New Orleans

Day 6 and 7

Has anyone ever watched The Originals? It’s a spin-off of tv show called Vampire Diaries. Come on, I know some of you did. That was actually the last show I’ve ever watched, because when I started any, I just couldn’t stop and had to watch all the episodes as soon as possible during nights like a freaking zombie. But thanks to that, New Orleans was one of the first places I’ve marked with circle on the map when we decided to actually hitchhike across the States. I was curious about never ending party on Bourbon Street, live jazz music and enormous crypts on cemeteries.  Those and other attractions we managed to see in 2 days. But let’s start how did we even get there…

Days became shorter and we had to wake up earlier. This morning around Shreveport we were going to go with a track driver, who promised the evening before that he could take us. We were supposed to meet him at 7, unfortunately we overslept. Haha, so typical for me and Daria. But obviously nothing happens without a reason and we managed to stop a car pretty quick. The driver’s name was Roman who was a DJ and all drive was playing his tracks, counting money and telling us about crazy parties in NOLA. We even almost talked him into going with us! He dropped us on a gas station and gave us a wedge of money although we didn’t want it. He said that money was always useful in New Orleans and we had to take it. Roman really wanted to take a photo with us so he asked a random man if he could make one and if he wasn’t heading into our direction by chance. Well, guess what…

A driver called Bo was all about the positivity. He decided to go to New Orleans with us, because that was a place where his daughter and her boyfriend have met. We stopped by his house on our way. It seemed to be lavish but clean and full of good vibe.  Bo decided to rent us a room in french quarter. Although we didn’t want his help he insisted and said that if we agreed, he would be sure that we were safe and feel much better. Well, we didn’t have a choice!

We got to New Orleans when it was still light. We went to drop our staff in hotel Holiday inn, 2 minutes away from Bourbon Street. Next we decided to have a proper walk through this famous street. Characteristic french building with balconies goes along it and… funny think – I’m in Jersey right now (Chanel Island) and the main street in town looks a little bit french and when I send a photo of it do Daria with question “What does it remind you of?” she answered easily – “New Orleans!”.

The Bourbon Street was loooooud! Every door was open inviting people with different kind of music. NOLA is the only place in whole US where you’re allowed to drink on streets. It was maybe 6 o’clock and full of drunk tourists. We bought some huge, but cheap and pretty weak drinks, went to try delicious gumbo soup and po-boy sandwich in a restaurant which was fitted in a gate. Than we made a round through many, many pubs. In every second place someone was singing the same songs, in several you could jump on the bull. The outside wasn’t quit neither – we’ve learned easy dance choreography, listened to young boys playing on the winds and the most important we’ve been constantly catching colorful beads and we didn’t even show one tit ;). Actually Bo won this game. He had to go early in the morning and left us a little present, which I spend the same day.

The Bourbon Street walk was 10 timer more exciting than Las Vegas Strip. But when we came back there the very next evening, we discovered that the time has stopped there. People where throwing the beads, the man was giving exactly the same like night before show, they were dancing the choreography we already knew. But well, firsts are always the best!

Several days earlier I’ve dropped my camera and a peace of my lens broke off. Because of that it wasn’t right connected to the body. I still managed to make some photos, but the later it got, the the harder it was. I was so frustrated that stopped to make any photos. After a crazy night on Bourbon Street, I woke up and went to camera store. You might don’t know it but everything in US show prices without tax. Let’s say you’re buying a sandwich for 2.99$, oh well it’s actually 3.12$. Depends on the state the tax is different. The guy in the store enlightened me, that New Orleans is duty free, so you can easily get your tax back. I bought exactly the same lens I broke (Canon 18-55 mm f/3.5) for the money given by Roman and Bo. Guys, thanks to you all those photos have been made and are here on this blog. Who knows if I would even start it, if it wasn’t you. THANK YOU!

Bourbon street is a must-see thing indeed, but there is much more to discover around French Quarter during the day. Here is my own list of things to do around this area:

1. Get lost in french quarter – no purpose, just walking and admiring. This place is very unique and isn’t similar to anything in US. It’s like back in time in a maze filled with french architecture and old boutiques right next to the loud and busy town. Luckily at this time a year I managed to find some completely empty streets.

