Tag Archives: road trip

HEADED WEST

I have a feeling this summer is going to be the summer of road trips. I just returned from two back-to-back weekend road trips, and it’s surprising how inexpensive and accessible these kinds of trips can be. The first weekend was spent driving west with my sister from Colorado to California, and the second was heading south with a couple of girlfriends from Colorado to New Mexico. As long as you have good company, a full tank of gas, a backseat filled with snacks, a trendy/affordable Airbnb, and a wish list of places to see, it’ll be a successful roadie adventure. Here are my go-to recommendations if you happen to road trip this summer!

NEVADA
In N’ Out Burger
Old-fashioned burgers, french fries, and milkshakes. You can think of it as “fast food”, but the quality is everything the opposite of typical fast-food. A must if you need a bite on the road, or if you’ve simply never had In N’ Out before! You’ll thank me.
Seven Magic Mountains
Just imagine Candy Land in the middle of the desert. Just off of Highway 15, south of Las Vegas is Ugo Rondinone’s art installation of seven towers of colorful, stacked boulders each scaling over 30 feet high. A beautiful burst of color after spending hours in the car. It’ll be worth the pullover.

CALIFORNIA
Balboa Island, Newport, CA
Tucked in the harbor of Newport Beach is the tiny community called Balboa Island. We spent the morning walking around the farmer’s market, exploring the quaint shops and restaurants, and watching the surfers from the pier. There is also a boardwalk and a ferry on the island which is more of a peninsula. It was a nice hidden gem away from the hustle & bustle of California weekenders.
Tabu Shabu, Costa Mesa, CA
O-M-G. Forget sushi and ramen and sashimi. Tabu Shabu is the new way to explore traditional Japanese cuisine. This style of fondue or “hot pot” allows you to cook thinly sliced meat and vegetables in your own pot of boiling broth (usually tonkatsu or miso), dipping into homemade ponzu and goma sauces, and accompanied by rice, ramen, or udon noodles. I have always loved Japanese cuisine, but I became quickly obsessed with shabu shabu! So much so, that I begged my sister and brother-in-law to go twice in the same weekend that I visited them. 2 times in 3 days. And I savored every frickin’ bite!
The Crack Shack, Costa Mesa, CA
If you like Chick Fil A, (or chicken sandwich in general), you’ll go nuts over The Crack Shack! Simply one of the tastiest chicken sandwiches and french fries I’ve had in years. I recommend The Firebird and Schmaltz fries. Great weekend treat for a casual lunch or dinner.
Fashion Island, Newport, CA
Explore Orange County’s premier shopping center at Fashion Island. My sister lives down the street from it and it was an endless promenade of shops and restaurants. Not to mention the largest Anthropologie I’ve ever been in! (I actually managed to get lost inside) It’s a great way to spend the afternoon if you need some retail therapy or quick eats.

NEW MEXICO
The Plaza, Santa Fe, NM
The Plaza is the heart of Santa Fe with its rich history, beautiful churches, authentic restaurants, and endless art galleries/jewelers. The soul of New Mexico is portrayed everywhere with beautiful turquoise jewelry, vibrant art, rich food, stucco/adobe inspired buildings, and cultured people. I couldn’t get enough of the squash-blossom necklaces, long horn skull heads, chili-infused cuisine, and colorful pottery.
Kakawa Chocolate House, Santa Fe, NM
Sadly I didn’t have the chance to visit Kakawa Chocolate House, but I can’t tell you how many blogs/websites mentioned this place when I was researching places to visit in Santa Fe. So it must be good. From what I gather, Kakawa specializes in handmade chocolates, chile chocolates, chocolate drinks, and chocolate elixirs. I heard it’s the perfect afternoon treat. And a sweet reason for me to go back to Santa Fe one day.
Paloma, Santa Fe, NM
Hands down, Paloma was the best dining experience we had during our weekend in New Mexico. This stunning kitchen & bar is intimate, vibrant, and offers an incredible menu. Mexican-inspired with an exotic twist. The staff is extremely welcoming and friendly, the service was flawless, and the food was simply outstanding. A beautiful representation of Santa Fe cuisine with a lovely atmosphere. Highly recommend for a great meal!
Meow Wolf, Santa Fe, NM
I don’t even know how to begin to describe Meow Wolf. In short, Santa Fe is not really known for it’s night-life, so the young and eager go to Meow Wolf for entertainment. A venue filled with unique and mind-blowing art installations that will push your mind beyond reality. Someone best described it as “part haunted house, part fun house, part acid trip”. I felt like I was in a 2-hour episode of Stranger Things. If you are ever in Santa Fe, you MUST go. It’s a beautifully overwhelming and fascinating experience.

Have fun road-tripping this summer! xx

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big red

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I added another pin to my world map of places that I’ve traveled to. This pin was for Moab, Utah.

It took me years to see Moab. Literally. My traditional group of camping friends have gone every year for the past 3-4 years during Memorial Day Weekend, and I’ve missed past trips due to prior commitments. But not this year! My man and I packed up Millie [my new car] for the weekend and took the 7 hour road-trip to Utah!

Moab was exactly how I’d pictured it. I stalked endless photos on Pinterest and Tumblr to get some photography inspiration of where we might be camping, but in typical fashion, my tribe of friends found a secluded spot in the middle of NOWHERE. Moab is pretty spread out, so I figured we wouldn’t have to go far. Sounds easy, right? Not so. The spot we were headed to was no easy trek [ie: rugged dirt road, climbing over rocks, white knuckle driving, and you better have good tires and a bad-ass car] But when we arrived, we had the best red landscape scenery for the entire weekend. In my head, I named Moab “Big Red”.

