Gone West!

8 days, 6 cities, 3 states, and 1 unbelievable trip!

I got the idea for this little “road trip” after mapping out some spots out west that I wanted to see. I can’t believe we were actually able to hit them all! This did however take a lot of planning and I created an hourly itinerary beforehand that I used as a guide to make sure we were on track. Take a look into our trip day-by-day.

Day 1

We had a very early start our first day. To catch our 6:30AM flight we had to get up and going around 3AM. With the time change, we arrived in Las Vegas around 8AM with the whole day ahead of us! The first thing we did was pick our rental car (it had no idea what it was in for) and drive that puppy straight to the Welcome to Las Vegas sign. The sign is fairly close to the airport making it a good spot to visit first thing. Then we hit the local gym and although the gym isn’t usually the first thing people do on vacation, the Dragon’s Lair Gym is a ‘must visit’ for lovers of lifting. From there we grabbed lunch then checked into the MGM Grand hotel. We had to reserve a spot at the pool because of covid restrictions but while we waited there was much to do since MGM is filled with bars, stores, and a casino! After a longgg day (and a nap for Bryan) we dressed up and went out for a late dinner reservation.

Day 2

Then it was time to make our way towards the Grand Canyon! We checked out decently early despite being up so late the previous day. This is easy at the start of the trip when you’re so excited! First stop leaving Vegas was the Hoover Dam, it’s about 45 minutes outside of the city. Except… our first stop was really a scenic overlook because ya know… tourists. But once we got to the dam, walked across the Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge which is a breathtaking sight (actually breathtaking because its terrifyingly high above the water). We then drove down to the dam and did some more touristy sightseeing. We left Hoover Dam around lunch time and made our way to Mr. D’z Diner which is halfway to our AirBnb and also right on Route 66! After about 4 hours of driving (+ stopping for lunch) from the Hoover Dam we arrived at our AirBnb tent. Very different from our glamorous Vegas hotel. We got some golden hour photos and grabbed dinner at a steakhouse in town which was arguably Bryan’s favorite meal. When we got back to our tent it was dark enough that we could see the entire sky speckled with stars and I have literally never seen anything like it!!!

Day 3

Around 2AM we were woken up to a freezing tent and coyotes howling at the moon right outside. What an experience! Bryan cranked up the heater and we went to bed for a couple more hours before we were up early again to see sunrise at the Grand Canyon. Getting up early was pretty easy for us because at home it was 3 hours later than the local time. We arrived at Mather Point just before sunrise but instead of setting up right on the point, we walked up the walking trail a bit to watch sunrise without the crowd. After gawking at the view for a bit we drove into the town about 15 minutes away to grab breakfast and much needed coffee. When we were ready (post nap for me), we headed back to the Grand Canyon to hike The South Kaibab Trail to Ooh Aah Point which was very reasonably named 🙂 I’d be lying if I said I didn’t shed a tear. I’ve heard the Canyon does this to people and I’m still not sure why! We were not well prepared for this hike scaling the side of the Canyon with everyone else in hiking boots and me in converses but we managed. It really wasn’t all too difficult with a few stops for breathers and water breaks. After the hike we were headed to Sedona! We stopped in Flagstaff for a delicious sushi lunch and I’m so glad we did because the drive from Flagstaff to Sedona is THE most incredible drive. Once we settled into our little tiny house we headed into town for tacos and margs! My favorite! We finished dinner just in time to drive up to Airport Mesa about 10 minutes from the town square for a GREAT sunset view.

Day 4

Our fourth day we woke up in Sedona which is by far my favorite place that we visited. We had another early start because we had a big hike to Devil’s Bridge ahead of us and we didn’t want it to get too hot before we finished. After a great breakfast at The Coffee Pot restaurant we headed to the Dry Creek Road parking lot from which we walked up a dirt road to arrive at the head of Devil’s Bridge trail. The trail is fairly easy until you get close to the Devil’s Bridge where you have to literally climb up to it but it was all worth it to get to the bridge! Luckily were plenty of people at the bridge which helps get that photo op. Round trip the hike was about 4 miles once you include going off path every now and then. We were pretty tired when we finished up but we were off to Phoenix! We got to our AirBnb in a couple of hours, got settled in, and went out for a little shopping and dinner.

Day 5 – 6

AH finally, a day of relaxing! Day five was the one day we wouldn’t be hiking or relocating and it also happened to be Cinco de Mayo! The only plans I had were drinking some margaritas! Before our celebrations, we did a little driving around and stumbled upon Cave Creek Regional Park. This park had a bunch of trails, camp sites, and a giant lake! It was odd to see so much water when we’d been in the middle of the desert for days. Bryan even got to do a little off roading in the rental. After spending the rest of the night relaxing, we were up the following day and heading to Joshua Tree! This five hour drive was the longest during our trip and has us crossing from Arizona into California. About 5 miles from our AirBnb, we were left with nothing but dirt (sand) roads. This little house really felt like the middle of the desert! Once we got cleaned up, we drove about 20 minutes to the Joshua Tree Saloon which was a great place for dinner and drinks! Then it was time to rest up for another hiking day to follow!

Day 7 – 8

The seventh day was the last full day on our trip and we spent most of it exploring Joshua Tree State Park. There are SO many cool spots to see in this state park but the nice thing is that you can basically drive up to most of them really cutting down the amount of hiking. The map they give you at the gate is super helpful because there is no service in the park at all. Our first stop was Arch Rock. We had to walk through campsites to find the entrance to the trail which is not marked at all. There is a tiny little plaque right near the Arch but you definitely need to know what you’re looking for. We then visited the Cholla Cactus Garden and then tried to find The Hall of Horrors. Skull rock, another hot spot, was literally right on the side of the road. Our final stop before exiting the park was Keys View which is the highest point in Joshua Tree State Park. From this point, you can actually see Mexico on a clear day! After leaving the park, running over buckets of wet paint on the road, washing off said paint (the car went through a lot) we were then off to Cali! We drove hours in the desert without seeing a single reminisce of civilization. Our final AirBnb was in Topanga, close to LA so that we could get to LAX easily the next day. We grabbed pizza close then drove a little further to grab ice cream which happened to be Calabasas, the NICEST area I have ever been in. The rest of the night we spent relaxing before heading out the next morning for the airport!

This was definitely a trip of a lifetime and I’m so glad we were able to fit so much in for just a week long trip. All of our AirBnbs were amazing, they are all linked below:

  1. Grand Canyon
  2. Sedona
  3. Pheonix
  4. Joshua Tree
  5. Topanga
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