2. Believe in ghosts. New Orlean is known by practising voodoo or actually hoodoo which came here back in XVIIIth century with slaves from Africa and Haiti. Although they’ve been forced to catholicism, they didn’t forget their traditions and the religion has evolved. They put their African Gods into Saints and practiced magic in secret. Louisiana voodoo has been commercialized by America much though. At Jackson Square you could find many, many witches who were happy to tell you fortune with cards if you pay they some money. We also visited voodoo museum and vampire boutique. On one street there was a witch with snake on her arm drawing some shapes on the pavement…

3. Visit Louis Armstrong Park  – the famous jazz man who was born in this city. In the park you find his monument and can listen to jazz in every second restaurant.

4. Find Marie Laveau’s thomb – famous New Orleans witch who had a big influent on voodoo, which was considered as worshiping satan. She tried to convince society that it was a christian religion by adding some crosses and saints figures into the cult. The grave of the voodoo queen is located in St Louis Cemetery no 1, where we got after 6 o’clock and it turned out that it was closed already. But we were so curious about all the different crypts behind the bars, so we decided to break into it. We jumped over the big wall and end up walking in cemetery with a very weird vibe by ourselves. We found the characteristic grave easily because it’s all covered with “x’s”. Apparently if you put 3 “x” on Marie Laveau’s grave and your wish came true, you have to come back and leave 3 gifts for her. Daria, we put x’s, now it’s time to bring the gifts…

When we were coming back, a random man warned us about not being in this area at this time. New Orleans is not very safe place, so we hurried and came back to the main road.

5. Go along Missisipi River. French quarter is located by the longest river in United States. It was very warm, just like the air. It’s a river which gives and take a lot. Besides goods of maritime transport or water supply for many big cities, it caused many floods for example Great Missisipi River flood in 1927 and floods  in 1993 and 2011. But you probably know another catastrophe which happened in this haunted city…

This is how we spend 2 amazing days in New Orleans. We were so fascinated by the city that decided to stay one day longer using coach surfing site. Man called Atlas was our host and guide and show us the city from another, more real side. Wait for it in the next post!

Everybody says Y’all in Texas

Day 4 & 5

Texas is the second biggest State in whole America. It’s huge and we managed to ride across it in 2 days. We didn’t really plan any stops and the only thing we wanted was to eat a nice dinner in a proper tex bar. We got a lift straight away by 2 man from New Mexico in a truck covered in mud. Their hobby was driving quads across the fields… drunk. That day they were going to neighboring state to get a new toy. So we end up in a village somewhere next to Wichita Falls buying a quad and riding it on the street. After that boys took us to a nice bar called Texas Roadhouse where we have been served by a girl with strong accent who was repeating typical tax phrase “Y’all”. Our drivers decided that they would take us to Dallas. When we told them that we were from Europe they didn’t really know where it was and couldn’t believe that it was on the other side of planet. I’m serious, I showed them on GPS and they still couldn’t believe. They weren’t very smart, but very helpful and funny. In the end we’ve ridden very shiny Dallas by night. We spend a safe night in a hotel in the suburbs (without them:).

The next day we stopped another car with 2 nice bussinesmen. They decided that if we weren’t going to stop anywhere in Texas, at least we would eat a real barbecue in their family town – Tyler. The place called Stanley’s famous was full of good vibes, chilled people and delicious food. They left us near the boarder and we managed to get to Louisiana in the evening. We end up on a gas station in Shreveport where we saw some very weird looking people, but one man gave us 5$, because he though we were homeless and one of the truck drivers gave us his code and let us to take a shower. We spend a tough night in a tent with much moisture, insects and stress. We just couldn’t wait to get to our next destination – New Orleans.

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The Roswell incident

Day 3

Me and Daria woke up very early in the morning by the beautiful sunrise around Albuquerque. Our backpacks were super heavy to carry so we put them and other staff in a trolley which was standing next to me when I was charging an iPhone in front of the store (there was a wall with plugs). A man came to me and asked:
-Are you homeless, or what…? – he was so confused about me covered with a blanket with phone in my hand. I told him that I was just a hitchhiker.

From the beginning I was very worried that we end up standing on a street for hours in the hot sun. Since we started to hitchhike we didn’t really wait more than 1 hour. But that was a day when we really couldn’t move futher. People gave us only short lifts and most of the time we were just sitting and waiting for a hero. No one was going to Roswell and everybody was pretty surprised that we wanted to visit this empty shithole. When we asked any driver if they believed that aliens actually land there years ago, surprisingly they all said yes and claimed that it’s been proved, but the government was hiding everything anyway. On our way we bumped into another hitchhiker. He was the only one we saw for 4 months. He was old and toothless. He didn’t really put us in the best light and when we finally moved to another spot, the car dropped him next to us AGAIN! Haha, small world.

