Laetitia at the Windows Arches, UT

Indiana at Arches NP, UT

Laetitia at Death Valley NP, CA

Christophe and the Half-Dome, Yosemite NP, CA

Laetitia on a dinner cruise, Lake Tahoe, CA

Christophe at Sutter’s Fort, Sacramento, CA

An Hollywood star near Mendocino, CA

Laetitia at Crater Lake, OR

The phantom ship behind Christophe, Crater Lake, OR

Then we arrived in Las Vegas where our room at the Bellagio had a stunning view on the strip, the hotel’s fountain (more like a lake) and on the Eiffel Tower of Paris Hotel. A great treat after the two previous nights… We took off to Death Valley that we quickly drove through – the temperature was 122°F - while thinking of the crazy pioneers of the 1840’s who rode through those plains in hopes of a better and brighter future in the West… (Ok… they usually traveled during winter time...)

We then visited Yosemite NP in the Sierra Nevada. A huge park, very touristy in the summer, but of stunning beauty with its little mountain lakes and gigantic granite domes, forests that go on for ever and water falls of a few hundred of meters high. Made us remember that Switzerland is not that unique and for sure is very small…

We arrived at Lake Tahoe, which is an ideal and refreshing week-end retreat if you live on the Californian cost (i.e. San Francisco). The lake is splendid, blue-black colored, with pure water and superb views. This was the opportunity to pass by “Fleur du Lac”, the villa in “Godfather 2” and to stay at the Cal-Neva Lodge whose former owner was Frank Sinatra in the early 1960s and as its name indicates, the Hotel is crossed by the state line of California and Nevada. A beautiful lake that reminded us of Lake Geneva…

Sacramento, capital of California, was our next stop where we visited Fort Sutter. Sutter was a Swiss whose story can be found in “L’Or” of Blaise Cendrars (to summarize: a man ruined by the discovery of gold on his property). The bay of San Francisco was in the fog when we arrived, but we still took advantage of a day pass to use the cable cars to see Union Square and Fisherman’s Wharf again….

On August 3rd, we left San Francisco by way of the Golden Gate Bridge (obviously) and visited Napa Valley and its numerous wineries that can be found every 300 yards. We stopped in particular at Coppolla and Beringer to taste a few wines. We found the welcome and visits to be simple and friendly, something the Valais should consider to attract more tourists. Then back to route 1 along the northern cost of California to go see Redwood NP. The ocean and cliffs make for a magical coast but also for a difficult drive…

Finally, today we “did” Oregon. We started early in the morning with Crater Lake NP, a gorgeous site where a small volcano can be seen in the middle of the lake that is in the crater of a previously collapsed volcano. We are now in Portland in a hotel that has high speed internet, so here goes the e-mail! Tomorrow we are off to Seattle for 2 days.

Otherwise we are doing great, health is good, we did a bit of shopping, the GPS helps out sometimes, and we are trying to use the video camera as much as possible. We will soon have our gold membership at McDonalds and our cooler is holding up well. We are probably already over budget…. But we will fast when we return to Switzerland…. The car is driving great but already needs the 10,000 mile maintenance…

There you have it… Only 8 weeks left…

USA 2004 Honeymoon

60 days across North America

Denver - Portland

News from the road… We’ve been on the go for a little over a week now but it already feels like we left work two months ago! We have already traveled over 2,500 miles but still have not had the opportunity to test our 4x4 all wheel drive feature of our big truck… So far we have driven through Colorado, Utah, Nevada, California and Oregon. All states are gigantesque and splendid, with very diverse sceneries along the way that take our breath away (mountains, canyons, cliffs, deserts, ocean, big metropolitan cities…).

We started with two nights of camping at Arches and Bryce National Parks in Utah. Arches was a little disappointing, but Dead Horse Point which is only a few miles from the park offers an extraordinary lookout on the Canyonlands and the Colorado River. The road to Bryce and the passage through Grand Staircase-Escalante Park is quite impressive as well. At Bryce Canyon that we love – it’s simply incomparable – the night was really cold (~50°F) and we will probably need a few weeks before being motivated to camp again…

Dates : 07/27/2004 to 08/05/2004

“Fleur du Lac”, former residence of Michael Corleone
Lake Tahoe, CA