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PANAMERICANA

West to East - Summer 2014

Story by Joachim Naess July 28th, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO

Known for its cool summers, fog, steep rolling hills, cable cars, eclectic mix of architecture and landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco is not only picturesque; It might also be the friendliest city I´ve ever visited.

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SAN FRANCISCO

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ANGEL ISLAND

Once home to one million immigrants, military installations, quarantine detention centre and now a California Historical Landmark and State Park. Might just serve you the best views of the Bay Area

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ANGEL ISLAND

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ALCATRAZ ISLAND

Believed to be cursed and called “Evil Island“ by Native Americans, I´m sure the likes of Machine Gun Kelly, Al Capone and Robert “Birdman” Franklin Stroud agreed with when “The Rock” later served as a Federal Prison. Even surrounded by the thousands of tourists that visit each year, the walls still have an eerie feel to them.

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PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY

In addition to connecting the coastal cities and communities along its path, Highway 1 runs along some of the most beautiful coastlines in the USA providing a popular route for tourists and helps bring several billion dollars to the state‘s tourism industry. We were there for the views and the Pacific Coast Highway did not disappoint.

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Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is known for its moderate climate and the natural beauty of its coastline, but for us, it was the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, an oceanfront amusement park operating continuously since 1907 and Santa Cruz Skateboards and their iconic “Screaming Hand“ graphic that made us stop on our journey south.

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SANTA BARBARA

Santa Barbara lies between the steeply rising Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Situated on a south-facing section of coastline, the longest such section on the West Coast Santa Barbara‘s climate is often described as Mediterranean, so we stopped for pizza and a drink.

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Los Angeles

One of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world and containing a population almost as big as the entire Norway, Los Angeles serves as the focal point of the larger Los Angeles–Long Beach–Santa Ana metropolitan and Greater Los Angeles Area region. Our three days there was not even close to discovering all it had to offer

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Hollywood

Its name has come to be a metonymy for the motion picture industry of the United States and dreams are both made and broken there. Hollywood is also a highly ethnically diverse, densely populated, economically diverse neighbourhood and retail business district. With a short amount of time available, Griffin observatory, the Hollywood-sign, Walk of Fame and a drive on Mulholland was all we could fit in.

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Santa Monica & Venice

Between GTA and Californication, there was no way we could pass up a day at Santa Monica and Venice Beach. Home to Muscle Beach, believed to be where beach volleyball was invented and hosting a small amusement park right at Santa Monica Pier, we spent all day soaking up the atmosphere.

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Las VEgas

I think even more dreams are both made and broken here than in Hollywood. Since the legalisation of gambling in Nevada back in 1931, the city has grown to be the entertainment capital of the world, and is now famous for its mega casino–hotels and associated entertainment. As a first time visitor, three days is not nearly enough to experience all the city can offer, so Vegas is definitely on the “must visit again”- list

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CEasars palace

Our home for the Vegas stay. So extravagant that you wonder if it was the Romans who inspired the hotels theme, or the people that built the hotel that was insane. Might be both.

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Florida

Our last destinations were all in Florida and before we arrived, a friend called Arthur decided he should stop by and prepare the Sunshine state for us. Arthur is a Tropical storm… Needless to say, him preparing Daytona, Orlando and Miami for us was not ideal. Apart from a light shower in San Francisco, we saw our first rain the day we landed in Orlando.

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Daytona Speedway

We were in town for the Daytona Coca Cola Zero 400 and looked forward to a night filled with 33 000 horsepower, a lot of left hand turns and some beers. Arthur wanted differently and the race was held off for several hours as the rain poured down over Daytona Speedway before the call was made to postpone it to the following day. Luckily we had time to wait and the weather was better the next morning, allowing the drivers to complete some 106 laps before the rain set in again. By then, we had witnessed two crashes cause havoc and a lot of fierce racing making the wait worth while

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Daytona & smyrna Beach

We were also in town for July 4th, but missed out on the fireworks after meeting some locals that had norwegian ancestors. For some reason, the city did not wait with their firework display just because we enjoyed a nice diner and even nicer company. So, that’s one more to put on the “We´ll catch it next time around”-list.

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Miami & South beach

Our last stop was Miami, and our hotel was right next to the famous Ocean Drive. Known for its Art Deco hotels, Ocean Drive is featured in numerous film, and even with the rain pouring down, you could get a sense of the glamour and special aura its 800 preserved buildings has. With our beloved friend Arthur now well on his way up to Carolina, the weather had improved slightly. At least enough for us to get a pretty nice sun burn on the beach!

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Footnote: Thanks to Marius for the company, Russel who showed us around Miami and all the friendly people we met along our path making it an epic trip. Images are Copyrighted - do not use without permission
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