It has been already half a day we spend still around Albuquerque. We’ve been thinking about changing our paper card into “Texas” but we didn’t want to copy our toothless friend. It turned out that for whole this time Daria wasn’t wearing the lucky bracelet…

Finally we managed to get a lift from a man who wasn’t even driving into our direction, but decided to help us anyway and dropped us on something called highway which was leading to Roswell. When we stand on this empty, narrow, one-lane road, the very first card stopped and took us to the hostel. We booked a room for 10$ half an hour earlier. This day we only moved 180 miles. We went out for food, cosmic beers, listened to crickets in the empty city centre and went back to hotel to finally spend the night in a real bed.

The next day we woke up very motivated to find some aliens. Roswell contains one main road along which one bus goes every 30 minutes. We checked out and left our backpacks at the information. During half a day we managed to see almost all attractions in the city:

1. Roswell UFO Museum – wih many letters and paper pages from 40’s hanged on the walls, the long list of people who claimed they saw UFO, photos more or less edited and the most shoddy exhibition which every hour gives a show – moving ufo, lights, smoke and weird music.

2. Shops full of cosmic or Area 51 souvenirs – allegedly the Roswell mistery has been examined in famous Area 51 in Nevada. Each shop had either UFO exhibition, a room with aliens puppets or even a Spacewalk – phosphorescent corridor.

3. Mexican architecture mixed with aliens graffiti.

4. The only UFO shaped Mc Donald in the whole world.

If you go a little bit deeper into Roswell case it actually doesn’t sound as shoddily as the city. Because of the fact that I visited this place, I did much reading and I’m one of people who believes that in July 1947 (and not only then) someone not from Earth visited our planet. I highly recommend to read “Roswell incident” by Charles Berlitz & William More and  “The Roswell legacy”  by Jesse Marcel Jr. & Linda Marcell.

I’m not sure why did we choose this particular place to visit, but I do believe that somehow it magnetized us and maybe one day we will find out why. But me and Daria definitely had much fun in Roswell!

In the middle of the day we stopped the first track on this trip! Two drivers from Lubbock in Texas were very nice and one of them- Ian decided to give away his free accommodation in a hotel. So we had another very good night, this time in real luxury.

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Navajo lucky bracelets

Day 2

Luckly we woke up alive, ready for discovering another state. We decided that we wanted to go to Roswell, New Mexico and it was going to be our next destination. We were standing with sheet of paper for over an hour and no one stopped. Except 2 men with texas plate and bikes on their track. They said that they were going to have a dinner and can take us when they finished if we were still there. And that’s exactly what happened.

Raymond and Larry are men who cycle literally everywhere. They were just coming back from another trip and told us a lot about their impressive hobby. We went through Arizona and saw smoke everywhere around us because of the fires. Driver said that we would stop in a cool spot. It was huge Navajo Bridge with absolutely stunning view on Colorado River and canyon. It was so high that my eyes hurted when I was looking down.

You probably know that before Europeans came to America, there were people living there already, called native americans. There are a lot of indian tribes which exist till now.  The Navajo is one of the biggest tribe in United States and we had a luck to be in their reservation area. Right next to the bridge there was an indian girl selling some hand-made staff and men bought us bracelets which were supposed to bring us luck. We were wearing them all the time! I really wish to come back to discover navajo area more.

When we continued our drive, the landscape changed much from canyons to enormous fields and not very high mountains. Our drivers offered to take us to Texas, but we were very stubborn to get to Roswell and in the end they left us in Albuquerque – the capital of New Mexico. Thank you for those 500 miles!

Right after the sunset we managed to get another lift by car where we could easily smell marihuana and end up near a big store were we set our slipping bags and had a rough night waking up all the time when any suspicious car was parking near our spot.

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Zion National Park

When Daria came up with a crazy idea “Hey, let’s hitchhike in America” for the first time, I was totally against that. How crazy would that be if we decided to walk around only with backpacks on the other side of world?

When we were trying to plan our september trip we were thinking about visiting Hawaii. The vision of chilling, hiking and surfing on this beautiful island was so tempting, especially that Mike told us about his friend – Henry, who lives there and would love to host us. Unfortunately this place is super expensive and we would have to spend over a half of the money we had earned only on plane tickets. No worries, Muai. You’re still on my list. Most of our friends were going to travel together in groups and planned pretty much everything, but we wanted to be independent and be able to act a little spontaneous… sometimes. We had a plan to get to New York on our plane home, but we had no idea how we were going to get there. Obviously taking a plane would be the easiest and the fastest way, but would it be the most exciting one?

