There is something I really like about the end of a year and the start of a new one. It’s a great opportunity to reflect, but also make new plans. 2017 has been the most incredible year for us with the opportunity to travel in the USA, and 2018 will bring new adventures. But for now here is what I’ve been up to (and writing about) in 2017!
We took our first USA skiing holiday, and our first long road trip. We drove through California, Nevada, Arizona and into Utah (10 hours in total) to go skiing at Park City. We also spent a day exploring Salt Lake City.
I started the month with my first (and only) night out in LA, Then we had a long weekend with the pooch at Morro Bay, visiting Cayucos and Pismo Beach too, before stopping at the Danish town of Solvang on the way home. I completed my first 5K through a vineyard, we visited Griffith Observatory in LA and went to the famous El Capitan Theater on Hollywood Boulevard.
I (crazily) signed up to a half marathon so upped my running training, had a day out in Santa Monica and went to see the filming of an episode of the Big Bang Theory. I spent a day with friends at the Getty Center, we had a quick trip to San Diego and we spent a weekend on Catalina Island where the husband completed his dive qualification.
A pretty quiet month, although we did go on our first camping trip to Lake Arrowhead with friends and the pooches.
We celebrated Independence day with beer, bbq and the baseball, then headed off for a weekend of sunshine on the coast of Orange County. We visited Downtown LA for the first time, and my brother and my niece came to stay. We did lots while they were here, visiting Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Hollywood, Las Vegas and Six Flags Magic Mountain Theme Park.
We had an evening visit to Griffith Observatory to see the sunset and the stars. It was my birthday in August and we spent the weekend camping in Carmel By The Sea. We had friends out to visit for a week and we had an Airbnb by the coast at Huntington Beach and we also went to our first American Football game in LA.
We started the month with Labor Day weekend camping in Kernville and visiting the Sequoia National Forest. A weekend in Palm Springs was next on the list, followed by a visit to Yosemite National Park (more posts on that here and here).
October started with a weekend back at Huntington Beach to see Top Gun at the Beach Cinema. Then we had a weekend of music, watching Coldplay at the Pasadena Rose Bowl followed by CalJam, a one day music festival headlined by the Foo Fighters. My friend came out to stay for 10 days, and we had a great girls week visiting Palm Springs and San Diego. I finished October by completing the LA Half Marathon and feeling pretty pleased with myself!
First up was a weekend at Zion National Park in Utah, which has been high on my bucket list for a while. We also visited Bryce Canyon National Park, and hiked the Zion Narrows – what an experience! My husband’s mum came out to visit for 2 and a half weeks in November and we went up to San Francisco, went whale watching in Monterey and spent a few days in Las Vegas.
This month started with our biggest trip so far since living in the USA, a road trip around the Deep South. We spent 2 days in New Orleans, saw alligators on a swamp tour, learnt about the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham, Alabama, tasted Jack Daniel’s on a distillery tour in Lynchburg, TN, danced to Country music in Nashville, listened to the Blues in Memphis, visited the home of Elvis at Graceland and learnt about Louisiana’s slavery history at the Whitney Plantation.
And December is not over – we still have a trip planned over New Year. We fly up to Vancouver where we are spending a couple of days before hiring a car and driving down to Seattle, and then to Portland.
What a year 2017 has been! I am so grateful for the opportunity we have been given to live in the USA and we are doing our best to make the most of it. We already have a few things booked for the beginning of 2018: skiing in Lake Tahoe and a once in a lifetime trip to Hawaii, before moving back to the UK at the end of March and setting up home in Anglesey. Just a little different from California!