A Tale of Inconvenient Footwear and Not Enough Coffee- Roadtrip 2016

If you’ve been following this blog for the past couple of weeks, you’ve probably seen all the posts i’ve been doing on the roadtrip I took back in March to celebrate turning a quarter century old. You might also be wondering why its taken me so long to get to the end of posting about it- to the point where i’m getting ready to go on another one. We can place the blame for that squarely on my jobs understaffing issues and the fact that i’ve been floating on a sea of over-time since I got back from said trip.

But hey, we’ve come to the end of it, or near enough. While the past posts have been me mainly writing about the lovely things I was thinking while I took the photos I shared, this post will be more er, honest. There’s being in love in the moment as I pressed that button on my camera to capture it, and then there’s the moment directly after where I realized I needed coffee but soon and there wasn’t a gas-station for miles.

And just like the first post , all the photos included below (except like 2) were all taken by my iPhone so ye be warned.

Jeep Renegade at the Grand Canyon

The first leg of the trip, Texas—>Grand Canyon, AZ, was started just a little before 5 in the morning and if I haven’t mentioned it before, I am not a morning person. The only reason we got on the road on time and with nothing missing is because the bf is thankfully (and annoyingly) a morning person and because i’m a terrible effing person, of course I picked a fight with him for daring to mess with the GPS for what I deemed to be too long. Eventually things got sorted though, because he’s been with me long enough to know how to tame the godzilla I am in the mornings and we listened to the first half of the Limetown podcast to get us through Texas.  Just before passing into New Mexico, we (ok ok, it was all me) decided to take a break from that to listen to a 99% Invisible rebroadcast episode of The Sound of Sports that was perfect to pass the time that seems never ending when you’re trying to get out of the barren depressing wasteland that is the north-east side of Texas.

I covered the drive from New Mexico through Arizona and our experience at the Grand Canyon pretty well in the post linked below, so I won’t get into it all again. I’ll just mentioned that there is a “cafeteria style” restaurant in the Grand Canyon Village- where I might or might not have taken the last photo up above- that earned itself the #1 prize for worst (and yet most expensive) breakfast. I don’t name names though, so have fun guessing which one it is if you ever visit.

The second leg of the trip, Grand Canyon—>Zion Natl. Park, Bryce Canyon was wonderfully weird and the only thing I regret was not listening to Is There A Ghost by Band of Horses as we raced our way out of ribbon like roads of Arizona towards Utah, because for whatever reason it’s my favorite roadtrip song and with the sun shinning like a blazing fireball above us in the completely clear blue skies, it would have been a perfect memory. But as you can read in the first post below, I listened to my usual brand of cliché songs to make up for it anyways. Again, I think I did a semi-decent job of covering most things when it comes to the time I spent at Zion, Bryce Canyon and rolling on down Scenic Byway 12, but heres a few things I didn’t mentioned.

– We stayed at the Bumbleberry Inn, in the small town of Springdale for our 3 day stay in Utah and the room rate comes with included breakfast at Wildcat Willies. And yeah, it’s exactly what you would expect from the name. Lots (and I do mean LOTS) of western themed stuff hanging from all the walls to the point where I almost expected spurs to magically appear on my shoes.The staff was amazingly kind and friendly though, and the breakfast was the best of the whole trip. I would highly recommend staying at the Bumbleberry Inn just for that perk, though everything else about it is fantastic as well. Btw, true story – I picked to stay there because I was just plum tickled by the name….the bf was not as amused with my choice until we spent the morning of my b-day sitting out on the balcony drinking really tart lemonade while watching the sun change lights on the rocky mountains in front of us. I didn’t explore the town as I had wanted to as I was hit with a minor bout of fatigue and depression on the morning we had the time to do so, but the bf did and brought me back the most amazing coffee I have ever tasted to lift my spirits. While I can’t even remember the name of the place it was from, I would advocate visiting every coffee shop in town if it meant you could taste coffee heaven on your tongue like that

– Pizza picture up above was from Zion Pizza and Noodle Co and if there was a way I could just grab my friends and drag them there for pizza without it being called “kidnapping” I would do it.