I do remember this day exactly, when Daria talked me into buying a map, so we can easily plan our trip. We hung the enormous, colorful United States map on a wall in our room. When we were sitting and starring at it, we’ve released how big this country was and how many different states it contained. How could we spend the most of our money on a plane to an island or to New York missing out on all of this unknown area on the way? It was the day I completely changed my mind about hitchhiking. This map literally told us that we had to it. We had to travel across America.

We had a whole month for our trip. First 2 weeks we decided to travel with our friend – Beatka, who finished her program in Massachusetts and visited me in California. Although we didn’t know each other much, I had this feeling that she might have been a perfect companion. Thanks to her, renting a car was much cheaper not only because we split it between 3 of us but also because she drove the car back into San Francisco, where she had her next plane (you can save a lot of money on driving the car back into place you’ve rent it, the gas is cheap anyway).

We only had one day left before our paths would split. Beatka was going to continue her own trip by car, me and Daria… start hitchhiking. This very last day we decided to spend in Zion National Park in Utah. We’ve checked on map that there was another way to get out from it – perfect for hitchhiking, so we could skip all drivers coming back to Las Vegas and stop those who were going east. Although we didn’t predict that not many people choose this particular route.

When we finally drove into Utah, Daria said that we were an hour closer to Poland, which meant that we’ve just changed a time zone for the first time. Enormous deserts changed into big, beautiful canyon rocks. We paid for the park entrance (30$ for the car) and long, brown road took us to a bridge with a majestic view.

Here, there was a crossroad. One way was going deeper into the park where you could get only by the bus, the other one was described as “scenic drive“. We couldn’t resist… and had another ride by our awesome car with absolutely breathtaking views. It was actually a road where we were supposed to hitchhike on the very next day… Here is a short video presenting this moment:

We decided to go hiking but didn’t have much time before a sunset, so we chose a short trail called Emerald Pools. The bus took us to the beginning of it and we were walking for 2 hours looking for some waterfalls. Summer time is pretty tricky for travelers, because it happens that you hike for hours to see a waterfall, but when you get there it’s to completely dry. All we saw I would say was a little stream. When we were coming back it was already dark and we had a luck to see a moonrise.

We came bak to the car to pack all of our staff. Slowly we started to release that Beatka was going to abandon us by nice and warm car. Honestly we couldn’t think about better companion – crazy, stubborn and scatterbrained like us. The trio we’ve created was very unique and full of positive energy. But it was time to say goodbye. She had to move on and continue her own trip.

We looked at Dodge one last time and it screeched away… We sat on a curb and fact that there was only me, Daria, our backpacks and Malibu bag suddened us. We started to think where we were going to spend our first night.

We set up our sleeping bags right next to the camping on a little beach by the river. It was very dark and we didn’t know what view was in front of us.

When we woke, the first thing we saw was THAT. Then I released that I don’t have to worry about anything and this was only a beginning of the trip of my life.

HITCH-HIKING ACROSS UNITED STATES

Day 1 (18/09/16)

We only had 1 day for hiking around the park so we quickly gathered up. Our backpacks were super heavy so we asked a random couple if we could leave them in their tent for several hours. They obviously agreed and we gave them a couple of beers in exchange.

We really wanted to go for a popular hike called The narrows, where you walk through the river. But we weren’t prepared for this kind of trip and chose another nice trail called Angels Landing. The higher we were the more beautiful it was. In the end there were chains that we used to feel more safe. I don’t hike much in my life but I have to say it was really exhausting. It was very hot, but worth it.

After this tiring but wonderful trip we took a shower on camping and stand on the familiar, brown road. The scenic drive was leading to the end of the park, but barely anyone was driving this way. The only thing we wanted was to get out from this freaking park. Finally we stopped a pick-up and got a short lift in the back of it.

The next driver got us out from the park, but left us on the empty road not far from a small gas station.

But we were full of hope to the end and we managed to get another lift before the nightfall. They took us to a main road with a big gas station and restaurant where we had a good meal. We set up our tent on a private camping, where lady charged us 5$ and warned about prowling… mountain lions.

 

 

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Las Vegas Parano

After a long trip along deserts we just couldn’t wait for a luxury in Las Vegas. Beatka recommended to stay in hotel called “Stratosphere” which is the highest building in the whole city. Although we booked 2 nights a few days before we only paid 27$ per 2 nights each for a double room.
-Oh, look this is where we are going to stay – said Beatka pointing on the big skinny tower which showed up on the horizon during sunset.

