Family adventure through the west coast of U.S.A. with an ex-backpacker
Family adventure through the west coast of U.S.A. with an ex-backpacker
Miami was the first and last stop of this family adventure through some of the most impacting National Parks in the west coast of U.S.
A German man married to a Venezuela woman with two teenagers featuring a wonderful mix between the Latin flavor and the European eagerness. Eric Buschbell is the owner of one of the most prestigious adventure tourism in the Venezuelan Great Savannah.
A veteran backpacker, this summer Eric searched for a more comfortable adventure, but with the same excitement that led him to go around the world, literally. His experience and his love for photography make him the best guide for PanamericanWorld to show you the wonders of the American west coast. Join us!
“Obviously, traveling with my family means I looked for more comfort, but I also wanted to have both experiences, the big cities and the National Parks in California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah.”
The first thing Eric did after identifying what his next adventure was going to be was to research. These moments prior to the trip can make or break the whole experience, for it allows you to have more clarity and save money.
“I pre-paid the hotels in the cities, but because I wasn’t sure of how the stay in the National Parks was going to work I left that open. I could say that half of the trip was pre-paid and the other half we figured out in the moment”
“We began at the beach. When we arrived at Los Angeles, we took the rented car and went straight to Venice Beach,” there they witnessed a place full of culture, murals, people walking everywhere, sculptured bodies and an eclectic world.
“It was extraordinary for the kids to see these locations that one usually sees in TV series, so we took two days to experience Los Angeles. The third day we went to the original Disneyland in Anaheim.” This theme park was inaugurated in 1955 by Walt Disney, and it formed part of the global project of Disney. However, Eric confesses that “the first day we were all excited about the park experience, but the summer heat and the long lines made a day and a half enough, so I said: family, let’s go to Las Vegas!”
That night they arrived to the sin city and “there is nothing more amazing that entering Las Vegas at night. The lights, the shows… we stayed there that night because the real excitement was about going to the Grand Canyon as soon as possible” said Eric.
“What I enjoyed the most and was most grateful about was the good organization of these parks and the accessibility. You can enter with a vehicle for only $25, and you also receive a lot of helpful information --like a map--. You can do any last minute purchases in the local store if you need anything, and then the internal transportation takes you to the place you have chosen. These routes are essential for those who love outdoor tourism, and every view is more impressive than the other. The Great Canyon is a great experience.”
It’s great to hear this story from Eric, whose company, Backpacker Tours, serves a fourth of all the tourists who go to Mount Roraima, which is perhaps one of the more similar experiences to the Grand Canyon. That is why Eric and his family know how important is the good service and the accessibility to focus on the visual delight provided by one of the most wonderful places on the planet. The good thing about this story is that it shows us that this kind of adventures can be done with the whole family.
The next stop in the trip was the Antelope Canyon, and there they opted to hire the services of a guide. “I like photography,” says Eric “the lights, and the rocks, and that was fantastic in the Antelope Canyon. It was a breathtaking experience for all of us.”
The Monument Valley “really makes you feel like John Wayne. It has incredible mountains. When you think you’ve seen it all, every place in the American geography manages to surprise you once again. That was the case with Moab, in the Arches National Park. It was a special place for the kids, and it allows you to go through the whole park in the car and see some amazing natural bridges. We also enjoyed the views through the highways (Highway 12, Highways 25); it’s like being in a movie”
Afterwards, the Buschbell family embarked in a trip towards the Bryce Canyon, which is part of the beautiful Santa Clarita forests, then continued their adventure in the Zion National Park.
“In the Zion the hike was a little tougher but it was worthy. The map says that it’s an extreme route, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, although it does require more effort. We spent about 6 days traveling through the parks and then we when back to Las Vegas. After recharging energy and enjoying the city a little more we went on with our route. Next was the Death Valley.”
The lowest, driest and hottest place on earth (Badwater) resides here. Visiting it in the summer, like the Buschbell family did, has its dangers. Eric says that the temperature was 55° C/ 131°F, but they wanted to have that experience. “Knowing the warnings about going to Death Valley, we took precaution. We double-checked the vehicle and the tires, and took 10 extra liters of water.”
“The Titus Canyon is so narrow that one can only enter from the west. Only one car can pass at a time and if you take the hand out of the window you can touch the rock. That place is literally jaw-dropping; the colors of the rocks are amazing. We went through this supposedly rustic path, according to the internet, but coming from the Great Savanna it was child’s play.”
“We enjoyed a wonderful sunset there,” said Eric who celebrated the 12th birthday of his son Joel at Death Valley. Jessica, the eldest, is 15. Yari, his wife, is his partner through all these adventures.
“In Mono Lake, we had the opportunity to leave the kids sleeping at the hotel and wake up very early to see the sunrise. We saw the sun come up at 5 am before heading to Yosemite National Park. There when saw the Redwoods, those immense and millennial trees.”
Throughout the trip Eric and his family found great prices in hotels. “A hotel for four people was between $70 and $150, that was the range. When w e went to San Francisco the prices were also great. There we celebrated the 4th of July, a great experience in that beautiful city, and the fireworks were sensational.”
They went through the Golden Gate, took a tour to Alcatraz and on the way back they passed through Monterey, California. To end the adventure, the family went on a boat trip to watch whales. “We saw whales that were 15 meters long, and then the boat took us to the cost of Santa Barbara. From there we went back to Los Angeles, then Miami, and finally back at the Great Savanna in Venezuela.”
Eric, what advice would you give people planning to travel?
1. Know your fantasies and the contents of your imagination. They are going to help you decide your destination and how you want to get there.
2. Planning is essential for any traveler. It allows you to estimate prices and decide routes. Research what is in the place you want to visit.
3. Prepare some things prior to the trip like the car rental, and some hotels. That can help you save money.
4. Once you plan it’s time to relax and let go. You are rarely going to follow your plan 100% of the time. You have to be aware of that and enjoy things the way they happen.
5. Pay special attention to your family. A trip can manifest thousands of opportunities for coexistence.
Translated by Sebastian Llavaneras