Here comes the second part of this article!!!! Alright where we left this? Yes, San Diego!!!!
Alright, coming back to Los Angeles, I had to decide what to do next. To be honest, I had no idea what to do, I was wondering what was best either fly to Seattle then travel south, or go north from LA until Seattle then go east to Chicago… I also wanted so badly to visit some of the National Parks, but distances between each were crazy and I didn’t know how I could make them all fit into my plan.
Then, something happened!! I was looking on Couchsurfing and I found this post of a guy who had a Van and was planning to go the next day from LA to Seattle for two weeks through the Parks… so I was like wait this is perfect… I told myself that, after I can just go back south from there and I’d have to chance to visit the parks and do some camping!!!
Next thing I know I was meeting this guy and deciding to go for it !!! I know I know, but that’s (kind of) -very- Ismail 😅
Joshua Tree National Park, California
Alright, so from Los Angeles we decided to start our trip. We basically start chatting on the way to the park so we can start knowing each other a little. Marek was a little shy at the beginning, but later turn out to be a very nice guy with a great sense of adventure.
We arrived to the Joshua Tree national park a little late at night. We were both tired so for the first night we basically just pull out of the road and slept in the van. Oh I didn’t specify, the van is fully furnished (bed, cooking/camping gear etc).
Joshua Tree National Park – California
Next day, we woke up in the middle of no where (whaaaaaat?? yess!!!). We made ourselves some breakfast: For me it was Toast/Eggs and Coffee whilst Marek made himself Oatmeal and coffee then we just went to discover the Park.
Joshua Tree national park was very nice, it was very hot, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying it.
Death Valley National Park, California
Next destination was Death Valley national park!!! I was so enthusiastic that I had to stop and climb the sign 😊
Death Valley National Park main Entrance – California
Diversity of landscapes in Death Valley was very interesting to discover. From the desert to colorful hills not mentioning the variety of animals that live in such arid region!!!
Oh!! Also, being from Morocco I thought in terms of hot temperatures I have seen it all… Very naive of me!! So to give you an idea… during the night it was almost impossible to sleep even that we were so tired… You literally feel your eyes/mouth (and whole body) getting dried out… so imagine how it was during the day!!! But this whole trip is about experiencing new things so I couldn’t get happier!!!
Las Vegas, Nevada
Vegasssss!!!!!!! Who never dreamt of visiting Las Vegas? I think we might all did wanted to see several casinos and have a taste of what this city has to offer. Even that visiting cities was not really part of our plan, but we were both happy to stop by and discover if this city is as charming as it appears to be.
Las Vegas is actually as good as I thought it was maybe it is even better. If you’re ready to spend a good amount of money or not 😊 in both cases you will have a great time 😊
The Las Vegas Strip – Nevada
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Back to visiting parks and not visiting any park, we are talking about the Grand Canyon here!!! To be honest I never thought I will visit it some day. Grand Canyon was a park that I’ve heard so much about and I wanted to see it some day, but I wasn’t sure it will happen that soon. So imagine my face when admiring, at the sunset, this amazing view 😊
South Rim – Grand Canyon Nation Park
Horseshoe bend, Arizona
I don’t know for what reason, but visiting Horseshoe bend somehow made me more excited that I was for any other Park. It is basically one view, but crazy beautiful view… We might not see it clearly, but the landscape is breathtaking!!! I would recommend visiting it during the sunrise then head to Antelope Canyon and come back once more at noon… That’s what I did and I feel it wasn’t enough 😊
Horseshoe bend – Arizona
Antelope Canyon, Arizona
Here comes the big surprise of my trip through the Parks!!! So, before visiting Anteloppe Canyon, I have seen some photos of it and some of my friends even have been there the year before, but I didn’t think it would be as beautiful as I’ve discovered later!!!! We had to pay something like 45$ and I remember Marek was not sure it worth it… 5 minutes inside and he told me how sad it would have been to miss such beautiful views… 🙌
Lower Antelope Canyon – Arizona
Zion National Park, Utah
