Tuesday, 14th of February 2006 at 08:30:03 PM

Carnet de Voyage Day 9: Sat February 4th 2006

Today is the last day. I wake up at 8 o’clock, take a shower, pack my luggage and check-out at Tropicana. At about 9.00 am I leave the car at the rental station, a 5 minute drive from Tropicana away. I write down the mileage: 1720 miles in total (2750 km) had been driven by me in this 8 days. With the Hertz shuttle I arrive at the airport and 11.15 am I take my United flight to San Francisco. In San Francisco I arrived just in time for boarding my Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt where I got a connecting flight to Munich. I arrived the next Sunday morning 11.00 am. Cold Germany had me back.

Just after take off we made a nice turn over San Francisco .

See the complete Photo series of this trip on my Homepage

Related Posts:

Tuesday, 14th of February 2006 at 05:59:21 PM

Carnet de Voyage Day 8: Fri February 3rd 2006

When I woke up this morning, I regreted to not having booked two nights here in NewYork New York Hotel. I liked this Hotel and the room very much and I had the best sleep of the whole trip. But I had decided to pass the last night in another Hotel: The Tropicana, just over the street.
So I had to checkout and with the luggage in the trunk I drove to have a Goodbye Breafast Buffet in my favourite Breakfast place: the Bellagio Hotel. For 15 USD including tax, I got best juice and coffee and toasted Bagels with salmon, pancake with Syrup and large selection of fruit and a lot of other premium stuff. (It was my last day here). After breakfast I needed a walk and went to the strip and walked around to say Good Bye to the strip. Then I decided to visit another Comic shop on Rainbow Boulevard, but it showed to be not good and I didn’t buy anything. I continued driving around stopping in a Starbucks drive-through for a Mocha Cappucino (venti) to go, and continued to drive through the roads stopping at a Tower Records where I also didn’t find anything I liked. My plan was to see the Red Rock canyon this last day, so at about 10:00 am I drove to this place which is only 17 miles east of the strip.

Scenic drive in Red Rock Canyon.

In the red rock canyon I stopped at the several viewpoints taking the scenic drive and I made a longer stop at Pine Creek Canyon. Here I made a 2 1/2 hour hike towards the canyon and the creek and back. It had become very hot this last day here in Vegas: about 71 degree F (felt like 25 degree Cel.) The sun was shining and the sky was blue: I didn’t want to return to cold Munich the next day. I left Red Rock canyon at about 3:00 pm and continuing driving around casuall through the streets in Las Vegas, stopping whereever I saw something interesting.

I decided then to check my Emails in the Flamingo Business center, which I had used already the first time. Then time has come for check-in at the Tropicana Hotel, and when entering there I regreted again for not having stayed at New York New York Hotel. This Tropicana was so old and greasy: I didn’t like it from when I entered.

My Hotel room wing in the Tropicana: Excellet view to car park.

I also got only a third floor room with view to the car park. And I paid even more than I had paid in the New York New York. O.k. left the luggage and immediately went out onto north strip for a diner at Bellaggio, and afterwards again a walk along the strip passing Bellagio lake with the nighly fountain show, going up to Treasure island were the Pirate show just ended, crossing strip and entering The Wynn Hotel, that new 5 star Hotel admiring that big waterfall and the lobby. Then I walked down on the strip over Paris, Venetian to Aladin for a last walk through the desert passage. Then back to my car in the Bellagio. It has become late and I took a last drive to fill up the car, so that I didn’t have to do this the next morning before leaving the car at the rental station. Then I went back to Tropicana, got all my stuff out of the car for packing the luggage for my flight home to Munich on the next morning.

See the complete Photo series of this trip on my Homepage

Related Posts:

Monday, 13th of February 2006 at 08:33:00 PM

Carnet de Voyage Day 7: Thu February 2nd 2006

This Thursday afternoon I will drive back the 300 miles (480 km) to Las Vegas. The morning I had planed to make a tour in Long Beach driving along the Ocean from Naples to San Pedro. After check-out from the Hotel and a quick coffee to go, I took I-110 and then I-405 south bringing me directly to the pacific coast. Here I had a breakfast in a typical american breakfast diner: I ordered a custom breakfast of Hot Bagel with ham, egg and bacon with coffee and orange-juice. Then I drove along the coast to Long Beach.

