Our American Road Trip

Our road trip was tiny in terms of what many undertake in the US, and after finishing it we wished it was longer. We had originally planned to have a car for the whole of our US trip, but it didn't seem sensible in LA and San Fran, and driving up to Montana in the winter wouldn't have been the best idea!We picked up our car at 12pm from Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, and drove straight out of the city across the Golden Gate Bridge, which was pretty epic, though also quite scary when you've only been driving on American roads for about 10 minutes. Our final destination for the day was Sacramento, where we were meeting up with a friend that we last saw in Chiang Mai. It was under 100 miles, so it couldn't take more than a few hours, right? Our first stop was Sausalito which we briefly cruised through. It seemed a nice enough town but we were reluctant to stop for long so early on. We did stop at the seafront to take photos of the city, where I managed to kerb the car, not being used to driving a left hand drive car. Luckily the tyre survived and we were able to continue on our way. Our next stop was the Jelly Belly factory! When we found out it was en-route to Sacramento, it was a no brainer - we were going. The clincher was that the tours are absolutely free, with plenty of free samples. It was in sealed corridors above the factory floor but you did get to see the whole production process which was so cool.By this point, it was getting late, and we still had to stop for lunch! (In-N-Out Burger of course). We eventually made it to Sacramento at 6pm. It had all taken rather longer than we expected. We just about had time to check out the Fab Forties houses in Sacramento – several streets of grand houses with some amazing Christmas lights before we met our friend for dinner.The next morning we set off early to get to Yosemite, 150+ miles away. Winter weather meant that the easiest road into the park (Route 120) was closed so we had to take a much longer route via Route 49 and 140. Frustratingly, after several stops and wrong turns, we didn’t enter the National Park until 2pm, which when it gets dark at 5pm, is far from ideal. However we paid the $20 entrance fee and spent 2 hours seeing some of the most beautiful natural scenery we’ve ever seen.Luckily the car meant we could zip about between viewpoints and treks, and while we would have course have got far more out of a full day, in the winter cold we were actually kind of glad we only had a few hours. We plan to return one summer and do it properly.