West USA

A road trip is the best way to discover the Far West and its famous national parks. Ready to be a poor lonesome cowboy? Let’s cross Arizona, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada…

Arizona: Grand Canyon State

The Grand Canyon is the must-see. There are two great ways to discover it. For the first one, you’ll have to wake up early, in order to see the sun rises above the canyon. The show is really worth. The other way to enjoy it is to get down the Colorado River on a canoe. With that experience will understand how deep is the canyon.

The other place to see in Arizona is definitely Monument Valley. In fact, it’s in Arizona and Utah, close to the “four corners” (the crossing point between these two states, plus New Mexico and Colorado). Don’t just take a picture of its three most famous mesas, take a ride inside the park, with a Navajo guide it will be better. Navajos are the native people. They named most of the mesas you will see, such as the Three Sisters (they look like a W) or the Dragon, and they left some petroglyphs, which most famous is “Cocopelly”.

There are some other sites to visit in that state. Petrified Forest is interesting as its particularity is these enormous rocks which were tree trunks, million years ago, when dinosaurs were still alive and ate their leaves. Lake Powell is a great place to enjoy nautical sports such as jet-ski. It’s an artificial lake thanks to Glen Canyon Dam, which is so high that it can be vertiginous.

Colorado: the Pioneers state

Mesa Verde National is famous because of its Anasazi monuments. The United States has few pre-Columbian monuments, that’s why this palace is important, especially because it’s a troglodyte. The other specificity of this canyon compared to others is its flora. It’s really well named because it’s the greenest canyon.

Durango really looks like a pioneer city, but its main attraction, except Ralph Lauren shop, is its steam train.

Utah: the Centennial state

Why the Centennial? Just because it joined the Union in 1876, 100 years after the USA independence. If its known because of the Winter Olympics Game in Salt Lake City (2002) or because its the Mormons state, trust me it’s as beautiful as Arizona. They are two great sites to visit. Start with Arches National Park, where water curved wonderful sculptures. The most impressive one is the Delicate Arche. Then go to Bryce Canyon national park, maybe the most incredible canyon of the USA. It’s called the Silent City because it looks like orange buildings separated by little canyons as streets, with no one, like an abandoned town.

Welcome to fabulous Las Vegas

You can’t go to Nevada without visiting the city of games and sins, even if you don’t want to gamble. I was a teenager, so I wasn’t allowed even to sit, as I was forbidden to play. But the casinos are amazing places, their decorations are incredible. I don’t know which was my favorite one. I remember I was impressed by how the Paris Paris truly looks like Paris city. The Venetian, the Ceasar Palace, and the Luxor are also very well made, especially from the outside. New-York New-York is funny because of its roller coaster, and of course, you can’t miss the fountains show at the Bellagio. The best way to discover it is to walk along the strip, start at sunset and spend the night along with it. Don’t miss as well Fairmont, where you must see its roof show. And, last but not least, you should go to the Stratosphere and do the attractions at its summit. Vertigo guaranteed.

Some tips to add… Everything seems bigger in USA, roads, cars, distances. Never forget that prices are without taxes, it’s always a surprise to discover at the cashier how much you’ll pay. The thunder on Monument Valley picture shows the reality: usually, days are hot and sunny, and evenings are rainy with thunder. But camping remains a good option to make your trip cheaper.

August 2005 – Teens Camp – 3 weeks

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