The biggest trip we did before this Project was driving from Seattle to San Diego and then to Las Vegas, Grand Canyon and finishing the trip at the Phoenix airport. It was our honeymoon mixed with holidays so we had about 5 weeks to do this trip before coming back to Madrid, where we were living in the summer of 2014. We've done some trips driving before but not as long as this one (we made about 5.400 km driving).
As always we used Excel to plan days, timings, distances, places to stay overnight and main costs. We don't like to plan everything but we usually have a plan at least with the main places we want to visit and where we can sleep each night. We usually leave some stuff to be discovered during the trip, like monuments to visit and restaurants.
Our trip started in Madrid where we flight to New York (approx. 8h) and then to Seattle (approx. 6h). We stayed in Seattle city center for 3 nights and then we rented a car to explore the Washington and Oregon coasts. We drove around 1.100 km exploring the Olympic National Park, Quinault Lake, Newport, Coos Bay and Gold Beach.
We started exploring California through the Redwood National Park and then we enjoyed the Napa Valley for 3 days. After we drove until the Lake Tahoe for a couple more relaxing days before going to the Yosemite National Park. We explored the park as much as we could during 2 days and we drove to San Francisco where we stayed for 5 days (we left the car here since we wanted to stay in an apartment in the city center). During our stay in San Francisco we had the opportunity to visit the Alcatraz prison and Silicon Valley which were nice trips outside the city center. We drove approximately 1.600 km during this part of the trip (probably more since one needs the car for almost EVERYTHING in the west coast of US, including having breakfast and doing laundry!).
After San Francisco it was time to explore the famous Californian coast between San Francisco and LA (probably the one that most people do). We drove from San Francisco to Silicon Valley, Palo Alto, Los Gatos, Pacific Grove, Big Sur, Cambria, Santa Barbara, Malibu, Santa Monica, Long Beach, LA, Hollywood and Orange County. We stayed around LA for approximately one week since we have friends living in Huntington Beach, O.C. and we enjoyed day trips from there. Some of the day trips we did were LA/Hollywood, Newport/Laguna beach, San Diego/ La Jolla and Disneyland. We did around 1.500 km during this week and we enjoyed each one!
Our last day in California was the 4th of July which was properly celebrated with our friends and their family and friends at the Huntington Beach. And it was great! Thanks Darren and Michelle 🙂
On the 5th of July we drove from Orange County to Las Vegas where we stayed for 2 nights. We had time enough to explore the city hotels and casinos, enjoy the several swimming pools and assist to one of the most famous Cirque du Soleil shows (Ka). After 2 relaxing nights at a 5 start hotel (the only 5-star hotel we stayed during the whole trip), we drove all the way to Grand Canyon National Park (Grand Canyon Village) passing by the Lake Mead. We slept for 2 nights inside the Grand Canyon Village (Yavapai Lodge) which gave us time to explore some of the best view points and walks inside the park. We specially enjoyed waking up at 4 am to see the sunrise at the Yaki Point!
After Grand Canyon we drove until Phoenix Airport where we left the car and caught a plane to New York (approximately 1.200 km since we left LA). We stayed in New York for 4 days and it was great to explore some museums, famous streets, parks and restaurants. We walked several kms while staying in NY but we had time to see lots of new things. From NY we just flight back to Madrid again on the 15th of July. What a memorable road trip! Can't wait to do another one!