North America,  Travel,  Travel Rambles

The Great American Road Trip – Our Itinerary

For years now, I have longed to go on a road trip across the U.S.

Since high school, I have planned out in my head different routes across the country. To Montana! To Oregon! To Canada! It always seemed like a far-off idea though, because of the costliness of travel in the states. I’ve always been a budget traveler and I also have never had a car that was reliable enough to drive long distances in. Cross-country road trips deemed themselves as retirement plans for me.

It wasn’t until recently that the game changed and budget travel within the states became more feasible.

Goals Garbage - A photo of the author in front of Walter Whites House in Breaking Bad

One particularly helpful development has been the introduction of Airbnb. Staying in someone’s spare bedroom for $30 a night is a bargain traveler’s dream come true. Another change was that I finally turned 25 and can rent cars on the cheap. Wahoo!

Now that I am in my first year of home-ownership, saving money has become more important than ever to me. But, I didn’t want that to cause me to have to give up on travel this year, and I began wondering where I could go that would be more reasonable than spending $700 for a ticket out of the country.

As I researched travel options, I began to think more about the extended road trip that I for so long had wanted to do.

The further I googled it, the more I realized – what was once an expensive endeavor, actually was beginning to shape up as the most reasonable option of travel for this year.

Thus, I was off on a meticulous planning spree to get to Los Angeles. Why LA? Well, David is an actor and has always dreamed of going here. He also has never been on a beach/doesn’t know how to swim and therefore is terrified of the ocean, so this will be extra fun!

Goals Garbage - A photo of the Hollywood Sign

It’s funny, every day that I think about this trip I get excited about something new. I couldn’t tell you what part I am the most excited about, because it honestly changes every day. Some parts I am currently daydreaming about though: jumping into Santa Rosa’s Blue Hole, seeing the Milky Way in Arches National Park, and force-feeding David a butt-load of Mexican food (which he doesn’t like… wait, why is he coming again?).

Even though I am calling this “The Great American Road Trip”, I know I am missing out on a lot of awesome states and sites. Unfortunately, we can only see so much – but I have tried hard to jam pack as much as possible into these 15 days.

As I fine tune things, this list will likely continue to be updated until my departure date. I do intend on screenshotting this blog post and using it as my reminder/guide – haha. I’d also love to hear feedback and recommendations from you! Tell me your favorite hikes! Let me know what amazing (vegetarian-friendly) restaurants I am missing! Etc! Etc!

Goals Garbage - A photo of Santa Monica Pier

This is just a guide, and may not be followed to a T.
ATB Covered = Covered by our America the Beautiful Pass

The Great American Road Trip – Itinerary

June 30 – July 14

  • Day 1 (June 30): St. Louis (STL) to Albuquerque (ABQ)
  • Day 2 (July 1): Spend a day in Albuquerque (ABQ)
  • Day 3¬† (July 2): More ABQ stuff in the morning
    • Then drive to White Sands National Monument (3 and 1/2 hour drive)(ATB covered)
      • Dune Life Nature Trail or Backcountry Camping Trail
    • Drive to Tucson afterward (5-hour drive)(Arizona is an hour behind)
    • Stay the night in Tucson
    • Food:
      • Blanco Taco & Tequila
      • The Tasteful Kitchen
  • Day 4 (July 3): Explore Saguaro National Park¬†(ATB covered)
    • King Canyon Trail
    • Drive to Phoenix afterward to cut down on drive time to Grand Canyon the next day
    • Stay in Phoenix
    • Food:
      • Margaritas at La Ristra
        • (Not a lot of vegetarian options but I WANT THEIR MARGARITAS!)
      • Begin scouting for In-N-Out at this point – Animal Style Fries
  • Day 5 (July 4): Drive to The Grand Canyon¬†(ATB covered)
    • Perhaps park and take the shuttle, because it is going to be super busy
    • Or go in the late afternoon
    • Watch the sunset?
      • Bright Angel Trail (suggestion via Rachael)
      • Maybe check out Slide Rock?
    • Go back and stay in Phoenix, to cut down on drive time the next day
  • Day 6 (July 5): Leave AZ in the morning to get to Los Angeles (LA)
    • Inevitably get trapped in traffic
    • Check out Joshua Tree on the way in, this is only 3 1/2 hours from Phoenix¬†(ATB covered)
    • Hang out in LA!
  • Day 6 – 10 (July 5 – 9): Hang out in Los Angeles (LA)
    • Dedicate an entire day to Sequoia National Park¬†(ATB covered)
    • Dedicate another day to visiting beaches (since David has never seen the ocean!)
      • Santa Monica Pier (obviously)(go at sunset?)(maybe the day we drive in?)
      • Maybe go to Venice
      • Topanga Beach OR¬†Leo Carrillo State Beach (farther away but you can take Pacific Coast Highway and more secluded)
    • Hike Griffith and see the Hollywood sign
    • Visit Rodeo Drive
    • Look at Hollywood stars
    • See if we can get David some auditions
    • All the food!
      • Blu Jam Cafe
      • Chego – French Fries
      • Find some Sweet & Sara marshmallows
      • Also, Some Like it Yum
      • ALSO YOGURTLAND
  • Day 10 (July 9): Leave Los Angeles (LA) to get to Mesquite, Nevada
    • MAYBE stop by Las Vegas along the way (4 and 1/2 hour drive)
      • DOLE WHIP?
      • Enter Caesars Palace
      • Gamble!
  • Day 11 (July 10): Leave Mesquite to make it to Moab (Utah is an hour ahead)
    • 5 1/2 hour drive.
    • Go to Arches National Park!¬†(ATB covered)
      • Delicate Arch (in the morning – via Rachael)
      • Then eat lunch
      • Then go to Canyonlands – Isle in the Sky (sunset – via Rachael, Rachel and Scott)
    • Camp in Moab
    • Food:
      • Moab Kitchen (they close at 8!)
      • Moab Garage Company (Rachael suggestion)
  • Day 12 (July 11): Leave Moab to go to Denver
    • 4-5 hour drive (through the mountains)(cry from fear)
    • Hang out in Denver!
  • Day 12 – 14 (July 11 – 13): Hike around in Denver and eat all of the delicious food
    • Attempt to summit a 14er – Mt. Bierstadt Trail (if we aren’t dead by this point)¬†(ATB covered)
      • Bring a sign!
      • Preferably not on a weekend – try for July 12
    • Rifle Falls (easy, busy)?
    • Roxborough (again)?
    • Food:
      • City O City… for every meal
      • Watercourse
  • Day 15 (July 14): Leave for home
    • 12-hour drive
    • Food:
      • Stop by our fave Taco Bell in Hays, KS

And that’s that! Please give me your questions/comments/concerns – I am super open to hearing them!

And also a HUGE shout out to Evan for watching our animals while we are gone. We appreciate it so much.

4 Comments

  • Rachel H

    Try to make it to Canyonlands in moab as well! It’s also basically in the city limits and should be covered by your ATB pass. We went skydiving in Moab for pretty cheap too. Moab is one of my fav places and I’ve been around 4~ times so let me know if you want more suggestions!

    • Jenn Meyers

      Yes – someone else suggested Canyonlands to me too! I don’t know about skydiving though haha. I don’t know what it is about it since I’d love to go hang gliding which is way more dangerous. I guess just the concept of skydiving scares the shit out of me.

    • Jenn Meyers

      Sorry for the late reply! We don’t have a fireworks plan and I think that is the only part of this I am gonna wing. And thank you!! <3

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