This is a guest post from my friend Jeanette, who came all the way from Denmark to visit some places in America she’d always dreamed of.
I’m sitting on my couch and enjoying my ice-cold self-imported Root Beer from Portland. I had been traveling in USA for the last 19 days, and now I’m home. It seems like forever ago I ecstatically backed my suitcase and went off to sees a long lasting dream of mine. And It seems as if, it only was yesterday I got to the airport of Portland, to get picked up by my dear friend Ahimsa. Besides entering a country there in all ways simply just blows your mind., The greatest surprise of them all was the people there. Never before have I felt this much at home and welcomed. The greetings and welcomes you meet – the politeness and smalltalks that appear out of nowhere. And now I get it when people find the Europeans and danes to be a bit cold and not that welcoming. I wish I could import some of the polite-everyday phrases to Denmark.
Watching too much TV and talkshows from America – The most important things I learned, one of my big prejudice of Americans being overweight slightly stupid consumer – failed totally, and luckily prove me all wrong! I never seen so harmonizing a city as Portland! A city built in a Forrest! Where there still is room for nature- and one respects for trees and all green! I could never seem to find a trashcan- I needed to carry my trash for blocks sometimes! And yet I never saw trash in the streets or in the nature of the states I visited. And they recycle in great manners! Portland is truly a cultivated city, of intelligent, where kreativitiv blossom. Don’t miss the Saturday market, where the rules are, that it had to be made in Portland and sold by the artist himself. I never seen so many vegan/ vegetarian restaurant, I think you could stay vegan by mistake there! Vegan or no vegan- you must try the bbq tempeh burgers of dicks kitchen, and spend a relaxing hour or two, in the house called Tao of Tea. If you don’t know what to order – I’ll recommend the 8 Treasure Tea. And further down the street is Wonderland, just waiting to show you a good time, in the gambling halls of no age! Here mr and miss. Packman come to live, air-hockey tables, quist and car races against friends! Beat your friends in guitar hero, or capture the treasure of the pharaoh! It cost 2-3 dollars to get in the game arcade – and then you can buy bags of nickels – for 2,5 or 10$.
In summer season you will wish to see the street fair in Portland, every last Thursday of the month. Tons of local artist are showing and selling there work, and lots of good food. If you can find it – don’t miss out on a maple bar (from a bakery), spicy pumpkin latte, and root beer! Especial the last one has become a great new love of mine!
My advice to you, if you are going to the States – Rent a car, and get around to see the country! (and don’t save money on insurance, get a good insurance on the car (+collision damages!), as well as and good health insurance and home transportation for yourself).
The list of what I have seen and will recommend from my road trip is so long; the variety of the nature just from one state to another is speechless. I have seen and done things I only dared hope for. We camped at Jacobs Lake, near the North entrance to the Grand Canyon – I camped 8000 feet above sea surface! (the highest point in Denmark is 561 feet.) We fall asleep to the howls of the coyotes and the hooting song of the owls. Later I would see bears in the wild – standing on the lake side hoping for a meal., and learning their cubs the last lessons of fishing. I faced the heating dessert that beat down the comfort of the aircon in the car. I have seen the wind of the desert toying with big trucks, knocking them into the wrong lanes. And I saw the wild rain of the mountain sides, making it impossible to see 5 feet in front of the car, forcing us to slow down and use every energy left in us, to focus on driving.
Don’t miss out on the beautiful nature the country has to offer! You can’t go to Portland without visiting the Columbia Gorge. Drive the Historic Highway (Route 30). Stop and inhale the fresh air and the taste of freedom, take a short or long hike, into the magic deep of mossy trees, playful light and fantastic waterfalls. See Columbia River from The Vista House, and reload your batteries. If you like the Gorge, you will love Zion in Utah. Zion is all your heart can desire, but where the Gorge is free to enter, Zion costs 25$ for a car. Then you can take the free shuttle bus, which runes every 10 min, until 7.45 PM, and “get off’ get on” from hikes on the routes, you will get close-up to wild life there, where deers just grazing few feets from you. But it will be nothing compared to the nature sights, where (small) mountains hills surrounds you and lure you into the deep of silence, still riverbanks and enchanted compressed meadowly ambiance. You can even camp in Zion, but you need to be there early or reserve in really good time. When you have seen and digested the Gorge and Zion, you will be ready to let the Grand Canyon in Arizona blow you sideways and out of reality – the Canyons are magnificent and some of the wildest nature I ever have seen, no picture will ever come close to reproduce its scale of magnitude, it a sight that should be on every ones “to see list”!. Even though the south side is by far the most pretty sight, you must go to the north side while you are there, and see the meadows of fall, before you enter the north side. It cost 25$ for an car to enter, but you can enter both north and south side on the same ticket, and the ticket is veiled for 7 days, just like the ticket from Zion is.
The nature is excellent, but don’t spare yourself for a trip to one of the dollar stores, where things only cost one dollar! Or the big outlet stores where everything is under half price. Do yourself a favor an only travel to the USA with a half loaded suitcase! – and come home with a full (or overloaded!).
Vegas in Nevada is exactly everything I hoped it would be. Again you have something so unique that a simple photo can’t begin to describe it. I have only one thing to say to you, Vegas, I will see you again someday And the fact that i was lucky enough to top it all of with a long drive on Route 66 in Arizona, visit the redwoods and the coast of Oregon- it’s just make my visit in the western USA complete! It truly was a lifelong dream coming true.
Budget! One May ask what the price was, for reliving my dreams. I got a road trip and 19 days in the stats, as I wanted it to be, I was wild in Vegas, I eat and drink as I pleased – and I visit the pay places I wanted to- both exactly the things I desired and our ride through 3210,1 miles /5136,16km, was a brand new Ford Mustang 2014, V8, (22miles pr gallon! / ca. 9,3 km/liter). I’m sure you can do it more cheap then I did! But the price of my dream and my adventure was 4322$ total! I spend 3095$ on flight, hotel/motel/camping, rent of car, Insurance and gas. And I spend 1227$ on pocket-money, to eat, drink, gift and casino/gambling money in Vegas., pocket money pr.day was 65$.
A big thanks to my dear friend, guide and travelling companion Ahimsa. For reliving my dream with me, and thanks to his family and friends for being so warm hearted and kind people.
And remember, don’t follow your dreams!- CHASE THEM!!