We spent 3 days in the hot sun covered in red dust, but they were well spent. Lots of ATV exploring, rock climbing, sunset watching, cave finding, fire cooking, drinking games, and potato-launching. [we didn’t make Smore’s though… I’m kind of kicking myself, because they made these square-shaped marshmallows specifically for Smore’s and I didn’t use them! Fail.]

There is something very special about Moab though. If you haven’t had a chance to visit, be sure to add it to yo’ bucket list!

xx

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midwest diaries

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It’s crazy how much can be crammed into four days with no agenda. That’s how I like to do things. I plan for a living, so there’s no way that I want to incorporate that into my persona life, you know? I need to keep work separate. This past weekend was spent road tripping through the Midwest with one of my favorite adventure buddies as she moved her life back to Colorado. Here were the main highlights from the weekend:

The Henjum Farm
I am still kicking myself for not taking ANY photos of the farm. This was my first stop when I arrived in Minnesota [actually it was the Lululemon Outlet but we’re going to skip that part because I don’t want to talk about how much money I spent]. The farm has been in her family for over three generations and most of it has remained the same. The house is still as it was. There is an old barn, and a new barn, which houses over 1,000 pigs! We went 4-wheeling around the farm, fed the pigs, played bocce ball in the yard, had an evening BBQ, and spent every minute outside. It was a true “country” experience.

The Badlands
I have heard of the Badlands before. Seeing it up close was quite exhilarating. Walking on ground that has been around for centuries and seeing endless miles of aged rock formations. This was probably my favorite stop on the trip, minus the farm. The rocks were beautifully layered with colored stones, all cemented together into jagged towers. It’s too hard to describe in detail. You’ll just have to go see it.

Wall Drug
I should have counted the number of billboards we saw along the highway for Wall Drug. If I had to take a wild guess, I’d say 62. Maybe. Wall Drug is probably the most popular tourist attraction in South Dakota. It used to be a small general store in 1931 and has now grown into a village of restaurants, shops, and cafes. Sadly, I didn’t capture too many photos of Wall Drug either. I was quite overwhelmed by homemade donuts, Hot Beef Sandwiches, and more Native American memorabilia than I’ve ever seen in my life. Camera had to stay put for me to take it all in.

Mount Rushmore
I actually visited Mount Rushmore when I was younger. For some reason I remember the faces being much smaller. Maybe you weren’t able to get as close back then. My friend and I stared at the faced-carved mountain for a while, wondering if there was another President’s face between Roosevelt and Lincoln. Apparently there wasn’t.

Wyoming
There was absolutely NOTHING while we drove through Wyoming. We actually passed through a very small town that had a population of 4 people. After that, everything else was open country. I think that was another one of my favorite parts of the road trip. Being surrounded by nothing gives you time to simply be. My friend and I pigged out on gas station snacks, scream/sang to our favorite songs, and had deep conversation about life, thoughts, ideas, and future travels.

Just a little glimpse into my Midwest diary.

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craving the road

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[photos via Pinterest + Tumblr]

I drive a lot. I drive to work every day, I drive home from work every day. Sometimes I run errands during work, and I definitely drive on the weekends. And if I’m upset about something, I drive to calm myself down. I actually explained to a friend today that driving is a form of meditation for me. Unless I’m sitting in traffic or in a rush to be somewhere, I am quite fond of being behind the wheel. It’s calming. It’s mindless. Sometimes I find myself zoning out and then minutes later wondering how I managed to still drive functionally. Does that happen to anyone else? No? Just me then?

I’ll be going on a Mid West road trip soon. Memorial Day weekend to be exact. I’ll be retrieving a friend and driving back with her to Colorado. I could never say no to a road trip. We’re going to ‘wing it’ all weekend and just take our time driving through the country. However, I do have a few must-do’s: find a famous diner, see Mt. Rushmore, longboard down an empty highway, camp in the forest, take lots of photos, watch the sunrise, lodge in a B+B, hike up a mountain, etc. There is so much to do when you have a car and a friend and no agenda. It will be miles of good company, good conversation, and great exploring.

Until then, I’ll just be sitting here craving the road.

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the getaway

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I love getaways. Especially spontaneous ones. The ones that happen out of nowhere, and you just go with it. You forget everything else that you sort of had planned and you trade it for the unknown. This past weekend my man and I took a spur-of-the-moment trip to Crested Butte. We threw some clothes into a bag, grabbed our longboards, and headed West. And the other great thing about getaways – road trips! I love ’em. Roaming across the state, driving with the windows down, and listening to music with nothing but the open road ahead of you. Simple pleasures I suppose.

I regret that I didn’t take too many photos on this trip. I’ll admit, I was incredibly lazy. Being in a small, quiet mountain town during the summer is quite relaxing. We stayed at a cozy hotel on the slope-side and strolled through town. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to live in a small mountain town all year around. It’s so quaint! There are so many hole-in-the-wall restaurants, mom-and-pop shops, and everyone probably knows everyone’s business. I wonder if the locals could tell that we were just “city folk”. Hah.

Anyway, it was a wonderful weekend. We spent the night drinking wine, eating at some amazing local restaurants, walking around the Farmer’s market, and lazing around the hotel. It was nice to forgot about our city lives for a while. A much needed getaway in Crested Butte.

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