When we got to the city we couldn’t help but drive the main road called the Strip. It was surrounded by all those shiny buildings, and filled with tourists. It was already dark but still very hot. We got to Stratosphere and parked on 10th floor. The hotel was enormous, we had to walk through a big hall which was a casino and use 2 elevators to get to our room. It was situated on 12th floor and we could see a bit of lit city by night in the little window. It wasn’t much better than motel rooms in California though.

So, here we are – our very first night in Vegas… What should we do? Some of our friends rent a limo tours down all the casinos and some parties, but we couldn’t be ask for this and decided to figure out something else. It was a night when Daria was supposed to meet with her french friend – Regis, who came to popular festival in Nevada called Burning Man. Just before the meeting we went to the store. When we got to the car Regis texted Daria “I’m here”, so she started to look for him in the crowd. Right next to our hotel  there was a bus accident. Suddenly she saw familiar face in the distance. It was Regis who hit the bus. Girl run into the crowd asking if he was alright. He responded that everything was okay  and the car is 1 million $ insured, so she didn’t have to worry anymore and Regis became our new friend.

That night we didn’t make to any party just knocking around all the hotels, casinos and fake antiques. About 4 o’clock the city was already empty. It died for the rest of the day…

During the day we used our entrance for Stratosphere tower – for hotel guests it was for free (30$ for others). On the top there was amazing view and 3 different rides. It coasted 30$ for us (50$ for others) to use it. We decided to come back there later to see Vegas by night and go for rides.

The streets were empty, everybody was hiding inside of air – conditioned buildings. If I went to Vegas again I would consider it as a good place to stay between trips to some national parks (like Death Valley, Grand Canyon and more) which are around this city. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough power and time for this. Instead we focused on our most important aim – sending our staff to Poland. Each one of us prepared a big suitcase which was supposed to go to Poland by boat. It coasted over 100$ and lasted almost a month.

That night we didn’t go to any party neither – why? We couldn’t be ask for spending 20$ for entrance anywhere. The next days there were famous DJ parties for similar prices. Someone advised us to go to Vegas during weekday because apparently it’s cheaper and not so crowded. Bullshit! Go there during the weekend so you can go to a good party! The next day there was Chainsmokers concert – I’m not a big fun, but I could spend 30$ on it (50$ for men). So we were brainstorming all evening and decided to stay for another night in Vegas, pretending to be hotel guests and sleep in the car…

The next day we checked out and freely went to swimming pool on 8th floor. In the evening we went to the top of a tower again. We were waiting in very short lines and had much fun on every ride. I admit that without that height it wouldn’t be so scary!

We got to the club around midnight and the show didn’t start yet. On the entrance they rudely throw away all our glow gadgets. We actually doubt that they even let us in without high hills. We got in, but our friend (a man) didn’t.

The club was full so you could barely walk. Beer – 15$, no serving tap water at the bar, bottle of water – 10$. It took us 15 minutes to get to the dance floor where I had to ask bodyguard to let us in. When we finally got to the stage, Chainsmokers started a show…

It was a good set and we were dancing like crazy. In one moment I looked up at people – all dressed up in shiny clothes, elegant shirts and high heels. I noticed 2 men who had much fun like us. I went to them and realized they were a group who we knew from Santa Cruz! We danced all night and showed lame, shiny and shoddy Vegas how to party 🙂 !

 

 

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Joshua Tree & Route 66

Since we have started planning our trip Daria has her own ‘must-see’ – Route 66. She even wanted to hitchhike ON it, but I told her out of it. Seriously, it might has been a little hard and risky, because there were probably not many cars around. Luckily we managed to get there sooner than we all thought…

On our way to Las Vegas the scenery has changed much. No more big cities, ocean view or forest, just a desert. We decided to deviate from the route to stop by “Joshua Tree National Park”. You can drive the whole thing by a car. The Joshua tree exists only in several parts of North America. We got there by night and we were absolutely fascinated about all those different, weird looking and in the same time beautiful trees. We found a place to park a car and went to sleep to wake up right before dawn.

About 4 o’clock we started to look for a perfect spot for sunrise. It took us a while and in the end we stopped anywhere just to see IT. I pulled out my tripod and was ready just to enjoy it. I felt like I was on different planet, colors where so intensive and in one moment mountains in background started to shine on orange! This sunrise really rocked.

After this amazing golden hour the cloudless day has come. We were worried that it would be too hot, but the temperature didn’t even reach 90°F. We could hike around the park easily. We managed to drive the whole place admiring its unusual nature.


