Giant Van Gogh Paintings, Gas Station Dinosaurs and Texan Wreckers- American Southwest Roadtrip Outakes

Fablesandcoffee Roadtrip SW 2016 Collage

I’ve already written buckets and buckets about this trip (as you can see below) but I didn’t really get into the logistic of the actual road trip itself, the misadventures found on the road and all the little side trips. I’m definetly one of those people that believes the journey is just as important as the destination, and with roadtrips that couldn’t be more true. If you don’t genuinely enjoy being out on the road, then whats the point, no? Generally we’ve had really good luck when it comes to the trips we’ve taken, no flat tires to speak of and no running out of gas while on some sketchy highway at night. And honestly, considering the horror stories i’ve heard, we’re still pretty much in the goodbooks of whatever gods or saints watch over the USA highways.

For better or worse though, the defining feature of this roadtrip was, detours.

We left Texas late at night to drive up north through Kansas before turning west towards Colorado, and the only reason we did that is because I really wanted to stop by Goodland, KS. And why you might ask, did I want to do that?  Mainly because the first roadtrip we ever took together (and my first roadtrip period) we passed by Goodland and I saw the oddest thing rising up towards the sky above the seemingly endless rolling hills. A giant….painting? Yup, a giant reproduction of Three Sunflowers in A Vase. Its magnificent, larger than life and utterly unexpected, definetly worth a detour if you’re just this side of nutty like me.

Goodland, KS van Gogh Painting

The drive through Colorado towards Utah was…difficult, to say the least, until me and the bf got our second (or third at this point) wind and made a quick detour into Grand Junction to get tacos at Qdoba because i’d seen so many billboards for this eatery we just had to try them. They tacos were excellent and after being on the road for what felt like days (13 hours at that point) it was the perfect thing to keep us going to our final destination, Green River, UT.

After leaving Utah and it’s beautiful parks behind, we headed towards Las Vegas. Technically we were headed towards our next hotel in Pahrump, NV but neither one of us had ever been to Las Vegas before and we figured we would stop by and take a gander. This plan was shot to hell when I decided the best thing to do, as we were passing nearish Zion National Park, would of course be to detour to Springdale for Pizza. Specifially at the Zion Pizza and Noodle Co. The pizza had been amazing the first time we had visted, back in March and it was VERY much worth the almost 2+ hour of a detour we took to enjoy it again. The gas station dinosaur glimpsed before getting back on the highway was just the cherry on that sundae. Of course this meant that by the time we hit the corner of Nevada that holds the shiny glittery decadance that is Vegas, me and the bf only had the energy to make a quick trip to a local Super Target to refill our cooler with foodables and drinks, and then take a dizzying drive around the heart of the strip. I pointed out all the casino’s I could name, marvled at the glimpse I got of my favorite (Luxor) and then broke all the speedlimits to make it to the comfy bed waiting for us at Pahrump.

Fablesandcoffee Death Valley Collage

So, at this point in the trip, detours had been treating us pretty nicely, bringing with them lovely moments to add to the general roadtrip experience. Taking a detour to go check out a big sand dune just on the outskirts of Death Valley NP was to be the one detour that wasn’t so lovely. A dirt road, a setting sun and a rather distractingly large sand dune all convened to end with us slamming the Jeep rather hard into an unmarked ditch in the road. Neither one of us was hurt and after checking the car over and pulling off a couple of looses pieces from the wheel well, the car seemed relatively unharmed as well.  We made the rest of the drive from Death Valley NP to Twenty Nine Palms, just outside Joshua Tree NP where we were staying, easily enough…though the uneasy pit in my stomach would bother me well into the next day.

Fablesandcoffee CA Roadtrip photo collage Joshua Tree Sunset in October

No more detours after that last unexpected adventure, just Joshua Tree NP, Salton Sea and Salvation Mountain before making it back to the hotel to eat tasty tacos for dinner while I penned postcards to send to friends. The car seemed fine, apart from an odd little whine it would make every so often but we kept our plans to make the drive from Twentynine Palms, CA to Carlsbad, NM. It was an arduous drive, though the pitstop we made in Las Cruces right as the sun was setting was yet another surreal experience to mark down on a trip full of them.

