Golden Gate Bridge-ness
(Photo Source: Authors Own) 

Recently I have come back from a two-week trip along the west coast of America (Westerner 2 FYI) with tour company Trek America.

Before I went I spent a while busy googling what I need to pack. Bizarrely considering the number of people that have done Trek America there are not many posts on what to pack so I have added my thoughts below:

Head torches
An idea I got off one of the blogs and I did find the torch extremely useful at night in the tents when I was getting changed or trying to find something (usually my glasses!). An addition to the head torch was a small light that you could hook to the loop at the top of the tent. This provided enough light for the whole tent which was perfect for being able to look at the other person without blinding them in the face with the head torch! 
Extension Cable
Genius idea from the other half. Perfect for charging numerous appliances at once at the campsite. All the Brits used ours. 
Decent sleeping bags 
My last sleeping bag being a purple one from Woolworths circa 2004 wasn’t going to cut it in America. On the Trek America website, there are instructions on what type of sleeping bag you should take. James brought extra large versions which were so big that we both managed to fit into one with loads of room to spare. Not only did we have extra room but we were more comfortable than some others on the trip who had summer sleeping bags. 
Normal sized toiletry bottles
Considering you will be sleeping in tents for the majority of the holiday and will be here there and everywhere. You will definitely shower so often that you will save money by buying just normal sized bottles. A toiletry bag that you can hang up is also a plus. I just bought a cheap one from Morrisons.
Baby wipes
An item I nearly didn’t bother to bring and I am so glad that I had. I used baby wipes all the time as they came in handy with all the dust that was around at the campsites. Also at certain stops where there was nowhere to wash your hands hand sanitiser comes in handy.  
Walking Shoes
Walking shoes were a must in Yosemite and the Grand Canyon. Normal trainers just don’t cut it especially in Yosemite where depending on what walk you do ( I went to Nevada Falls) it is so rocky and parts so steep with no handrail that is safer with sturdy shoes. 
Paracetamol, plasters and cold and flu tablets.
I had a horrendous cold and felt rotten on the second week of my trek. I actually used all the cold and flu tablets up and in CVS I found medication to be so expensive so it’s worth taking some from home. 
A bag with wheels
My bag was so heavy that there was no way I would be able to carry it in my hands. It just takes all the hassle away from lugging it around. 
A pillow
I brought this in Walmart once we arrived in LA. The pillow really helps get the best night sleep you can in the tent. 
A battery charging unit for your phone
I forgot to take mine and although there was ample opportunity to get your phone charged at the campsites they are always handy as long days in the van listening to music drains the battery pretty quickly.
There we go all the little extras you wouldn’t think about buying. Has anyone been on a Trek America trip or is thinking about going on one? 

If anyone is thinking about going on a Trek America trip or more specifically doing the Westerner 2 tour then read on as this will be a detailed post of my experience.

As I was away for 14 days in total this post will focus on the first seven days and an additional post will focus on the final seven otherwise this post would have been mega long!

Day 1 California ( San Diego and Hollywood)
The day before we had flown in and stayed in a hotel that Trek America had recommended (Custom Hotel). We met our group leader and the group. The group leader went through typical health and safety stuff and then gave us all a list detailing what we were doing and going on each day and the food kitty. The food kitty is where everyone puts in money ($10 dollars a day) and in groups cooks a meal.  After that, we all piled in the white van and travelled to Hollywood. Whilst we were in Hollywood we took photographs of the famous sign and went to Hollywood boulevard where we walked around the Hollywood Walk Of Fame.

Hollywood Walk Of Fame
Dolby Theatre
Hollywood
Afterwards, we travelled to San Diego and arrived at our campsite (Campland on the bay). We all set up our tents together (Mike our tour guide called it tent yoga!) and headed towards the beach. At night, Mike cooked our first meal. We had s’mores which were great as I never had them before. S’mores are essentially crackers with chocolate and marshmallows that are roasted in a camp fire.

Day Two (San Diego)
Today was a completely free day in San Diego so we decided to go to the beach in the morning and have a wander round. I didn’t think there was much to do at the beach (i.e. all the shops are the usual tourist shops) however I was pretty happy as I just wanted to chill out anyway. In the afternoon, we travelled to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. Old Town San Diego is considered the birthplace of California as it was the site of the first Spanish settlement.  It literally reminded me of a Disney set. We all went to a Mexican restaurant. Which served massive portions, I wish I had shared with my fiancĂ©! Around the historic park, there are lots of small shops in the style of what would have been sold in the 1800’s. I went to the little Tinsmith shop and brought a mirror and a present for my mum. Finally, we went to Balboa Park which was a bit of a disappointment really as everything was shut.

Day 3 (Lake Havasu, Arizona)

The next day we headed to Lake Haversau. Which purely served as a stopover site for the Grand Canyon. It was a long van ride. I think 5 hours long in what is desert. Before we made it to the Lake however we visited Salvation Mountain. The mountain, created from adobe clay and donated paint by Leonard Knight who was a Vietnam War veteran who died in 2014 was his tribute to God. It was nothing like I ever seen in the UK. I thought it was pretty and unique.

When we go to the campsite (River Island State Park) it was the first time where I thought I hate camping as it was so windy dust was just getting everywhere. I long abandoned any hopes of keeping my clothes clean with all the dust!  We went stargazing which was fantastic, but we could only identify the plough.

Day 4 (Grand Canyon!)
Full steam ahead to the next stop, we went to a place which had the original London Bridge.  To be honest none of the brits were that impressed with it.  It’s not home and why on earth you would buy a bridge from another country to boost tourism in your own country is beyond me! 

We went on a tiny part of the famous Route 66 which was really exciting for me, stopping at this diner which is famous for its milkshakes (and it’s decor) and you could leave something behind on it’s walls. I left behind a loyalty card.  The decor was crazy, literally everywhere contained all this crazy material even the toilets were fully decked out! Finally after a few hours we were at the Grand Canyon.

The Grand Canyon was amazing I paid for the helicopter ride which empathised how vast the canyon is. Our pilot was lovely and gave us lots of facts. The flight was 40 minutes long and in the final twenty minutes I felt so ill I did everything in my power as not to throw up. By the time we got back my partner and I just chilled (I still felt poorly after the ride) and I had an early night.

Day 5 (Grand Canyon)

My fiancé and I woke early (quarter past six) and had a look at the sun rising in the Canyon. On that day, we walked half way down the Canyon Rim. We left at about eight to walk down and I am so glad we went early as it meant missing a lot of the crowds and also the heat! In the afternoon, we did our laundry, had a shower and went bowling in the morning and caught up with wi- fi access in the laundry room!

Day 6 and Day 7 (Hoover Dam and Las Vegas) 

Everyone was looking forward to Vegas not least because it was the first day of being in a hotel. After the muck of the canyon and the tents, it was nice to be in a room to be able to repack. Before Vegas we had to stop in an In and Out burger place. I love places like Wendy’s and Denny’s so knew I would love In and Out.  We also stopped at the Hoover Dam for pictures.

We stayed at the Golden Nugget Hotel which was in the Fremont part of Vegas. We all decided to hire a party bus for the night (which came out of the kitty) which I was so glad we did as it was awesome. Afterwards for the over 21’s we went to a club Omnia nightclub in Caesars Palace which happened to have Nicky Romero playing a set. It is an amazing nightclub and I really recommend anyone to go! On our next free day In Vegas all I did was shop, see all the sites such as the Vegas sign, Bellagio Fountains, Ceasars Palace and dabbled in a bit of gambling. At first I wished I had more than two days at Vegas to experience it but two days was enough for me.