Monthly Archives: April 2022

USA 2022 – summary

While sitting at the lounge at LHR waiting for the connecting flight to AMS a brief recap.

Place to be : Haleiwa , Oahu

Beach: Unknown beach around the corner

just the two of us

Food : Poke!!!

Scenic drive : 17 miles drive at Peeble beach

Viewpoint: Battery Spencer for Golden Gate bridge

Place to skip : Los Angeles

Place to return: Hawaii, San Francisco

Crazy place : Las Vegas

Beer : Kona Longboard Lager aka Liquid Aloha. comes along best with plain nachos

National park : all of them. Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Yosemite, Big Sur.

Car : white Mustang convertible

Hotel : The Bellagio, Las Vegas

Motel : Inn at the beach, Santa Barbara

Overrated: Shave ice from Matsumoto, Haleiwa

Sunrise: Lanikai beach

Sunset : Waimea beach

Airline : Finnair Business class A 350-900

Distance driven : mainland USA 4180 km

Santa Barbara – last night

The Inn at the Beach is expensive but worth it.

King size bedroom

A short walk on the beach …

Santa Barbara beach

Next morning early wake up for sunrise at Stearns Wharf. Not that spectacular as back in 2014 but nice.

Sunrise 2022
Sunrise 2014 same place

We spent a relaxed day in Santa Barbara. Nice little town, mediterranean ambiance. Now it’s time for the very last part, going to LA. Return rental car and catch an Uber to LAX. But there is one beach on the way which is famous for the guy’s dressed in red swimwear… yes it’s Malibu.

No bay watch…☹️

And we missed even the famous Malibu house from Two and a half man…

Rental car back, Uber was 43$ to LAX. Checkin… and BAMMM. Our flight from LHR to AMS which is a business class flight as well.. not available. And I recognized it only by the luggage tag coz it says LHR. 30 mins later we got an Eco flight 90 mins later than the original flight but we will be in Amsterdam tomorrow night. The lounge (Quantas, British Airways and … ) is big . The food is … well… british. ☹️ Anyway looking forward for a new flight experience with a BA 777 business class. And we drove approximately 4180 km within 3 weeks… more than last year in Namibia.


We had to leave SF but we agreed to return as soon as we get the chance. Monterey is the actual Mac OS version name :) Nice pretty town with a huge half moon bay

It’s a peninsula which makes it a perfect place. And it’s the second last station on our way. Fun fact: the guy at the reception said “yes you have a booking but for 16/17 May…” I was mistaken during my re-booking actions so i didn’t realize the booking was made for one month later… thx to the internet we found a new place to stay. Had a long walk along the ocean walk to fishermens wharf and Cannery Row. And saw playing seals in their natural habitat. Sooooo cool. Fishermens wharf is a little bit like Santa Monica pier. I guess they all are… Grabbed a sandwich and went to Cannery Row for dinner. As usual it was hard to find a common dinner idea… to many options and we kicked out the other 50% options. Anyway. Cannery was twice the price of wharf so we went back and had a fine dining at a seafood restaurant with harbor view. Ok. It was unbelievable loud after a group of guys entered the location and started their conversation… But we got some nice food. Today going on the last part , heading towards Santa Barbara.

San Francisco – last day

What a sunny and beautiful morning after the rain yesterday. A healthy breakfast was served by Mandy and little later we hit the streets of SanFran. First point : City Hall. It looks like the Peters Cathedral in Rom. Several marriages were going on, nevertheless we were able to get in and took some pictures. Some people stood outside to see the flag raising for the Golden State Warriors, NBA playoffs reached.

Next topic: ride the cable car. The line was huge so we decided to skip it and jump on a few stations later. Worked.

It was the red line between Fishermen Warf and Market which is very overcrowded with tourists. Anyway we paid 8 $ each and jumped off at Greenwhich station. A few blocks to reach the Castle Inn where we had a light dinner (incl beer…) and a power nap followed by a coffee. 😊

Around 4 pm we were back on the sidewalk to see chinatown. Not that we haven’t seen those but it’s the largest outside asia and so we went for shopping and dining and just walking around. Yes successful with all points 👍

Dragon Gate
chinese pimp?
Vietnamese kitchen
never heard about this

And the cable car has another line which is less touristic and will bring us close to our hotel …. and it was empty with a nice view to the sunset.

