Breathtaking Scenery on the West Coast

One of the things which struck me deeply about the United States is the sheer size of the country. Roads can stretch for miles and miles uninterrupted, and the surrounding environment can change dramatically from coastal landscapes, green farmlands, coniferous forests to barren semi-arid deserts. The historic Route 66 - a long winding highway linking the Eastern and Western states of the US - offers such an experience amongst other highways.

Naturally, we were captivated by the beauty of what we experienced which unfortunately cannot be reproduced here in its entirety. Nevertheless, I shall endeavour!

Hitting the road is a common activity for us when travelling from San Francisco in the North all the way to San Diego in the South.

Along the 17-mile drive on the Pacific coast, we saw many beautiful houses. This one here probably costs a couple of million dollars - financial crisis notwithstanding!

One of the photo stops along the 17-mile drive was Seal Rock, which had a raucous group of sealions and seagulls populating it.

Naturally, Ethan couldn't resist a Kodak moment then. Notice the bright and cheery smile at the start of the road trip.

Another photo stop was near the Lone Cypress along the 17-Mile Drive. Here are some cliffs facing the Pacific Ocean.

A family portrait with the Lone Cypress in the background.

I like this shot very much. Its one of those rare moments when I manage to capture something slightly more decent. Here's Tina and Ethan at the manicured lawn at the famous Pebble Beach Golf Resort.

This hotel facing the sea is at Monterey Bay area. Now isn't that a splendid view to wake up to in the morning?

From the balmy breezes of the Pacific, we next move into the barren and semi-arid desert areas in Nevada and the central part of California.

Along the way, we spotted these quaint little "cowboy towns" looking as deserted as they come.

At the border of the states of California and Nevada is the awe inspiring Hoover Dam - an architectural marvel which helps supply much needed hydro electric power to Las Vegas.

Near the dam was Lake Mead, which is an important source of water for the arid regions drawing its source from the Colorado River. Notice how Ethan's smile seemed to be evaporating along with the water levels there....

From the ocean to the desert, we moved on to the national park areas in Arizona.

Here, the roads are lined with lush evergreen forests of coniferous tree species.

The pride and joy of Arizona must surely be the Grand Canyon. Here's a shot of that great pit in the afternoon...

...twillight hours (with full moon in the background)...

... and the morning.

On our free days, we hired a car and drove to the famous Santa Monica Beach area. Here's a view from the Santa Monica Pier.

Some of the hotels and restaurants facing the Pacific Ocean on Santa Monica Beach.

Another photo stop, somewhere along the Santa Monica route near the State Park.

Another beach stop which we took was at Laguna Beach, which was nearer the southern part of the city of LA. The area was an enclave for art communities and had little galleries dotting the town.

We also drove to Newport Beach, and had some fun striking poses like this.

Finally, a bird's eye view of the city of LA near the Beverly Hills area from the Getty Center.

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