EPIC USA Road Trip! (7 States, 6 National Parks, 21 days, 3,800km)
We did it. We quit our jobs, moved out of our apartment, sold all our belongings and left Dubai and the United Arab Emirates, and off to the USA we went for our Great American Road Trip, the first part of our 8-month trip around the world.
For the first leg of our big adventure, we started with a 3 week-long Epic West Coast USA road trip and tried to hit all of the US National Parks we could.
After our direct flight from DXB to Seattle with Emirates, and more than 14 hours in the air - which honestly, wasn’t enough to catch up on all the movies/series Emirates' ICE offers! - , we landed in Seattle Airport and went to pick up our trusty car at Hertz.
The Emirates direct flight from Dubai to Seattle is a dream because it leaves Dubai at 8:35am and lands in Seattle at 10:55am the same day, wasting no time and allowing for a good nights sleep before exploring all you can in the US.
We had no idea that Emirates flew this route but were thankful to find it as it proved to be the perfect launching city from which to start a great American road trip - and the stunning nature, ocean, and scenery was the perfect beginning to our amazing adventure down the west coast of the USA.
Now that we'd sorted the flight and arrived to Seattle, we had to find our home for the next three weeks - time to get our rental car!
Since we registered in advance for the Hertz Gold Plus Rewards loyalty programme, we didn’t have to queue and could directly select our car on the spot at the airport in Seattle - with an additional driver for free! #WIN This was a huge benefit after a long flight and allowed us to get right on the road. It's the little things like this that make such a huge difference on a trip like this.
Tip: Register for the Hertz Gold Plus loyalty programme to benefit from awesome features too!
Once we picked up our car, we headed directly towards Seattle city center for a quick visit to Pike’s Market on Elliott Bay, one of the oldest in the USA, where you can find fresh produce, independent businesses, the most amazing seafood in the US, and specialty foods.
We then had to stop for a coffee at the world’s oldest operating Starbucks on Pike Place, a classic! (we're so white...)
After this quick visit to Seattle, we had to continue towards Portland, where we spent the first two nights of our West Coast USA road trip - in one of the funkiest cities in America.
We woke up early on the second day (thanks, jet lag!) and went for a morning workout in Forest Park, which ended up being absolutely beautiful and we finally could breathe real oxygen and see greenery and trees, which we missed so much living in the desert for so many years! Forest Park is the largest urban park in the US and goes on forever with endless amazing hikes and trails.
After a lunch at Whole Foods (you know it), we visited Powell’s Books, the oldest independent bookstore in the world. We could have stayed for hours - the bookstore is huge, has all genres imaginable and is such a cozy place!
Crater Lake, Oregon
On the way from Oregon to California, we made a stop at Crater Lake, and we’re thrilled we did! Upon entering the Crater Lake National Park, we bought the $80 America the Beautiful pass, which allows you unlimited entry to all National Parks in the USA for a year - super worth it if you’re doing a West Coast USARoad Trip as each individual National Park pass is around $20-$30.
Redwood National Park, California
While driving down from Oregon into California, we stopped by Redwood National Park, as Jeff had never visited - even though he lived in California for years!
San Francisco, California
This was our second time in San Francisco together, and we decided to start a 5k run on the Golden Gate bridge to kick-start the day! What a feeling, to be on one of the (if not THE most) iconic bridges in the world, running and feeling great!
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles is difficult to cover in a few days as it’s so massive and spread out. We managed to see a lot of Jeff’s friends, do some amazing hikes to Griffith Observatory and up Mount Hollywood and even watch a Dodgers baseball game (I am yet to fully understand the game, but it was an incredible experience with an unparalleled atmosphere!).
Las Vegas, Nevada
We made a quick detour by Las Vegas, since I had never been. We stayed right on the strip in the Treasure Island hotel...
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