Quick trip with my cousin!
- + 11
North America29 days / November 2020
Highs & Lows
Driving on the Bonneville Salt Flats!
The campsite we wanted to stay at was all full and we couldn't make reservations
LA is a great city but hard to get around without a car since each section is so spread out and away from each other. I found myself mostly in Beverly Hills near Rodeo drive where there is lots of great shopping and food, although it is also pricey. I would highly recommend visiting Griffith Park Observatory where you can hike up to the Hollywood sign, and going to Santa Monica beach at sunset. The pier is open but a bit crowded so I chose to avoid it. On the way out of LA, we stopped at the original In-N-Out burger which, if you've never had I would highly recommend. Order a Neapolitan shake, animal fries, and a cheese burger. The original location is just to look at but a short drive away is a real restaurant and In-N-Out University where you can buy all the merch you can imagine.
Las Vegas is a great place to see if you've never been, even if you don't have any interest in gambling or partying. We spent time eating at nice restaurants, lounging by the pool, and exploring the Venetian which feels like a super dystopic underground world. I wouldn't actually recommend going to the casinos because as we walked through we saw lots of masks off, people close to each other, and general felt unsafe with how people were treating Covid. We wanted to stay overnight a second night and camp at the Valley of Fire state park but its first come first serve camping and we were too late to make it with any vacancy. The drive down and back was worth it though.
If you are going to do one thing in Utah go drive to the Bonneville Salt Flats. We took our car out on the miles and miles of salt right off the side of the highway about 2 hours West of SLC. This is where many car companies test their cars speed because of how flat and long the area is. I took some salt home with me. It was very windy but we went in the early winter, its super manageable in the summer. We mostly spent time walking around the city which is home to many Mormons which means everything is closed on Sunday and around sunset. However, when we did go out we saw the Mormon church which was decorated for Christmas, went to the mall, and found some cute little restaurants.
Q & A
What would you have changed?
I would have left time to stop at both Zion national park and Bryce Canyon in Utah to go for some hikes or even stay over a night. The parks are so gorgeous and although camping would have been cold, I think with the right equipment we could have made it work. It also breaks up the Utah drive which can be kind of boring before you hit the mountains.
How was the food?
LA: Go to the original In-N-Out in Baldwin Park California! SLC: THE VERTICAL DINER, a totally vegan restaurant with a cool old school diner vibe, and amazing food Park City: Ritual Chocolate for Hot Chocolate, we also got some chocolate to bring home (kind of pricey) but so great with some whipped cream on a cold day
If doing a drive from California to Utah, which can be done in one day, remember that you will be going through drastic temperature changes so pack layers!! I left LA in a t-shirt and got to Utah the next day while it was snowing. Sweaters, long underwear, hats, etc. are all necessary for travel in October - April.
If you're ever traveling in LA, especially during the pandemic, a car is sadly very important if you want to see everything, however many people get away with a bike! I biked from Santa Monica to Beverly Hills and the bike path was generally easy and safe. There are Ubers and public transportation but they can be expensive and unclean respectively.
During late October and early November, most campsites become first come first serve which means you can't make reservations and just have to show up and hope there's a spot, to make it most likely you'll get one, get to the camping site early in the day (before 10am) and try to plan for a week day, Saturday is the worst day to find an open spot. If you really want to camp somewhere, consider finding a nearby campsite where you can make a reservation as a backup.