The Grand Canyon

Hello friends and family!

We are ended yet another majestic day on the road!  This morning it was a short hour drive (we now consider any drive under 4 hours to be very short) to the Grand Canyon from Williams.  Arizona has not yet let us down with the scenary during these drives, so it was pleasant.  The unpleasant part?  Gas was $3.90/gallon!

South rim

We decided to park at the National Geographic Visitor Center and take the free shuttle into the park to avoid the long lines.  We planned on visiting the South Rim since it was the closest side of the Canyon to our route. After a couple of bus transfers and about ten stops, we were finally at the first observation area.  The second we stepped off the bus and looked over the ledge, we were speechless. Videos and pictures do not do the Grand Canyon any justice! As you stand before it, you feel like you’re looking at a huge painting spread across the horizon. The view became even better when a couple of bus stops later, the Colorado River made an appearance.  We broke a couple rules by jumping over rails to get pictures on the edge, and the results came out beautiful!

South rim

After the Grand Canyon, it was time to say goodbye to Arizona and move on to California.  We absolutely loved our time in the state, and would go back in a heartbeat!  It was a 7 1/2 hour drive to Los Angeles, where we are currently in another motel room about to go to bed.  It’s hard to believe we are already in Cali, time has really flown by.  L.A. is basically the reason Maya agreed to accompany on this trip, so I hope she gets to spot the celebs she is looking for tomorrow.

Sunset on the drive to LA

Hope ya’ll enjoy this next video!

Sedona

Hello friends and family!

After barely getting any sleep last night, we checked out of our sketchy motel and it was finally time to head to a city we were very excited about: Sedona, Arizona. The woman at AAA highly recommended we take the hour detour  to spend the day.  We are so thankful for that advice!

On the way to Sedona we couldn’t resist stopping right off I-40 to see the meteor crater. We figured it would be pretty corny, especially with all the “turn here to experience the impact” signs dotting the road to the tourist attraction.  However, the hole this meteor left is quite a sight to see.  The mark is made is enormous!  We were happy we stopped to check it out but didn’t stay too long ..

Meteor Crater

As we started nearing Sedona, the road became a two-lane highway that wound through Oak Creek Canyon- full of spectacular white, yellow, and red cliffs. The view was unlike any we had other seen, and each turn around the bend had a gorgeous new formation or gorge waiting for us.

Red Rocks of Sedona

Our guidebook suggested stopping by Slide Rock Park. It was on the way and it was early in the day, so we waited in the long line to enter the park. As soon as we entered, it became apparent the wait was well worth it. The park is incredibly gorgeous, and even has an apple orchard with tiny green apples at the beginning stage of their growth. Better yet, the park has a 70 foot natural water slide!

Slide Rock Park

It was scorching hot outside and the cool, rushing water was calling my name. Maya and I switched outfits and I headed into the sea of people waiting head downstream.  Everyone kept their shoes on because they said  the rocks cut your feet.  We all know I am more comfortable doing everything barefoot though. I would explain how successful that little journey was, however, I think the video will speak for itself. The time spent there was one of my favorite moments thus far of our trip.  I would like to inquire about having my next birthday party at Slide Rock Park….. 😉

Exploring

A local sketched out a map of Sedona for us and we headed to the Chapel of the Holy Cross. A Catholic shrine sits atop a red rock in between two huge sandstone peaks, which is quite the sight to see. The floor-to-ceiling windows inside the chapel with the view of the red rocks behind it was breath-taking. It was a very powerful sight that I had to sit down for a little bit to take in.

We continued to drive around the town of Sedona, falling in love with it the more we explored. For an hour or so we drove up and down little side roads, taking in the landscape from every angle we could find. Right before sunset we headed up to the airport, which has a well-known spot with a perfect view of the red rocks. As the sun began to go down, we decided it was time to continue heading West, to rest up for the Grand Canyon the next day. If I didn’t already know how incredible our final destination is, I think we woud have stayed in Sedona for the rest of our trip.

View from the airport

We drove to a little city outside of Flagstaff, Arizona called Williams, which is close to the Grand Canyon but cheaper. The town turned out to be a great little surprise, and was lined with shops that we spent the evening browsing before calling it an early night.

The motel we stayed in was owned by a nice little Indian woman who decided it was her duty to play mom. At first she would just pop into our room without knocking to adjust the air conditioning (reminds me of someone we know) or to open a window. Even this morning, as we opened the door to leave, she was standing outside of it inquiring about our plans.

Tomorrow we will finally visit the Grand Canyon and see if it lives up to the hype!

New Mexico

Hello friends and family

Today was a very long but incredible day!  We made it to Albuquerque where the first stop on our itinerary was the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway, which transports you a distance of 2.7 miles above deep canyons.  It was a gorgeous 15 minute trip to the observation deck 10,000 feet above the Rio Grande Valley and the Land of Enchantment.  The view was spectacular and we enjoyed a little hiking and lunch at the High Finance Restaurant overlooking it all.

Riding the tramway

Tony, our Tramway operator, suggested we  check out Old Town, By the time we headed there, it was mid-afternoon and while strolling the shops we began to experience what the Arizona heat is all about… it was HOT! Old Town reminded us of a Southwest version of Historic St. Augustine, Florida.    After strolling around town in the intense heat, we decided we prefered the car’s AC and ice-cold water from the cooler over souvenir shopping and hit the road again.

Our next destination was Sedona, Arizona.    After a long day in the sun and hours of driving, we were very tired and hungry.  We finally crossed the Arizona state line, which was exciting, and were greeted by a Native American welcome center. This is where we came across an interesting coupon for a $25 room for the night…

Arriving at the Arizona border

We are currently in that $25 motel room and a train passes by every 30 minutes, blows its whistle, and shakes our bed. .. teaching us a lesson (among many) we’ve learned along this journey: when it comes to a room, it’s worth spending a little extra money.

