The Wicked Van – Woody

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I met my best friend Natalie Greening when we were traveling on a sleeper bus from Loas to Vietnam, we really connected when we sailed on a boat in Hallong Bay together and have been best friends ever since. Nat planned a trip to come and visit me while I was living in the US and it all started with a wicked camper van named Woody. Nat and I had a very tight scehdule as I would be heading back to Australia after our little adventure and she was heading back to England. We had rented the Van for exactly 8 days and wanted to see as much as possible. First mistake made was that we had a rental car that we drove to LA from San Diego to pick up the van, that we then were hoping to drop off around the corner from the pick up location. Nat having never driven an atomactic struggled to follow me in the Camper Van, she then realised that she was traveling in Kilometres instead of miles, we got lost and took us over 2 hours to find the hertz rental car location. I parked it in the carpark and as we were finalizing the bill a lady had crashed into our rental car, whoops, they were screaming because it was such a terrible park, Nat and I were just laughing like crazy. The second mistake was that we didnt want to use a GPS we wanted to do it “old school” and read a map. Not one american provided us with a decent map to follow so in the end we got internet on my phone and used google maps, which might I add are incredibly. The real adventure started after my friends Hens night in Palm Springs, we were leaving a five star resort to head to Las Vegas.

Palm Desert

If you are ever going to Palm Springs or Palm Desert, you can’t miss the enormous Wind Turbines, it is amazing how much energy they create. On the way to Las Vegas, we had some incredible views on mountains and deserts, photos dont do justice to the prisitine environment that we viewed. We arrived in Vegas at around 11pm so we were pretty keen to find a place to park and have a good sleep. NOTE: all carparks in Las Vegas are free for parking to encourage customers to go to their casino. The best part about Las Vegas was getting into the 5 star hotels and using their pools. The worst part was getting kicked out of the Bellagio Hotel at 3am and having to try and find a new carpark to sleep in, that was not so safe.


Las Vegas

Although Las Vegas was interesting and a place that everyone should see the huge things that man kind can build, we were definately ready for our next destination. We had to make the tough decision between the Grand Canyon or Death Valley National park. Both unique in there own ways yet we choose Death Valley as we would be able to see more, where as if we went to the Grand Canyon we would have been quiet restricted. So off we went to the Death Valley National Park, the most interesting thing we saw was the random Brothel sign in the middle of no where and Area 51 were the locals believed aliens were kept by the government.



Death Valley National Park

The name does sound scary but the place itself is beautiful. Death Valley National Park is more of the most memorable and unbelievable places I have ever visited. I highly recommended visiting it if you are to travel to California, over any other national park as it has a vast variety of different environments. It is a magical place with sand dunes that go for miles, salt flats, canyons, mountains and hills. Also at the time we travelled through there was hardly if not any tourists getting around, we had a campsite all to our selves and enjoyed being surround by the serenity of the mountains and stars.

Yosemite National Park

The funny thing about this road trip was that the most exciting part was actually driving from one destination to another. Going from Death Valley to Yosemite was a laugh, we had no idea that in the middle of November there would be snow in California, but as we gradually went further north the temperature began to drop. When we drove into the park we met a lovely couple from England who gave us there pass for free which was a very kind gesture. Yosemite had snow every were and was freezing cold, most of the Park was closed for camping so we had no choice but to drive to the summit and park the van and camp there. Driving through the National Park we saw the side affects that a man lit fire had caused to the forrest and it was horrific.


The long and gruesome trip down to Big Sur definately brought us back to reality after a beautiful night in the forrest. I have been through Big Sur with Ben however we really didnt get to see much so this trip was exceptional as although some parts were foggy for the most of it there was beautiful clear skys.


This incredible man to the left, was a man we pulled over to meet. He is from New Zealand, his wife and himself are taking there two children traveling around the world. They have been bike riding down from Canada for over three months and they were headed for Mexico. Although I didnt get to spend much time with this gentelman I truly respect and honor what he is doing with his family, a hero in my eyes. I hope that some day I can do the same with my children. So thank you random gentelman for the inspiration and proof that you can do it regardless and at any age.


To Nat,

Thank you for going on this adventure with me, I am glad that we can share and experience our passion for travel together, you are one of a kind and you light up my life when I’m around you, Thank you for being you and my soulmate.

Love Gabi


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