Howdy again and it’s time I returned to my planned series of itineraries by finally finishing my itinerary through the States. Part One saw me explore the east, part two New Orelans and Texas, and part three sees me go from Colorado to California. The whole itinerary needs probably a good three months, and today’s section at least 5-6 weeks at a pinch.
As you may recall from Part Two which is HERE, I had got myself a Greyhound Bus Pass for to take me from New Orleans all the way to Los Angeles. I’d gone through Austin and Houston on the pass and then moved on my way in late October via Dallas Fort Worth where I changed buses to get to Denver, Colorado.
Bus journeys are not my favourite parts of travel, however with America a long haul ride can be quite an adventure as you go through various states, the buses (for me at least) weren’t very full so I often had two seats to myself, and there are plenty of stops on the way and places to buy food. Fast food? Well, yes, but there’s usually a reasonable choice.
My route took me to Denver and then out to the middle of Colorado. There’s not much there but farms and ranches, and lucky me – I got to stay on a ranch. I’d made a friend who invited me to stay with her family who were very hospitable, even if my friend was elsewhere! I got a really authentic experience over three days. And I saw a high school match of American Football to, that was a first. The weather had turned cold too, from high 30s and humid to a dry cold where 10-15 degrees was more the order of the day.
I crossed back to the other side of Colorado to see my friend in Colorado Springs on her college campus, and then back to Denver for a connection through to Las Vegas baby! It was whilst waiting at the bus station in Denver that the weather turned extra cold and it started snowing quite hard. An announcement told passengers that services heading east of Denver were summarily cancelled due to snow.
Thankfully I was headed west and south. It was an overnight bus journey that ended around midday the next day. Bus pulled over in Utah at one point so I took a photo so I could say I’d been to Utah!
Into Las Vegas. Checked out the casinos, felt completely out of place. Took a tour to the amazing Grand Canyon, watched the 2004 election on TV. The tour to the Grand Canyon took me into Arizona and I also saw Route 66 and the Hoover Dam on the way. That’s a big dam! Didn’t spend a lot of money! For true. Mercury never rose above 13 degrees Celsius either if you can believe that! I didn’t expect that kind of weather meself!
Bus to San Diego, lovely place, sunny and warm. Don’t remember much about the place or what I did. Another overnight bus journey to get to San Francisco, and I stayed with a friend there. Saw the bridge, fire museum, rode the tram. Friend had her wheels stolen from her outside the apartment! Seriously! And then down to Los Angeles.
I mostly chilled in LA, however the previous time I had taken in Disneyland and Universal Studios. I stayed both times in Hollywood (Hooray!)
Looking at the map of my journey, I certainly did make the bus pass work for me. A lot of kms and quite a few overnighters. Apart from the last couple of journeys in California, the buses were at best half full (don’t know if it would still be the same today) so I had room to snooze and sleep.
Look, you could easily double your time in the USA and not see half of it. It’s huge and amazing, and to be honest best explored by car I reckon because I missed a lot of the national parks. Camping would have kept costs down a fair bit too of course. Places like Mount Rushmore are quite a way off the beaten track that having your own wheels would really help. And there’s so much open road to explore.
BUT – for first timers not keen to drive, this itinerary takes in a number of worthwhile places and you can say you’ve been to the places most people think of when they think of touring the States. Sure, you could add Seattle and Chicago, explore California thoroughly etc etc there is no limit to what you can see in America.
But personally there aren’t that many things I’d return for – that I haven’t seen before. I mean I’d still love to return to New York for example. What do you think? What off the beaten path places should be included in a 2-3 month Stateside visit? What would you leave out? Please do comment! And….
May the Journey Never End!