A little over a year ago Ryan and I began our cross country trek to our new life in San Diego. How that year went by so quickly is beyond me, but here we are and I have yet to share photos from our week-long journey.
Our first touristy stop along the way out West was the Original Pony Express Post Office in Gothenburg, Nebraska. It seemed out of place, a log structure right in the middle of quiet neighborhood full of houses from the modern eras. Step inside and you are greeted by a friendly postman that kindly informs you that if you would like to send a postcard, simply place it in the leather bag hanging from the only door in the building.
Our next stop was Longmont, Colorado. More specifically, Oskar Blues Brewery. We sampled some beers at the taproom, and then headed over to the restaurant for dinner. Where we proceeded to eat way too much. Apparently, when they bring the wrong dish out and then they correct the mistake they let you keep ALL the food. Which was good for us since we were hiking in Boulder the next day.
Flatirons – Boulder, Colorado
We woke bright eyed and bushy tailed from our hearty meal the day before ready to conquer the Flatirons hike. It was August and hot. The first mile was in direct, scalding hot, sunlight and then I realized we were a mile closer to the sun. The rest of the hike up to was mostly shaded, but it was a never ending course of switchbacks and elevation gain. All the sweat and heat was totally worth it though, it’s hard to describe the awe I felt when I saw the Flatirons (rocks dating back 290 millions years) slicing their way upwards into the sky from the solid rock below. Rather than slicing their way out, these are actually created by erosion.
Mt. Evans, Colorado
We wanted flexibility in our trip so we didn’t book hotel rooms further than a day out. It worked out well because every night I did research for the following day or two. I read about the North America’s highest paved road on Mt. Evans. I’m a sucker for shit like this. Just call me Clark Griswald. Totally worth it, there are Mountain Goats at the top. The drive up to the park winds through pine trees on a two-lane highway. Once in the park the road narrows and you are forced to hug the mountain on a guard-rail free road.
After playing paparazzi for some adorable goats, we made our way to the Chicago Lakes. A Marmot scolded us as we made our way on a path where encountered an artist painting the scene below.
Arches National Park – Moab, Utah
The biggest surprise on the trip to me was how much I loved Utah. I was less than excited to go, Ryan really wanted to go. A co-worker also highly recommended it to me, more specifically Moab, Utah. Home of Arches National Park. In August, Moab is usually in the 100 degree range. We drove in during a massive rain storm, so luckily for us the day we hiked was only in the 80’s with large puffy clouds providing shade when otherwise we would be baking in the sun. Aside from me getting stung by a wasp right when we started the hike (and me proceeding to pout about it), the hike was amazing.
I wanted to get some sunset photos at Delicate Arch that evening. After we arrived at Delicate Arch, the rain returned and drizzled little freezing cold droplets on us with an accompanying sand blasting wind. But we were still able to get some nice shots as the sun dipped below the horizon. (Even if the drunken French women refused to move from beneath the arch the whole time we were there.)
Zion National Park
Our time in Zion was short lived. We stayed in Hurricane, Utah due to the proximity to the park, price of the hotel (read dirt cheap) and lack of lodging availability near the park. It was HOT the day we were in Zion, but apparently not nearly as hot as it normally is. Due to some impending bad weather and our limited time in the park, we ended up just taking the tram around. I know, lame. But we were pretty exhausted from the previous days’ hikes and still had a few nights left in our trip to San Diego so we figured this was the best way to see the Park and decide if we wanted to come back or not.
Horseshoe Bend – Page, Arizona
We realized we were over an hour early for our Antelope Canyon tour, which allowed us to make the short drive and hike to vibrant (and packed) Horseshoe Bend. The short hike to one of the most photographed sections of the Colorado River provided no shade so the blazing sun had every opportunity to burn us to a crisp. Fortunately massive, puffy clouds came to our rescue. The height of the cliffs is staggering, the photo doesn’t really do it justice.
Antelope Canyon – Page, Arizona
Antelope Canyon is one of the most unique natural phenomena that I have seen in person. The sandstone is carved from flash floods rushing through the slot canyon and creating this beautiful ribbon effect on the walls. In order to visit, you must book a tour through the Navajo Nation. I booked a photo tour, which was much smaller than the handful of other tours occurring at the same time. The nice thing about the photo tour is they will clear rooms for you in order to get pictures without people in it.
Our final night was spent in Las Vegas. We got super rowdy and walked the strip while drinking tall boys and falling asleep at 10:30pm. I wish we had more time to explore more on our trip, but we were anxious to make it to sunny San Diego.
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Looks like an incredible trip, Daina! I’ve been wanting to rent a camper van and drive around the United States at some point. Definitely need to check out these spots in Utah and Arizona :)
After our drive out, I totally want to rent a camper van and do the same thing! This country is so BEAUTIFUL.
Hi, Daina! I found your blog via the Young Adventuress and I am excited to scroll for hours through your archives! This road trip sounds like it was amazing!
Hey Michelle! Thanks for your kind words and taking the time to go through our content! This road trip was so much fun and opened my eyes to just how beautiful this country is!
Crazy! I never knew you went to all these places on your way out to SA. Some of them are in my backyard and I need to go visit them now!
Yes, you should definitely go check them out! Colorado is such an amazing state. If we ever had to move from San Diego, Colorado would be high on our list.