The most epic road trip adventure
A few weeks ago I packed up all my stuff and said goodbye to a city that I love. The last 6 years in Los Angeles had been nothing short of amazing, and after all, it had become my home.
While I moved around a lot as a kid, Los Angeles was the first place that I actually CHOSE to live, when I moved there as a bright-eyed 18-year-old ready to start life on my own.
Back then I didn't know what I was doing or who I wanted to become and I definitely wasn't sure how I would survive being that far from home. But, day by day, I fell in love with the city and the people that I met there. It soon became the place of some of my most treasured memories.
It was where I spent 4 amazing years of college, where I met my best friends and my boyfriend, where I got my first internship, first big-girl job, even my first car that I bought on my own.
To say that I'm going to miss it like crazy is an understatement, but I know that it's time to start my next adventure.
So, my boyfriend Sam and I packed up all our things and hit the road to leave LA and start our new life in Colorado. Unfortunately, I've had to do the drive from Los Angeles to Denver many times, and it's not fun. Once you pass Las Vegas, there is literally nothing until you reach Grand Junction, Colorado.
Fearing the 18 hours of boredom, we thought it would be better to make some pit stops along the way.
We opted to take a slight detour to visit the Grand Canyon, and let me tell you, it was the best decision ever. I had only visited it once before and it was just as magical as I had remembered.
After 8 excruciatingly long hours in the car, we finally arrived at the Grand Canyon. We entered through the South Rim and nearly sprinted out of the car to catch a glimpse of the view.
There were lots of tourists crowding around, but we found an overlook that was a bit quieter. Of course, Sam was not satisfied with standing behind the railings and insisted on dangling our feet over the edge.
Being absolutely terrified of heights and falling, I insisted that I wasn't going to, but he eventually convinced me to sit on the edge with him. I'm not going to lie, it was a pretty surreal feeling and the view was absolutely stunning. But after about 20 seconds, I had my fix and quickly scurried back to a more secure spot.
Since we still had a lot of ground to cover that day, we headed back to the car to continue our journey. We drove through the park to exit on the east side. As we drove through the beautiful winding forest, we noticed that the sun started to go down.
We didn't even think about how great it would have been to see the canyon during sunset. We started kicking ourselves over not planning that out better, but we kept driving hoping that we would find another overlook so that we could see it.
As we kept on driving, Sam caught a glimpse of the canyon through the trees. He could see the sun setting over the canyon and started yelling that we needed to pull over and enjoy it. We found a small overlook just a ways up and watched as the sun fell behind the canyon. It was more beautiful than we could have imagined.
Once the sun went down, we headed back into the car and drove for hours in the middle of nowhere. The sky was pitch black and it started storming. Streaks of lightning filled the sky and the thunder was so loud that it felt like the ground was shaking.
While it was slightly terrifying, it was really cool to watch. There was no civilization in sight, just a long straight road that went on for miles.
After hours of driving, we finally stopped to get some rest in a little town called Blanding just outside of Moab, Utah. As we arrived at the hotel, I saw so many fliers for Arches National Park, a place that I had always wanted to go.
As I looked through the fliers, I became more and more excited about it, and just knew we had to go. After all, it would probably be the only time we'd be in the area. I knew it would set us even farther back on our arrival time into Denver, but something about it just felt right.
After some begging and pleading, I convinced Sam that we should make a pit stop there the next day. After a solid night's rest, we drove the hour and a half to the park and were excited to do a little hiking and get some fresh air.
When we pulled up to the entrance, we realized that we could buy an annual pass for $80 that would give us access to all National Parks in the country. We thought that was a great deal since it cost $25 for each park and we knew we would be going to Rocky Mountain National Park (my all-time favorite national park) often once we got to Colorado.
We also learned that the U.S. national parks are celebrating their 100th year on August 25th! They are celebrating by offering free admission to all parks Aug. 25th-28th.
So, if you're ready to do some exploring of some of America's most beautiful parks, now's the time!
After receiving are nifty annual pass, we drove along the windy roads into the park. The entire park was so beautiful, there were giant rocks everywhere of all shapes and sizes.
Since we were short on time, we decided to see just see the Windows, which are two giant arches that give great views of the bright blue Utah sky.
They were stunning. It was incredible walking under them and seeing just how big they were. We climbed up the sides of the north window (the picture below on the right) and rested there under the arch. It was quite the view.
Across from the Windows was the Turret Arch, which had one large arch and a near-perfect circle carved out of the middle of it. I'm standing in front of this arch in the picture in the second row on the right.
After spending an hour or so walking around to the different arches, we got back in the car and continued on our journey. We knew that we definitely wanted to come back to Moab some time to do some more strenuous hikes and spend a few days camping. It's high on our list!
We left the park feeling so happy and refreshed after having spent so many hours in the car. Making the last-minute pit stop was a great idea and was a highlight of the trip.
We got back in the car and drove on through the middle of nowhere Utah eagerly awaiting the Colorado border. I was determined to get out a take a picture at the famous "Colorful Colorado" sign just over the border that welcomes all visitors.
Sam rolled his eyes at the idea, but even he had a big grin on his face once he saw the sign and knew we were almost there the end was near.
After several more hours of winding through the Rocky Mountains, we finally made it to the Denver metro area. It felt so great to finally be home and we were more than ready to get out of the car.
Overall, it ended up being a great trip! If you're ever on a road trip, I highly suggest finding national parks or other exciting landmarks along the way that you can stop at.
If you're ever driving through the area that we covered, you should definitely stop at both the Grand Canyon and Arches National Park. There are so many great things you can do at both parks, you won't be disappointed!
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