While I’ve had my fair share of “road trips,” from riding a debilitated bus for 3 days from Poland to Greece with 10-hour border checks to being stopped by guerrilla fighters in Ecuador en route to a local village, nothing compares to the classic Americana West Coast road trip. One of my most memorable childhood experiences was just that, a 14-day, back-to-back site-seeing extravaganza.
The trip started in the neon mecca of the nation, Las Vegas, where as a kid, I got to play a bit in the casino, and actually won my parents $300 at roulette—I’ve never forgot that exciting moment. Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon followed, and then a long drive to Death Valley, where the temperature got to be 115 degrees, and our rented Toyota Corolla was struggling desperately to cool the inside of the car, even though the AC was set at max. The particles of heat felt so dense against your skin, as if it would momentarily envelope you into a black hole. There was also a port-a-potty located right smack tab in the middle of this dessert, and surprisingly was immaculately clean, as my mother vividly remembers it.
We then headed to the land of the stars, and I got a snapshot with my favorite Walk of Fame Hollywood star, Michael Jackson. I remember thoroughly enjoying the Warner Bros. tour, especially seeing the setting for the show, ER. We basically hit up all the tourist-y spots….hey, you gotta see them once in your life.
Departing the iconic Beverly Hills hotel, we made our way along the winding and breathtakingly scenic Route 1, first making a detour at Hearst Castle, and then heading up to Carmel. This deemed to be one of our favorites towns—understated art galleries, the beach, and cute ocean-side restaurants, what more could you ask for.
Being the avid nature lovers that we are, we couldn’t miss Sequoia National Park and Yosemite. Sequoia was so impressive—gigantic tree trunks that created this mystical boundless paradise. We got some great photos with General Sherman, the largest tree in the world. In comparison to Yosemite, Sequoia posed to be much cleaner and more natural.
We made our way to Lake Tahoe, and then Napa Valley (where we experienced a small earthquake, my parents utterly frightened, while I slept right through it) and finally San Francisco. I loved everything about San Francisco, the narrow, hilly streets, the cable cars, the artsy and foodie culture, Lombard Street, all of it. One evening we ventured into the landmark, The Stinking Rose, which my dad and I had heard about over the radio a few weeks back. Every dish was based on garlic, garnished with loads of garlic, and even dessert contained garlic. It was kitschy, but also great fun. I wonder if that place still exists.
I recall this venture with great fondness, and so I look forward to embarking on this new West Coast adventure, starting today. I hope to discover new off-the-beaten spots and return to some oldies but goodies. Looking forward to reporting back, so keep checking in daily. We will also be doing a Nomaterra scavenger hunt with our fragrances, so follow us on twitter and facebook to find out where we’ve hidden product in each of the cities.