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ABOUT THIS BLOG

In the summer of 2009, Nicolas Rapp decided to take a break from his Art Director job at The Associated Press to attempt a one-year overland travel around the world in a 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser. He was back in New York in February 2011 after traveling 15 months and 37,000 miles.

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THE ROUTE

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  • Start spreading the news, I’m leaving today

    Posted on January 25th, 2011 Nicolas 35 comments
    Santa Monica at sunset.

    Santa Monica at sunset.

    I spend one more week in Los Angeles and use this time to work on freeing my truck from the Customs grip. My container arrives almost in time, but there’s no movement on the port in the week end and for Martin Luther King Day, so I have to be patient. The container is selected – again – for an X-Ray exam. This time it cost me more than $200 versus $35 in Bangkok. And it is only the beginning.

    Skateboard park on Venice Beach, Los Angeles.

    Skateboard park on Venice Beach, Los Angeles.

    As most container carrying personal effects, it is chosen for a secondary inspection. In these cases, you have no choice for transportation or warehouse option. You can’t be here while Customs go through your effects, and you have to let your keys at the office so they can do so. I end up paying $1,350 for this service, which bring the total cost of shipping from Thailand to the U.S. to $3,700. It is costly, but I pay without arguing, after all I am back in the Western world and have to re-adjust to higher rates. In addition, this is the last time I ship, and I am just glad to not have to deal with that anymore.

    Santa Monica Pier.

    Santa Monica Pier.

    My father joined me the previous day, and we continue the visit of the city with Andy. We have good time in Venice where I never went before. A tobacco millionaire, Abbott Kinney, intended to create a seaside resort on the marshy land looking like the Italian Venice. As in my previous stays in the city, I find Los Angeles to be a great place to live, and I am not looking forward to be back in snowy New York.

    Griffith Park Observatory at night. Los Angeles underneath.

    Griffith Park Observatory at night. Los Angeles underneath.

    In the meantime I get some work done on the truck. I put new front shocks in, since there’s 35,000 miles of bad road on them. These shocks were sent to me by ARB while I was in Djibouti (Thanks Jim!). The truck seemed very tired when I started it for the first time in the Customs warehouse. After few minutes running, it was getting better, but I still will need a bit of luck to go across the country and drive the 4,000 miles it involves. The power steering pump is leaking badly, and I hope it can hold until I get back. There will definitely be some work to be done on the truck at this time.

    Canals in Venice.

    Canals in Venice.

    I also work on planning the next stages of my trip. I decide to go up north the Californian coast to San Luis Obispo, go east toward the Sequoia National Park, continues to the Death Valley and all the way to Las Vegas where I should stay for the week-end. There, I plan to meet some of my followers and Gwenaelle and Max, a couple of French friends I stayed with when I crossed Texas a year ago.

    The route I plan to take from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. [Google map]

    The route I plan to take from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. (Google map)

    This 900-miles promenade across California should be interesting and features many incredible landscapes that I am excited to discover. Being back on the road is always electrifying.

    Surfer on the coast along the Pacific Coastal Highway.

    Surfer on the coast along the Pacific Coastal Highway.

    Now that my father is with me, I will have to sleep at motels on the way back home and I book some Travelodge and Motel 6 nights through the internet. At $40 to $50 a night for two people, I find these chains to be the cheapest option and an excellent way to go cross country. Of course it will turn out to be the most expensive segment of my world tour.

    The Pacific Coastal Highway, one of the most enjoyable roads in the U.S.

    The Pacific Coastal Highway, one of the most enjoyable roads in the U.S.

    On Monday morning, I say good-byes to Andy and Michelle, my wonderful hosts for the time I spent in L.A. It was nice to stop there, relax, and accept that I was back for good in the country. I drive up the coast, and stop at the Glenwood care center in Oxnard, which is home to some of my oldest – in every sense of the word – followers.

    The folks at the Glenwood Care Center.

    The folks at the Glenwood Care Center. My father is at my side.

    They stayed abreast of my adventures and sending me emails since I left the U.S. and I can now say without taking much risks that the elder of my fan is 103 (as of today).
    I spend two hours there and continue my drive up to San Luis Obispo.
    If anyone wants to meet on Friday night in Las Vegas, just email me or post a comment!

    The Pacific Coastal Highway further north.

    The Pacific Coastal Highway further north.