Music. Where to start. In Austin, music is everywhere, all of the time. If you’re planning a party trip in the US, Austin is way better than Las Vegas. Every bar plays live music, with amazing talents in country and rock. Pretty much every bar has a happy hour at some point so $2 beers are easy to find. Let the bar crawl begin!!
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
New Orleans has immediately become our second favourite city in the entire USA. It has so much to offer, its rich culture, architecture, music, history, food and bars.
The history of NOLA is built on the dark history of the slave era. A mixture of peoples from Africa and Caribbean islands and later Cajun (French Canadian) inhabitants all influencing the architecture and food culture of the city. The arrival of the Americans, competing with the grand French and Spanish architecture created an American part of the city with huge impressive mansions. New Orleans was the setting of many important parts in black American history, where blacks fought for their rights and bought their own freedom, where Martin Luther King created his speeches, and the birth place of amazing genre’s of music like Jazz and Blues.
New Orleans, like Austin, is a never sleeping music town. Live music starts in the morning and you can choose from jazz, rock, pop and just about any other genre you want. Take away alcohol is aloud and drinking out on the streets is common place, even drive-through bars are a thing in New Orleans.
For the best things to do in New Orleans click here.
Our last stop of the 2 months long road trip across USA belongs to Florida. Mostly a logistic stop to sell our Vani McVan Face and fly out from Miami to Cuba. We spent a couple of days in Disneyland town, Orlando. Besides Disneyland there are many things to do and we were recommended Blue Springs State park where we saw over 140 Manatee, also known as sea cows, swimming in the beautiful clear waters.
A visit to Disneyland may be a very expensive experience but drive or bus to Disney Springs for a little free taste and loads of shopping and you can also jump on the free Monorail from many of the resorts within Disney world and do a full loop to see the famous castle from a distance and many other sights.
Miami beach is a place of clubs, parties and Spanish language. Being our first time in a real hotel after so long in the campervan we made the most of it, drinking a few cocktails at our rooftop pool.