The park is full of different joshua trees, rocks and plants. One part of the park is covered with jumping Cholla cactuses. They called it jumping because even if you barely touch it attacks you with many little and sharp spines.  I actually experienced it on my foot… It wasn’t easy to get it out because it just stacked into my shoe. My dear friends weren’t very supportive because this danger attack was too funny to them.

After spending a half of very nice day in the park (except the cactus incident…) we continued our drive to LV. The temperature went higher and higher. When we opened the window in the car it felt like turning on the heating. I still don’t know why we didn’t plan earlier to drive the old highway which was just around the corner, but luckily it magically magnetized us. Daria looked at GPS and said “Wait a minute… aren’t we… isn’t that… ROUTE 66?!” Her face at this point was priceless. Right after that a big sign emerged. Yes, it really was route 66.

The road was almost empty and very patchy. Our car was literally jumping on asphalt hills. On our way we saw some Route 66 bars and gas stations. Suddenly the route just finished. We had to come back on the main road which took us to legendary Las Vegas…

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San Diego

It’s been 4 days since we’ve started our trip so we decided that it was time to fix our car (USB port didn’t work). After a long monologue with worker at “Hertz”, with no questions asked they have changed our lame Volkswagen Getta for Dogde Charger…! This little modification really made our trip even better.

We managed to get to San Diego before the sunset and hanged around the place which Mike recommended for surfing. Ocean Beach is a hippy neighborhood  full of cool bars, surf board rentals and colorful graffitis on buildings. We decided to come back there very next day and have last surf session this summer…

In the evening we reunited with our polish work&travel friends and went to Coronado Island, where we saw a stunning San Diego panorama by night.

The next day we rented surf boards and tried to catch some waves. It wasn’t the same as everyday practice in Santa Cruz, but it was nice to surf in much warmer water.

We also went to another neighborhood – Pacific Beach and stop by Tijuana, Mexico. Beatka couldn’t come, because her visa was expired. We went there by foot, bought a bootle of Tequila and waited in a very long line to United States. You could easily see a big difference between those two countries, because of tanned people, dirt on the streets and poverty.

After this short visit on another continent, we drove off the ocean side, deeper into hot California.

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Los Angeles

I used to ask people around how did they like their visit in Los Angeles. They said that except Universal studios, Warner Brothers or Six Flags, there is nothing special. Unfortunately we couldn’t effort (or just didn’t want) any of those attractions so we decided to give it a try and find something interesting and cheap. We spend 2 days there.

I don’t want to bore you with more stories, so let me list places we visited and just shortly describe my own impressions.

1. Modern Art Museum in downtown – free entrance, not a long line. 1 hour in modern art museum – very odd but interesting

2. Los Angeles City Hall – recommended by random polish people in downtown. Free entrance, not a bad view from the top and a lawn full of… homeless people. Upstairs we could stand on a rostrum and leave a phone on it by accident – I mean Daria. She had to go back on the top and take 3 elevators again to get it back.

3. Little Tokyo – it’s a neighborhood which we saw by the night before. We hang up our wishes on wishing tree and had enormous Ramen (Japanese soup ) for lunch.

4. Venice – it’s our favorite district in LA. Wide beach, skatepark, signs full of stickers, colorful graffiti on the walls and local (or not so local) shops. We went there on our 1st and 2nd day admiring two amazing sunsets. There are a lot of people coming there during ‘golden hour’ observing skateboarders. When the sunset begins, one of the worker literally counts down the time to close the park. It’s kind of a pressure for riders to make all the tricks they wanted for that day – everybody is watching and the day will end in a minute. When sun hides behind the horizon, the bodyguard announces game over so the skate park is closed till next day. Everybody gets on with their lives.

5. Beverly Hills – the richest neighborhood in LA, known by everyone from the movies. We really wanted to order a taxi, so the driver could tell us which house belongs to who. But it was hard to park a car anywhere so we decided to go for a ride by ourselves. All houses are hided behind any kind of hedges. If you see any person around, it’s probably a gardener. If it’s actually someone famous, a car with tinted windows pulls up. I think we saw someone throwing out the rubbish but not sure who that was. We stopped by Rihanna’s house to play “Bitch, better have my money” on full volume, but she didn’t come out. All the houses are big and beautiful along with their expensive cars.

6. Hollywood – Hollywood Hills and Walk of Fame. We could find a Hollywood sign easily by a daylight. It happened to be a perfect background for Beatka’s backflip. In the evening we went to walk of fame (shame) with turbo-coke and a speaker. We matched almost all the stars!

