Perfect skiing conditions and game burgers!

One of the main conditions for one of the Leos to come along on this trip was to stop by Aspen, the world known skiing resort in Colorado. He has been nagging about how it will be to set off from the legendary top of Snowmass and feel seven meters of concrete snow with just a touch of powder on top under the skis.

So here we are, we’ve just enjoyed four excellent skiing days with beautiful weather and perfect conditions except for the first day when it snowed like crazy. But since we’ve been extremely lucky with the weather so far we didn’t let that put us down noticeable and sat inside of our cozy lodge playing cards and drinking hot chocolate all day.

Nadine had kind of a hard time the first couple of skiable days since it was her first time ever in a slope, but Emil took care of her and made sure she learned the basics. He’s such a gentleman that Emil, at least in comparison to the Leos who were nowhere to be seen first two days. They couldn’t be bothered with going up and down the children’s slope when finally coming to this skiing paradise. Soon Nadine was brave enough to join on some longer runs further up the mountain though.

Our diet here has, just like over all on this road trip so far, consisted mostly of burgers and fries. Though here at the local restaurant just up the hill from where we were staying we had the privilege to enjoy some game meat burgers. This was the highlight of the whole stay in Colorado Nadine thought. We also considered staying one more day but that woud spoil the entire schedule so we didn’t.

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Wonderful hiking in Grand Canyon, Arizona


Yesterday we took a bus early in the morning from Las Vegas. Unfortunatley the AC on the bus didn’t work properly so it became extremely hot and Nadine felt sick. We met some nice Norwegian tourists on the bus that were going the same way as us so we had company on our hike in the canyon. The bus ride also passed over the hoover dam. A very famous and large dam with height 726.4 ft (221.4 m) and lenght 1,244 ft (379 m).

There was a $12 ea for entrance to the national park.

After a not very good late lunch on the south rim of Grand Canyon our hiking began with a descent when Leo slipped on a rock and got injured on his knee. The Norwegians were a little more well prepared and had a better first aid kit and fixed the wound.We stopped on a ledge to eat our picknic and then had to go up again while there still was daylight. We took a bus and stayed in a motel. The next day we hiked in the more west part of Grand Canyon.

The weather was perfect but hot both days. Grand Canyon was very well worth  the visit.

Facts about Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is considered one of the natural wonders of the world, it is due to the fact that it has the most fascinating natural features. The exposed geologic stratum rise several miles over the river. Geologic formations such as gneiss and schist were found at the bottom of the Canyon and date back 1 800 million years. The oldest human fossils that they could found are nearly 12 000 years old and date to the Paleo-Indian period.

Grand Canyon did not achieve National Park status until 1919, today the park receives up to five million visitors each year. The Grand Canyon National Park covers over 1 218 375 acres and lies on the Colorado Plateau.

The entire park area is semi-arid desert, but there are habitats located at different elevations and near the Colorado River, sandy beaches prevail. Above the river a desert scrub community exists with a wide variety of cactus and special species. Even Pinyon Pine and juniper forest grows above the scrubs up to 6 200 feet, while the Ponderosa Pine is profuse between 6 200 and 8 200 feet. Further northward, is spruce-fir forest dominating. The arid climate has been instrumental for preserving many prehistoric fossils deep in the caves.

The Park contains several major ecosystems. Here are five of the seven life zones and three of the four desert types in North America found. The five life zones are the Lower Sonoran, Upper Sonoran, Transition, Canadian, and Hudsonian. The Park also serves as an ecological refuge and it is a home to numerous rare, endemic and specially protected plant and animal species. Over 1,500 plants, 355 bird, 89 mammalian, 47 reptile, 9 amphibian, and 17 fish species are found in the park.

As in all natural habitats, the type and occurrence of organisms depends on the presence of water. In this dry desert environment, the Colorado River is the source. The river is immense, 4000 feet deep.

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Las Vegas!

Arriving to Las Vegas after sitting in a warm bus for hours is truly a wonderful feeling. We we’re very dazed by the merciless sun and stated that ice-cream was necessary. We found our hotel, “Vegas Club Casino & Bar” quickly after the ice-cream and put our luggage in the hotel suite. The hotel was really fancy, but after a five minute break we decided were ready to go downtown.

http://tinyurl.com/5s7wxnt

When we entered the strip we realized that this was the real deal. Las Vegas was a big city and all but the feeling we got when we first walked down the strip was indescribable.  Seeing the “Bellagio”, “Caesar´s Palace” and the fake Eiffel tower for the first time was truly stunning. We found a great casino and the both Leos decided to gamble, but neither won a greater sum. The night ended up in the hotel lounge and since it was the 4th of July the hotel arranged fireworks and drinks and we all had a great time.

gfrdcfrThe view from the hotel room the 4th of July was like nothing we’ve ever experienced.

We decided to spend our entire next day walking the streets and shopping. When nightfall was imminent we found ourselves a nice restaurant adjacent to our hotel. The food was great, but it was quite expensive. Due to our recently exhausted wallets we thought it would be wise to not burn too much money when we still had one night left.

For our last night in Las Vegas we decided to hit down town big time. We ended up in Hard Rock Café Casino playing poker while smoking cigars like true goodfellas. The whole night was great, but the morning after we realized that the life in Las Vegas was very tiring and a soothing visit to the Grand Canyon was necessary so right now we’re packing our bags, Emil is already done though, he’s yelling at me now to stop wasting time in front of the computer and start looking for his missing toothbrush. See you!