Wylands “Planet Ocean” on the Long Beach arena.
Entering Long Beach I was saluted by Wylands painting on the arena and made a drive through Pine street and then a stop at Queen Mary Pier.

Queen Mary Hotel in Long Beach.
Then I crossed the Vincent-Thomas Bridge with view onto industrial worldport L.A. and landed in San Pedro, where I stopped at the Korean Bell with nice views over the worldport, the V.T. Bridge and the pacific coastline. After a short stop in San Pedros Green Hills Memorial to visit Buks gravesite it had become 12.30 pm and I noticed it was time to drive back to Las Vegas. I took the I-110 north passing a last time in front of Downtown L.A., turning into I-10 east and then drove for at least 50 minutes throufh outer L.A. until finally merging into the I-15 north which should bring me directly to Las Vegas. Luckily traffic situation was great and from Long Beach through L.A. I could drive with excellent speed. Weather was very cloudy this morning, so that I didn’t stop often for taking photos. On I-15 between Barstow and Baker the visibility was very poor due to wind and sandstorms in the desert. The more I approached Las Vegas, the more the sky became blue again and weather improved.

Approaching Las Vegas on I-15 north, the Zzyzx Road exit.

This evening I had a reservation for the New York, New York Hotel and Casino, and it should proof to be the nicest Hotel of my trip. I arrived at about 4.30 pm in Las Vegas and checked in to New York, New York, where I got a nice room with mountain view on 23rd floor.

Sunset seen from my Hotel room in New York New York Hotel (view of Tropicana Avenue)

My plans for the evening were shopping, eating something and having a walk on the Strip around NewYork Hotel. But first of all I made a ride on the Ny, Ny rollercoaster. Then I took a drive on the strip to the Fashion Show Mall on North Strip (north of Treasure Island), were I found a Levis Store and could buy me my 501 Jeans for 40 USD. After driving back to the Hotel, I walked to have a look inside the Monte Carlo and MGM Hotels and finally landed again in the very nice Ny Ny Hotel for a beer and a drink in the different Bars. I liked the Tequila Sunrise I had here. I was tired after the long drive. Today I had made another 380 miles (608 km) in total. So I went to bed early. For tomorrow, my last full day in Vegas I planed to have a relaxing stress-free day and some last good eats.

See the complete Photo series of this trip on my Homepage

Related Posts:

Sunday, 12th of February 2006 at 10:39:49 PM

Carnet de Voyage Day 6: Wed February 1st 2006

Wednesday morning I woke up late and relaxed. Took a free Comfort Inn coffee to go, and my first visit was the Silver lake 5 minutes north of the Hotel. Nice view over the Lake to the Hollywood sign. Enviable the people who live here, nice apartments, with lot of green, not too prententious but with nice views in the hilly streets. Blooming bird-of-paradise flowers in the front gardens make me remember the climatic affinity to siciliy, where my mother lives and we also have a bird-of-paradise flower which must be blooming right now, whereas in Munich we have 20 cm of snow and – 10 degree celcius.

View from Silver Lake district to Hollywood sign and lake.

I had no concrete plans for the day, just some ideas like Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive and Downtown L.A.( which I wanted to visit more in detail because I have always avoided it, in my previous three L.A. visits to go downtown L.A.). I returned from Silver Lake with a small stop at Echo Park.

Echo Park: I liked this view so much that I have been here at least three times (near my hotel).

Due to the sunny weather I decided to start with Grifith Park, Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Downtown L.A. could wait till the evening. Driving along Sunset Boulevard (from my hotel) to Hollywood I could soon see the Observatory and the Hollywood sign. Fascinating the palms everywhere along Sunset Boulevard. I took a drive up to Grifith Park and enjoyed the marvelous view to the Hollywood sign from the Observatory, where construction is still ongoing.

