Around the world...
The last week of the trip
06 Sep 2007
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It was a busy week so I'll try my hardest to keep it short.
Back in Los Angeles we went on a walking tour around Hollywood, strangely run by an English guy who used to be a beefeater at the Tower of London. We then saw loads of movie props and costumes at the museum in the old Max Factor building.
We picked up our car and managed to drive ourselves out to Venice Beach without too much trouble and eventually found our hostel. We walked down to the massive beach and had an ice cream while we walked down the boardwalk to Santa Monica. There were lots of people skating and cycling and there is even an open air gym on the beach called 'Muscle Beach'.
We didn't have a go, and opted for a beer instead, before walking along the pier and getting another huge pizza slice.
The following morning we left for our first long drive, to Phoenix. We got out of LA ok and got to the boring stretch of road - 291 miles through the flat desert without turning off. Rich set the cruise control and didn't even have to turn the wheel for long periods of time. We stopped at Denny's for lunch just before we crossed into Arizona.
We eventually arrived in Phoenix at 6pm and went to meet my friend Kathy, who had agreed to put up two smelly travellers for the night (thank you!).
We went out to the Botanical Gardens and wandered around as it got dark before going to a Mexican restaurant for dinner.
We didn't have time to stay long there and were back on the road in the morning, heading north towards the Grand Canyon. We stopped at Montezuma castle and Sedona to see the red rocks along the way and arrived at the Grand Canyon just before dark.
We set up our tent and enjoyed a nice cool evening after a couple of hot days in the desert. We got up to see the sunrise over the canyon in the morning and walked for a couple of hours down below the canyon rim, where we saw deer, chipmunks, bighorn sheep and lots of squirrels as it was still quite cool. We took a shuttle bus to see the western side of the canyon and drove along the eastern side ourselves. The photos really don't do it justice - it is massive!
We drove on the following day to Las Vegas. On the way we detoured to follow Route 66 and then crossed the Hoover Dam which is pretty spectacular (and hot - well into the 40's). We took a tour of the power plant and walked over the dam for photos.
We found our hostel in Las Vegas by about 5pm and took a bus down to the main part of the strip, as we were staying in the Downtown area. We went for a massive hot fudge sundae at the Peppermill (something I remember doing there when I was 9 years old, although I'm sure they a have got smaller!).
We walked down the strip as it got dark and went into all the big casinos. Inside the Venetian there is a 'St Mark's Square' where it is always lit like it is daytime. We saw the volcano erupt fire and water outside the Mirage and then went for a go on some of the slots in Casino Royale. We had dinner in the Flamingo and $1 margaritas in Bill's. We went up to the top of the Paris Eiffel Tower for amazing views of the strip and the dancing Bellagio Fountains. We walked through all the casinos until we were exhausted and took the bus back to the hostel.
In the morning after our 'all you can make' pancake breakfast we went back onto the strip. We went into Circus Circus and saw circus acts and Rich won me a cuddly toy in the kids section of the casino. We didn't have as much luck on the proper slot machines next door in Slots-of-Fun!
We had an all you can eat buffet for lunch before seeing more of the hotels and casinos. In the evening we ended up watching a very overweight Elvis, who actually calls himself the 'Big Elvis' before going to see 'The Producers' in the Paris Theatre, as we had got ourselves some half price tickets by buying them last minute. Later on we went to the downtown area and watched the light display they put on in a big arched roof over the street.
The next morning we left early and drove across the desert to Death Valley. It is one of the hottest places on earth and while we were there it got to a high of 46 degrees during the day and only went down to 30 at night, which wasn't particulary comfortable for us camping!
We did a short walk through a canyon and went to visit the Devil's Golf Course, where evaporating water leaves jagged salt deposits. We went out onto a salt lake at Badwater, the lowest point in America and then drove up to Dante's View for views into the valleys (and a nice cooling breeze).
After a sticky night we left at 7.30am for a long drive back to LA. We dropped our car at the airport and checked in for the flight which took off at 6pm. The flight wasn't too bad and we arrived in London bit early.
Rich went to catch his connecting flight to Manchester and I went to get my bag, which didn't turn up. I went home with Dad and Clare and my bag eventually arrived two days later (shame really, I have to do all my washing now!).
Locations Visited: Phoenix , Sedona , Grand Canyon Village , Las Vegas , Death Valley , Los Angeles , London
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