San Francisco is a nice city. Of course a lot of broken dreams on the streets. I haven’t seen so many homeless ppl before. California seems to be the place for broken dreams, I was facing that in 2014 when i was the first time here.

Tomorrow we expect rain, so a good day to leave to ride the coastal highway towards Monterey.

San Francisco

Due to the plan change an additional night was needed in SF. We choose The Mosser hotel which was available for 120€. Parking in SF is expensive so plus 44$. But very central. Room was a little bigger than at Grand Canyon Inn , but 17sqm is not that big. But entrance lobby has its own old school character.

Nevertheless, since we both got a cold we used the bathtub and tried to catch a good sleep. Went shopping before that , new jackets were needed so we bought them at Nordstrom and had some noodles at the food court.

So and now? The answer to make the most of the day was the 49 miles scenic drive or a part of. Plus Battery Spencer which is a definitely an awesome view point for Golden Gate bridge. So let’s do it. And here we go

pier 7 at Embarcadero
bay bridge seen from waterfront
painted ladies houses
on the bridge
Golden Gate seen from battery spencer
trees at Lands End
Bay area
Ocean beach
SF seen from Twin Peaks

This tour took until 2pm , incl Poke bowl and sushi for dinner 菱 Our hotel for the next days is the Castle Inn. Spacious room with king size bed in an interesting building. Tomorrow’s weather will be rainy so we might have space enough and the time to get well recovered. But now let’s visit the main tourist traps and attractions in SF. Btw we definitely like SF much more than LA. It feels cozy and stress less.

Fresno – sick‘n‘break

We both got a cold . May be the air con which we are not used to or something else. The whole nine yards. Cough, running nose, everybone and muscle hurts. For a reason Fresno was our best option. Weather forecast said at Lake Tahoe -10 degrees Celsius to expect. Not ready for this so hotels were cancelled and we did a rebooking for one night in Fresno at Holiday Inn. And heading towards San Francisco today. I have to admit i’m not fully recovered yet but it gets better than yesterday. So no hikes no natural wonders no outdoor activities. Just a hotel room , pain killer and a lot of water and tea.

Yosemite national park

Mariposa is a nice beautiful little village in California. Tourists come mainly for the access to the Yosemite park. It looks nice and is surrounded by green meadows and little hills. Picture postcard feeling.

Mariposa lodge is ok, fits the purpose. As always, go to bed around 9pm to get up 6:30 next day. Still 45 mins to drive to Yosemite entrance. So we did. Luckily we found a parking spot easily. And decided to do 2 hikes , one for the mirror lake and one to see the old trees in the afternoon. The scenery is breathtaking. Yes we have the Alps and I never made it to South Americas Anden but we were in the Caucasus in Georgia. Enjoy the pictures and believe me, it’s 10 times better in reality.

Yosemite fall
mirror lake with reflections of Halfdome mountain
those belong to Mammut trees and they are between 1.800 and 2.600 yrs old
tourists ☺️

Both hikes were 17 km in total. We spent almost the full day at Yosemite NP.

Death Valley

After a night at the Titty Twister (ok was the Longstreet Inn but it looked like..)

Got up early as always, 06:30 am today. To Death Valley entrance still 45 min to drive.

And it started with Dante’s View. As a starter  A breathtaking overlooking point.

can’t imagine how large
yes very ☀️

A little newspaper like visitors guide was available at the motel and it contained all needed information. The must-sees/do‘s and the distance between each POI. Fun fact nobody of the officials asked for our NP pass….

