Los Angeles

I got to the hostel in LA around 8pm, after spending the whole day in Joshua tree. I hadn’t booked into the Hostel but had called ahead to make sure they had bed for me. The hostel I was staying at was called The Anderson Estates and was the cheapest I could find in LA at the time, was about USD$22 a night and had alright reviews.

The Anderson Estates was interesting, it is this massive mansion in the middle of small basic brick houses in a not so fancy area. All the rooms have been filled with bunks, but the strange part is that allot of the original furnishings and paintings and stuff are still in the house. So all the bunks sit about a foot off the wall with these very ornate paintings and mirrors hanging on the walls and statues and things sitting in corners. Overall the it was a pretty nice place, nice big pool in the backyard, a bit of a party hostel though with music pumping out of the stereo into the backyard (I’m not sure how they get away with it as the hostel is surrounded on all sides by houses). It honestly reminded me of a frat house from the movies.

The Anderson Estates
The Front
The Pool

The next morning I got up and after enjoying some free breakfast went off to see some sights. My first stop was Hollywood Boulevard or more importantly the Hollywood walk of disappointment…. I actually don’t understand the hype, the whole thing is trashy, dirty, unorganised and overall pretty unimpressive. I don’t understand why it’s such a big deal to get your star there, but nether the  less I wandered up and down looking for names that I actually knew. I also didn’t realise fictional characters could get a stars.

Next stop was the Griffith Observatory; I enjoyed this stop allot more, great views over LA and the Hollywood hills as well some cool things on display. I wish I could’ve seen a show in the planetarium but was meeting up with an old friend from university later.

Griffith Observatory

 

Downtown LA

After that I met up with my mate from Uni who had just recently moved to Redondo Beach, LA. We went out for dinner and drank way too much so I crashed on his couch, I then canceled my reservation at the hostel, for which I got no money back because they came up with some bul#$% excuse and said it would’ve cost the same for the two nights because the rate would’ve been different, but I didn’t mind because this was the view from my new accom.

The next day I checked out some more of the sites in LA.

Santa Monica, which I quite liked. It was pretty quiet when I was there(I assume it was the  timing of when I was there). I walked down from where I parked the car and came out at the famous Muscle Beach, I spent a bit of time here messing around on the equipment and watching other people messing about, it was quite entertaining.

I then took a wander along the beach to the Santa Monica pier. It was pretty cool and surreal to see up-close.

Santa Monica Pier

Since it was such a nice day I decided to go for a swim. So I took all my stuff back to the car and changed into my boardies. I headed to a spot near the pier cause the small waves were breaking slightly better there and who can resist the backdrop. When I finally got to the water (the beaches are huge here), I notices the lifeguard on duty paddling a Kracka Surf Mal that looked very familiar, kracka is and Australian Board Brand and the board he was paddling used to be one of the guys from my Surf club back home, Half Moon Bay. So I went up and started chatting to him. He then then gave the board to me and grabbed the Lifesaving Mal, we Caught a few shories before he had to go back on duty. It was allot fun getting out on a Surf Mal for again and catching some waves and crazy that halfway around the world I find a board from back home.

Santa Monica Beach

On the way back to Redondo Beach I stopped off at Venice beach…. Similar to Hollywood I don’t understand the hype, The place is littered with tourists, smoke/Vape shops, medical marijuana shops, souvenir shops and whole lot of homeless and people that want to try and make a buck off you. I definitely wouldn’t want to go swimming there, even with just a towel and t-shirt on the beach I would be scared it would go missing if I wen’t into the water.




That concluded my sightseeing in LA overall nothing amazing but still worth seeing in the flesh. Most flights into the states go through LAX so worth a stopover.

Drive to Moab – Arches National Park

The drive from Mesa Verde was pretty short only about 2h, I’ve done pretty well this whole trip I think the longest I’ve had to drive in a day is only about 4h.

The landscape was now alot more like I was expecting from a desert and the West haha, red sand with with these amazing red sandstone formations and cliffs rising up out of the ground, cut by water over millions of years. On the way in to town you drive past Wilson’s Arch which is a short stroll from the road so I stopped to have a look, the Arches are pretty amazing.

Wilson's Arch

The campsite I was heading to was just on the other side of Moab. As you’re heading out of Moab towards the arches national park, you turn right down 128 (There is a gondola on the corner) which follows the Rio Grande River through the canyon. Along this road there are a number of self-register first in best dressed campgrounds. The first couple, which are definitely the nicer ones were already full but a bit further down there were some spots free.


Location: Oak Grove Campground, Moab, Utah
Address: UT-128, Moab, Utah 84532
GPS: 38.6436249,-109.4786776
Cost: $15.0
Facilities: Waterless restroom, picnic tables, camp BBQ’s.


Oak Grove Campsite
Oak Grove Campsite

These camp grounds were allot more exposed, but you get some shade from the sun in the evenings from the canyon walls. I was still an awesome spot on the river bank with canyon walls soaring above you, was pretty amazing. I set up camp and had some dinner. While I was cooking dinner I could see a few people swimming in the river from the rocks a little downstream. After dinner since it was still pretty damn hot, I decided it might be nice to go for a swim to cool off. So i wandered down and joined them, it was two couples one probably late 40’s the other about my age.We chatted while we swam; Well stood on rocks in the water, the current was quite strong in this section so you couldn’t really swim, but it was still really nice to cool off. We stayed till the light was pretty much gone then headed back out camps while we could still see the way.

The next day I got up and hit Arches national park, again I got in for free, not sure why maybe because they were doing works so a couple of places were shut (usually $25 i think). The only thing I will write about this is I headed straight for the far end of the Park for two reasons; one allot of the people coming in were stopping at the earlier stops and second most of the hiking is at the far end of the park so I wanted to get it out of the way while it was cooler in the morning. Now I’m going to let the pictures do the talking.

Landscape Arch
Landscape Arch
Partition Arch
Partition Arch

Partition Arch
Partition Arch
Navajo Arch
Navajo Arch

Most of the arches are made from sandstone fins that have eroded over millions of years.
Double O arch
Double O arch

 

Longnose Leopard Lizard
Skyline Arch
Skyline Arch
Sandstone Arch
Sandstone Arch
Broken Arch
Broken Arch
Fiery Furnace
Fiery Furnace
Delicate Arch
Delicate Arch

After a long hot day in the Park I felt like a refreshing beverage… so I stopped in at the Moab Brewery and had a Beer at the Bar. While I was sitting at the bar a local man came and Sat between myself and another guy, who turned out to be a Kiwi, the Jeff the local guy was amazed that he had sat down between the two of us. So we all got chatting, the Kiwi had shipped his motorbike over from NZ to a place in south america and has been travelling around on it for a few months,  Jeff is civil engineer working for KOA campgrounds planning the remodeling and infrastructure of their campgrounds around the stated and in his spare time he goes rock crawling in his modified Jeep. As the night went on and we got chatting more, Jeff offered to take me out 4x4ing in his Jeep if I was around the next day, I was meant to be leaving in the morning but decided to stay as I didn’t want to pass up this great opportunity. That night I actually ended up staying at a Backpackers in town as it was cheaper than camping ($12).