Our mutual story begins on 18th June 2009, in Los Angeles, the City of Angels. There, after three months of waiting and longing, we met again at last, including many kisses and hugs. Then we went straight on the shuttle bus to our car rental company, where we rented a fat SUV. Our “Susie” would gave us good services in terms of transport and accommodation during the following three weeks. Only the average fuel consumption of 14 l/100 km was something bad (especially for the travel budget).
The next day we arrived at our first goal, the Joshua Tree National Park. On the way we equipped us with camping equipment and food and at the park entrance, we bought a season ticket for all the national parks of the United States. The park itself was beautiful, a semi-desert, with fantastic rock formations and funny Squirrels. On the evening of arrival, we explored the Hidden Valley, where former cattle thieves hid their prey. While the setting sun illuminated the bizarre rocks, we admired the various flora and fauna, which survived in this wilderness.
After our first night in the car (more convenient than you think) we further to the East, to Lake Mohave. We drove there on the famous Route 66, the old east-west highway in the U.S., which winds through the mountains of the region, and then again goes for 20 km straight into the horizon. The temperature rose quickly to over 40 degrees Celsius in the shade. Arriving at Lake Mohave, we noticed that the green on our map was not synonymous with green in reality. Around the lake (reservoir), there was just dust and rocks. In addition, the lake seemed unusable because of the countless motorboats and jet skis and the lake was teeming with local, classic Americans in “tent cities” including barbecue, refrigerator and generator-mixer. Fortunately, we found a more or less isolated bay and were able to cool at least briefly.
The next day we continued on Route 66 in the direction of the natural wonders of the Grand Canyon. The area became green again, the temperatures dropped to a pleasant 24 degrees (the Grand Canyon South Rim is at 2,100 m altitude) and when we arrived at the canyon rim, we simply lost our breath. Like everything in America must be greater, it is probably also the nature. A huge gorge opened before our eyes, whose steep walls were riddled with different colors of the eras, which had been uncovered by the 1000 m deeper Colorado River over millions of years. The camera was running hot, while walking along the canyon rim. In some places you could see the deep blue Colorado River shimmering at the base of the canyon. We spared us the hike to the bottom of the canyon because there temperatures around 40 degrees prevailed and it would have been a total of 25 km with the corresponding altitude. Instead, we took advantage of the excellent shuttle service of the park and let us be driven to the best vantage points from where we enjoyed the sunset.
After a cold night on the canyon rim, we went to Lake Powell and a horseshoe bend of the Colorado River. Then we made a detour to see the so-called Hoodoos, rock towers created by erosion. The daily temperature was again around 40 degrees and we had to run through a shadowless, dry river bed. But the strain was all worthwhile, as the “mushroom heads” lookedreally impressive. The classic American “Wanderer” uses, as we discovered on the way back, a quad bike.
The next day we went to Zion National Park, which had already been recommended to us by several people. And they had not promised too much. Deep canyons with crystal clear rivers, towering cliffs, hundreds of meters high and a lush plant and animal life offered itself to our eyes. The highlight was a walk up the river bed through a narrow gorge and later we admired the sun setting in the reddish rock. A real dream.
The next goal was not a true natural wonder, but no less impressive: Las Vegas, the city of sin. We had booked a hotel through the Internet, which our arrival turned out to be full-blown casino. After a long shower session we started to set out to the “Strip”, the main street of Las Vegas, which is flanked by the famous casinos. After some sightseeing, including one-armed bandits, we went back to the hotel. The next day we used our first game voucher and won $ 20! Those were later invested in the huge hotel buffet, and we stuffed ourselfs so full with food that we could hardly stand up. But a second night in Las Vegas with more game vouchers waiting for us and also a magician show of “famous” Chris Angel. Then it was again about time to leave the city and we went on towards Yosemite National Park.