The sign.

Comign down from Griffith park I drove around the residential area below the park. The houses and front gardens here looked similar to the ones in Desperate Housewifes and I saw mexican gardeners with their pickup trucks everywhwere. Either they were pushing a a lawn-mower or they were watering flowers.

I wouldn’t mind living here: Below Griffith Park, North Hollywood.

From Here I continued through Hollywood Boulevard and St. Monica Boulevard towards Beverly Hills for a stroll through Rodeo Drive (can’t deny that I had some slight hope to see some famous Hollywood star during morning shopping, but didn’t turn true).

Didn’t find my favourite boutique on Rodeo Drive, …

Next I went back via Sunset Strip and St. Monica Blvd and turned South onto Fairfax Avenue, crossing a jewish quarter and a korean. Lot of colors and people around, lot of green front gardens, nice area too. I drove south some miles and then returned back north up to Farmer’s Market. Comparable to Munichs Viktualienmarkt a vivid open air market where I tried Pastrami sandwich and discovered Light my fire: a small hot sauce shop with hundreds of different hot chili sauces of every taste and flavor. I bought 4 sauces for 35 USD, for example a raspberry-jalapeno sauce for Christiane, and a “Mango Meltdown” and a “Fucking Hot sauce” for me. Not far from here is Melrose avenue were I went next, a pitoresque colorful fashion boutique mile. I checked out some Jeans store, but they didn’t have any Jeans below 180 USD so I decided to wait for another opportunity to buy me a 40-USD-Levis my obligatory USA-vacation-souvenir.

Colorful boutiques in Melrose Avenue

After this I was ready for Downtown L.A. Being hungry I started in China Town where I hoped to find some Dim-Sum diner: I was told that Dim-Sum is served only in the morning and for Lunch (don’t know if its true). I left disappointed and hungry for El Pueblo the old L.A. initial colony. Meanwhile it has get dark. I continued my tour on foot to see Angels flight, the Bradbury Building, the Grand central market and finally the L.A. Central Library building. Was quite dark and little bit of Batman movie atmosphere in those dark streets with those high buildings.

Strolling through Downtown L.A.

I was still hungry and decided to end the evening with another drive back to Hollywood where I parked my car on Hollywood Boulevard near Graumans Chinese Theater (12 USD parking flat rate), were I had a walk through the handprints at Graumans, the Kodiak Theather complex and the walk of fame with the stars, before dining at a Hamburger Restaurant opposite of Graumans.
On my way home to Comfort In Hotel I took a last nightly view to the Downtown Skyline from Echo Park: Good Bye L.A. tomorrow I am driving to Long Beach and then back to Las Vegas. (my mileage today: 70 miles driven)

See the complete Photo series of this trip on my Homepage

Related Posts:

Saturday, 11th of February 2006 at 01:33:46 PM

Carnet de Voyage Day 5: Tue January 31 2006

6.00 am in the morning check-out from Flamingo Hotel. Standing up so early was no problem, due to Jet-Lag. I was happy that I could sleep so long anyway. The plan I had made for today Tuesday was 4-parted:

1. A 220 miles drive from Las Vegas to 29 Palms which should take me according Mapquest 4 h 30 mintes
2. Three hour visit of the Joshua Tree N.P.
3. 140 miles drive from Josua Tree to Los Angeles and Hotel check-in
4. Rest of the day Los Angeles