We visted Carlsbad Caverns NP, grabbed breakfast and were on our way home that Sunday. Everything was going to plan, the road opening up smootly before us, and then. The unexpected and utterly gut wrenching, just four hours from home. The check engine light came on juuust as we were about to pass a picnic area and I pulled us into it, just as the car decided to pretty much die. Something had been punctured or had imploded was the verdict, at least judging by the oil dripping out of the bottom of the car, and we settled down to wait for the towtruck, watching the sunset over the fields and wind turbines. We got the car towed to Abilene, checked into a Holiday Inn, grabbed all of our stuff out of the car and proceeded to shower and decompress, glad that at least we hadn’t be stranded on the side of the road somewhere much further from home.

I’ve never been to Abilene before but I have to say, people in that town are incredibly nice, at least as far as we experienced. Early the next day the bf got in touch with a Budget car rental place and the super nice and understanding lady there sent her husband to come pick him up from the hotel, where we still hadn’t heard from our insurance company on where the car needed to be towed, and checkout time was creeping up on us. At this point yet another incredibly wonderful person saved the day, as the front desk clerk had us join some kind of rewards club for the hotel chain, which extended our checkout time till 1pm,saving us from having to pay for an extra night.  After that the insurance company came through, the car was towed and we loaded up the new car and headed to the mechanic that had our much abused Jeep. There we met what has to be the nicest and most down to earth mechanic in all of Texas, who calmed our fears and advised that they would probably have everything fixed by Thursday. We were super happy to hear this, but told him we wouldn’t be able to make the four hour drive back from Dallas until Saturday…at which point he advised that the shop wasn’t open on the weekends, but he had a workshop in the area that day and could stop by whenever we got there and hand over the car. Seriously, what did I say? Nicest people.

So while we didn’t plan to break the car and end up staying an extra day in Abilene, everything worked out in the best possible way and because our insurance actually covered most of the damage, even financially we ended up coming out on top somehow. I know our luck might run out one day if we keep pushing it, but thankfully this trip wasn’t it.

Masterlist of Post From This Trip For Your Perusing Pleasure:

First Teaser Post

Arches:
Delicate Arch
The Windows
Courthouse Towers
Arches, Goodbye

Canyonlands:
Cayondlands, The Needles
Canyonlands, Island In the Skye
Green River Overlook
Goodbye Utah

Death Valley:
Dante’s View
Badwater Basin
Devils Cornfield, Golfcourse and Artist Drive
Skidoo Abandoned Stamp Mill Pt.1
Skidoo Ghost Town Pt.2
Abandoned House Settlement Ghost Town of Rhyolite

Joshua Tree/Southern California:
Joshua Tree
Joshua Tree At Sunset
Salton Sea
Salvation Mountain

Carlsbad:

I love  epic roadtrips, really I do, but after this last one I definetly need a good breather before the next one.

That isn’t to say this last one wasn’t amazing, wonderful, life changing and fantastic but dear gods in heaven I went on it in October and it’s not just till now that i’ve finished editing all the photos from it. We packed in so many places in the span of less than 10 days (seriously LESS than 10 days) that i’ve honestly been wondering to myself how we managed it all without just collapsing on the side of the road in weariness after the first 4 days.

General disregard to rationality and lots and lots of coffee.

Theres a reason it’s in the title of blog after all, I don’t think I could do half the things I do if it wasn’t for a steady stream of it. So thats basically how it works, I make up the crazy plans for these trips and the bf keeps a steady head on his shoulders and pushes me to not pass up opportunities just because i’m either sleep, grumpy  and/or under caffeinated. It’s a partnership that works and keeps us both alive and happy and ready for the next adventure, whatever it might be.

~m

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