Get Your Kicks
For the final leg of my american road trip we drove down the infamous Route 66, (well a part of it) stopping in the quirkiest little town I've ever come across in my 24 years. It's apparently the inspiration behind the town in Disney Pixar's Cars, and it's not hard to see why. This place was an Instagram/ bloggers dream come true! There were so many retro road signs, faded old pieces of junk and cars. In fact parked behind the Snow Cap were a selection of cars that looked just like the movie ones, even having the eyes drawn onto the windscreen for a magical touch.
We were given a couple of hours to wander up and down, again I quickly located a souvenir store for my next jacket patch, before my stomach started to rumble and it was lunch time. Snow Cap was Andrews recommendation, this quirky diner full of pranksters was covered in stickers, patches and business cards (I only can assume were from people passing through). I opted for some sweet potato fries with mustard, which were incredible and a little pick me up smiley face was thrown in. To wash them down I picked a strawberry milkshake (this place is apparently famous for their milkshakes), it is the BEST SHAKE I've ever had, the fresh strawberries and ice-cream blend was perfection on such a hot autumn afternoon. That's another thing about this trip, all summer in the UK we don't get weather anywhere near as stunning as in my time on the west coast, so I soaked up all I could.
It was sad to have to climb back into the van and I was tempted to buy a licence plate (which I picked up on Venice Beach later) but saving my cash for the next stop seemed more practical. We continued driving through the desert, little did we know our next stop was such a beautiful little escape.
This is were we set up camp for the next night, right beside the Colorado River. Straight on arrival we pulled up, through on our swimsuits and headed straight for the water. It was sweltering by this point and my Australian trek mates were in their element, more so than me. After a brief moment to apply some much needed sunscreen (damn my milk bottle skin), I followed them in. We spent the afternoon swimming, sunbathing and playing a ton of drinking games.
Beer pong with actual red plastic cups (I know it sounds lame but I was excited), turns out my aim wasn't half bad. I watched the sunset with my road trip playlist providing the background music for the evening, I believe it was a mix of CHVRCHES and Ben Howard by this point. The sun set and some of the gang started making food, burritos and a whole lot of them. After some interesting narratives during our games of MAFIA and clearly competitive rounds of Warlords and Scumbags, it was soon time to say goodnight. Unlike our previous camping spots the night air was warm and so we threw down a tarp and our sleeping bags, setting up right under a couple of shooting stars and never wanting the night to end.
We packed up the van the next morning and continued down the dirt road, with a couple of stops to stretch our legs and grab a spot of early lunch, before we knew it the desert landscapes of the last few days faded behind us. Instead the landscape changed dramatically, the mountains and cacti replaced by buildings and celebrities. We had officially made it to Los Angeles, this place was nothing like I had imagined and with recent forest fires the air was heavy and smokey on our arrival. Our first stop was of course the Hollywood walk of fame, we strolled along the boulevard (here I found my final patch), grabbed a misty sighting of the Hollywood sign and stepped over the names of actors, musicians and people who had made history here.
It was chaotic, we grabbed some ice cream, explored a little more and after meeting the Hulk and Batman I was pretty happy to retreat from the bustle of the Boulevard and head to the beach. Venice Beach I'd seen before in so many films, in real life it was such a hub of creatives. Where else can you pass a 80 year old rollerblader blasting out a guitar solo and an 8 year old skateboarder, with a golden helmet who I could only dream of being as talented as. I was in my element here, the beach front was full of market stalls with handmade trinkets. However, I had previously been tempted on Route 66 to pick up a licence plate to hang on my photo wall at home. Here I found the perfect one. An Arizona plate (it is the grand canyon state after all), it's sitting proudly in my living room now and I'm so glad I picked one up. I found a place to grab a decent cup of coffee and headed down onto the beach to watch the muscle men, skaters and get some serious Baywatch vibes.
The next thing you know and our time in L.A was over at least as part of our group. We parted ways and headed onto the next destination (for me that was going to be home) I managed to get some pretty ace shots around L.A though. Venice beach street art was definitely my favourite thing about the city. Driving through Bel Air and Beverly Hills was worlds away from the reality of being on the streets in Hollywood, it's not as glamorous as I expected it to be, but I suppose that's the movies talking. I'm planning on booking my next Trek soon there are two I'm choosing between including the Deep South BLT so I can explore the Smokey Mountains and drink some moonshine, or heading up to Canada for a glaciers and grizzlies expedition.
In the New Year, I will hopefully have made my decision and will let you know. Until then I'm going to try and settle back into my normal routine, enjoy Christmas with family and friends and who knows what adventures 2018 will bring. All I can say is this road trip has made me hungry for more travel and 2017 has been a year that has completely changed who I am, for the better.
🍑 A B Y
If you fancy watching what I got up to, then check out my Trek Trailer:
Aby, 24. Northerner.