Behringstr. 42 - 44 * 22763 Hamburg * Phone + 49 - 40 - 393 393 * Fax + 49 - 40 - 39 00 589
Hamburg * Berlin * Hannover * Bremen * Dresden * Munich
Coast to Coast from San Francisco via Florida to New York
Itinerary: Flight from Berlin, Frankfurt or Munich to San Francisco; Trip by bus from San Francisco: Highway No. 1, Big Sur, swimming in the Pacific - Los Angeles: Disneyland, Hollywood, Venice Beach - Monument Valley: Indian village, Cliff Palace - Grand Canyon: hiking - Willow Beach - Las Vegas - Mesa Verde - Carlsbad Caverns - Big Bent National Park - San Antonio - New Orleans: French Quarter - Wakulla Springs - St. Petersburg: Dali museum, Clearwater Beach - Cape Canaveral: NASA - Washington, DC: visits to Pentagon, Georgetown, White House, Smithsonian, Lincoln Memorial to New York; Flight back to Europe..
Accommodations: One night at hotel in Washington, DC, one night at hotel in New Orleans, two nights at hotel in San Francisco, otherwise at camping sites or in sleeper bus.
Meals: For your meals you should expect to spend approx. $20 per day
At Your Disposal: Camping equipment of foldaway tables and benches, double-burner gas stoves including bottled gas, several large cooking pots.
Tour Escort: Tour coordinator
Extra: Entrance fees, food, drinks, additional excursions by boats, canoes, motor bikes, horses, etc.
Climate: Spring and fall: day 68-92 degrees, night 44-66 degrees,
water 70 degrees Fahrenheit
Summer: day 68-110 degrees, night 52-78 degrees, water 70 degrees Fahrenheit
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The Experiences of Kirsten Wulf on our Southern USA Bus Trip
Highway Number One somewhere between San Francisco and Los Angeles, one o'clock in the morning. Our bus pulls up to the gas station. The night attendant looks out curiously from his booth. "Hi, where you headed?" "New York", I mumble sleepily. He stares at me in disbelief. "New York? Boy, that's a loooong way", he says, shaking his head. I give him sixty cents for a Coke, climb back into the bus, and crawl into my sleeping bag.
Over 6,000 miles lie ahead of us. Twenty states in twenty-five days. Michael, one of our two drivers, takes another sip of coffee and moves off in second gear. Our tour coordinator, Joseph, lies snoring on the opposite side. Behind the first four rows of seats, gaudy sleeping-bagged mummies lie huddled together on the sleeping platform. Twenty-five alternative travelers with a taste for adventure, a crazy bunch of couples and singles, between twenty-three and sixty years old. For almost all of them, it is their first trip through the United States. From coast to coast, it's a long way.
Our "rolling home" is decorated from the very first afternoon with damp towels and swimming gear hung along the central aisle. California, after all, wouldn't be California without a dip in the Pacific. Even the salty layer on our bodies doesn't annoy us, although we can only dream of a shower for tonight. With the sounds of "California Dreamin'" in our ears, we headed off into the sunset and it is now our first night on board the bus.
The next day we reach Los Angeles. A reddish dawn light breaks into the haze of exhaust fumes. In between the skyscrapers the endless lines of cars crawl along the countless traffic lanes. The bus parks in a side-street. Our toothbrushes at the ready, we pile into "Denny's Coffee Shop." One day of L.A. and Hollywood......a blast of America, southern California style.
"Wake up!! Let's get shopping or there won't be any breakfast!" Quite a wake up call. Finally, I pull my body upright. All around, nothing but rocky desert, and right in the middle: a supermarket open 24 hours. Where we are? Boulder City, Nevada. Shortly afterwards, we can be found pushing three overflowing supermarket carts to the bus. Coffee, pounds and pounds of the stuff, gallons of milk, fruit, nuts and cereals for the granola freaks. Harold moans that there is no meat, and is quickly advised by the rest that next time, he should go ahead and buy what he wants!
Another problem is on the horizon: Who is going to take over the responsibility for the food money? A pregnant silence follows.... "Well, one thing is for sure," says Chris with a grin, "whoever it is has got to be absolutely trustworthy and reliable. That counts me out from the start!" Jim volunteers and proves to be the right man for the job. Within five minutes he came round collecting the bucks and checking names off his check-list.
