Hi there.

Can’t help it. I surely think global, yet my heart seems pumping American blood. This ultimate road trip led me from LA to Las Vegas, to small towns in Utah, to the beautiful Antelope Canyon all the way to Flagstaff in Arizona and surrounding mountains. After that, right to Lake Havasu, AZ in the peak of the desert heat. And finally to Palm Springs back in California and later returning to Los Angeles again. From where we started several day excursions to Ventura Beach, Huntington Beach, Malibu and of course downtown LA. Late July to mid of August 2023.

This road trip provided for the ultimate: the ultimate mix of nature, people, weather, monumental scenery, cities, experiences and memories. Too many pictures for my blog to handle. So many pictures on my phone, I might have to file for a documented addiction of taking pics of everything – I am providing once again this ultimate selection of pictures and I do hope you like and somehow feel them. Arizona surely rocks it (also woods it, deserts it, nices it) and is a fabulous state to explore with way more to offer and great contrast by far not expected in this magnitude. Chill air in the mountains and excessive heat around lake Havasu provided for a feeling of going places and soaking in all the new experiences and contrast which I was craving. Thankfully, I managed to see wonderful friends from the US and Australia and I am deeply thankful for all that has occurred in August of 2023.

What is there to learn end experience? The vast natural aspects of desert versus mountain. Rattle snakes and black widow spiders versus bears and mountain lions. The constant thrive to blend in versus places or people where I could not help myself, but to be touristy in my global thinkers mindset. The extension of one selves range in travelling.

The road trip: Las Vegas for a first stopover this time heading northeast from LA towards Utah and Arizona. To be flashed at night there by the latest architectural addition to the skyline called: The Sphere. That new event building is the real thing and on absolute next level. Google it, check it out and be astonished like me or fall for it and tend to really believe that the moon has finally crushed into earth. The realness and detailing of that currently most expensive display of the world is highly impressive. My picture below is from quarter a mile or like 450meters away from the structure and yep, this not the moon, it is a spheric screen!

After several hours of driving, we arrived in Flagstaff, Arizona. It is one beauty of a mountain city and also a classic stop alongside Route 66. Except for the permanent crossing of trains, I loved everything about that town and felt the urge to mountain bike and even hike all surrounding picturesque nature. And I clearly prefer biking only, usually. But even a stroll around the city center is recommended as lovely shops and restaurants are to be found. Like the ones featured in my pics😉. Flagstaff surely is a liberal town with outstanding food and bar culture, small cute shops among one of the best honey candle shops of the US. And overall a relaxing vibe with cooling night time temperature compared to desert vibes in many other corners of AZ.
Going up using the Arizona Snow Bowl nearby via a classic Gondola elevates you to ~3.500 meters or 11,500 feet. It further offers to even spot the Grand Canyon from a distance. Several trails can be found, yet not all was opened during our visit. As a Summer-Sirk, I cannot talk about the ski and snowboard qualities there, but they are surely great, too.

Lake Havasu
now for contrast. 119° Fahrenheit or 47° Celsius in that shade for real….. Yup, but as this is your original Summer Sirk writing, I can confirm I can cope with heat. And used the help of the lakes clear nice waters.
The lake has sectors to sail, jet ski, or speed boat like freaking hell. Plus much to explore on many different corners. Check them pics – cannot bring that heat over to you, though. Fun fact: the old but original London Bridge had been shipped over here and rebuild to mess with one’s mind as if the heat would not be a sufficient challenge already.

And before all that happened I missed this  g l o b a l  h i g h l i g h t  by the city of Page, AZ:  T h e  A n t i l o p e  C a n y o n. A must see and beautiful experience supporting the Navajo. Dive-hike into that canyon holy to the Navajo tribes: they have a spiritual connection to the canyon, which they refer to as “Tse bighanilini,” or a place where the water runs through rocks. Well, water surely shaped this thrill of a narrow and beautiful canyon. Colors, shapes, temperature differences, animals like Black Widow spiders can be spotted. Great adventure awaits sneaking through the canyon and additional fun checking out that small city of page as well.

Going back purely west meant to explore the Joshua Tree National Park, especially the rock formations around Skull Rock, and the city of Palm Springs back in California. There, we went on the Ariel Tramway. Better than the Gondola in Arizona, bigger, wider and more contrast. Leaving and even later at night arriving in the valley station to the heat of Palm Springs, the almost chill temperatures and great air quality on top of the mountain provided for a refreshing experience. I felt lucky enjoying the views and we were hiking for two hours on the nature and desert trails. Despite many warning signs, we did not spot a mountain lion. But after sunset which happened super quickly, we got lost for 20 min trying to find the right path back to the station. Sadly and thank god there are no lights that guide you, so you depend on yourself for once. But yeah, we were happy having found the right way back after solely depending on phone lights. The Ariel Tramway turns 360° permanently while going up and down which allows you to take all kinds of pictures or simply enjoy the view!
The other pictures from and on the rocks in the National Park. Fun in the heat followed by that tramway had built a simply perfect day.

Back in the north of LA, I stayed in the Leona Valley to enjoy an almost ranch-style life and great company 😊 – a tough drive from crazy LA that quickly change scenery and even some people. Liked it a lot. Nearby The Bouquet Falls can be walked to, an almost hidden small but cute waterfall as a great add-on to the valley.
And: contrast. How, HARD SUMMER MUSIC FESTIVAL feat. beats by Ludacris vs. Electronic music all the way(s) I love it. Great vibes well experienced.

Several day excursions followed like to good old pricey Malibu: always a must in its beauty and really over-priciness. We enjoyed some beaches and for dinner the excellent seafood at Gladstone’s well before the final closing, nice! And sad to see them go soon.

Ventura Beach. An absolutely cool and classy beach town combining vibes of Santa Barbara, LA and all of California with a mini touch of San Francisco. And a decent restaurant and bar culture. And an awesome peer. And beer.

Huntington Library Botanical Gardens. A decent escape from the madness of LA and an impressive plant composition. My hunger for palm trees always persists and great photo spots could be found. Plus many spots to unwind and yep, also half an hour of rain been experienced in this dry summer of 2023. Also, their Japanese Garden is built to a high granular level of detail. It made me wanna explore Japan soon or next? Who knows.
Oh, food recommendation: nearby Huntington Beach you can eat an excellent dog – well, in a fish specialty restaurant and it is a super-sized Lobster Dog! Lobster; clearly recommend with the beautiful people here.

Definitely this road trip offered it all and charged my batteries to the fullest in terms of a real persistent hunger for this great planet and people and feelings and pictures. Off I go to continue more and more and more. Yep, trying to balance it out with my frequent US trips.

Flew out to Seattle after LAX before headed back home and been surprised again by how big this nature thing is: Mount Rainier.

2023 already been a fabtastic travel and trip year. Not sure if I am done yet and 2024 awaits with new many new destinations, promised.
Yours, Sirk

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