Tag Archives: Route 66

Heading West in an RV

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Western USA in an RV

San Francisco had been a fantastic city in which to start our family RV holiday, but now I was excited to start our road trip travelling in the Western United States. For most of the 20th and 21st centuries, the automobile has been the dominant form of transportation in the United States. Equally, travelling on a road to the West has for a long time been synonymous for many with the American Dream: freedom; adventure; and diverse, enticing and grand landscapes. Therefore, the road and the car both hold a revered place in the American consciousness. It was our first time in the Western United States, and we looked forward to travelling across a variety of Western cities and landscapes.

Our RV trip didn’t start that well. In the first minute of the trip, plates fell from a cupboard and shattered on the floor. But that was soon forgotten after we left San Francisco and ventured further south. Continue reading


A Trip To The West

In July 2011 I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel to some of the most beautiful places in the United States on a school trip. Our travels took us around the west of the country from San Francisco and the remote prison island Alcatraz, down to Monument Valley, Utah, passing through some incredible places along the way.

The beautiful San Francisco Bay

The beautiful San Francisco Bay

We began our trip in the beautiful city of San Francisco, where we got our first taste of a real American diner (complete with massive portions!). I went for the classic American hamburger piled high with just about every topping imaginable and ketchup and mustard to top it off! We all decided to try the American diner’s traditional drink: the ice cream float. For those of you who don’t know what these are, they are essentially a glass of some kind of fizzy drink (usually Diet Coke or lemonade but some also offer ginger beer) with a spoonful of ice cream on top. It doesn’t sound like it should work but trust me, they are heaven! We also got to ride on the famous cable cars from our hotel at the top of the city right down to San Francisco Bay, where we got a brief glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge through the fog. The real lure of the city for us though was the historic Alcatraz Island, a short ferry ride away. The island is famous partly for the Native American occupation in 1969 (although the tour guides often neglect to mention this!) and for being a notorious prison. It is now a tourist attraction in which visitors learn about the prison and the famous criminals who were incarcerated there. Well worth a trip for those interested in American history, despite the fact that the tour guides often skip over the Native American occupation of Alcatraz as a somewhat embarrassing chapter of the San Franciscan story.


The occupation was the result of the discrimination suffered by Native Americans, who had long been referred to as ‘savages’ and were thought of as inferior by many Americans. They staged a non-violent (inspired partly by the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s) takeover of the island in order to attract national and international attention to their suffering. It is often not mentioned by the tour guides as it highlighted the racist tendencies of much of the country, a reputation forged out of years of discrimination suffered by many ethnic minorities in the United States.

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