Driving through the West Coast

Fire Valley

I have been quiet for a while because I was busy running around in the scorching sun of the West Coast in the USA. I got a chance to attend DEFCON, one of the largest hacking and security conferences, taking place in Las Vegas. After the conference was over, my boyfriend joined me for two weeks of epic adventure.

What a trip it has been. So many surprises, jaw-dropping moments, stunning natural beauty of national parks, and the loud hum of the busy cities. Each day we thought nothing could beat what we already saw, and every single day we were proved wrong. According to the ever-knowing Mr. Google, we drove more than 4100 km and walked over 100km in just two weeks 🙂

So what did we actually do?

Together with my work colleagues, we decided that flying from Los Angeles to Las Vegas was boring, so opted for a scenic route with a car. We had a couple of stops on the way, one of them being a not-so-scary Ghost Town called Calico.

But the real adventure started when my boyfriend joined me after a week of the conference, and we embarked on our journey. For obvious reasons, we started  in Las Vegas – a big amusement for adults, where quite quickly we discovered how fast we could get rid of the cash 😅

After Vegas, we swung by Hoover Dam, only to drive further through Lake Mead National Recreation Area to Valley of Fire, which fully lived up to its name. The second we stepped out of our protective air-conditioned bubble, we were burned to a crisp.

Afterward, we checked the Narrows– a spectacular hiking trail following through the river in Zion Canyon and drove to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. And yes, coral is a color 😆

The new day brought us to the new national park – Bryce Canyon National Park – which yet again took our breaths away, literally and figuratively speaking. Located at ~2335 meters above sea level, it took us some adjusting to hiking in the area due to elevation, right before the stunning views made us breathless again.

Racing with the sudden storms and flash floods in the area, we visited Horseshoe Bend and hiked through Antelope Canyon before heading toward the Grand Canyon. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but in this case, no photo or sentence can faithfully replicate the scale of the size of this canyon; it was humongous and tremendously ravishing.

No trip in the area would be complete without driving at least some part through Historic Route 66. And hence, we decided to visit a couple of cities along that famous route and check out what the buzz is all about.

One of our last stops was the Death Valley; however, two days before I landed in the USA, a flash flood drowned the Death Valley. In just 3 hours, they got as much rain as during the whole year. As a result, roads got either washed away or covered in debris, stranding 1000 unlucky ones in one of the hottest places on Earth. As a result, the park was closed for more than two weeks. It so happened that on the day we were supposed to drive through it, the goddess of luck graced us with a smile, and the main road reopened, allowing us to cross the valley!

After surviving 50°C in Death Valley, we drove toward Sequoia National Park to see some of the biggest trees on this planet! And you know they are giant when you have to take a panorama picture to be able to fit a tree in a photo 🙂

After driving around the USA for a week, which felt way longer, as we managed to cramp up so many incredible things in such a short span of time, we settled for another week in Los Angeles.

This gigantic city has many things to offer; however, after visiting the main attractions, we focused mainly on amusement parks – Universal Studios Hollywood, Disneyland Park, and Disney California Adventure Park.

As you can see, two weeks were wild and busy, and I have many tales to share and a ton of pictures to go through 🙂

The detailed plan:

Day 1 – Calico Ghost Town

Day 2 – Las Vegas

Day 3 – Hoover Dam, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, and Valley of Fire

Day 4 – Zion National Park and Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

Day 5 – Bryce Canyon National Park and Horseshoe Bend

Day 6 – Antelope Canyon X and Grand Canyon

Day 7 – Route 66 and the Death Valley

Day 8 – Sequoia National Park

Day 9 – Solvang and Los Angeles

Day 10 – Universal Studios Hollywood

Day 11 –Disneyland Park

Day 12- Disney California Adventure Park

Day 13 – Los Angeles


More pictures will come as soon as I go through them!!


3 thoughts on “Driving through the West Coast”

  1. Hi guys! I love your schedule, but may I ask if you could add/let me know where did you sleep each night between days 3-9? Thanks so much!

    • Hi,
      The sun set around 7ish, so we usually ended up in hotels around 9pm, we chilled a bit and went to sleep around 11-12. We are bad at waking up, so we usually sleep until 9 or there about. The only day it took us a while to drive was Death Valley – we arrived at visitors center around 6pm, and as our hotel was on the other side of the park, we ended up driving til 1-2am.

      My bf knowing I want to see as much as possible and I tend to forget about food and stuff like that, made me promise to book hotels around 5h driving apart (google map distance between hotel A and hotel B, skipping all attractions). Initially I thought it is too close, but in retrospective, it was good call. There were plenty to do, and thanks to that we did not spend too much time in the car.

    • Day 3 – Hoover Dam, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, and Valley of Fire – Sleep in “Red Lion Hotel & Conference Center St. George, UT”

      Day 4 – Zion National Park and Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park – Sleep in “Historic Smith Hotel Bed and Breakfast,295 N Main St, Glendale, UT 84729”

      Day 5 – Bryce Canyon National Park and Horseshoe Bend – Sleep in “Rodeway Inn & Suites Big Water – Antelope Canyon, 605 S Independence Dr, Big Water, UT 84741”

      Day 6 – Antelope Canyon X and Grand Canyon, – Sleep in “Motel 6 Kingman, AZ – Route 66 West, 424 W Beale St, Kingman, AZ 86401”

      Day 7 – Route 66 and the Death Valley – Sleep “329 E Ridgecrest Blvd, Ridgecrest, CA 93555”

      Day 8 – Sequoia National Park – Sleep “Lamp Liter Inn,3300 W Mineral King Ave, Visalia, CA 93291”

      Day 9 – Solvang and Los Angeles – Sleep in “Alamo Inn and Suites, 1140 W Katella Ave, Anaheim, CA 92802” as we wanted to be close to Universal Studios


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