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Best bike ride of our lives and a quick visit to the jailhouse.

Now we’re finaly in the US and the roadtrip has begun. The flight to San Francisco International airport went well but took a long time. The plane touched down about mid day but we didn’t get out of the airport until late in the afternoon because of our luggage.

Tired and finaly out of the airport we went to this marvelous restaurant, “The Cliff House.” We really had a great time there, but we also really wanted to go to this cool restaurant with great view of the Golden Gates and Alcatraz. The food was great! Although Emil unfortunately couldn’t handle his Franciscan cooked crab and he felt sick for the evening and he was quite unbearable.
The hotel we had prebooked although wasn’t that great. It turned out to be a hostel, but it was really comfortable and we all indisputably got closer to each other.

The next morning we went on a trip to Alcatraz by boat for $ 104 total. Alcatraz was very interessting but some of us thought it was a bit scary too. When we got back on land in the afternoon we decided to rent bikes. We found a rental that only costed us $28.80 *4=  $115,20. With the bikes we went to see the fantastic Golden Gate Bridge and the Presidio of San Francisco where we had a great view ower the ocean.

We stayed in the same bad hostel for one more night and the next day we checked out the great view from the Twin Peaks as early as we managed (09:00) in the morning. After a lunch at Subway the bus trip to L.A. began. It went flawless and took eight hours.

Rocking the house of blues and one star to little in the City of Angels.

The house of Blues

On our way home from an average restaurant we bumped into a guy standing and dealing out leaflets that said that the House of Blues are celebrating a special occasion and everybody are welcome. It is not like we are in L.A. every day, so we thought that we should give it a try.

The House of Blues is known for hosting the most eclectic types of musical acts. Every conceivable genre has equal playing time on the stage. It was really crowded when we got there and we noticed that the best seats were upstairs in the balcony area where we could avoid the large crowd and mosh pit. But all those seats were taken and filled way before the band got on stage, so we took the seats below. Among the bands that were going to perform was Kings Of Leon, which was pretty awesome!

The dance floor had a pretty decent size and the light shows were good for such a small stage. The House of Blues on Sunset also boast The Porch, a Creole style restaurant where anyone from tourists, families, couples to young teenagers come for a delicious meal. It’s not the best place to have a conversation when a band is performing because their sound system is phenomenal, but the perk is bypassing the line outside and entrance to the concert venue right after dinner.

We managed to take a picture even though it was hard considering the crowd.

And a video here.

Since we only stayed one night in L.A. we decided to book a fancier hotel. Our stay at the relatively fancy two-star hotel was pleasant and we all enjoyed the privacy that you can allow yourself when you live in a room that’s bigger than twenty square meters. We were all happily surprised about the breakfast our hotel managed to deliver and in our eyes the hotel deserved a third star.

In L.A. our food intake wasn’t that healthy perhaps. Since we were walking the streets a lot we just stopped whenever we felt hungry and we can now tell you from our own experience that the streets of L.A. have a lot of McDonald’s restaurants.

during the time we spent in “The Golden State” we experienced the big amount of Spanish immigrant populations that, as immigrants, done their thing and emigrated from Latin America and we heard the spicy language of Spain being spoken everywhere we went.
One cashier didn’t even understand what Leo meant when he asked for a pack of beef jerky to have as provisioning on the bike trip to Golden Gate Bridge, instead he got a jar of peanut butter but he was rather happy with that to. Though he did miss the luxury of cutleries as his finger got really smudgy when he reached for a snack half way.

The bike trip, by the way, was a genius idea. We got extremely lucky with the weather and the view was spectacular all the way!

California was great!

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Planning

We were thinking a little what we want to get out of this trip so that we can plan it according to everyones’ desires.

We quickly found out that the group wanted different things, everything from shopping and skiing the slopes of Aspen to experience american history and learn about native americans.

So we set up a route which covered just about it all, as we weren’t very fond of missing something and having to go back. Turned out that we had to stay for a month go through nine states but as the flight to San Francisco, where we were going to start off, would take us fifteen hours and cost us a whole lot, we didn’t mind making the most of our stay in the US. The cities and states we are going to visit are in order: (Also shown at the map below)

San Francisco, California
Los Angeles, California
Las Vegas, Nevada
Grand Canyon, Arizona
Aspen, Colorado
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Houston, Texas
New Orleans, Louisiana
Missisippi
Alabama
Miami, Florida

Because of all the travelling we all agreed on just bringing a backpack each and wash our clothes ourselves as we go along and to make out limited budget last the whole trip we decided to bring our sleeping bags and split rooms at motels and not gamble too much in Vegas.

We made up a estimated cost per person and came up with following numbers:

1 250$ travelling expenses.

450$ food and drinks

600$ living

Then we would need some pocket money but we’ll get to that.

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Hello world!

We’re three guys and a girl, we’re planning on going on a field trip across the US. All the way from San Francisco to Miami! http://tinyurl.com/4uqj58g

We’re looking forward to fill this excellent blog with everything we experience in the land of oppurtunities, stay tuned for more fantastic posts!

Yours,
Leo, Leo, Nadine and Emil

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