Cross Country Road Trip!

It’s finally here – the Cross Country Road Trip blog!

It took us eight days and 3,356.o miles to get from Philadelphia to Los Angeles – and it was worth every hour of the drive.

Nick and I packed up the car and left on Wednesday May 11th (after several re-packs – I was not able to cram as much as hoped into my little Mazda 3…but we certainly managed to get a lot in there!)

Our first few days of driving were mainly just that – driving. We stayed the first night in Columbus, Ohio, and made our way through Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri on Thursday. During that time we found Lincoln’s Log Cabin in Illinois! It was a bit off the beaten path – literally – we drove on a lot of dirt roads to get there, but it was a pretty neat find.

After the Log Cabin we made our way through Missouri and stopped in Saint Louis to see the Arch – it looked beautiful in the city’s night skyline!

We stayed in Springfield, Missouri and made our way through Joplin and on to Oklahoma and Texas the next day.  I am so grateful that we left for our trip when we did – hearing about all of the devastation in many of the towns we passed through I am just…grateful. Two people in a little car would certainly have not been a match for a tornado. Thoughts and prayers to everyone struggling to recuperate from the storms.

On Saturday the 14th we woke up in Amarillo, Texas and made our way out to the Cadillac Ranch. We were unaware that the tradition is to bring a can of spray paint and tag the cars – so after taking photos for another couple with their creation, they gave us what was left of their cans and we went to town! Well, I wrote a very lame looking “M+N” and then Nick proceeded to write “” on the roof of one of the Cadillacs. After that he realized that there were just enough cars to spell out my name – so each car’s side got a letter…and then he realized that there were enough cars for HIS name too…so if you walked 360 around the cars, the spelled out N-I-C-K #-$-^-%-@-* <3’s M-A-R-Y S-C-H-O-L-Z

🙂 So much fun.

Once Nick’s hands were sufficiently painted silver we made our way to Old Town Albuquerque for lunch, then Santa Fe for dinner. I made sure to blast one of my favorite songs over the stereo as we made our way with Santa Fe in the distance.

“When I dream on my own, I’m alone, but I ain’t lonely. For a dreamer night’s the only time of day. When the city’s finally sleeping and my thoughts begin to stray, then I’m on the train that’s bound for Santa Fe. And I’m free, like the wind, like I’m gunna live forever. It’s a feeling time can never take away. All I need’s a few more dollars, then I’m out of here to stay. Dreams come true, yes they do, in Santa Fe…” (If you haven’t seen the movie “the Newsies”…you should. If you love Disney or Christian Bale…)

We spent Sunday walking around Santa Fe and then made our way into Arizona and through the Petrified National Forest. It was one of our “what’s that off in the distance?” finds. We had under an  hour to drive through the 28 miles of Painted Desert – so we didn’t get to see everything – but what we DID see was BEAUTIFUL.

The next morning we woke up in Flagstaff and made our way to the Grand Canyon for the day. We stopped along the way to see the little canyon (the name I can’t recall) which was a crazy sight to us. Until we got to GC. It is not only incredibly beautiful and humbling – but incredibly terrifying! You can walk right up to the edge to take photos – which we did – but on a day like the 16th of May, when the winds are near 40 miles per hour…you start to feel a little sick being that near a drop off. We survived, of course. Even went on a little hike, but obeyed the signs that warned against going too far as the walk back up takes 3 times as long.

Flagstaff was the only town we spent two nights in. We were so exhausted from the wind and walking and driving – I was so happy when we pulled out of the Grand Canyon National Park to see a big ole’ western theamed steak house – we didn’t have to go far for dinner.

Tuesday we got up and drove about 30 miles back east to see the Meteor Crater. It was on our list for Sunday but we got distracted by the Petrified Forest 🙂

After seeing that giant hole in the ground, with even more wind, we headed to the Hoover Dam (awesome), then on to Las Vegas! We were afraid we wouldn’t make it to the Hoover Dam before sunset, but we pulled off the road anyway when we got to a “scenic overlook.” OH GOOD LORD – it was BEAUTIFUL. It was like looking at the live action version of the scenery in “The Land Before Time.” And “Jurrasic Park.” Nick and I kept seeing Jurrasic Park all over our trip.

These photos don’t even do it justice.

(Note the towers at the Hoover Dam – all I could think of was “The Wizard of Oz”….”half you go this way, half you go that way!”

We hadn’t given Vegas much thought as it was towards the end of the trip and we were so caught up with just getting out west that when we pulled in to the big bright city (at night, which was fun) we almost didn’t know what to do! We decided it was our night to splurge on a hotel…and we checked in to the Venetian! It was BEAUTIFUL. Extra fun since we spent part of our honeymoon in Venice itself.

The perk to traveling with your whole wardrobe is that when you make a last minute stop at a really nice place you can pull a dress and a pair of heels out of your trunk – which is exactly what I did!

The next day we walked around town and saw the fountain show at The Bellagio (am I the only one who cried at that? Maybe it was the emotional music or the well timed water dance or the big life change I was making…but it reminded me of how much beauty and art in such different forms there is in the world. But seriously, if you’ve cried watching it, please let me know.)

We had a hard time leaving Vegas – partly because it was a beautiful day, partly because it was almost the end of the trip, and partly because we just didn’t want to be in the car again! But we eventually got back on the highway and made it to our final destination…Los Angeles!

We had SUCH an amazing time on our adventure and although we were EXHAUSTED, we were sad to see it end. I was even more sad to see Nick fly back to Philadelphia for a while.

But I have arrived, Los Angeles, and I am ready for the next adventure!

(Special Thanks to Jim for the use of your amazing camera!)