Hello from LAS VEGAS BABY!
That's right, we made it. A whole 2,000 some odd miles away West! After this, we are going to Yosemite then San Francisco before we head North up the coast. We are about a quarter of the way through our trip and I can definitely say that I wasn't expecting how exhausting it is to drive this much, constantly figuring out where we're going to stay, what we're going to do, and otherwise just winging it as we go.
After my last update, we stopped into a BBQ Joint in Austin TX. It was amazingly good, albeit a bit pricey. So far, apps like Yelp and Google Maps have proven super useful. We wound up exploring a dried up creek bed in Austin where fire ants attacked my exposed ankle. That really sucked. I thought I walked through a prickly thorn bush or something, then looked down to see about 5 or 6 ants wiggling on me, their heads plunged into my skin. It's been nearly a week and the bites just now starting to close up and heal properly.
After Austin we continued onto Roswell NM where we wound up sleeping in the car for the first time on that leg of that trip. Roswell was pretty far away so w decided to stay at a truck stop for the night. The bed we built in the back of the Element is surprisingly comfortable but between the noises, it was a bit difficult to sleep at the truck stop. We needed to sleep there though because we drove through the night and it was crazy how many deer and animals we saw along the side of the highway. Thankfully none jumped out into the road or anything!
On the way out to Roswell, we stopped at Bottomless Lake State Park. Check out the pictures I got below and the VR Panorama on my Facebook page!
While in Roswell, we stopped into the UFO Museum and spent a good bit of time there. After that we wound up getting some tacos, resupplied our food stock then decided to continue on.
From Roswell NM we continued onto Santa Fe. While in Roswell, we discovered this really cool site, www.FreeCampSites.net which, so far, has proved to be very accurate in providing us with free camping sites. You simply log on, put in the city you’re going to, and then it will tell you areas around there that have free camping. We plan to use this for the rest of our trip. We’ve already used to two or three times and it’s saved us a lot of money. In fact, with the money we saved from not having to pay $10-40 for campsites, we bought ourselves a couple’s massage yesterday in Vegas!
Our first free campsite was Cow Creek in Pecos NM, just outside Santa Fe. Essentially, we had to drive over a mountain to the over side to find a campsite just outside a waterfall. To say it was gorgeous is an understatement. Between driving through the dirt roads at 10mph, that climbed to an elevation of around 6,000 ft, never just driving to a place to go camp in the woods without checking in anywhere or anything, we were pretty nervous. However, after finding our campsite, we felt much better. And the views just blew us away. We got a lot done there and were even able to do our laundry in the creek. The water was freezing cold and perfectly clear. We even hooked up our solar shower and wound up taking showers out there. This experience was very affirming of our choices to travel.
After Santa Fe we headed off to Albuquerque for a day trip. We stopped into Explora, which is like Discovery Zone or COSI. It was pretty fun and rather affordable; we got stuck at an exhibit that is pretty much a Zen Garden. I plan to make one once I get back home. On our way out, we got stuck in a storm and saw a double rainbow!
After Albuquerque, we were off to Vegas! But with such a long drive, we decided to use FreeCampSites.net and found a pretty epic place to camp in the Coconino National Forrest near Flagstaff AZ. Again, we slept in the back of the car in the bed we made. It’s proved super useful for camping. I think we’ll only need to bust out our tent in places where we have to hike away from the car to camp, such as in the Redwood National Forrest. The view from our campsite, again, was amazing. I really can’t explain how humbling it was to be out there. I snagged a few pictures, check them out below.
After Coconino, we started to head towards the Grand Canyon. We made a pit stop at Bearizona and at Rock Shop where they let me take a lot of pictures! At Bearizona, we got a lot of pictures of animals and ever got to catch a Birds of Prey show which was amazing. One of the birds flew so close over us it even touched Kylie's head with it's feathers when it flew by. There were bears, wolves, deer, sheep, bison, and all kinds of other animals. At the rock store, Kylie picked up some rocks and gems and from there we headed off to the Grand Canyon. I can’t even begin to explain how vast that place is… From the top of it, it looks like you’re looking at the ground, or rather the base of the canyon, but you’re not. You’re just looking at more ledges in the canyon, the real floor of the canyon is 4,000 ft below.
Rock Store pictures!
Grand Canyon pictures!
After taking a million photos and thoroughly freaking out my travel companion, we got some pizza and rode to Las Vegas. The drive through New Mexico to Arizona made me feel very small and grateful for this experience. The mountains were huge, the sun was setting, I couldn’t help but realize that in that moment, I was driving across the US with a wonderful companion by my side, heading to Sin City, after traveling 2,000 some odd miles over a week, with another three quarters of an epic adventure in front of us…
Right now, I am writing this from our Hotel Room in Las Vegas. If you’re not familiar with Kayak.com or Booking.Com, that’s what we use to get cheap rooms. As an example, we’re only 2 or 3 miles from the Las Vegas Strip in the Arts District, a block from the main strip in the Arts District, and we got our room for only $36 a night. On top of that, our hotel upgraded us to a nicer room! Which is so nice! So far, we gambled a little; we walked in with $20, spent a few hours gambling, and walked out with $11 so… While we technically lost, we got some drinks and had fun, and that’s the important part... Having fun! We gawked at how dry the air is out here, drinks don’t even get condensation on the outside of them. We also got a couples massage yesterday, and today rented a scooter and will ride around the strip, get a show tonight, and otherwise relax, recuperate, take it easy, and unwind. From here, we go to Zion National Park, then Death Valley, then Yosemite, then San Francisco before we were off to the Redwood Forrest. From the Redwood Forrest (about our halfway point) until about Denver (second to last stop of our trip) we will mostly be camping, so relaxing is important to us right now. Which also means you may not get a nice lengthy update for awhile during that time…
But keep up on the Facebook page as I’ll post when I can! Mostly Facebook is just pictures and panoramas of the views we’ve seen that I take on my phone. After this trip, I plan to write out how to planed, preped, budgeted, and otherwise how we are doing and decided to do the US in a series of blog posts. We’ve also taken well over 2,000 pictures so far, so there will be galleries, information, organization, and all kinds of things on this blog here soon.
So stay tuned and take care of yourselves!
Until next time <3
Just your average, not so average, guy! Here you can follow my travels, learn to travel yourself, check out some cool photography, and otherwise follow along as I explore my interests from performance arts to traveling to philosophy and more!
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