Zion national park!!!! To be honest, I never heard of it before… We even were so surprised that it was so crowded and of course that was a reason!!! Zion national park was pretty cool we had some amazing hikes some of them had parts where you walk in a mid-shallow water stream. Little tip: Get proper shoes please, walking barefoot in the water or with regular hiking shoes both appeared to be two terrible ideas 😂
West Entrance – Zion National Park
Monument Valley, Utah
Where can I start, I mean… this view is just incredible!! If you’re visiting Monument Valley, I recommend you to go at sunrise or sunset both will give you an amazing experience… 🙌
Monument Valley – Utah
Arches National Park, Utah
Next on our plan was visiting Arches National Park, I thought I have seen arches before, but the variety and density of natural arches there is outstanding. Also, they appear normal sized, but when you get close they’re actually enormous… trying to get a photo up in the air was a challenge since Marek had to go so far to get the full arch, and I had to look stupid jumping a few times for nothing but it totally worth it 😊
Delicate Arch – Arches National Park
Rocky Mountains, Colorado
This one was a little of a (big) detour for our trip, so we were wondering if it worth it or not. Finally, what has sealed the deal was Marek and I discovering that Mount Elbert is actually the highest peak of the famous Rocky mountains 4401 m (14,440 ft) !!! Higher then my last highest peak in Morocco : Mount Toubkal 4165 m (13,671 ft) then, to be honest I was very worried of luck of oxygen in altitude since knew we’d have no time to acclimate, but I was so excited for the challenge!!!!
The first hour of the trek was pretty easy, then we got the hardest part where pretty much everyone we crossed paths with was struggling. Then, after a few false peaks, some complaining, sore muscles, a lot of persistence, we arrived to the summit. Overall, the trek took us 6-7 hours round-trip and I can’t tell you how much I was excited for setting a new personal record my face below kinda says it all 😊
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Last Park before going back to cities and people 😅 and not any park it’s Yellowstone!!!! Frankly, at the beginning I thought we were going to Yosemite National Park (I don’t know how that happened) a few days into the trip and I was like “Oh!! This is even better than what I thought!!!”.
So, for those who don’t know, Yellowstone is one of the oldest national parks in the world (if not the oldest) it is very famous for its variety of wildlife and geothermal areas (geysers, hot springs etc).
What I will never forget, would definitely be being so close to wildlife and seeing wild animals in their natural habitat. Sometimes a herd of bison would just cross the road and literally walk a meter from your car…
The Grand Prismatic Spring – Yellowstone National Park
Back to Cities and visiting one of my friends who lives in Seattle!!! Marek and I exchanges photos and videos that we both took and said goodbye after a two weeks of traveling non-stop. I was tempted to go with him to Vancouver since that was his final destination, but I preferred to leave Canada for another adventure where I can travel more in British Columbia and its amazing parks.
Seattle was a pretty cool city, I enjoyed hanging with my friend who also works in IT, walking in Seattle streets, trying famous Seattle Hot-Dog and do some photography. 😊
Dr. Jose Rizal Park – Seattle
Portlaaaand!! I know, but again here I visited another old friend who I previously visited in Philly and who moved to Portland for her studies. For those who don’t know Portland is famous for its neighborhoods, bars, restaurants, ice-cream shops and how open-minded its people are!! Here I had to try for a first time two ice-cream flavors 🍦 that I wouldn’t normally try anywhere 😅 Olive oil and blue-cheese… I mean why not? I’m here to discover new things. 😄 to my surprise, both were very tasty 😋I don’t know how that was possible, but if you don’t try you’ll never know 😊
Oregon Maritime Museum/Morrison Bridge – Portland
San Francisco, California
And to leave the best for the end SF !!!! I didn’t know back then that San Fran will be my favorite city in the US 😊 I don’t know if it is about how cosmopolitan it is, its warm-summer Mediterranean climate, if having there one of my closest friends and some more in Los Angeles, being close to a lot of national parks that I still wanna visit or just all these reasons combined. Moreover, I landed a really cool job in San Francisco so now the adventure is only starting from the beginning 😊
Golden Gate Bridge – San Francisco
I hope you liked this little article about the second part of my roadtrip in the US!!!
See you on my next article where I talk about how is it like living in San Francisco 😉