Chris (that’s the hubby in case we aren’t familiar) and I get thrown into some pretty crazy road trip situations on an almost weekly basis. We’ve put more miles on our cars this year than most people do in five years and we’re completely okay with it. Between the two of us, our photography and videography have taken us to some amazing destinations. Our friends over at VIA Films requested some specific stock footage locations this time around…we basically hit all the major National Parks in the Southwest part of the United States. I took way too many photos (usual) and hiked way too many hills carrying very heavy gear (not usual…my heavy breathing was a sign I need to head back to the gym) but overall, it was an incredible trip. Here’s the daily breakdown:
Day 1 // Tuesday // August 18, 2015 // Nampa, Idaho
We’re stoked. We hit the road from our home in Medford, OR ready for an adventure. I’ve never been to Arizona…this is gonna be fun. One hour into the trip, we hit road blockage. Apparently the Stouts Creek Fire that has been causing our otherwise beautiful Rogue Valley to be in a permanent state of haze has shut down our path to Idaho. Enter detour number one. Not a big deal; we take the long way around Crater Lake and arrive several hours later at my brother-in-law’s house in Nampa, Idaho. Yay sleep!
Day 2 // Wednesday // August 19, 2015 // Arches National Park
I’m going to preface this day by stating how much I love Cracker Barrel…their cheesy hash browns put a smile on my otherwise grumpy morning face. Idaho has Cracker Barrel, Oregon does not so every time we get a chance to go there, we make it a priority. Chris called in a large order of cheesy hash browns (that’s all we wanted…they’re THAT good) and as we go to pick them up, the woman hands us a literal casserole pan of cheesy hash browns inside of a CB shopping bag. Apparently there are varying sizes of large at CB and this particular size was meant for catering, not breakfast for two. We stuck two plastic forks in the pan and had at it as we started the journey to Utah. Around halfway through the day’s drive we made a pit stop in Salt Lake City to say hi to Chris’ cousins and beg them to eat what was left of the hash browny goodness. I had also done a little research on my Roadtrippers app and discovered a giant watermelon in the quaint town of Green River, Utah. Naturally, we grabbed a few watermelons at the local fruit stand and snapped a photo…because giant watermelons. We arrived at Arches National Park just before sunset and let me tell you…it is breathtaking. The winding roads reveal new rock formations with every turn. We parked and shot Delicate Arch until the sun had set…taking in the dry Southwest air and smoky African sun. This night was probably my favorite; we camped under the stars at Archview RV Resort & Campground with a gorgeous view of the red rocks in the distance. If you’re in the area and you like camping, please stay here. I have camped a lot in my life and this was by far the cleanest, nicest campground I’ve visited and it has a pool, gas station, and store onsite…well worth the $27/night.
I told you it was huge! Cheesy Cracker Barrel goodness
Giant watermelon in Green River, Utah
Arches at sunset…the haze killed all the beautiful sunset colors
A long exposure I took from our campsite…I love seeing the big dipper
Day 3 // Thursday // August 20, 2015 // Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Monument Valley
There’s nothing like waking up for a beautiful sunrise…except for maybe staying up for a sunset (as mentioned before I’m not a morning person). We woke up around 4:30am to head back to Arches and hike up the slick rock to get a closer view of Delicate Arch. This was THE hardest hike of my life. The awkward added weight of my camera equipment and tripod made this not a fun hike but once we hit the peak, it was so worth it. Post sunrise we headed down the road to Canyonlands National Park and shot Mesa Arch. Another few hours on the road found us at Monument Valley which is on an Indian Reservation in Utah or Arizona, depending on where you’re standing. It was very smoky here as well but breathtaking all the same. A perfect welcome to Arizona. There were stray dogs running all over the place and I almost took one home…he was covered in red desert dust but I didn’t care…we’re best friends now anyway.
