Friday, July 22, 2011

Cross Country Road Trip Adventure!

One month ago today, I completed my cross country road trip to California. So, today I have decided to give you an overview of our little adventure! :) For those of you that don't know, I am doing a 12-week internship in California this summer...and not the "cool" part of California, by the beach or the giant redwood trees...smack in the middle of the desert. The town I'm living in is about an hour and a half from another town in any direction. It's a good time. The Wal-Mart, not even a Supercenter. And there are zero clothing stores. Lucky for me (and my pocketbook), I really don't enjoy that's not really a big loss. However, in the event that I need to buy something, like for a bachelorette party, or a bridesmaids dress for a friend's wedding...the nearest shopping is an hour and about 45 minutes away. I've become a fan of online shopping...but, I'll save that for another post :)

Anyways, I digress...

It all began Friday, June 17th. I packed up a huge, completely loaded suitcase, a small ice chest, a few personal items and my two Pitbulls in the Silver Bullet (my car...and little 5-speed 7-year-old Mitsubishi Eclipse) and left my cute little home and roommates in God's Country (Arkansas, in case you're not aware) to start my trek towards California. First stop: Oklahoma. The weekend started off with a bang, and we went to Grand Lake to celebrate my sister's birthday for the weekend. We had some good food, good drinks, and spent the entire day Saturday on the water, complete with a dance party on the back of the boat. Yes, please :)
My sisters, my brother-in-law and me riding on the boat :)
Sunday morning we got up, Cassie made breakfast, and I loaded up my stuff once again and drove to Lake Hudson to spend the day with my friend Audrey and a group of friends. Hudson Lake has a much different dynamic than is more "family oriented," while Grand is the party lake :) So we spent the day taking turns doing some wakeboarding and wakesurfing...neither of which am I very good at, but it's still fun to try :)
Please disregard the horrible look on my face. I promise I was having a good time :)
From there, I went back to my hometown and celebrated Father's Day with the whole fam - grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, mom and sisters - complete with homemade ice cream, of course :) My aunt Kathy even made my favorite kind, strawberry, since I was going away for 3 sweet is she? :) After that, I went over to my sister's and stayed the night with her and the kiddos to get a good night's rest before my first big day of travel.

Got up early Monday morning, loaded my things and my pups in my car, and got on the road. About 10 minutes down the turnpike, I remembered I forgot a really important thing before I I had to turn around and go back! I had taken a concealed carry class about a month before I left home, and I had to apply for my Concealed Carry License while I was in my hometown. Fingerprints, a couple of passport photos and a small fortune later, and soon I will be licensed to carry my very own firearm :) So after my little detour, I loaded up the dogs one more time and got on the road a little after 2pm :)

After Pikepass deducted a decent chunk of money from my bank account, we (me and the puppies) made it 6 hours on our first day of driving to Amarillo, where we stayed the night in a hotel. The dogs were troopers and did great in the when I got into town, I met up with an old friend that lives in Amarillo and we went to a dog park a few miles from the hotel. I was a little nervous about the overwhelming number of canines inside the fence at the dog park, so we ended up just walking the dogs all around the sports complex that the park was in on leashes the dogs nice and worn out, which was awesome, because I went back to the hotel and was able to pretty much crash :)

Tuesday morning, we got up pretty early and hit the road again. I am a fan of making a trip out of a road trip, and trying to do something unique or fun along the way :) So on our way out of Amarillo, we stopped at the Cadillac Ranch. It amazes me that people can shove a few cars in the ground in the middle of a giant dirt pasture, and with a little bit of spray paint, it turns into a big tourist attraction. Only in Texas :)

Cadillac Ranch - Amarillo, TX
By the time I got back to my car, Koda decided he wanted to drive :)
I didn't let him :) We hit the road and headed west, and drove until we got to Albuquerque, which I think was about 5-6 hours...really, I lost count. haha. I managed to find a huge park right off the freeway and stopped for a bit. I had packed up some lunch meat and tortilla wraps in my ice chest, so I made lunch in the parking lot of a the way, BEST idea for road trips I think I've ever had: packing your own lunch so you don't have to eat fast food for every meal! Then I realized this giant park had a dog park in it...and it was completely empty! I let the dogs out of the car and let them run around for at least half an hour...they were loving life :)

We finally got back on the road after taking about an hour break in Albuquerque, and headed to Flagstaff, where we stayed the night at a hotel again. We got up Wednesday morning and, again, headed out pretty early. We finally got to the point that there was no longer ANY grassy patches when we stopped, and my little prince and princess were a bit confused as to where they were supposed to go to the bathroom. They didn't exactly make good desert dogs...haha :) We had plenty of time to kill on the last leg of our trip, because I didn't want to get to my new town too early before my roommate could get off work to let us in the house. So we took a little detour, and I was sure glad we did :)

When I was planning my trip to California a few months back, I picked Flagstaff for a stop because I really wanted to go see the Grand Canyon. But once I was there, and the Grand Canyon was only about an hour and a half away, I really just decided that it was something I would rather wait to do until my soldier could join me. Instead, we decided to stop at the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest! It's something I'd also like to take future hubby to next year when we come back to California, but it was a good choice for me and the dogs too :) If you've never been, it is a National Park in Arizona, and it is super neat! On top of that, it was FREE to go, AND very dog friendly :) Me and the pups spent about an hour going through the entire park and stopping once in a while to take walks on the paths and take pictures of the pretty scenery.
Painted Desert
More Painted Desert :)
Puppies getting tired and worn out on all the scenic paths :)
Some petrified wood :)

We had a good time, and then got back on the road. My favorite part after that:
Sleepy puppies :)
How precious are they? They slept for pretty much the entire approximately 24 hours of driving total. I may be a little biased, but I'm pretty sure I have the best dogs ever :)

Over 1500 miles, with no cruise control I might add, we made it safe and sound to our new little desert town. So far, it's been a pretty decent experience. I don't really mind the whole "small town" thing, being that I grew up in one, and I'm not really much of a city girl anyhow. It is definitely a learning experience and bit of adjusting. It's only 12 weeks for now, but once I finish my PhD, I get to come back for 2-3 years. I think it is a place I can grow to call home...especially when my soldier is here with me...anything can qualify as home, so long as we are together :)

1 comment:

  1. sounds like an awesome trip. Some day I hope to go back to the painted desert and petrified forest so I can legitly remember them lol. And you and walter will love the grand canyon when you go.
    But personally, kinda can't wait til had back this direction :D