Three adults, two kids, two vehicles (one pulling a trailer), a dog, and a cat.
Put together, it’s the ingredients for one unforgettable and exhausting adventure!
My brother (Ryan), his wife, and my two nieces were in the process of moving from Florida to Nevada, and needed some help. I needed out of Pennsylvania. It seemed like a no-brainer.
We left Florida (where they had called home the past few years) and set off on the 1,800+ mile trip the first week of December.
Let me just say, I am all for 3 a.m. wake-ups when it is for a trip! (Though I was riding shotgun, and just the designated keeper of snacks/drinks/toys/blankets/tissues. I suspect those driving might’ve felt differently.)
Without further ado, here were some of our highlights and stops:
This day was pretty much straight driving, trying to cover the greatest distance the first day, since most of the attractions we wanted to do/see were closer to the west coast.
Night one: Terrell
VW Slug Bug Ranch– which yes, did have cars, but this little one was more interested in playing in the abandoned graffitied buildings and broken glass, so I had to go scoop her.
Palo Duro (Texas Grand Canyon) where we grabbed lunch and enjoyed some social distancing by hiking a trail, all to ourselves.
Cadillac Ranch– something so bizarre and yet so fascinating. What would you paint if you were leave your mark?
Night two: Tucumcari
We hit a TON of traffic due to a bad accident, so we didn’t make it to Albuquerque like we wanted. We drove through Sevilleta National Wildlife area, through New Mexico, instead. This was a challenging day, (long hours in the car, no stops or attractions) but luckily we covered so many miles the day before that we were still well on schedule even with the setback.
We watched the most amazing sunset as we crossed into Arizona.
Night three: Flagstaff
We stayed in Flagstaff for two nights, as we planned to do most of our exploring from this point. We ventured to the Grand Canyon– more specifically, to the South Rim, which was the only part open during this season. The last time Ryan and I had been here, we were on a family vacation back in the early 2000s. I know I didn’t appreciate the immensity of it then…but seeing it now, over 15 years later, I was blown away.
Then we went on to Sedona, and ended up hiking Cathedral Rock on a whim. It wasn’t for the faint of heart- a rocky, steep cliffside. My five-year-old niece kept going, all the way to the top, beyond any of our expectations! She was a little warrior on the trail, and I loved sharing this moment with her at the top:
While we were there we saw the Chapel of the Holy Cross, the Sedona overlook, Airport Mesa, Three Sisters, and some of the adorable shops in town as we sipped hot chocolate. We only had a couple hours here, and hiking took the most time. I would love to go back for more hiking- Devil’s Bridge and more.
Night four we spent back in Flagstaff. It was great to have that AirBnb for two nights in a row and have a “home base” that wasn’t the inside of a vehicle. Already, it almost felt like we had been LIVING on the road and yet at the same time, just started the trip. All we had left was the four hour drive between here and Vegas…
And just like that, it was over. Friday early afternooon, we pulled into the driveway of their new home and began the process of unpacking!
So what has happened since?
I can’t wait to share those next adventures with you—