Western Explorer

from/to L.A.

To see the pictures just take a look on the German site of this tour!

Journey-day: departure - arrival

Nonstop-flight LT 1530 from Duesseldorf to L.A. in an MD 11 (flight-time 11hrs 10 min)
Right after the grounding at LAX we did our travel formalities and got our baggage.
Trip to airport hotel Hacienda via airport shuttle-bus (arrival at 15:30 p.m. local time).
In the evening a short stride and dinner at a fast-food restaurant.
1st overnight stay at "Hacienda at LAX".

1st travel-day: Los Angeles

Breakfast at 9:00 a.m. at the coffee-shop of Hacienda hotel.
At 10:00 a.m. beginning of the city-tour "Los Angeles City Tour & Movie Stars Homes" with VIP-Tours:
Points of interest:
    Fisherman's Village at Marina Del Ray
    Venice Beach
    Bel Air & Beverly Hills
    Sunset Boulevard & Rodeo Drive
    Hollywood with "Mann's Chinese Theater" & Walk of Fame
    Viewpoint over Hollywood
    Universal Studios (outer area)
After the end of this tour at 16:00 p.m. we've met our guide Andrea Kliebisch.
Dinner at the coffee-shop of Hacienda hotel.
2nd overnight stay at Hacienda hotel.

2nd travel-day: L.A.-San Diego-Tijuana (Mexico)-San Diego

Breakfast at 7:00 a.m., at 8:00 a.m. start of the tour: journey via San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente to San Diego.
Visit of historic old town, the harbour and Seaport Village, where we had lunch.
Journey continues over Coronado Bay Bridge to Coronado peninsular with the world famous victorian hotel. Then on to the mexican border at Tijuana.
The journey over the border to Tijuana had to be left out, cause one of our passports has curiously vanished into one of our suitcases. So we spend our time at a factory outlet center, till the others came back.
Journey back to San Diego, where we made a stroll through Horton Plaza, a shopping mall.
Stay overnight at a hotel in north San Diego.
3rd overnight stay at "Ramada Inn".

3rd travel-day: San Diego-Yuma-Phoenix/Scottsdale

Breakfast at 7:00 a.m., 8:00 a.m. departure to the east over the coast mountains and through imperial valley to the desert. A short break at Desert View Tower. On to the sand dunes by Yuma with a photo-stop. Lunch-break in Yuma at the border to Arizona.
After that hours after hours through the Yuma-desert to Phoenix and on to our days destination, a hotel in Scottsdale, a city in the neighbourhood.
In the evening a stroll at 40°C.
4th overnight stay at "Fairfield Inn by Marriott".

4th travel-day: Scottsdale-Sedona-Grand Canyon

Breakfast and departure time as everyday. Journey to the north with a photo-stop at the big saguaru-cactees. On through the black canyon to Montezuma's castle, where we made a short viewing.
Lunch break in Sedona, the city at the red rocks. Then through Oak Creek Canyon over Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon Airport.
From there we did a 50 min. roundtrip by plane (over 160 km) with a Vistaliner of the Grand Canyon Airlines over the marvelous Grand Canyon.
After the flight we drove in the bus to our hotel in Tusayan.
5th overnight stay at "Rodeway Inn".

5th travel-day: Grand Canyon-Monument Valley-Lake Powell (Page)

Breakfast & deaperture as always. Breakfast in a restaurant near the hotel.
Drive to South Rim of the Grand Canyon with a longer stay. Stroll to the viewpoints, and after that a terrific view from the Desert View Watchtower at the east-end of the NP.
On through Painted Desert to the Navajo-Indian-Reservation (the biggest Indian-Nation in the USA). Lunch break at Kayenta.
Then to Monument Valley. Change of busses. Continueing with a special bus driven by an older native, through the Monument Valley. A very adventerous tour.
At last journey to our days destination, the city Page, at Lake Powell.
6th overnight stay at "Best Western Arizona".

6th travel-day: Page-Kanab-Bryce Canyon

Breakfast and departure half an hour later. Breakfast in a restaurant beside the hotel. Short drive to Lake Powell Dam and stroll over the Colorado-Bridge to the visitor-center for a short visit of the exhibiton there.
From there over the border to Utah, to the small town of Kanab. Shopping-stop. On through the Red Canyon to Ruby's Inn for lunch. Then on to Bryce Canyon NP.
Long stroll to "Sunset Point" through bizarre rock formations into the valley and back up to "Sunrise Point". It was exhausting, but a wonderful experience.
With the bus back to our hotel "Best Western Ruby's Inn". 7th overnight stay there.

7th travel-day: Bryce Canyon-Zion NP-Las Vegas

Breakfast at 7:00 a.m. local time, at the hotel-restaurant. At 8:00 a.m. drive to Zion NP with the 1st photo-stop at Checkerboard Mesa. On to Zion Lodge. There we did a 1hr stroll in the Virgin River Valley.
Lunch break in St. George. Then through the desert to the border of Nevada and to Las Vegas.
Arrival at 15:30 p.m. at our hotel "Circus Circus" am Las Vegas Strip (at 42°C temp.).
Evening trip with bus and on foot through this glamorous world of the hotel-casinos. Drive to oldtown, to the Fremont Street, where we watched in awe the glamorous Lightshow "Fremont Street Experience". Over a length of 500 m a roof consisting of over 1,4 mrd. lights and laser-points are combined via computer to a fabulous show.
Then we went to Stratosphere Tower, where we used the express-elevator to reach the view-deck in 274 m hight. A phantastic view over the whole city greeted us, by a midnight-temparatur of 38°C(!).
8th overnight stay at "Circus Circus".