Texas

Hello friends and family! We are so sorry to have made you wait for another update on our road trip. We were very busy yesterday and once we hit the road this morning we ended up having zero phone service the entire drive on 1-10 up through Texas.

Crazy popcorn walls

Crazy popcorn walls

So after New Orleans we ended up in a small town called Winnie, Texas because it was getting very late and it was the closest stop off the Interstate. We found a lovely motel (oxymoron?) that was next to a hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant where we had dinner. One thing is for certain: Texas is chock-full of Mexican restaurants, but at least we have endless eating options when it comes to Mexican food! There was even a drive-through barn where we stocked up on RedBulls (the unofficial sponsor of our drive) and water bottles. Everyone in Winnie that we encountered was lovely .. one of us (we’ll leave that up to you to guess who) even left an iPhone at the gas station and a young man ran out to return it before we pulled out.

San Antonio River Walk

San Antonio River Walk

As you can tell from our map above, the original plan we decided on had us driving from Louisianna to Dallas, Texas. However once we realized Dad’s sister Lisa lived in San Antonio, we quickly re-routed the drive. We haven’t seen Aunt Lisa, Uncle Bruce, and our cousins Andrea and Adam in years! Lisa and Bruce live in a gorgeous home right outside the heart of San Antonio and own three adorable cocker spaniels who boosted our spirits since our pets Abe and Rosey so much. Dad’s aunt (we call her Aunt Paula) also lives in San Antonio, so the whole group reunited on the River Walk for a delicious dinner at Iron Cactus, right on the water. After dinner we decided to be super touristy and take a boat ride tour of the River Walk, which turned out to be well worth it! Downtown San Antonio is absolutely gorgeous.

This morning we woke up refreshed after sleeping in comfortable beds lined with gorgeous homemade quilts our aunt made.. it sure beat a motel room! Our next major stop was Albuquerque, and thanks to the helpful roadmaps Aunt Lisa had given us, we spotted some caves right off 1-10 on the way to our destination: The Caverns of Sonora.

Sanora Cavern

Sanora Cavern pictures we took

After getting lost for over an hour trying to find the place, we arrived to find out the next tour wasn’t for another hour. A gut instinct told us even though the odds had been against us all morning, it would be worth the wait. Boy, were we right. We took pictures and video footage, as you’ll see below, but it does not even BEGIN to do this place justice. It was one of the most magical places we have ever experienced!

Horseshoe Lake

Horseshoe Lake

Horseshoe Lake

Horseshoe Lake

We were about 150 feet below the ground, in a cavern known as “the most decorated caves in the world”. There were a couple other lovely familes on the tour with us, and our guide was an informative old man who took a liking to us, and ended up being from Ocala, Florida .. small world!

We left the experience feeling refreshed and decided to drive as close to Albuquerque as we could. After crossing the New Mexico state line, we eventually realized we were in Mountain Time zone. Is car lag possible? We were feeling tired and our eyes were starting to burn, which meant the only option was to stop in the city of Roswell for the night… which leads us to the motel we are in right this second. In case you weren’t aware, Roswell is famous for the UFO incident of 1947. Unfortunately for one of us (again, we’ll leave that up to you to guess who), aliens are on the top 3 list of biggest fears. Allegedly an extraterrestrial spacecraft and its occupants crashed here. The light posts on the street corners are aliens, the restaurants are alien-themed, the statues are aliens, etc. Hopefully we don’t get abducted tonight!

The Incredible Caverns of Sonora

The Incredible Caverns of Sonora

We will be in Albuquerque tomorrow and CAN’T WAIT to share our big plans with you guys! Below is the second video we threw together of some moments yesterday and today. Hope you enjoy it!

Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana

 

Hello friends and family!

We are in the car right now heading to Texas.  We left Sanford yesterday around 4 pm and powered through Florida up to Alabama.  If you’ve ever taken 1-75 to 1-10 out of Florida, you know that it’s a pretty dull drive, but we made the best of it (an awesome sunset helped!)

Maya and I in New Orleans

Maya and I in New Orleans

While stopping for dinner, we got our hands on a motel coupon book and stopped in Mobile, Alabama for the night. We pulled into the small yet surprisingly nice Comfort Inn to rest up for our drive the next morning. After leaving the small town around 10 am, it was a quick trip through Mississippi into Louisiana.  While approaching Louisiana, the first stop that came to mind was New Orleans! Since mom is French, we couldn’t resist heading to The French Quarter for some of those famous beignets. We parked off the main street right next to the railroad tracks and an beautiful view of the Mississippi River. Jackson Square was beautiful as well.  Moving on, we quickly learned that being a vegetarian is quite the struggle when trying to find a bite to eat in New Orleans… since most people look forward to the gumbo or jambalaya! We settled for a couple of greek salads at The Market Cafe, then ventured on to walk through all the different shops. Beads, masks, and voo doo dolls (you’ll see in the video) everywhere! After leaving we had to stop to fill our gas tank up for the third time!

Jackson Square, New Orleans

Jackson Square, New Orleans

It’s only day two and we will be in Texas by tonight. The Lonestar State has some exciting plans in store for us! It may seem like we are rushing through these southeastern states, but it’s just because we have BIG plans for New Mexico, Arizona, and California. There are so many beautiful places to see and to choose from, and we can’t wait to endure more adventures!

Below is a short video we put together of this first leg of the trip ❤