7. Universal Studios – if you don’t want to spend over 100$ for ticket, no problem! Come up on a crazy idea to visit this place in your pajamas after 11p.m. It probably won’t be crowded at all, if you ask kindly they won’t charge you for parking and maybe you can even go to a party for 10 minutes!

Except all those places I’ve listed, we went to a polish restaurant “Warszawa” and Santa Monica Pier. We also visited our friends in a hotel which was near the airport. When we were driving to them we suddenly saw a big plane very close to us. We decided to find a perfect place to be right underneath it. It took us about 30 minutes to find a perfect spot and parked somewhere illegal. I didn’t know that a plane above you can create so much adrenaline, it was amazing feeling, because it was so close!

To sum up I think LA is a big metropole which contains some touristic cities, but they’re all different. If anyone asks me if they could spend there more than 2 days, I would say yes, because you should see those staff at least 1 time. There is always something to do and you don’t have to spend much money. If I had more time I would definitely go surf and rent a bike to go along the beaches.

After a crazy evening in Universal Studios we drove around Long Beach to spend another night in the car. We were planning to wake up on this beautiful beach and continue our drive to the next stop – San Diego
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Day 1

MAGIC TRIO

Day 1 08/09/16

So here we are. Finally our epic month trip begins… 3 girls just woke up in the car (low class Volkswagen Jetta) full of staff, on the road in the middle of nowhere. It was a famous highway 1 in Big Sur, but it was too foggy to see anything. I’m glad we went there several days earlier (Sorry, B.).

Highway 1

We set ourselves the very first goal – to drive through the whole Highway 1. No one really bothers to do it because there are faster ways. But we decided to always choose the longer but the more interesting version. Honestly it was much fun to look for “California 1” signs in different scenery.

San Luis Obispo

Each one of us wanted to see some particular staff, but with no pressure. During my time in Santa Cruz I used to ask all people about some worth seeing places. One of Boardwalk clients told me with a big passion about San Luis Obispo. Obviously I couldn’t remember the name of it, so he wrote it on the peace of paper. That’s how I’ve started to collect slips with different names and during our trip tried to visit it all. It turned out that SLO is on the way to our destination – LA, where we had booked some nights in a hostel earlier, so we were motivated to get there on the same day. That was one and only thing which we planned for the whole trip.

San Luis Obispo is a county surrounded by volcanic mountains – a range called “Nine sisters”. I really wanted to go hiking around there, but we weren’t really sure where to go, and it was still pretty foggy. But at least I found not a bad viewpoint by total coincidence. We stopped by the market, so girls can go quick shopping and I took my camera to find a good shot. “Behind this building should be a perfect frame” – I thought, but I was too low and the trees covered whole landscape. At the same time I’ve noticed two construction workers with a ladder. I asked them if I could climb up on the roof and take a picture. They looked at me like I was a homeless alien and responded that it wasn’t possible. I walked away with a smile, but pretty disappointed that my epic plan didn’t work out. But I was very motivated and tried to think about other way on my way to parking. Suddenly someone grabbed my arm. It was one of the workers.
-We really can’t take you on the roof, but we could put you on the similar height. Come with me! – I had no idea what he was talking about but followed him immediately. He took me to an enormous platform, which we both stand on. It slowly started to go higher and higher, finally stopped high as a roof of the market. I was right! The mountains emerged out behind the trees.

I don’t remember how many times I thanked them for this nice gesture. Satisfied, I came back to the car and told my unusual story to the girls. During our drive in SLO I found another, even better frame, when the sky cleared up a little. I really hope to come back there and discover some cool spots.

Our next stop was a famous hotel Madonna inn – one of our work&travel friends was obsessed about it. It happens to be whole pink. It was near Highway 1, so we decided that it’s restaurant (whole pink as well) might be a perfect place for breakfast. On our trip we often ate a typical American dish – pancakes. It was the best deal because you can get full for several dollars and they pour you coffee to infinity.

After this very elegant breakfast we continued our drive. Finally the fog started to disappear. We stopped for a minute in Pismo Beach. Many people told us that ocean gets warmer on the south, but it was still fu**ing cold!

Our next aim was Santa Barbara, but all of us weren’t very good at planning, so something unusual happened on the way…

Jalama 

Our style of traveling was quit funny but I loved it from the beginning. For example when one of us came up on a crazy idea, everybody was into it and in the minute we were already doing it. Also we weren’t really in rush ever (only to catch a sunset), so I could truly enjoy the moment and catch it by my camera.

When we we were getting closer do SB, suddenly one of us shouted “Hey, it’s pretty over there” – pointing on some hills. Daria was our main driver because she loves to drive (especially fast cars). The brakes screeched loud when she immediately turned into any road. We weren’t even sure where it could take us, but continued. We were driving through empty roads between beautiful hills for another 20 minutes. We might have seen a sign with name of beach or something. Finally we stopped to take a picture. Out of the blue we saw a car driving towards us. I decided to stop it.

The driver turned out to be about 40 years old man wearing an old school cup with a girlfriend. I saw a surfboard and wetsuits on the backseats.
-Hi! Do you know by chance where this road will take us? – I asked directly. They stopped because they though our car was broken.
-You’ve been driving this road for over 10 miles and don’t know where it’s going? – I got the “homeless alien” look again.
-Hm, yes. It’s really pretty out here.
-So you better continue, cause in the end there is something absolutely stunning! Follow us!
So we went after an old Passat and slowly guessing where we were going. But our imagination was nothing to compere with a reality. After 10 more minutes a beautiful, enormous beach emerged from behind the hills. Together with palms, camping, cars and shops. Wow!  We were screaming 5 times louder than on Golden Gate! Who would ever though there was such a secret spot! It’s called Jalama Beach and you can come here with you tent or a trailer and camp. Oh, too bad we booked those nights in LA..

There was a gate on the entrance so we paid several dollar and asked the bodyguard if there was a surf rental. He dined but said that he had one in the back so he can lend it to us. It was a short, pink, foam board without a leash. We’ve changed our clothes to swimsuits, bought some beers and sat on this amazing beach. Sometimes we could hear a train going on the tracks which goes along the shore. There might be better views than on Highway 1.

The waves were big and fast. We were watching some surfers and one SUPsurfer. A girl from the car was body-surfing. Me and Beatka were having fun on the white water. We didn’t go too far from the shore, because I didn’t surf on that size of waves even with Mike. He gave me whole list of surf spots to check out, but Jalama wasn’t there. When I told him later where we ended up by a total coincidence, he couldn’t believe and was super jealous, because he didn’t have a chance to surf there yet.


Somehow this place attracted us like a magnet and we spend there several amazing hours. The idea of staying for a night was very tempting, but we decided to move on to our next stop.

Santa Barbara

Except of a list of places to see, spots to surf I have also prepared a list of dishes to eat. Mike pointed best food in his favorite restaurants in almost every city in California. I think I couldn’t afford it all, but we stopped for some fish tacos in On the Alley, Santa Barbara. Although it was served in a paper box, the taste was sooo good.

We were cruising around SB for several hours: watched sailboats in the port and pink sea urchins in the track, ate ice cream on the state Street and visited color museum of carpets. We decided to catch a sunset on our way to LA.

During our drive we couldn’t make a decision where to stop for a sunset, so Daria turned with a screeching of tires into a random road second time this day . We stopped next to someone’s house and a group of guys made some pictures of us. I couldn’t believe that the day before I was crying that it was over. It was only a beginning and I didn’t know yet that this day would last much longer.

On our way we stopped by the Malibu Beach which we didn’t really see, because it was already dark. Unfortunately we’ve never came back there. We went to the market there, trying on some funny looking souvenirs. When I was buying a bootle of water, I completely forgot that I was still wearing a flat, empty, new Malibu bag. The cashier didn’t even notice and I left the store without  paying for it by accident. Girls were watching the whole situation and laughing their asses of. The bag was very useful for whole trip (mostly carrying our alcohol).

LA by night

We got to Los Angeles by late evening. Chasing the cars on very wide highways feeling like in GTA we came up on idea to go to see the Hollywood sign. It wasn’t on our way to hotel, but who cared? To get there we had to go by long switchbacks (Hollywood Hills). Those roads looked pretty scary at this time. We were driving slowly among famous people houses searching for the letters in the distance. After a while we finally saw it. Dark, almost invisible, not lit at all Hollywood Sign. What a disappointment! We drove the closest we could, but some signs stopped us. We all decided that we are not gonna climb on it if it doesn’t even lit! But we had a chance to see the whole city from the top.

 We got into hotel after 1 o’clock and we found out that we weren’t sleepy at all, so we were cruising around the city for another 2 hours. It’s really cool to drive in the city by night when it’s empty and it wasn’t the last time we did it. The next day we were about to see all those staff in the daylight.

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