Our final destination: The Golden State!

Trip Start Oct 04, 2008
Trip End Nov 08, 2008

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Flag of United States  , California
Saturday, November 8, 2008

Death valley was,... you guessed it right, pretty dead! The temp only came up to 93F or 34C for our European readers. Stunning views and smelly breaks pretty much sums up our trip through the valley. After the valley we headed through some very uninhabited places until we hit the 178. A very winding road that took us through Kernville and past Lake Isabella to our deserted campground in the Sequoia Natl. Forest. We set up camp while being attacked by thousands of bugs. After we had dinner out of a can and saw a raccoon walking by at 6 ft distance it started raining and that made this so far crappy camping experience a really crappy experience. We packed all our stuff in the car and slept in the tent. Next morning we found out that our $40 tent held up pretty well, that is, on my side, cause Krautz did have a wet spot on his air mattress (Krautz insists on mentioning it was located at the foot end!!). Next morning, we tried waiting out the rain, which didn't really stop. So we packed up our tent in the rain, sucks, sucks, sucks!

We hit the road and made our way to the Sequoia Natl. Park, it was raining off and off and there was a lot of low clouds, but it did make for some spectacular views. We arrived at the visitor centre a bit late and walked a trail past the humongous Sequoia trees, which was very cool. We saw multiple bears while driving and walking through Sequoia. Saw one of the most impressive sun downs ever from beetle rock(if you have a chance, do it!) After this we had to get out of the park, didn't make it before darkness, some interesting winding roads to drive especially at night. Arrived in Oakhurst and stayed in the Days Inn. Tried to go out for dinner and a beer (by the way, note that it's Halloween evening!) and found that the only place open still open was Jack in the Box (beuhh!) and no bar!...Not One!

Next day! Set out towards Yosemite and it was still kinda cloudy and rainy. We still decided to drive through the park and saw some amazing views, but would have been nicer with some better weather. We drove through to Napa in Napa valley. Arrived there late and got a motel. Skipped dinner that evening because we had an awesome late lunch at a Chinese place, had the best Sesame Chicken ever and ate way too much(he nearly finished his meal!)

Next day the weather was actually fair. So we headed through the wine country, Napa valley, Sonoma Valley and passing plenty of Wineries. Had some difficulty finding our way to Pacific Highway 1 but finally found the right way. This road took us forever, it was about 35 miles extremely winding and twisting roads and either steep grades up or down, our average speed was probably 20 mph and an average fuel economy of 8 mpg! And of course all this with brakes that where smelling a bit funky. The coolest moment was when we were almost at the Pacific. We were driving through a forest and we were going over a hill and all of the sudden we saw the Pacific Ocean - November 3rd at 3.30pm. Super awesome, from there on we drove down Highway 1 which is absolutely beautiful. We made plenty of scenic stops and finally arrived in San Francisco. Checked into our pre booked motel which was located close to Russian Hill. We went out for some great Italian food at Frascatti. We felt that we were pretty much ahead of budget so we decided to have some more luxurious dinners during the last days. After that we found a great Irish bar (somehow, Irish bars are usually good fun!) and had some brewsky's. We walked back to our motel and went to the 2nd floor, room #219. Before we could enter our card in the lock, the door opened and there were three teenagers in the room. There were also two black guys walking up to the same room, so it got real busy all of the sudden. Krautz and I immediately smelled trouble and asked them how they got keys for the room. Krautz walked in and didn't see our stuff in the room. We were about to take em down to the desk and find out what's going. At that point I saw the stairs to the next level and realized that we were actually staying a level higher in #319... We turned around and walked away, yapp, just like that in the middle of trouble we turned around and left. Back in our own room we laughed our asses off and realized that we probably just totally freaked out some teenagers who were about to buy some illegal substance or something like that. Go DEA Busters Klompjes & Krautz!

So  the next day, we woke up still laughing shitless about the wrong room number  from last night, got up and going,  as usually around noon, we are lazy tourist, aight?! So we hat Breakfast at small corner place headed to the waterfront. It was at little cloudy and windy but we figured raingear is overrated and not our style and paid bitterly for that.

When we arrived at the waterfront and saw the harbor and ....rain, of course! We went into a Museum, more out of necessity than interest and tried to wait it out. After we looked at everything we went to buy raingear one hat for German and an umbrella for the gir....Dutchman.  Now, supplied with industrial strength raingear we decided to go ahead through the city. Unfortunately the Alcatraz tours were already booked and we then decided to go back to the hotel and wait out the rain there.

Since, we are sometimes cheap, this time to cheap for a taxi, we walked to the hotel....How bad can it be to climb up the streets of San Francisco  will rain is coming from all 3 directions possible.  We didn't realize this is an easy 14 Block walk uphill and arrived home dripping wet. My glasses got actually wet from rain dripping through my hat (baseball cap). So far ...how bad can it be!

