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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Travel Diaries | Tour De America: Maine To Cali

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This trip. Y'all. What can I say to tell you just how absolutely, insanely, awe-inspiring and truly unforgettable this trip was. Can I even use any more adjectives in one sentence?! Truth be told, I had never been West of Dallas, Texas. So, the good ole West, was a sight for these sore eyes. I could go on and on, and I will (mwuahaha, you've been warned, no turning back now, cowboy!).


As you might know, Cody and I moved from wild and green New Hampshire to the golden coast of San Diego. And we decided that instead of making this long cross-country trip just about the move, we'd make it a once and a lifetime opportunity. And that's just what we did. We packed up our camping gear and loaded up the pups and made our way across the US, stopping to view as many of the must-sees on our list as we could squeeze into each day!


Kentucky was the first stop en route and while making our way south, it was terribly tempting to swerve a little south east and scoot right on down to North Carolina, home sweet home. Alas, we had a schedule! I will tell you, that despite West Virginia's recent flooding, she was beautiful, all the same. Full of giant lush forests, I was soaking it all in. And had John Denver's Take Me Home, Country Roads on repeat, just ask Cody for a good eye roll. ;) Any dang way, somehow I had never made my way into West Virginia (except for the 10-15 minutes that we drove through it going to and from Carolina). She's worth it, if you're wondering.



But Kentucky. Kentucky masters the balance of sophistication and rurality, with its illustrious equine homes and yet, these beautiful rustic homesteads, tucked away in the country. Side note but totally rad, if you find yourself in Kentucky, check out the Versailles Castle, it comes right of nowhere but looks like something straight from Europe. Very cool.

But back to this little adventure we were having. We spent the next couple of days with family, relaxing on a boat, drinks in hand, sometimes paddle boarding, sometimes jumping off of 45 foot cliffs, depending on our moods. And yes, you read that right and it was as scary and awesome and totally worth it. Don't you worry, this was documented too, you can see it in the video at the bottom of the post.



As adventurers do, we had more ground to cover, so we packed up the FunRunner (our 4Runners name, because why not?!) and grabbed the pups and were on our merry way. Of course, we didn’t get terribly far, before we saw a sign for Wickliffe Mounds (prehistoric Native American village of the Mississippian mound building culture) and the archaeologist in Cody and the Native American lover in me JUST HAD TO CHECK THESE OUT.


Over 700 year old mounds, with everything from the original burial and ceremonial sites, to bases for the homes. This site was like a pocket in time standing still, in its own way, it was very humbling, as was much of this trip. Reminding me of just how small we all really are and how we should act accordingly. And be good to one another. But I suppose that’s a sappy old tangent for another sappy old day. The main takeaway: history is kick ass and useful to know.





We cruised along the Midwest, through Kansas and Missouri, lots of plains, some pretty insane thunderstorms that you could see for miles. And lots and lots of corn. We also found some pretty sweet abandoned barns and a gas station, we felt like we were walking right into an episode of the X-files.


Alas, we were greeted by beautiful Colorado. And even better, a beautiful Colorado sunrise, that stretched right over the Rockies, not many things I have seen were that stunning.












Cody and I just kept saying how breathtaking this place was. Around every corner and turn, every place your eyes could see, every mountain top and valley, was remarkable. Absolutely, magnificent. If you haven’t put Colorado on your list, change that right now! Mal and Trav took a visit to Colorado earlier this year and if this post isn’t enough to convince you, check out her visit. Because just do it already, you’ll be better for it, promise.






And just as we were thinking, "can this trip get any more stellar?!", it found a way! Because Utah *le sigh*. Before I get all soft on Utah, I have to mention our short-lived but awesome side venture.


We decided while in Colorado, after getting advice from a local off-roader, to take the Kokopelli trail, which is about roughly 140 miles of rugged terrain, reaching from Grand Junction, Colorado to Moab, Utah. Which for us lucky ducks, was exactly where we were heading to do some (and I say only some because there are SO many) of the infamous off-roading trails. We were feeling bold and brazen, very Lewis and Clark and decided to take this under-marked trail to Moab. And while, we were having a complete blast, we were on time budget and only made about 30 miles of trail in 3 ½ hours and it seemed Kokopelli himself (trickster god in Native American culture) was sneaking in a storm or two to boot. In order to ensure we had enough time in Moab (which was a big place on our list) and to escape a potential flash flood in the desert, we navigated our way back to civilization and hit the road to Utah.



Commence harmonious angelic singing because sweet Jesus, is Utah not everything we dreamed of and more. Just. Look. At. This. Place.


Utah was like another planet. It was overwhelming in a way that sets your cells on fire. And getting to off-road trails like the Hell’s Revenge which give you killer views of the La Salle Mountains and the Colorado River, was more than amazing. Putting it into words, just doesn’t do it justice.



And most importantly, getting to experience this with my Husband, my dreamer and adventurer, was the best of all. Getting to make these memories and do this together, checking off a place on our bucket list that we had dreamed about, was by far the most rewarding. I can’t wait for more adventures with you Cody, big and small. All off it.

Before I get too sappy here, we have more story to tell, you probably need an intermission at this point, I don’t blame you. Grab some popcorn while you’re at it!

One of the coolest parts of the Hell’s Revenge Trail is the Devil’s Backbone, which is a narrow trail with a very steep drop off on both sides, below is picture from where we stopped on the trail and got out to get record of this feat! Hats off to Jeff, our off-road tour buddy, who took this picture and showed us some incredible views and an amazing time, can’t wait for our trip back to see you!



Driving across that was exhilarating and terrifying all at the same time but I have the best driver in the world, seriously Cody knows his stuff. I’ll brag for him because if there’s one thing that guy knows inside and out, it’s off-roading. But between the obstacles like the Devil’s Backbone and the Escalator, which is a very steep decline on Moab slickrock, my heart was racing the whole time. In all the right ways!



While we wished we could have spent several weeks in Utah, we had limited time but we have plans to come back for sure! Needless to say, we set path towards California. Stopping along the way in Arizona, to spend time with friends and of course, I obsessed way too much over all the cacti we passed but this girl loves her succulents! Gotta catch ‘em all, for real.


One of the last places we stopped, which was equally impressive was the Sonoran Desert, which we decided looks exactly like Tatoine. Fortunately, we are not far from this awesome place, so I’m sure there’ll be more on this to come.


As you might have guessed pals, we made it to golden California. Where the palm trees grow and the sun always shines and if you’ve made it this far, I commend you my friends. But truthfully, if you haven’t done a road trip in a while or ever, treat yourself. There’s no time like now. For me this trip was so much bigger than sight-seeing, it was about growing and learning in love with my husband, my best friend, my adventurer. And while the sights were really something, the location never really matters, just who you have beside you, the people you love. It always come back to that.

If you pals are interested, you can check out the video of our trip here (enjoy): 




xoxo, your sappy little adventurer


2 comments:

  1. “Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.” – Ray Bradbury
    What an awesome video of the trip....I have a sudden urge to go watch "The OC" now....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is an amazing quote and I sincerely couldn't agree more! Love it so much! And thanks a million, the trip was so special in so many different ways and I'm glad we got to document it!

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