Road Trippin’ California

The California road trip. The ultimate road trip – the east coast of California, when you road trip in America you do it in style. We rented a Ford Mustang V8 convertible, the American muscle car. The excitement that was running through my body hit new levels. I had the keys to the coolest car I could get my hands on.

California

We began our 2-week road trip on a gloriously sunny day in Los Angeles. I started her up and she purred. We cruised around L.A. with music playing and the wind in our hair.

We drove to Venice Beach for a stroll and some celebratory beers. It was my first time in the states and it was exactly how it looked in the movies. I loved it.

We agreed over beers that we would spend our first night eating at Hooters, a restaurant none of us had ever been to before. It was after all, the local cuisine, which is why we wanted to go (not). We were so busy taking in the whole experience that we completely forgot to book a motel or hostel, in the end we agreed that we’d crash in the car, so we were drinking enough to make the sleep more bearable.

California

The next morning we woke up stiff but excited. We wanted to see Hollywood and the Hollywood star walk of fame, but not until we had filled up on breakfast at a proper American diner. We went to Denny’s and took on the oversized portions. We got a Hollywood star map and cruised around Beverly Hills stopping and knocking on celebrity houses, including the Playboy Mansion, which we were promptly told to ‘back away from the drive’.

California

In the evening, we went out drinking in Hollywood and even saw them shooting a Justin Timberlake movie (Friends with Benefits). I was always making the most of my London accent with the American girls. Being an Englishmen in America is something special.

California

We covered a lot of miles, spending two days in L.A. before heading to San Diego for another night and then the long drive to San Francisco. I was firing on energy drinks. We made sure to do as much as we could. When it came to filling up the petrol tank, we were gob-smacked. It stopped at $40. We just filled at 4.2 litre engine on forty bucks. We could not believe it.

We spent some time in San Francisco going to Alcatraz, Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, Driving on Lombard Street and eating at Hooters again. I could have spent more time in San Francisco, it’s a beautiful city.

Alcatraz

Then we started the mammoth 10-hour drive to Las Vegas. We left at seven in the morning, stopping for breakfast, energy drinks, lunch, more energy drinks, a photo and a break in the desert.

This was the penultimate drive, through the desert into Vegas. I got a little too excited and got pulled over for doing 110 mph in a 60 zone. I got a speeding ticket which resulted in a warrant for my arrest because I didn’t go to court for them to set the fine. I didn’t care; I was on the way to Las Vegas. We drove into the bright lights with the music on full blast. It was epic.

Las Vegas

Once we experienced an unforgettable five days in Vegas and a day at The Grand Canyon we made our way back to L.A. there was still a few things we wanted to do. It was not as exciting to drive away from Vegas, but we still had Universal Studios to look forward to.

California

I don’t think I’ll ever top those two weeks. It was the perfect two weeks.

Itinerary

Day 1-2 – L.A. – (Venice Beach, Santa Monica, Santa Barbara, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Malibu)

Day 2-3 – San Diego (Stopping at Laguna Beach)

Day 3-6 – San Francisco

Day 6-11 – Las Vegas

Day 12 – The Grand Canyon

Day 13-14 – L.A. (Universal Studios)

Things to do

  • Work out at Muscle Beach Gym
  • Drive around Beverly Hills
  • Watch baseball in San Diego
  • Bike ride around San Francisco
  • Watch the sea lions on Pier 39
  • Tour Alcatraz
  • Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Eat at Hooters
  • Party in Las Vegas
  • See a show in Las Vegas
  • See the Grand Canyon

Tips

  • Book your convertible in advance (we didn’t, we got very lucky with ours).
  • Don’t buy a Star Map from people selling them for $10 on the street, you can get them for $5 on Hollywood Bld.
  • Buy your tickets for Alcatraz in advance – they sell out fast!
  • Watch your speed limit when driving to Las Vegas 😉
  • Make sure you leave enough time to see The Grand Canyon, and make sure you have enough gas in the tank (it was a narrow escape for us).
  • Buy tickets to see sport events in advance.
  • If you know where you will be then book a hostel, they get busy (and expensive).
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