A dusty road takes us to Lake Mead. The deep blue reservoir stretches out from the otherwise barren surroundings. Water containers, dishes, and food are carried to the picnic area. Chris shows us the correct way to set up the stoves and the coffee pots. Margret calls over her boyfriend, Harold, to help. Rainer prepares the yogurt dressing. Volunteers start peeling and chopping for the fruit salad. Larry is already off for a swim in the lake. We've got a full day just to laze around enjoying the sun, the sky, the heat, and the water.
Towards evening we start to get ready for our visit to town. Las Vegas beckons as we travel through the reddish barren wastes heading for the glittering lights on the horizon. All of a sudden, it is light as day. We are completely dazzled by the gaudy neon lights of the casinos. The front of the bus is jam-packed, cameras at the ready. During the next hours, Las Vegas and its attractions are in our hands. When we get back to the bus at around two o'clock in the morning not one of us has a quarter left. Nobody could resist the temptation of the deafening slot machines, rattling and clicking with an ever-increasing hunger for our coins.
The trip continues, no time to think about all the millions of dollars left behind. A decision is called for. Who wants to go down into the Grand Canyon? Jochen warns us that it won't be a pleasant Sunday jaunt. From a distance, the plateau seems as harmless as a small hill but, as we fly by helicopter over the edge, I look down into the depths between the steep canyon walls. Here, I finally realize the extent of this incredible chasm.
The bottom, finally the bottom. Sweaty and sticky we dive into the Colorado. The ice-cold water prickles the skin. Straight back out and what else? Straight back in! After awhile, the water wasn't bad at all (as long as you kept your knees loose!) Larry even managed it in beach sandals. After our second breakfast, he encourages us to climb back to the top. No problem for this group of professional climbers! The sun continues to rise and the shady areas become few and far between. Finally, we reach the watering-hole. We've made it. After a six-hour climb we look back down into the depths. We return to the camp as heroes. During the evening, we are completely spoiled by the others in the group. Steaks and salads are served, wine bottles are uncorked. The coolness makes us huddle a little closer together on the wooden benches. Jerry reaches for his guitar and plays everything from flower-power to folk songs. We sing along to all of them no matter how bad the musicianship is. From now on, we tear through the miles. After all we have to cross the whole continent.
We wake up to the kaleidoscope of colors provided by the rising sun in Monument Valley. The bizarre rock formations, glowing fiery red, shoot out from the dusty wastes of the Indian reservation. The brown prairie seems endless. A handful of isolated Indian huts, a herd of goats crosses the road, then a village. A village? Here? It's called Bluff, an appropriate name. We stock up on cookies, fruits, coffee, soft drinks, and other goodies.
Mesa Verde. Golden yellow forest glow beneath a deep blue sky. An Indian Summer, just like in a brochure. It's here that we spend the coldest night of our trip. At breakfast, we warm our hands over the camp fire. Two hours later, in New Mexico we find the heat beating down on us. Should we visit the Carlsberg Caverns? The largest stalagmites in the world are on our route. Well, almost. The vast majority is in favor, seeing that it's so close.
The bus has been traveling smoothly over the Texas asphalt for what seems like hours. Straight ahead as far as the eye can see. All around are dry yellow fields. Even a bend in the road is marked on a signpost. On the crest of a hill, the road veers off downhill and then straight on again. Hundreds of miles of the same lonely countryside. Not a tree, not a house, nothing.
Four o'clock in the morning. I wedge myself onto the stool next to the driver's seat. On the left and right I can see the lights of huge oil refineries flashing past. We continue eastwards towards the sun. It seems we reached Louisiana ages ago. The mist rises over the swamps surrounded with a luscious green. I don't think I would have been surprised if Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn had come floating by on a raft!
Finally we reach New Orleans. We are looking forward to our "Hansel and Gretel" hotel with expectation. A shower and a real bed. The height of luxury. The city bewitches us with its eerie charm: jazz musicians playing on every corner, breakdancers showing their artistic talents on the street. Greedily, we suck in the atmosphere. However, time is pressing, and everything's passes too fast. One day here, next week we're in New York.
That week goes by in a blur. The Everglades, Disney World, Miami. Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina slip by. Knowing that this may be the last look we get of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah Valley make us all a little edgy.
After D.C., we're finally sitting in a comfortable cafe in New York, thinking about the mammoth tour we have just completed. The remains of our food collection is deposited on the bar. "California Dreamin'" is playing on the juke box....what a long amazing trip it's been.
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