Three Gossips, Arches National Park
Three Gossips, Arches National Park
Tower of Babel, Arches National Park
The Windows Section, Arches National Park
West Mitten Butte, East Mitten Butte, and Merrick Butte, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
Monument Valley sunset
Totem Pole, Monument Vally Navajo Tribal Park
Day 4 // Friday // August 21, 2015 // Horseshoe Bend, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, NV
After a full night’s rest in Page, Arizona we headed to Horseshoe Bend which was by far one of my favorite stops on the trip. A quick little hike led us to a massive cliff (my fear of heights was fully engaged at this point) with water surrounding in the shape of a horseshoe. I did my best to take photos as adrenaline pumped through my veins. We took our DJI Inspire quadcopter (drone if you don’t know what a quadcopter is) along and flew it out over the water; a view only a few get to witness. Apparently flying drones in national parks isn’t allowed so we had to land early but the park ranger was so great about it. Go check out his blog “Ramblings of a Ranger” here! We always appreciate when people can be nice about asking us not to fly rather than barking orders at us. Drones are constantly held in a negative light…but more on that in another blog. 🙂 The Grand Canyon was another few hours on the road for us but we came to the North Rim a few hours before sunset and got some great photos and video. Apparently there is no direct road to the South Rim from the North and we were forced to backtrack a few hours north before hitting the highway again. I had booked a hotel on the South side of the canyon (my bad!) so we decided to drive straight to Las Vegas instead of heading to the hotel to avoid another 3 hour drive the next day. At 3am we finally pulled up to the Downtown Grand Hotel and crawled into bed as soon as we got inside.
Lame phone pic of Horseshoe Bend, Arizona
Cool stairs on a hidden path at Grand Canyon National Park
Chris being pensive at the Grand Canyon
Sometimes parking lots are inspiring, too…Grand Canyon National Park
A quaint bench with a killer view, on the edge of a very scary cliff
Sunset at the Grand Canyon
Long exposure of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon
Day 5 // Saturday // August 22, 2015 // Las Vegas, NV
Finally, we got to sleep in! Waking up in Vegas is an interesting thing. It’s a completely different place during the day than it is at night…you’ll just have to experience it to see what I mean. Brunch at Hash House A Go Go was our first stop. They have the most massive breakfasts and one of the best Bloody Mary’s I’ve ever had. The white girl in me who loves autumn way too much went with the pumpkin pancake…I enjoyed every cinnamon and nutmeg filled bite. This particular Hash House is situated inside the Plaza Hotel at the end of Fremont Street. It’s always fun to visit Fremont Street and I rarely visit when I’m in Vegas because it is off strip, but the street and it’s ceiling of TV screens is much more impressive at night. We switched hotels to the Westgate and spent the rest of the evening wandering the strip–tourist style. I took Chris to the Polaroid museum which is always a little sentimental for me…my first and favorite camera was a Polaroid One600. The museum sits in the Linq promenade, kitty corner to Sprinkles Cupcakes and their infamous cupcake ATM…the experience is well worth the near $5 you’ll spend per cupcake. For dinner we dined on British cuisine at Gordon Ramsay’s Pub & Grill inside Caesar’s Palace. We eat at a Ramsay restaurant every time we visit Vegas and our first time here didn’t disappoint! The sticky toffee pudding is officially my new favorite dessert. I might have to make a special trip to Vegas if I get some intense cravings.
GIANT Hash House A Go Go breakfast…notice the bacon to pancake size ratio
I match the vintage Polaroid OneStep!
I love this quote from Edwin Land
Because why wouldn’t I take a photo with a 5 foot tall flip flop?
This. Is. Heaven. Sticky toffee pudding at Pub & Grill
Red Velvet Sprinkles cupcakes are ah-maze-ing
Day 6 // Sunday // August 23, 2015 // Goldfield, NV
On our way home…finally! The previously mentioned Roadtrippers app found us the International Car Forest of the Last Church in Goldfield, NV. Of all the natural beauty of this trip, this was so distinctly the opposite yet magical in it’s own right. The over 40 cars, trucks, and buses sticking out of the desert is certainly a sight to see. Next time I pass through I’m definitely taking some models with me…this is the perfect spot for a grunge shoot. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.
Do you see me?
I made Chris model for me 🙂
This was my favorite piece…a limo stacked on a milk truck
In a busted old school bus
This particular car had tiny action figures glued all over it
That’s a wrap on our trip! And if you’re wondering what we did on Monday, the answer is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Because sitting all day can take a lot out of you ;). Cheers!