After border crossing we move on to San Diego the second largest city in California. One of the most important employers is the US Navy who moved their headquarters to this place after Pearl Harbor in 1941.
The giant aircraft carrier USS Midway at the harbor you cannot overlook. Since 2004 it’s a museum and open for the public. You can easily stroll around for hours and wonder how more than 4000 people lived here and how the kitchen delivered over 13000 meals per day. Late afternoon we visit our friends Brittni and Josh which we have first met 2016 in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico when they were travelling with a Sprinter Camper. We’ve spent a nice evening together and had a lot of fun. Thanks folks for the great time. All the best and take care.
On the next day we walk thru downtown and the old gaslight quarter which is the historic part of the city and turns into a party mile at night. Apart from a number of nice old buildings and certainly the gas lamps there is not much to explore further.
On our way Northbound we skip the very busy Pacific Coast Highway #1 as we don’t have the passion to spend countless hours in a stop and go traffic. We stop North of LA in Glendora for the night and while studying the map we realize that downtown Los Angeles is easily reachable with the metro in less than an hour. So, we change plans and build in a LA visit. The next morning, we sit very relaxed in the metro while on the right and left-hand side the rush hour is at its peak. Pretty soon we reach Union Station and are directly in the middle of downtown where 250 years ago the city was founded from Spanish settlers. Today the Olvera Street is located at this place and structured like a little Mexican Village for tourists. Strolling around in LA is nothing for people with foot sickness. Streets are three time wider than in Europe and crossing it without using a traffic light gets an adventure on its own. We like the architecture of the Walt Disney Concert Hall who is very impressive and visible from far away. After 10 miles of walking (thanks to the I-Phone app we exactly know our walked distance) we are done when we reach MOMO in the evening.
On the next day Hollywood is on our list. This is a must despite the fact that we have been here many years ago with our kids and at this time did all the roller coasters in Universal studies till we got dizzy. We go along the Walk of Fame and for the standard cost of $15000 we get a Die-Ausreiser star. Without doubt, being a celebrity has its cost. Apart from the sign in the Hollywood hills not much is left from the glitter of the past. However, this part of the city is like a magnet who attracts visitor from around the globe and gives them the feeling to live the life of a celebrity at least for a couple of hours. Here is the place where dreams come true, or not.
We reach the coast again in Santa Barbara. In the 20th century the city developed to one of the most expensive living area in the US. Today many prominent people live in Santa Barbara and this attracts also many tourists. The city center is very nice and the beach is often named as the American Riviera. But apart from this there is nothing where we would spend more than a few hours.
We go Northbound direction San Francisco. The landscape around Paso Roble looks like at home in Bavaria and we find a wonderful spot for the night like in the Alpes. Before we reach San Francisco we make a little detour to Palo Alto and visit the garage from my former employer Hewlett Packard which today is an historical landmark and where they built their first oscillators. But I must talk to the two folks about the size of the garage because MOMO doesn’t fit in and this definitely a no-go.
Visiting big cities always raises the question where to stay overnight without getting kicked away from security after midnight. We try it below the Vista Point at the museum which is more or less directly under the Golden Gate Bridge with a first class view to the bridge and surprisingly nobody did interrupt our sleep.
The next morning, we start our visit. At the end of Fillmore street on one of the many hills you find the Painted Ladies which are colorful houses from the 19th century. Also, we have an outstanding view to downtown. Then we stroll thru the mission district who is known for a manifold music and art scene and for wall paintings. Especially the House of Women is really worth a visit.
The old hippie quarter Ashbury Haights kicked our memories back to the 60th. This is where the flower power generation started and famous musicians like Janis Joplin and Jefferson Airplane started their careers.
On the next day we visit the area around Union Square and market street and other tourist attractions like China Town and Pier 39 with the sea lions.
North of San Francisco is Napa Valley. Our guidebook tells us that here you find the best of the best. Hard to believe that more than 5 million tourists come to this place every year and makes it the 2nd best tourist attraction in California. All wineries are in a picturesque surrounding and one could spend months to taste the wines at more than 300 locations. If you like Cabernet, Chardonnay and Zinfandel this is the place to be. We stay for two nights in Calistoga and visit some wineries with a shuttle bus. Outstanding for us was castel Amorosa which was opened in 2008 after 15 years of construction. We drive the Silverado trail Southbound to Napa whereby the challenge is to select where to stop. An insanity where money obviously doesn’t matter.
As we come more and more to the North it also gets colder. The temperature already falls below 40 and we must search our warm clothing which we have not used for years. We follow Highway #1 with spectacular views to the rocky beaches and make a lunch break in Mendocino. On the next day it starts raining and we cannot agree with the Eagles that it never rains in California.
After a day in a service garage for maintenance we continue our journey along the Oregon Coast and Washington. A very spectacular road with many highlights. However at some point in time beaches, ocean and rocks all look similar.
We leave the coast in Florence and follow the Interstate 5. Before we come to Portland we pass Oregon City with the Willamette falls and a lot of history about the old settlers from around 1850. We stroll thru downtown Portland for a couple of hours before we look for an overnight location.
On 18th of May 1980 Mount St Helen erupted and destroyed and reshaped an area of more than 100sq miles. A movie in the visitor center documents the eruption and the huge power which was released. The street to the volcano is still closed for the winter and we can only look to the giant crater from far away.
Seattle is our 5th Megacity in 4 weeks and the last for the next months. We stay the night on Mercer Island and a bus brings us to downtown in less than 15min. It’s a sunny day and we first look to the city from high above at the Columbia Tower. Then we stroll thru the urban canyons and visit the Pike market on the waterfront. Around the Pioneer Square are the oldest buildings of the town and on an underground tour we learn how the city looked like before the big fire in 1889.
Our last place to visit in the US is the Boeing factory in Everett. Here is the world-wide largest construction building in volume. A two hour tour gives us a good overview about the processes but unfortunately no pictures are allowed. In a highly optimized manufacturing chain twelve 787 Dreamliners and several other models are custom-made per month.
Now we are in Canada and MOMO gets new tires before we continue Northbound. We will certainly report further. See you then.