When planning our holiday and wedding in Las Vegas, we both knew we wanted to visit another US city for our honeymoon. San Francisco came out as a clear winner for us and in deciding how to get there we knew we wanted to drive through the desert! However, neither of us had ever driven abroad before so were also a little anxious about the driving but it turned out we had nothing to worry about and this part of our trip was one of the most memorable.
We decided that it was best to hit the road on a full stomach so we went back to Denny’s for one last breakfast with my parents (Bacon and Avocado Burrito for me this time), said good bye to my family and then picked up our car. After a quick check of the maps and our route, we were off!
We got out of Las Vegas with relative ease and stopped off at Walgreens to stock up on the usual unhealthy car snacks!
Pretty soon, the landscape changed from built up area around the city to open plains and mountains. I don’t think my pictures really do the views justice but it was just stunning to sit back and watch and we hardly saw another car. We even saw a mini dust tornado!
Soon, we were heading into Death Valley National Park and it was my turn to take over and have a go at driving. My biggest worry was forgetting what side of the road I was meant to be on but it turns out that once I was driving it all just came naturally to me. Along the way, there were lots of vista points where you could get out and appreciate the views although we would end up running back to the air conditioned car pretty soon as the heat was unbearable!
We stopped off at Furnace Creek, ‘the hottest place in the world’ where a temperature of 134° was recorded on July 10th, 1913. It was 114° the day we were there but that was hot enough for us!
We continued through the beautiful open roads until my craving for a milkshake took over and we stopped off at a little motel in the middle of nowhere, where Ian helpfully said it looked like something from a horror film, and I got a delicious strawberry shake to cool off!
We swapped driving again and the landscape started to change, becoming greener and we started driving through more small picturesque towns until we arrived at our destination for the night, Mammoth Lakes.
A popular winter sports resort, this town is full of cosy bars and cute chalet-style hotels and I could just imagine how beautiful it would look covered in snow. In the summer, it is just as popular with campers and other outdoor-sports enthusiasts who come for the stunning views and mountain trails.
I had done a bit of research and found a local restaurant near our hotel that did great food and had a good selection of local craft beers for Ian to sample. Our dinner was one of the best we had when we were away. I enjoyed a rack of hickory smoked ribs and Ian ordered the prime rib.
Afterwards, we also indulged in a spot of beer tasting!
The next morning, we enjoyed a lovely breakfast in our hotel then decided to spend the morning exploring the area before we hit the road for San Fran. We drove up the hill until we got to Mammoth Mountain, a ski resort where we hitched a ride up one of the ski lifts to the summit, 11,053 feet up where there was still snow on the ground.
We were lucky that it was such a clear day and we could see for miles.
After our morning detour, we were back on the road to Yosemite National Park. The route that we took was definitely not the quickest – you could go the whole way on the motorway and shave off a few hours – but was the most picturesque. This was a once-in-a-lifetime trip for us so we took the more interesting option.
Upon entering the National Park along a road that is closed for most of the year due to snow and ice, two deer ran out in front of us which caused me to test the brakes out rather quickly! Although I loved going through the desert the day before, Yosemite was even more stunning. Again, there were lots of places to pull over to enjoy the views, which included waterfalls and lakes around every corner.
I couldn’t resist dipping my feet in at one point too!
After a quick pit stop for some tacos and ice-cream, we were on the final stretch of our journey. Again, the landscape was ever changing with rows of fruit trees lining the roads and fruit stalls selling their wares for such low prices (10 avocados for $1!)
We were welcomed into San Francisco with a covering of grey clouds…not exactly what I was hoping for but the mist that rolls in every afternoon is well-known. We crossed the Bay Bridgeand got our first glances of the city.
After dropping the car off, we checked in to our hotel and headed straight out for dinner. We were staying right next to the beautiful Chinatown gates so it was only right that we sampled some Chinese food.
We went to a Trip Advisor recommended place and enjoyed wonderful starters of ginger chicken parcels and lemon chicken legs but our mains of seafood chowmein and Singapore noodles were pretty average. We were both so tired from the drive though that it didn’t really matter and we managed to finish most of it!
My next post will be all about our time in San Francisco xxx