Next stop : Zerbrisky point. Great view as well, the yellow color comes from volcano and lava ash and water mixture.

lava formation looks surreal like made from papier mache

Unfortunately there was no coffee store close to visitor center so we had a canned coffee for breakfast. Plus some sausages and chili nuts…. But don’t extend the break for too long. General store offered a new hat and Death Valley shirts. Swipe the cc. And heading towards the Artist drive, a 9 mile drive with natural colored walls . Fantastic. During a short break we were asked by a lady where we are from and as the answer was German her husband told us his name is german based : Seilmacher and we let him know that Seil means rope so his ancestors probably were rope makers. 

So the badlands were now only 10 miles away. It’s the deepest walkable point on earth, 485 meters below sea level. Impressive.

a deeper point exists under the Antarctic ice but no one can walk

We spent 5 hrs here and were happy to leave it before the afternoon sun would have burned us. The ride through the valley takes a while and so we arrived in Bakersfield after 4 additional hrs of driving. I booked the Hilton Doubletree and it’s like a Hilton always is to us :) Pool is open and the dinner was very good. Best burger we had so far. Notice: no burger tomorrow.. ☺️

Los Angeles – arrival – departure

nearly 12 hrs from HEL to LAX. Touchdown as estimated. And you may believe or not we made within 30 mins to get out of the airport. Taxi brought us to the Motel 8 by Wyndham. Went to grab some Chinese food, took a shower and went directly to bed. A little kind of a jet lag which kicked us out of the bed 4 am, even alarm clock was set to 4:45. Breakfast was included so we got a “coffee” and Mandy had 2 mini muffins. Not that bad she said. Our transport arrived very early. The lady was older than me and drove a Chrysler 300 limo. The ride to LAX TBIT was short, the whole airport area is under construction. Nevertheless we made it easy through BGP and grabbed our breakfast at the AMEX Centurion lounge. No opened yet but they provide a grab’n’go box which contains a wrap, cookies, chips and fruits. Not bad.

Los Angeles – at a glance

We catch only 2 hrs on the flight HNL – LAX. Got an Uber for a ride to LA downtown. The car was a Toyota Frontrunner. Big and 4 wheeler. Too big and full of dog hairs. But unfortunately that was realized after we visited the Griffith observatory.

Big Toyota
most viewed sign in LA
inside central market – famous for food

Arrived a little too early at the Hollywood celebrity hotel ..

which is 200 mtrs from the Hollywood walk of fame..

and the Chinese theater

So we changed the car instead. Got a small Kia Kona SUV. No dirt inside. Finally we checked in.

breakfast area

After a power nap we took a shower, did laundry business and went to grab food. Since they do poke bowls on mainland as well we tried one and ordered a Ramen for the second dish. Ramen was ok. Poke was almost as good as in Hawaii. More like the way we know it from home. And no beer, no tacos no dip. Healthier for the hip  went to bed at 8:30 pm.

Today. Classic breakfast, bagel, crème cheese, waffles with sirup and brown water aka coffee. But hey better than nothing. The good thing about LAs weekend: roads not that overcrowded as during work days. So we followed our plan… visit as much as possible.

Marina del Rey.
Great coffee at farmers market

Next stop : Venice beach.

a long beach , yes
smile 

No sun, no need to be there longer. We skipped Muscle beach for the weather. After that beach famous Santa Monika pier was waiting.

official endpoint of route 66
squirrel 
the pier

Enough of that, we want culture and art as well. The Getty center therefore is more than welcome.

wonderful building
love the architecture

A lot of European pictures are displayed. Monet , van Gogh and Munch. Good job.

Drove back to the hotel and decided to go on a tourist tour by bus. 39$ each for 90 minutes stories around LA and it’s (wealthy) citizens. The ride was up to Hollywood hills, Beverly hills and West LA, famous for Rock’n’roll scene.

longer than a football field
an expensive view
who remembers the Hotel California song? yes here it is.
the birthplace of … The doors

Coz of Saturday we had a stop at the guitar store. The only one in the world where famous musicians put their hands in the concrete. Enjoy the next pics ….

And many more , also guitars with autographs were shown. Slash’s guitar, Michael Jackson and so on. It was an enjoyable tour. Now we need to find something nice for dinner and than …. bedtime again. Tomorrow we will go to Vegas… Las Vegas baby!!!