Sister Road Trip to America
It all started back in June of 2018. My sister and I once again decided to plan a trip. We both love hiking and camping. I wouldn't say we're "experienced" hikers, but you could say we're pretty nifty when it comes to the outdoors. Needless to say, we love adventures. So we started by inspiring ourselves through Instagram and Pinterest posts. This helped us outline our agenda for the trip. Jessica (my sister - for those who may not know), had a few "bucket list" items already in mind - so that helped us figure out the itinerary (I was mostly there to enjoy the ride - because if you know me, you know I'm all about those "life experiences"). Nonetheless, it definitely wouldn't be fair for me to take credit for this detailed itinerary on my own. So... as requested by many, here is our American road trip itinerary.
Day 1 - California, US
Los Angeles, CA
We landed in LA for our first day. I'll admit, this one was on my bucket list. I really wanted to see the city as well as visit Santa Monica Beach. We walked around most of the day and found the famous art walls off of Melrose Ave. There was lots of shops - vintage stores as well as well-known and new brand stores. Jessica and I were tempted to shop until we saw the price tags... but that didn't stop us from window shopping.
Santa Monica, CA
We headed to Santa Monica for supper and went to a nice Mexican restaurant near the pier. It was happy hour when we got there so we evidently had a drink (or two). After stuffing our faces, we went out on Santa Monica Pier, which was literally a 30 second walk from the restaurant.
The Pier was as beautiful as the pictures (see pics below). It had a very cool vibe to it as well. You could find local talent (dancers, entertainers) showing off their different styles all the way down the boardwalk of the pier. We made it to the edge of the pier and decided on more drinks at the Mariasol Restaurant (another Mexican restaurant). Although our stay in LA was short, we had lots of fun while it lasted.
That night, we slept at a nice Airbnb near LAX (in Inglewood, approximately 5-7 minutes away from the airport).
Using Ubers are quite cheap (we paid around 20-25$ USD for almost an hour drive). We also heard about Lyft (another app similar to Uber) but stuck with Uber for our stay.
Day 2 - California, US
We woke up quite early, like every other day on this trip, to make it to our next destination. We made it back to the airport to fly to Oakland (1-2 hr flight). Oakland (which is near San Francisco, for those who don't know) had stunning views.
We had some family here, so we decided to spend a few hours in town after picking up our "Escape" Campervan Rental (the car we'd be living in for the next week). We visited St Mary's College and drove around for the rest of the day with the fam. Finally, we stopped at the "famous" In N Out take-out before heading to our first camping destination.
Yosemite National Park, CA
We drove on US highways for the next 3 hours to get to Yosemite National Park. We didn't book any campgrounds / motels while we had the van, we decided we were going to "wing it". We got to the park entrance after sunset and parked our camper van in a small "rest" area on the side of the road - other campers we're parked there so we figured we could squeeze in. We used the "iOverlander" app for the rest of our trip. to find camping spots.
iOverlander app will become your best friend.
Get to your camping spot before dark! It can feel a bit sketchy when you get somewhere and it's dark (and you are alone or surrounded with people you don't know). It's a lot easier to assess your surroundings while it is still sunny out.
Day 3 - California, US
Yosemite National Park, California
We woke up and got ready to go to Yosemite National Park. This one was very picturesque to drive through and probably the one most similar to Canada. You could find lots of big tree's, mountains and lakes in this park.We stopped by a few scenic spots and did a few hikes that day.
Hike Details - Sentinel Dome & Taft Point
Difficulty: Easy to intermediate
Distance: 3.5km loop (1-2hrs hike. You can see the half dome from this hike- on top of sentinel dome).
The trailhead for both is located off Glacier Point Road (open seasonally May-November).
Hike Details - Glacier Point
Difficulty: Easy - Scenic Point
We actually weren't able to see this one. It was packed with tourists and had a huge line up. We decided to turn the van around when we saw it. We got there late afternoon so I'd suggest going early in the morning for a parking spot.
Hike Details - Tenaya Lake
Distance: 2.5 miles (4 km) loop around the lake
We did not complete the loop and only walked a few km's following the shore. However, the trail goes around the lake which can take up to 1-2hrs of hiking.
That night, we used our iOverlander app to find a place where we could set up camp. Once again, we were seeking last minute for a place to sleep. We ended up in a small town called Bishop (about 2 hours from Yosemite National Park). We drove about 15 mins through a dirt road, between valley’s to get to our camping location. Again, we found a few other camper units and camper vans there.
PS. Believe it or not, we saw (what we thought was a UFO) a rocket launch in the sky that evening. We found out later on that this was the first rocket launch from SpaceX on the west coast (click here to check it out). It was a pretty cool thing to experience. Mind you that the stargazing in this place is already a wonder to look at.