Jenna's Journey

The world is your oyster

Day 9 & 10: Santa Fe, Roswell and Carlsbad.

We got awoken early in monument valley by the blistering heat of the sun rising, we had a quick breakfast while watching the stunning view before heading out in the van toward Santa Fe.
Santa Fe was a cute little town that had a band playing jazzy music at the bandstand when we arrived. Lots of couples were dancing along to the jazzy music and we couldn’t help ourselves but join in in true English style.

Behind the band stand were some break dancers who were amazing, one of them was a child that looked about 5 years old, he was so cute.

Santa Fe was a pretty town with lots of old sandy buildings and a beautiful cathedral

Another early start and a 7 hour drive saw us stop off at Roswell. Roswell is a town famous for its many alien sightings and landings. The town have hugely capitalised on this resulting in not being able to look in any direction without seeing some kind of alien memorabilia, be it a painting, model or alien shaped lamppost!

We had a quick look around the UFO museum which had lots of very hard evidence for aliens (note the sarcasm)

Then we got back in the van headed via Route 66 for our destination-Carlsbad.

Carlsbad is famous for its caves, there is one massive one that we explored for around 2 hours, it had a bottomless pit, a massive sparkly room and hundreds of stalagmites and stalactites.

After our cave exploring we drove back to camp for a cous cous and chicken dinner and a drink before settling down for the night.

Day 8: Helicopter flight and Monument Valley

Ceira, Kris and I got up early for our helicopter flight in the morning, we weren’t quite sure what to expect as we’d already seen a lot of the canyon from our hikes but it was definitely money well spent. It was one of the best experiences of my life, I’ll never forget it.

Buzzing from the flight we headed back to camp to finish packing up with the others to then get in the van and head for Monument Valley. When we got there we had a quick look round the visitor Centre and then hopped onto a Jeep for a tour into the Valley.

After our tour we went deep into the valley to see where we were sleeping that night - in a hogan

We had a traditional taco dinner (not the Americanised kind) and then sat round the fire with marshmallows, telling stories and learning all about the history of the native Americans. After we all settled down in the hogan for a very hot nights sleep.

Day 6 & 7: The Grand Canyon

I dragged myself out of my deflated bed early in the morning ready for a long drive day over to the grand canyon. I seemed to have managed to get away without a hangover although my bum was painful from the horse ride!
I called shotgun so got some great views out the front of the surrounding landscape, and got to be music maestro for the whole journey :)
When we arrived at the canyon Ryan gave us each a blindfold to put on, we walked holding onto each others shoulders down to the canyon edge and after three took our blindfold’s off for our first view of the canyon. It was breathtaking.

There was an awful thunderstorm brewing on the horizon so we quickly had a look around and then headed to our campsite to set up and start cooking before the storm came. Then it came. I’ve never seen anything like it! There was thunder and lightning every 10 seconds and the rain felt like stones hitting you. Luckily we already had the marquee up and our tents stayed mostly dry.
After struggling to sleep in the pouring rain we got up at 4:15 am and rushed to get ready and
go down to the canyon to watch the sunrise.

After the spectacular view we embarked on a hike down into the canyon in the still cool weather.
The hike took all the energy out of us so we headed over to the mcdonalds next to our campsite which was the third most expensive in the country!
After our massive mcdonalds and a couple hours stealing the wifi there we walked back to camp to shower and nap ready for our dinner at the nicest pizza resturant. Then headed over to the bowling alley for a couple games and a bit of time on the arcade games.

Day 4 & 5: Zion national park and Lake Powell

Leaving Vegas behind and heading into the desert with some beautiful views for our 3 hour drive into Zion national park, we had a good few stops on the way and after setting up camp had a relax around the campsite, had a good look around the visitor centre and stopped off at some viewpoints before cooking pasta for dinner and going to sleep for the early start in the morning.
At half 5 we got up ready for our angels landing hike which was sooooo steep and tough! We made it half way and felt we were going to pass out but still had some incredible views.

After our hike we headed back to pack up camp and get on the road again by midday.
We headed towards lake Powell, named after James Powell a famous hiker. The lake had a beach and we went swimming to cool off from the scorching heat with the amazing backdrop of the mountains behind us.

After our swimming we loaded back into the van and headed down to the cowboy camp where I got a chance to ride a horse around a scenic bowl. The cowboys were pretty scary but the horses were well behaved and I managed the whole 2 hour trip without falling off, however I did lose my sunglasses somewhere along the way, they weren’t my favourites though so it’s alright.
After our horse ride we headed back to camp to a BBQ in full swing. That evening we all went into the party barn, played dirty Jenga and drank lots of wine and beer before stumbling back to the tents and crashing out.