– The part about the inconvenient footwear in the title comes in here. I am a mess of person, if you’ve followed this blog for long enough or know me in RL then jesus you know how true that is, especially when it comes to properly planning roadtrips. If it wasn’t for the bf I would just drive out with my camera and cash and just make do. As it is though, he can’t plan everything (and I wouldn’t want him to) so I ended up in these hiking places with my Vans and my work flats. As a friend of mine always says, mess.  Not that this stopped me of course, cause i’m me and everything, but I thoroughly ruined my Vans on the icy and muddies trails of Bryce Canyon and scuffled up my flats at Zion. I finally remember I had packed a pair of Nike’s as we were leaving for Monument Valley though, but considering I still forgot to change into them till we were about 10 miles into the 17 mile loop, it doesn’t count for much.

– I don’t think I mentioned this in any post before, but people in general seemed particularly interested in gawking at my Jeep Renegade as if they’d never seen one before (I mean, this is a possibility as it just came out last year but still). It was both flattering and weird and the one time we saw another one on the road, me and the driver exchanged really crazy happy smiles even while passing each other at 75 mph and wherever you are lone Jeep Renegade driver, we are now bonded for life.

The last leg of the trip was Zion–> Monument Valley–> Santa Fe and then headed home. I covered my ecstatically wonderful experience at Monument Valley in my last post. We were supposed to hit the Four Corners Monument right afterwards but we missed visiting hours by about half an hour and so that has a huge bummer, for the bf more so than myself, but i’ve vowed to make sure we visit it one day even if it means I drive us out there like a speeding loon just to stand in 4 places at once for like 5 minuets before we have to head back home.

And so, this is the part where I have to get realistic with you, oh reader of mine. Just like my last big trip that ended in Boston ,by this last leg of the trip, I was a little worn out. There’s only so many days I can go at 110% with cheerful energy and over the top spontaneity before I need a little bit of a break. And so, after arriving in Santa Fe after a night filled with me driving through what felt like ALL of the Safety Zones the state had to offer (this is a stretch of road that has apparently been designated as an area where people need to crawl instead of actually drive and I cursed up the bluest of streaks that kept making the bf kindly offer to take over the driving for me- which of course I refused because I am one stubborn son of a gun), I needed a little bit of a break. This was actually our second time in Santa Fe, so thankfully we were both ok with just taking it easy this time around. I put makeup on for the first time on the trip, dressed in something other than dirty ripped jeans and a t-shirt and we headed out to do a bit of shopping (souvenir and jewelry for me, t-shirts/hoodies for him).

Highlights of this part of the trip included:

– Arriving at the hotel the bf had picked out, Fort Marcy, and finding out we had been upgraded to a two story condo suite with literally the best interior design i’ve seen outside of a magazine. The service here was fantastic and apparently the happy review I left for it on trip advisor has garnered an usually high number of likes, so yes- I recommend you stay here if you’d like somewhere not too crazy expensive that is still well appointed and near to the city center with lovely and helpful front desk people.

–  A fantastically wonderful woman at one of the shops who spent a good 45 or so minutes helping me pick out some lovely pieces to take home with me (lets not mention the stupid amount of $$ I spent here, let me keep my dignity) and told me she loved Texans because, “They’ve got big hair, big hearts and big wallets” – so effing true my dear. She forgot to ring up a shot glass I had picked out for a co-worker and came rushing out of the store after I had checked out and was leaving to furtively shove it in my hand and wish me a great day.

– Eating at the Blue Corn Cafe just like we had done at our first time here and the food was still so finger lickin’ good. Go if you’re ever there, please please please, your taste buds will thank you.

