ROAD TRIPS + USA + BEYOND
Las Vegas - Zion - Bryce - Antelope Canyon - Grand Canyon - Flagstaff - Sedona
Nothing quite opens the soul and frees the weary like a road trip into the nation’s most beautiful arid landscapes. Jumping deep into the paved highways and byways that interconnect us while allowing us to escape the mayhem of cities.
Of course I speckled this with a car stop along the way. I can’t help myself. Check out my visit to Carroll Shelby’s Museum outside of the Las Vegas Airport HERE! See stop number 7 below!
If you plan to visit more than one National Park within a year, do youself the favor and purchase a year pass. You’ll make up the money within two visits ($25+ per park), plus you have an incentive/push to visit more parks, AND you’ll enjoy having a pimp little card with a wonderful photo of a national park in your wallet.
I debated just how long I would spend in this over stimulating city, as I’ve partook in Las Vegas excessive many a time for work and play, so I figured I would pop in for the night and head to Zion morning. Just enough time to annihilate an In-N-Out burger, shove myself into a very small blue dress, make friends, double their money, and enjoy four hours asleep before setting on the road. A perfect night in Vegas if you ask me!
On prior trips I’ve been sure to stop into Frankie’s Tiki Room, the ‘Boneyard’ at the Neon Museum, Cosmopolitan Vegas, the travelling art exhibit at the Bellagio, and OF COURSE, the Penn and Teller Show at the Rio.
Yes, certainly I was operating on limited sleep and an evening prior’s over-abundance of sauvignon blanc, BUT I more than pull through a slight hangover when it involves travels- especially in nation parks!
A MUST do hike in Zion is the Narrows Trail, which is a scenic trail that traverses through water, swift moving currents, and slippery rock. Considering that peril, one should plan accordingly with appropriate shoes (they will get wet!), walking stick to sturdy yourself in the currents, wide brimmed hat to avoid sun burn, and a good attitude. With the fast moving current of the Narrows Trail and the slippery rocks underfoot, an accidental baptism into the cool water will wake you up real fast. #byehangover
GOOD STOPS: Zion National Park lodge,
Some of the more wildly bizarre look landscape our nation has to offer, many vantage points of the canyon that allows the visitor to simply mold into time with the surroudning. You simply get lost looking at this wildness of nature. You’ll love it.
Bryce Canyon boast’s the largest number of hoodoos, which are fascinatingly weird rock columns, in the world and it’s right in our nation’s backyard. Pick any loop for a day hike and then be sure to plant yourself on one of the vistas for the evening’s spectacular sunset show.
It’s an unreal sight, striations of red, yellow, and orange file up your periphery towards the small cracks of sunlight that slip through the canyon’s openings. It’s a step into a different climate zone too, from the hot and steamy exterior desert, through the entrance of Antelope Canyon, immediately engulfed by a soft coolness with a light breeze jumping from rock wall to rock wall.
You won’t want to miss this stop, PLUS it’s a nice midway point between Bryce National Canyon and Flagstaff. Road trips are where the stops are. For instagram crazed folks this is an ideal spot, you can’t NOT take a fantastic, National Geographic quality photo here. The canyon is located on a native american reservation and the folks that run it are quite pleasant.
Check out The Bad Blonde travel post covering Antelope Canyon HERE.
I had decided on Flagstaff as my comfortable base camp for day hikes within the Grand Canyon’s east rim, an obvious choice with wide range of available breweries and one of my favorite haunted hotel bars. I’d been to Flagstaff a time or tow before, and I was eager to wander the quaint and charming streets yet again.
The Hotel Monte Vista’s cocktail bar was my first stop after checking into the Grand Canyon Hostel, my dirty martini barely staying within the glass with my hands tired from hours of driving, within minutes and a few sips, I note that a young patron is intensively studying a large road map spread across the wooden bar. I love maps. Of course a conversation was iniated, a photography professional he was making his way through the USA while getting paid for Uber and snapping a few photographs of locals for a exhibition of America. You’ll find Flagstaff is quite friendly, whether it be visitors or locals.
Whether an extreme hike down the South Kaibab Trail of the Grand Canyon or just lounging in the afternoon sun at one of the many vista points, the Grand Canyon is the experience of a lifetime. It’s beauty and grandeur is expansive, one can simply get lost staring into the various striations of the landscape.
I hiked down the Grand Canyon’s South Kaibab Trail, passing the glorious vantage of Ooh Ahh Point, and continuing till I decided returning might be less of an option. If you plan to adventure to the base, it is extremely recommended that it be a two day hike. I was deliberately without camping equipment, a two day hike was not an option, and I did not want to get stuck down there without an option. Before hiking always be sure to check the website of the park and or check for desirable hikes at AllTrails.com.
Whether it be from the sun or the red clay dirt of Arizona, your skin starts to the match the tawny colors of the canyon landscape. After a lovely yet strenuous hike, I was more than eager to treat myself to a hot shower at my hostel and an cold IPA.
7. Carroll Shelby Museum - Nevada
One of American’s most unique and successful entrepreneurs in the sports car and racing world, Carroll Shelby. A chicken farmer from Texas turned race car driver and winner, who created one a world class sports car. I was OHH SOO eager to make a pit stop at the Carroll Shelby Museum and it happened to be quite conveniently located by the Las Vegas airport. I was able to pop in before my flight back to Texas. Dependent on how avid a museum placard reader you are, the museum can take you anywhere from 1-2 hours for a visit, plus take on a little extra time for the gift shop. They had some legitimately cool Cobra shirts, and on sale too!
Carroll Shelby’s unique story captures the minds and hopes of all car builders, enthusiasts, and race car drivers. Starting off as a chicken farmer, Shelby always wanted to pursue a life of racing and would finally do so with zeal after the collapse of his chicken farm. Shelby would prove himself a winning driver and a keen mind for car building. After a heart condition took him off the racetrack, Shelby would go on to create of of the most aggressive yet romantic automobiles ever, the famed AC Cobra. Using the British good looks of a AC Cars ltd body, and putting the reliability and power of a Ford V8, it was no shocker that the end result was pure automotive magic. A car that made a sensation in the world of motor-sports and enthusiasts.
BIG thank you to Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card!
I used my Chase Sapphire card to on my rental car and which I was able to decline the costly insurance through the rental car company. I then had the unexpected experience of having to use the Chase Sapphire credit card insurance after my rental car was sideswiped in the night, knocking off the side-view mirror but no other damage.
As simple as pie, all I had to do was make send over my rental agreement to Chase Credit Card and they handled the rest. I was so pleased I didn’t have to worry or fight with the rental car company about extra charges for repair. Such a convenience and perk!
The Bad Blonde aka Caitlin Shook has grown up in the mechanic shop world. Shook Enterprises is a south Texas automotive repair shop that focuses on the antique, classic, rare, awesome, and sometimes just plain hard to fix vehicles.
An avid fan of travel and adventure, she’s popped into every car MUSEUM and car SHOW + AUCTION she can along the way.