USA Road Trip: Part 2

Hanging out in Colorado.

We left Colorado on Tuesday afternoon and drove until we were about an hour away from the Four Corners Monument. We slept in the hotel for the night since we knew we’d be camping for the next few days without being able to use a shower. There are no showers at most primitive camping sites in case you were wondering. We woke up super early and flew into the Four Corners Monument right as it opened at 8 a.m. We walked around for a few minutes and headed back to the car. 

Sunrise at the Grand Canyon.

The next four hours we spent speeding along the roads towards the Grand Canyon. I noticed we were getting closer as the scenery starts to resemble the canyon landscape. We pulled into the campground outside of the park and found that there was plenty of tent sites available for us to use. We pitched our tent and headed over to the Grand Canyon and walked around for a bit admiring the scenery. I had planned to wake up early our first day there, but we were so tired from driving I thought we could see sunrise another day.

Watching sunset at the Grand Canyon with Jackie.

We woke around 8 the next morning and headed to the park walking along the rim trail with our coffees. Originally, we had planned to hike in the evening when it was cooler, as the canyon rim was in the mid 90s and down below it was closer to the 11os. However, around 10 am we were passing one of the trail entrances we had thought about taking and I looked at Jackie and said want to hike a bit? So off we went in the blistering heat. No matter how hot it is the Grand Canyon is always stunning. We only made it a little past the first check point as it was already 12 and we needed to make our way back up because we had no food on us. Poor planning on our part. I felt a bit defeated as the last time I went to the Grand Canyon and I was able to hike a lot further, I was also much lighter, but it made me sad I didn’t quite get as far. I was sore as fuck though the next day from this hike.  We decided to see sunset that evening and then we woke up super early Thursday morning to see sunrise. We came back, finished packing up camp and were on the road again by 7:30 a.m.

Zion National Park.

Our drives have been ranging about 4-5 hours most days now as it is more manageable and we can see something on the way. We drove towards Zion National Park in Utah, and we found a random campground for the night because I decided to ignore the GPS for a bit. However, it turned out to be a great choice! Zion National Park is very cool and not what I was expecting at all. I knew it was rocks, however I thought it would also look similar to the Grand Canyon in some ways. It was very green with large rocks that had little shrubs all over them. Jackie and I decided to hike the Emerald Pool Trail and for me the trail was hard at times and I thought I was going to die, but I made it. She blazes by me, and then waits somewhere until I appear. It works for the most part, I have given up with keeping up as I can’t see her at points on the trail. We both enjoyed our hike and decided to head back to our campground.

Our dinner companion.

While we were making  a fire for the night and cooking dinner we had some unexpected guests! The horses in the pasture next to us came looking for a snack and made Jackie jump! It was  a funny interaction to watch. They also happened to be the first thing I woke up to in the morning wondering who the hell was crunching away in my ear.

Zabriskie Point in Death Valley.

Our campground turned out to be a great choice because it was really hot at Zion National Park and our campground was much cooler. We were near the forest fire outbreak but the smoke near us was nowhere near as bad as in the park on Saturday. I am so thankful we decided to visit the park on Friday and not Saturday, as it was filled with smoke and you couldn’t really take good photos of the scenery. Saturday was our longest drive this week as we drove 5 hours from Zion to Death Valley National Park. We did not plan this well, although I knew it would be a quick trip, I didn’t realize how quick it would be.

Badwater Basin.

As luck would have it we have been in the excessive heat wave plaguing the southwest for the past week and without even thinking we blazed into Death Valley. We thought about ourselves, we needed to be hydrated, we didn’t have enough water. So we jumped out of the car at a lookout point, snapped a photo, went back to the car and drove to Badwater Basin. We got out and took our photos here and piled back in the car to get the fuck out of there. It was between 120 -126 degrees down in Death Valley yesterday and even the wind was hot. There was no relief at all. As we  were driving out of the park (it’s a long drive through the park, probably a good 2 hours) , our car suddenly slowed down as I pulled over and turned off.  Jackie and I looked at each other, switched seats, and unplugged everything in the car charging, we also turned off the air conditioning. Luckily, the car turned back on and we hit the road with the hot wind blowing in our faces as we exited the park as slowly as possible. We thought about ourselves in the excessive heat wave…we didn’t think about the car. And the car really didn’t thank us for that.

Posing at Badwater Basin in Death Valley.

It was a bit nerve-racking for those 50 miles until we left the park and had cell service again, only to lose it after a few minutes as we blew by a small town. Luckily, as we continued to drive the car seemed happier as the night set in and the temperature began to drop. Looking out we saw a stunning sunset while we headed to Los Angeles. Yesterday we probably spent somewhere between 12-13 hours in the car, 2- 4 of those were spent without a/c in that terrible heat. But hey, we finally reached the west coast! Which means we are half way through our trip and after a few days we will be starting our loop back home. I’ve come down with a slight cold so I decided to relax in our hotel room today and will head out to explore tomorrow.

Sunset on our way to L.A.

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