– Curling up with the bf to eat amazing mouth watering Chinese take out from Lu Lu’s on the couch in the downstairs part of the condo and watching episodes of Discovery channels Gold Rush and Deadliest Catch as we are always wont to do at some point during a roadtrip. A universal constant if you will.

We woke up relatively early the next day and headed home, tummies full of coffee and gas station donuts and ready to say goodbye to our life on the road, at least for now. He drove us halfway home at reasonable speeds while I scribbled my thoughts down in my journal in the passenger seat, and then I took over the wheel and broke every single speeding limit in two states while he listened to my rants on the impossibilities of fantasy economics and playlists inspired by the betrayal of Julius Caesar played on the car stereo. It was perfection and while I was sad to be home again and facing the idea of a piled up mess at work, all good things must end and anyways, I needed to get back home to start saving up more $$ for the next trip.


And All The Gods and All the Cowboys- Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Utah-Arizona

Monument Valley In March
Driving through Monument Valley
Thunderbird Mesa, Monument Valley
Buttes and Spires in Monument Valley, Utah
Monument Valley, Utah

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Monument Valley, Navajo Tribal Park, Utah

Driving out of Utah back into Arizona and then slightly back up into Utah on a road that was at times deserted and at times piled up with 7 cars in a rows staggered behind a slow trailer-truck, thats how we got here. But i’ll go more in depth with all these and the teeth clattering experience that was driving around the 17 mile dirt road loop in another post (the one i’ve been leaving till last because it’s the one that actually requires me to sit down and really dig deep with all the travel notes and tips, the one that requires me to surround myself with maps and receipts, and i’ll get there I promise) .

This post is just my ode of sorts to the way the red earth felt so alive everywhere you looked, like you could taste it behind your teeth if you stared out at the expanses for long enough. This post is about the feeling of wanting to yell out into the wind whipping across the flat lands and around the giant sandstone buttes rising hundreds of feet up into the swirling blue sky, but how I didn’t because being respectful of land that is not our own is a rather important part of visiting here.

I can honestly say being here was exactly what I had anticipated it would be like when I got it into my head head I needed to visit, though a big part of me kept asking myself “is this truly real?”   in a sort of hushed whisper because it was so hard for my brain to really comprehend that something so vast and majestic like this area actually existed outside of movie scenes, that the land stretching out-out-out and rising up in buttes and spires and mesas was not some CGI fevered dream.And I really do think that I could watch the light and skies change here for days and still not get the photo that would really do the monuments justice.


A Sunset Goodbye- Zion Natl. Park, Utah

sunset at Zion National Park, Utah, March

Dusk at Zion National Park

Sunset most anywhere is decently magical, there’s just that something about watching the flaming orb in the sky descend downwards streaking colors of change in its wake that is easy to be enthralled by no matter where you happen to be. Truth be told though, not all sunsets are made the same and while I had wanted to capture something magnificent for my last night in Zion, that just wasn’t to be the case. The previous evening had found me almost drowning in colors over the empty expanse of Hwy 12 though, so I couldn’t complain much that is one just wasn’t up to the same level. We picked a spot about 5 minutes from the South entrance to the park (the one that rolls you right out onto the quirky town of Springdale) and just parked the Jeep by the side of the road in a pull off and sat leaning against the hood while the sun headed down down down. We stayed until it was well and truly dusk and the deers had started to come out, wandering across one side of the road to the other, barely even noticing us. We packed it up when our eyes started to strain and there was something… very bittersweet about it all that I tried not to dwell on, this feeling that I would never get that moment back even if did this all again exactly the same.

We headed back to our room at the Bumbleberry Inn to tuck in early for the drive out towards Santa Fe and most importantly, Monument Valley the next morning.


P.S  apologies for the lag in post times for anyone that was waiting for them, work has begun encroaching onto more of my time than I had expected- but I’m still here and will be posting as regularly as I can, while also planning more adventures to come in the next few weeks (a very prematurely planned roadtrip out to the Colorado Sand Dunes is in the works for anyone really curious) .