40 Days, 15 States, Countless Memories, and 1 U.S. Explored

After five and a half weeks together, our trip has officially come to an end. But before we start reminiscing about all the great times we’ve had traveling across the U.S, we need to tell you about all the things that we’ve been up to since our last update!

Our first stop after San Diego was Los Angeles, the city of Angels, where we got right into the action with a visit to Madame Tussaud’s museum of wax figures to see all the hyper-realistic representations of famous celebrities and fictional characters. Some of the figures were so realistic! Outside of the museum, we walked along the busy strip and saw the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the handprints and signatures left in the concrete at the entrance of the Chinese Theatre.

The next morning, we spent the morning at the L.A. Food Bank where we volunteered to help sort through food donations and help prepare them to be delivered to families and individuals in need around LA. Once we finished our project, we learned that our work that morning would help provide meals for over 4500 families in need. After our rewarding and fun volunteer experience, we headed to the world-famous Venice Beach where we walked around and checked out the various shops, street performers, and muscle beach athletes. To finish off the afternoon, we headed back to the UCLA campus to stroll around the bookstore for souvenirs and enjoy the recreational facilities. Some of us played basketball, and others worked on their volleyball skills.

To cap off our stay in LA, we spent two of our final few days at Disneyland and Universal Studios exploring the parks, and riding awesome rollercoasters and immersive 4D rides. At Disneyland, some of our trip members ran into Iman Shumpert, an NBA player, who was nice enough to snap a photo with them! Between our jam-packed amusement park days, we spent some time relaxing in LA, exploring Rodeo Drive and enjoying some laughs together at a comedy club.

Our second-to-last stop gave us a break from the busy city streets with a few days of camping in beautiful Lake Tahoe. We spent some quality time together cooking meals, hanging out around the campfire, and having a friendly culinary competition mimicking the show ‘chopped’, where teams had to come up with the best possible dessert for our judges using limited ingredients. We visited the stunning Lake Tahoe, where our group chilled on a beach together and took turns water skiing, wakeboarding, and tubing. A relaxing cruise on the lake afterward gave us all an amazing view of the picturesque blue water and surrounding snow-capped mountains.

Our last stop, San Francisco, was a great way to finish off the trip. Our visit to Alcatraz Prison was incredibly interesting, as we learned all about the history of the island and what life was like for the inmates there through an audio tour of the main cell block. Pier 39 was also a great stop, where we grabbed lunch, explored the area surrounding the pier, and paid a visit to the seals lounging together in the hot sun. With a visit to Ghirardelli Square, we got the chance to pick up some great souvenirs for family and friends back home.

For our final day of the trip, we visited some San Fran classics! We walked along the Golden Gate Bridge and up and down Lombard street and spent the afternoon in the quaint town of Sausalito where we grabbed lunch and explored the seaside shops.

Since arriving in California last week, many of us have been commenting on how far we’ve come in the last 40 days. It’s crazy to think that we’ve spent the last 5 and a half weeks together, sharing all of these new experiences and traveling all the way from Ithaca, New York to San Francisco, California.

The Westcoast Blogger

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