Without breakfast I jumped into the car and drove in western direction through Henderson and then South on I-95 towards Needles. It was just dawning, and weather was little rainy. When I left Henderson and turned onto I-95 and having about 60 miles to the next city (which was Searchlight) a feeling of deep proudness arose in me, about this nice trip and how wonderful everything had worked out up to now, and about my terrific, meticoulous planing of this whole 8-day trip, when I suddenly was woken up in my dreaming by the fuel indicator alarm! F***, I am running out of Fuel. I can’t afford today to turn back. How long can I drive with the reserve fuel? I got really really nervous, slowed down to the allowed 70 miles, turned of the AC, and my CD player (all this to conserve fuel), rummaged in the glove box for the Sonnata (my car) instruction manual (to find out how long reserve fuel will last) and tried to calm myself down! No I can’t turn now, it’s against my time schedule, I won’t make it till Los Angeles then and see Joshua Tree park. Against any logic I continued on I-95 south and from now on counted every mile up to Searchlight. When I was only 25 miles away from Searchlight, I cooled down and I began to see myself walking down the Highway, buying a canister and taking a Taxi back to the car. Fortunately I made it to Searchlight and took the first gas station and filled up. Now I had only 25 Miles to the most interesting part of the drive, the old Route 66 entry from I-95, over Essex to Amboy. When I had planned the trip with Mapquest, I didn’t even recognize that I was going to take the Route 66. But after having driven on this old bumpy, abandoned and lonly road I was very happy for having choosen this route.
I passed Essex, Danby, Chambless the Ghosttowns on Route 66 between Essex and Amboy and arrived in Amboy with the Amboy Crater and Roys Cafe (known from Movies). First time in my life I saw a Shoetree, which seems to be a funny idea of american tourists.

A shoetree on the Route 66.

In Amboy at the crater (unbelievanle to see this small volcanic crater in the middle of the dessert) I had to leave Route 66 and drive through a Dry Lake , with a Chloride Company and then through the mountains towards Twenty Nine Palms, the small Mojave town with the east Entrance to Joshua Tree N.P, where I arrived at about 10.30 am and first of all needed a good fatty McDonald breakfast.

When Arrived in 29 Palms (east entrance of Joshua Tree N.P.) I had already 220 miles (352 km) behind me.

In Joshua Tree N.P. I took the 40 miles scenic drive to the west entrance in Joshua Tree city, adding a 12 miles loop up to Keys View
an 5185 feet scenic overlook point into Coachella Valley with Palm Springs and the St. Andres Fault (and also with nice view to the San Gorgonio and San Jacinto mountain peaks).

Cap rock in Joshua Tree N.P.

Leaving the park I liked very much the picturesque Joshua Tree city. Then I continued my drive towards Los Angeles, which was now only 140 miles away (224 km). Coming down the mountains to I-10 Highway I passed a gigantic windfarm where I stopped for making some photos. This windfarm is the biggest in US and uses the enormous winds blowing from the hotter desert to the cooler mountains through the pass formed by San Gorgonio and San Jacinto. Leaving Palm Springs on the left I merged into I-10 west and the increasing number of road lanes, and traffic indicated the approaching L.A. city limits. About 3.00 pm I checked in my Comfort Inn Hotel on Sunset Boulevard, a hotel we had used before and I had found as strategic positioned between Downtown, Hollywood and the major L.A. Highways. I immediately left the Hotel after leaving my luggage for the 5 minute away Echo Park, where I enjoed the marvelous view to the Downtown L.A. skyline. What to do next I decided spontaneously and so my decision was to see the sunset on St. Monica Pier, and like this also touch the pacific ocean, a good contrast to my dessert roadtripping. Always funny and thrilling in L.A.: planning your way to some distant spot over the Highways: from Echo Park to St. Monica means: I-101 South—I-110 south—I-10 west and there you are. It thrills me always driving on those 6 to 10 lane Highways and fortunately I did not hit the rush-hour. 30 minutes later I was on the beach.

Just arrived on time to see Sunset on St. Monica Pier.

After sunset I made a walk on the beach towards the Third street promenade, a very nice shopping passage, where I had some chinese food. After that I wanted to have this gigantic view over the city which you best have from Griffith Park observatory, but this was closed for construction and I went up to Mullholland Drive, were several scenic view points are located. After this I was ready for bed. I checked my cars Mileage and it showed me 450 miles driven today (720 km). I am highly satisfied.

View from Mullholland Drive towards Downtown L.A.

See the complete Photo series of this trip on my Homepage

Related Posts: