I’m on a road trip!! In America!! Ok, so it’s only a week long, and that’s not enough time to spend in any place since America is huge, but this is a big deal for me and I’m now going to report in my American Road Trip Part 1!
When I was a younger teenager, I sat in a small comic shop in my small home town, and talked to my friend who worked behind the counter about the day we would go on a road trip to America together. We talked about hiring out Harley’s and just blazing a trail across the state, Meatloaf style. That friend and I have since drifted apart, he moved away, got married and settled down, but I still dreamed of doing our American Road Trip.
Fast forward to the moment I was informed of my AVN nomination and made hasty plans to travel to America, I decided that this would be it. I booked an extra week after the AVNs before my flight home to London, and that’s not nearly long enough, but it would at least give me a little taste. My only regret is not being able to drive myself, but my business partner was totally up for a roadtrip idea.
It starts in Las Vegas. We have rented a Ford Mustang, modern and not so muscle-y but it still fits the bill and makes a great noise when you put your foot down. It’s automatic though, which freaks out a lot of english people are who learn to drive manual (or stick as I think Americans call it.) It took a couple of trial and errors to figure out how to move the car, and a lot of hard brakes that nearly broke my neck to figure out how sensitive the breaks were.
Once we got on the road however it was loads easier. From Las Vegas to San Francisco, we decided to take two days, going first through Death Valley and staying at Lone Pines, before going from Lone Pines, through to Carson then round to San Francisco (Due to Yosmite being closed for the winter)
The drive through Death Valley was beautiful. A lot of people don’t realise how big a deal it is for us Europeans coming to America and seeing how big everything is. How spaced out. How we could be on one road for 198km and not have a single turning. The rocks look like they were placed there by a professional landscaper, some looming dangerously to topple over our car. The road for the most part was long and simple, with very few winds.
Because we had set off so late we were in a bit of a race to reach “Dante’s View” which overlooks the entire valley before sunset. The last leg of the climb to Dante’s View was insanely steep and windy, lots of sharp turns and because it had started raining it was also very slippy. The view at the top would have been completely worth it, if the Valley hadn’t been covered in fog and rain. I saw outlines of the majestic view, but I also saw a lot of clouds and not so much else. It was a funny, sort of “D’oh!” moment, but I want to visit Dante’s View again when the weather is better.
The sun setting actually made things a lot scarier. The drive from Dante’s View to Lone pine is relatively simply, but there are places where you climb very high, there are sharp bends and no cats-eyes, or reflectors or anything but your headlights to show you the way. When other cars passed the other way, they would have their highbeams on and blind us for a moment. I won’t lie, there were parts where I was fearing for my life!
We did however make it to Lone Pine and I stayed in my first ever motel! It was called the “Dow Villa” and had been recommended by tripadvisor. It felt like a western film, the beds in our room were big and super comfortable. I wanted to ask them what mattress they used so I could get some for back home! It was much nicer than I expected.
For breakfast, we ate at the grill because we were unable to find a diner. I had a breakfast sandwich, made up of fried bread, fried eggs, fried sausage patty and I swear, fried cheese. It was delicious. Next, we went to the visitor centre to buy a road map, since I wasn’t confident relying solely on a GPS and I knew we wouldn’t get phone signal in most places.
Then before setting off, we took a quick look in the the Lone Pine Film Museum which has lots of info and interesting things on films filmed in the area. This goes from cowboy westerns to Ironman which are all filmed near by. There were even parts from Star Wars and Star Trek! There were also huge aliens from the film “Tremors” which was cool, and the dentist wagon from “Django”
The drive from Lone Pine to San Francisco was a lot harder than the first leg. As we headed further north we saw more rain and some ice and even some snow. The change in scenery, which happened about every 5 minutes, was stunning. The lakes were huge, and the cliff drops steep. Every moment you had your eyes out looking at everything around you. Although all we were doing was driving, it was lots of fun and something I’ve never experienced before. The entire trip however took about 8 hours, the last 4 very slow in the dark, because as we had learnt, driving in pitch black on unknown roads is one of the scariest things you could possibly do!
Getting to San Francisco it felt like we hadn’t seen civilisation in forever. The city looked gigantic, although people tell me it isn’t. The hotel we are staying in is small, but the staff are friendly, there’s lots of shops and food places and I’m looking forward to eating my way through San Francisico!