15th March 2016 we set sail into the unknown, and the travels began. See ya later real job and daily grind, hello America!! As it happens, we touched down in San Francisco before we even left New Zealand (thanks time difference!) so we were off to a good start. We had 10 days to spend in America before we had flights south of the border into Mexico, so we spent them wisely with some family time in San Fran and a dabble into the bright lights of Las Vegas. I think we’re still partially stunned from the brightness of the latter..
With overloaded packs on our backs and fronts our first taste of the land of the free began sheltered in the hills of a small town of Ladera, Californ eye ay. All be knoweth to us we could well have shared coffees in the same bagel shops as the creators of the ‘book, Twits, Googs, Apples, Instantgrams and Hewlett Packard sauces with Standford and Silicon Valley only a penny’s throw away. Our lovely hosts for 6 nights were Kim’s Aunty Louise + family who drove us for hundreds of miles on freeways and small town streets alike. Highlights included: fresh salmon on San Fran’s staple, sourdough @ Monterey wharf, surf watching near Clint fricken Eastwoods own digs Pebble Beach- Carmel, real-deal morning grills (filter coffee and OJ please, Barbs) @ Half Moon Bay, mini-league baseball parade hijacking @ Sausalito, all with additional commentary from Uncle Don and his wise local upbringing. Good for the good.
Keeping us entertained while we weren’t on the road (and at one point, on it) were cousin Jan and Joe’s kids: Marcello and Portia. The little rug rats loved hitting us with objects and calling us stinkfaces at any opportunity possible – apparently a sign of absolute affection. Portia’s genius acts at the age of 4 and a half of deception when battling her firefighter age 6 brother never ceased to keep us guessing. Louise, Jan and Joe’s cooking and hospitality also on point with amazing cookin’ and coffee brewin’. Go home to ya mudah!
Oh yeah we also visited Alcatraz island, Mission District, Golden Gate Bridge and ate bagels in between putting in way too many nominations of coins into ticket vendors in order to jump numerous CAL and BART trains. Many of the priceless cloud items (photographs) not backed up by Jim were also wiped into oblivion – watch out for tablets and delete buttons!
As if a sign of times to come, on our final day in California Jan and the rugrats invited us along on the ride to a birthday party at the iconic Boardwalk at Santa Cruz beach. We managed to align paths with Jim’s school friend’s Vinny and Ben who were nomading in their RV for a healthy lunch of Chili Dogs, deep-fried twinkies and PBJs (that’s Peanut Butter Jellys), and a giant cans of 25fl oz Budweiser. Baseball pitches and darts also won us beautiful toys.
Departing after 6 days the Fernquest’s hobbit hole in Ladera we soon came across our next partner in crime: a LHD cold hatch Chevrolet Spark – “Red Rocket”. A 12 hr drive on the wrong (wait right) side of the road via the garlic capital of the world, Gilroy, Bakersfield Walmart and the bright deceptive lights of Primm. Next time you won’t get us Primm, you wannabe Vegas you.
In as little words as possible, Vegas is an eye-opening experience of great Americana. The Hoover Dam and its new sidekick Memorial Bridge will knock your socks off, so too the breakfast grill at Hooters (wait maybe it was the hot pants, although Vinny, Ben and new recruit Cam can vouch for their abundance of casinoness under one roof). The Last Stop Arizona and its best burger in the world, the Bellagio with its fountains and gardens, the strip with its scooter-riding Elvis, the chips and the slots, the comic book photo pals on every corner, the monorail, the amount of flavours of M&Ms at said World, the floating seated man, and that coffee flavoured Patron 24 floors up at the MGM Grand. The 4 nights exceeded all expectations but would suffice.
Everything is actually bigger in the US of A.
Kimmy + Jimmy