8th travel-day: Las Vegas-Death Valley-Mammoth Lakes

Breakfast at Circus Circus buffet. Departure to the west to California, to the renowned Death Valley.  1st photostop at Zabriskie Point (only a short time, cause of the heat). Lunch break at Furnace Creek Ranch. The heat was up to 50 °Celcius (the hottest day of the year!). Visit of the small Borax-museum. On through Death Valley uphill (our bus needed a short break, cause of the heat) to the Visitor Center. Short break there with view of Sierra Nevada peaks with Mt. Whitney (4418m).
After passing over the mountain-pass it went downhill into the green Owens Valley to Bishop. There we did a longer break at a dutch bakery.
Journey to days destination Mammoth Lakes at the foot of the Sierra Nevada.
9th overnight stay at "Sierra Nevada Inn".

9th travel-day: Mammoth Lakes-Yosemite NP-Fresno

Breakfast at a restaurant near the hotel. Then journey continues passing Mono Lake, then over Tioga pass into the Yosemite NP.
After several photo-stops arrival at Yosemite Valley. A good view of the 3-part-Yosemite-waterfall (740 m height, the 2nd highest in the world) and the high, steep rockwalls. Stay with a stroll by the waterfall (a wet experience). After that on to Wewona. Here we changed the bus. With a shuttle-bus on to Mariposa Groove. We did a stroll to the big sequoias (up to 10 m width and 32 m scope). Back with the shuttle-bus to Wewona, from there with our bus to our days destination Fresno.
On the way there we had a shopping break at Oakhurst. In the evening arrival at the hotel in Fresno. Dinner at "Danny's".
10th overnight stay at "Best Western Village Inn".

10th travel-day: Fresno-San Francisco

Breakfast by McDonald's, then drive to San Francisco via Merced and Modesto. We reached the city over the Oakland Bay Bridge. We did a sightseeing-tour which ended at Fisherman's Wharf. From there we did a Bay Cruise, passing Alcatraz and under the Golden Gate Bridge. We were lucky and had a wonderful sunny and clear day, which is seldom for San Francisco Bay.

We continued our city-tour by bus. We made stops at the Golden Gate Bridge (stroll to the middle of the bridge), the Golden Gate Park, at the beach and on Twin Peaks, the highest point in San Francisco. We had a nice view over the whole city.
After that drive to our hotel in the city-center on Market Street. Long stroll in the evening: first to the Cable Car Turnaround, then the other way back to a supermarket, where we did a little shopping.
11th overnight stay at "Holiday Inn Civic Center".

11th travel-day: San Francisco

We had the whole day to ourselves, but the weather was cold and clammy and the sun didn't even shine.
At 9:00 a.m. breakfast at the Terrace Cafe around the corner. Then a stroll to the Cable Car Turnaround. After a 45 minute wait in the line, we made a ride on the Cable Car to Fisherman's Wharf. There visit of Pier 39, full of shops and entertainment.
Then on foot the steep Hyde Street uphill and the renowned Lombard Street downhill. After this with the bus to China Town. Continuing on foot through China Town to the dragon-gate.
From there back to lower Market Street, where we hopped on a bus to Alamo Square, where on Steiner Street we've found the famous victorian houses in front of the skyscrapers (which are now in the fog).
Then at last on foot back to upper Market Street, where we shopped once again in the supermarket.
The way back to hotel was made via an historic tram the "Market Street F-Line Streamliner".
12th overnight-stay at "Holiday Inn Civic Center".

12th travel-day: San Francisco-Pacific Coast Highway (CPH)-Pismo Beach

Breakfast at 7:00 a.m. at Terrace-Cafe around the corner. Drive on the famous Pacific Coast Highway No.1 to Monterey. There we did a stroll at Fisherman's Wharf. Then on to the small town of Carmel. Here we had a longer stay with a stroll down to the beach (we got wet feet) and then a stroll through the flower decorated shopping-center.
After that we continued our tour on the bendy street on the coast (Big Sur) with a few photo-stops till we reached our destination, our hotel in Pismo Beach, the beautiful "Casa Grande Inn".
Right after our arrival we went shopping in the supermarket on the other side of the street.
13th overnight-stay at "Best Western Casa Grande Inn".

13th travel-day: Pismo Beach-Santa Barbara-Los Angeles

Breakfast at 7:00 a.m. at the hotel. Beginning of the last day-trip on the coast to Santa Barbara. Here we had a stay at the beach and over the pier (with lot of pelicans). Then over Ventura to Los Angeles.
We had a small sightseeing tour with a short stay at Mann's Chinese Theater in Hollywood and our destination, the Universal Studios.
There we made a tour through the studios, the "Backlot Tram Tour", which showed us a collapsing bridge, a flood, an earthquake with magnitude 8.3 in an underground tunnel, an encounter with King-Kong, the parting of the "Red Sea" and a drive through melting lava (from the movie ("Dante's Peak"), only the white shark wasn't functioning.
At 7:15 p.m. our tour-bus picked us up and drove us back to the hotel.
There we said our goodbyes to Paul, our driver and Andrea, our guide.
After this we dined in the coffee-shop of the hotel.
14th overnight-stay at "Hacienda at LAX", the starting-point of the tour.

14th travel-day: Departure

At 8:30 a.m. breakfast at the hotel. At 10:00 a.m. with a shuttle-bus to the airport. There we checked-in and waited.
At 1:45 p.m. non-stop flight LT 1531 Los Angeles-Duesseldorf with a MD-11


At 9:00 a.m. grounding at Duesseldorf International Airport on the next day (Flight time: 10 hrs 15 min).
After passport-control and baggage claiming with a Taxi back home.

End of the tour

To see the pictures just take a look on the German site of this tour!

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