The Great (Hybrid) American road trip – London to San Francisco

Perhaps given the title of this particular blog, which will be the first in a series of articles detailing my travels across America recently, I should give full disclosure and say that I was actually only in San Francisco for around 4 hours. As such, if you’re expecting a full, in depth critique of the city, with detailed guides on the best and worst places it has to offer, then I’d suggest this isn’t the blog for you!

If, however, you’d like to hear about my journey From San Fran to, and through, Yosemite, with a few photos thrown in to the mix, then stay tuned, as that’s exactly what you’ll be getting.

So to start, it’s fair to say that I was pleasantly relieved the 11 flight from London to California wasn’t a particularly onerous one, having snaffled an emergency exit row seat, thus being able to stretch out to my heart’s desire (and it desired a lot of room!). Added to this was the fact that a very good friend of mine had arranged a little surprise for me as we got airborne, through a friend of his who works for Virgin. And so it was that I found myself 20 minutes out from London with a glass of champagne in my hand, legs at full reach, wondering why air travel couldn’t always be like this! But I digress….

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Upon touch down on American soil, the first such time for me, my thoughts turned immediately to the infamous U.S. border control queues I had been told, nay, warned so much about and so I was again pleasantly surprised to say that within 20 minutes (believe me, that was good compared to the 2+ hours I’d been told to expect), I was in front of a very officious but otherwise efficient border guard questioning my motives in the country. With that formality dealt with and a quick fingerprint and facial scan, I was on my way out to collect my bags and meet up with my buddy, business partner and B-FAM (brother from another mother) Dave, who had arrived in America (and Canada prior to that) a few days earlier than me (as an aside, you should really head over to www.hybriddave.com when you’ve finished reading this to check out his awesome travel photos and writing).

Walking out in to the very warm San Francisco air, I gave Dave a call to find out where he was but found a very un-Dave-like sounding voice answer the phone. After a quick to and fro trying to decipher who it was, I discovered that coming to meet me with Dave was also, strangely, our good friend and Hybrid.Photography web designer, Nik. I say strangely, as Nik lives in London and we’d been trying to arrange a meet up with him for months back in the UK, to discuss the launch of the fantastic new website he’d created for us. However, with so many varying schedules, the three of us had found it impossible to find a mutually convenient time. Yet, thanks to a new job for Nik with a company headquartered in San Francisco, we all found ourselves half way around the world, in the same city at the same brief time!

After some quick salutations then, it was decided that food was the next task and so we found ourselves heading for a sadly ‘no longer represented in the UK’ restaurant chain, Chilli’s. Following the food, drink and great conversation, we headed out to see what we could quickly capture around the city before Dave and I had to head off in to the wilderness. As such, we found that we only really had time for the standard tourist hotspots. You know, like the curviest street in the world (Lombard Street)!

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The view of the Golden Gate bridge…. wait, did I say view or dew?

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The ridiculously hilly streets. But these at least gave us the opportunity to shoot some quirky mind bending shots!

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and some of the livelier central city joints

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A quick drive around the city later and we were saying our goodbyes to Nik and heading Eastwards on the start of what promised (and lived up) to be an epic road trip.

Pointing the car due East and hitting the gas, we found ourselves travelling through some of the most picturesque scenery we’d ever come across, with sprawling plains giving way only to rolling mountains and wide open skies. In fact the only thing that stopped us straining our eyes at the landscape was the sheer number of classic muscle cars we passed and which seemed to decorate every street corner!

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Eventually arriving in Sanora, our first overnight stop, we found ourselves in a archetypal Motel, complete with an extremely noisy AC unit, lazily chugging away to itself in the background. We found this far more exciting than we should have done, feeling like we were in the opening scenes of a classic horror film!

Of course, there was no time for sleep though and so with the moon high in the sky, we set off to find some high ground to catch some star shots. I think we did pretty well considering how lunar challenged we were with a washed out sky!

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The following morning no lay in was had and we set off early to fit in as much as we could before out next scheduled stop on the East side of Yosemite.

As soon as we left Sanora, we knew that the National Park wasn’t far off, with a fast changing scenery from mountains and hills being overtaken by dense thickets of trees and lakes.

It was clear that Yosemite was going to be yet another feast for the eyes (and camera) but would not be without it’s dangers!

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