We went to San Diego to visit a very good friend of Alina, and because there were a number of things to do from the 22 things-to-do list, that my friend Stuart, compiled for our trip to the US.
We called Alina’s friend, and she said: “Oh! How nice you’re here! You have six hours to drive to our place! Come and visit us, we’re waiting!” Jaw dropped! Alina, convinced that her friend was living in San Diego didn’t bother to see that she moved a year ago, just a bit south of San Francisco.
We changed plans, visited San Diego Zoo, and other places around and the drove into Arizona desert, to Joshua Tree National Park. At the park entry, with a 20 USD bill in my hand to pay the fee, the ranger asks:
“Were are you guys from?”
I said: “Oh! Romania!”
“Are you living here?”
He didn’t seem very happy and returned to the kiosk at the entrance. Then he came out with a notepad and said:
“Please put your wife’s name on the list and ask her to sign.”
We did so and returned the list. He handed us a plastic card and said: “This card will allow you to visit all US national parks for free, for life. It is because your wife’s handicap. I should give it only to permanent residents, but I don’t care. Enjoy your visit to Joshua Tree!”
Wow! We didn’t ask for any discount nor did we mention Alina’s handicap. He saw it and was a very nice guy. I’d wish there are more people like him back home.
Joshua Tree was beautiful: the desert, the rock formations, the scattered trees, everything. We walked for an hour or so, we had a picnic and in the evening we set off towards Nevada, on the famous Route 66.
As I was running out of gasoline, I stopped at what seemed the only gas station on a 100 km radius and to my surprise the price was double than the most expensive gasoline we bought until then.
We stayed in a motel and the next day we arrived in Grand Canyon National Park for a one-day visit.