We dried, chilled and checked out a place to go for dinner and felt like undercooked water critters, starch pills and hope full bottles(sushi, rice and beer) and went to highly recommended Sushi bar and had an awesome Dinner  and since we were cheap earlier with the cab, we now went all in and had a feast! After that we went to the Irish bar again and extended our feast! Go Feasting.

Presidential Election Day... a day full of hope for the country we learned to love.

It stopped raining and the sun came through and we walked to that curvy road ....( Lombard!?) and headed then towards the Cable Car Station near Fisherman Wharf. These things are awesome, not really practical, or fast, or something, but they are cool. No way that something like that would ever be allowed in Germany, standing in a moving vehicle, maybe, standing in an open moving vehicle, only at walking speed, standing in on a 4 inch wide step on the outside of a moving vehicle up and down really steep hills close enough to pull in the belly because of passing trucks....now f#@+ing way, but it is awesome! So we drove up and down on the cc and went to the harbor again, made pic's from the Golden Gate and Alcatraz and went back to THE Lincoln drive it out of SF. Not only out of SF but back and forth over the Golden Gate to take pictures with me, my Lincoln and the Golden Gate Bridge....a very sentimental moment for me...GO Sunglasses!

So we did all that, made a ton of pictures and left south towards Montgomery and tried to check in a nice enough hotel and went out for Tapas, heavily over priced and actually just "fair", we watched on the side the "I lost Speech" from McCain and listened to Parts of GOOOOObama  speech as well. 

After that a tricky part of the evening began...how to fuel the fire! We drove around with a cab, so much about being cheap about a taxi, and had a hard time to find a store that still would sell beer. We wanted to celebrate and that's how we do it. So we spent $20 on a cab and $20 on Beer we headed back home and  had two more each and went to bed...... ... ..  That makes the beer more expensive than the fresh drafted import beers in a Zagat Rated New York bar!

The next day can be wrapped up short: We drove out to Santa Barbara along Highway1- my absolute favorite road in America- and had Lunch at the Rock View Café on the cliffs of the Pacific Ocean... awesome views and okay food. W e arrived in Santa Barbara in the afternoon and checked in the Alamar with beach view.  Chilled in the Room and went out to Dinner at Holdren's ....if you go through Santa Barbara, enjoy their steaks, the Lamb is great and the wine list is good too. After that we headed back home and called it a day.

The next day we tried to sell the Lincoln....that saddest day of the Road trip (the day we left doesn't count; we weren't on the road then).  You can't separate Ying and Yang, there is not light without shade and there is no beach without water! And so there is no Philipp without a 93' Lincoln Towncar Cartier....

It may sound silly but I love my car and I am going to miss it terribly, but it hurts the most to realize that nobody wants to buy it, dented, too old, engine to big, gas guzzler...so?! It got character, was/is reliable, took us all across the country without anything and was shelter and oven, storage and showoff cruiser, through desert and jungle, over mountains and valleys, comfortable and strong...and never in a bad mood!

It is hard to see great friend being rejected.
I am going to miss it really bad.

Finally, we met up with a friend from Germany who knows a lot of people in Santa Barbara and she will sell the car for us, hopefully in good hands. So we dropped the car of at her workplace(Trader Joes) and walked back towards State Street and had dinner at the Bay Café and Fish market,  really good food, but I was not in mood for a good party, but in the mood for beer....plenty of it....(See the scheme, mike?)

It was a nice evening and we went after dinner to the Santa Barbara Brewhouse, had two beers and went home.

The 7th  November 2008 , aka the last day of our vacation, day 38, after 7192 miles across America, we walked away from the hotel and picked up the Rental B*tch, a nervous, rough suspended, new, smelly, Chevy Impala...piece of..car.( Come on, I can't like it).....at the end an OK car the best( the mpg was worse than my ...THE Lincoln). We loaded the car and left towards Camarillo Outlet mall and shopped till we dropped on the last day and headed for the Double Tree at LAX. Had dinner at a highly recommended Burger place called In'N Out Burger, I have never seen a  burger place soooo busy, a drive through line around the block, lines inside,  and order numbers to pick up you order after aprox.15min...crazy...but the cheeseburger with onions is good, fries are not, but you don't go there for fries. No blogging and hoteling...for the last time...

We would like to thank everybody who supported, helped, suggested, warned and believed in us to do a trip like this. We met a lot of great people and we will value the experiences and memories of the last 38 days for the rest of our lives.

We hope ya'll enjoyed it, we sure did, in 5 hours the alarm is going off and we leave the country.

Thanks again, bye ya'll,

Krautz and Klompjes
(Philipp & Robin)
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