Day 3: Vegas round 2

After an awful nights sleep we got up and went on a hunt for Wifi so as to make contact with home. Ciera and I then hopped on the Vegas strip bus down to the Outlets at the end of the strip to make some serious damage to the credit cards. I ended up buying the most gorgeous diamond ring, (and trying on one worth 20 grand) and some new Nike trainers.

At least I have something to show for all the money I spent in Vegas. By the time we got back from our girly shopping trip the sun had passed it’s strongest point in the day so we went out to the hotel pool for a cool down and a bit of shade bathing. For our evening meal we went to a family style Italian where all the portions were absolutely humongous! And the pizza was soooo tasty. After our meal we headed out down the strip to see vegas in its full glory. Before heading up for some much needed shut eye.

Day 2: Vegas

I met my group in the morning, it was strange because everyone already knew each other apart from me and one other new girl. After about an hour of briefing and introducing ourselves we hit the road Vegas bound! The whole way there was beautiful scenery even if it was all brown.

After a good 4-5 hours and 3 rest stops we could see Vegas on the horizon!

We arrived at our castle hotel on the Vegas strip, freshened up and went out for an all you can eat buffet!

After a humongous but rushed meal we headed onto our party bus which was amazing! We all drank lots out of red cups and partied hard with a few stops along the way at the Vegas sign and the biggest screen I’ve ever seen and we definitely lived up to our rowdy Brits abroad stereotype … Oops :)

After the bus being ‘minors’ Ceira and I headed back to the hotel with Lucy who had, had way too much to drink! And our tour leader. Not too gutted, at least I didn’t lose any money!
Vegas round 2 tomorrow!

Day 1: LA and Hollywood

I woke up at 4:30am this morning, jetlag is a bitch. I ordered room service breakfast for my first taste of American food and I’m telling you these pancakes were divine!!

By the time I’d eaten and got dressed, messed around a lot attempting to organise myself it was almost 7 and I decided to go for a walk down the street to explore my surroundings a bit, I didn’t have to walk far at all til I found a McDonald’s, subway and Starbucks!
Back to the hotel I had a nice relax round the pool, nobody else was there so I had it all to myself!

After a lot of messing around and hoohah about my LA tour which was supposed to be in the morning but because they’d mixed up the dates was now at 12 I set off to Beverly Hills to see some amazing houses owned by numerous stars!

We went past the San Fernando Valley

And got some spectacular views of the whole of LA

We then went into Hollywood and past that famous sign, and yes I did have to get a touristy photo with it!

The tour finally came to an end and we were dropped off at the walk of fame to explore before being taken safely back to the hotel.

I’m now about to meet everyone from the trek I’m joining, very excited.
And by the way Pringles here have so much more flavour! Not that I bought any …

Touchdown in LAX

Finally my almost 11 hour flight has come to an end! As I got off the plane the first thing that hit me was the smell of food… Mmm. LA smells goooood no wonder Americans are stereotypically fat! I’ve already seen a bible basher, a man who thinks he’s a cowboy, a car with horns on the front, and a woman that definitely looks like some kind of celebrity. I got talking to a New Zealander and a couple of South Africans in the passport control queue, the South African women were so funny and were asking me 21 questions and acting like my mothers worrying about me people tend to feel that need to look after me. I am perfectly capable on my own!
I haven’t had much of a chance to explore LA yet its been a very long day, but tomorrow I’m going to see all the stars homes and Hollywood blvd and hopefully meet my fellow Trekkers in the evening!

Departure lounge

Sitting in the departure lounge struggling to stay still, so excited and nervous. I’ve never done airports alone before I’ve always had someone telling me go here or there be it mum and dad, a teacher or Rhiana. Fingers crossed I do the right thing and don’t end up in Bangladesh. It’s so tempting to go and shop but if I take my eyes off this board I’ll probably miss my flight!

American Road Trip

So here I am a little bit too excited that I have just paid my final installment for the first part of my journey this summer - America.

I will be travelling with a company called Trek America from LA all the way to New York in 21 days!

I’m not quite sure which part of my road trip I am looking forward to the most, possibly dressing up like a celebrity and spending all my money in Vegas (although this is early on in my trip so if this does happen I’ll be well and truly screwed), maybe its the stars homes tour in LA on which I plan to stand outside Orlando Blooms house serenading him until he is forced to either give in and realise his undying and unconditional love for me or issue a restraining order against me OR it could be my first glimpse of the wonder that is the Grand Canyon (I have heard it is supercallifraglisticexpeallidoshous to say the least) I just don’t know. 

I’ve done my research - all questions I had have been answered now I have to play the waiting game. How can I make 3 months 23 days and 15 hours go quickly?