Day 15 and 16: Driving hOUme

(Posted waaaay late)

We’re back! We drove from Albuquerque back to Athens, OH and made it home late Tuesday night.

Our drive was success, and we made good time with a stop for dinner with Bert’s parents on the way.

Thank you to everyone who supported us on our journey, and to our hosts for your hospitality and generosity!

H + B

Day 14: Albuquerque (Part 2)

We woke up to a beautiful New Mexico sunrise and a cup of coffee with Jim and Nancy. The first step of our morning was to scale the Sandia Mountains via tramcar with Jim and we had some amazing scenic views of Albuquerque spanning 11,000 square miles from a height of over 10,000 ft. Once we made it to the bottom, we paid a visit to Hannah’s great grandpa.

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Keeping up with our daily mid-day cup of coffee, we stopped at one of Hannah’s favorites: Satellite Coffee. We took our drinks with us as we made the quick drive to Santa Fe (1 hour in the car is a breeze at this point). There, we walked through a local art show, saw the main square, observed the beautiful Loretto Chapel, and even found time for lunch at Cowgirl, a local barbecue place. In a souvenir shop on the main square, I came across only the 3rd souvenir in my life to have my name on it, so of course I had to buy it!

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We left Santa Fe in the afternoon and drove to see the Tent Rocks between Santa Fe and Albuquerque. The water-eroded canyons through the rock formations made for a beautiful hike through the area to create tent-like shapes.

After our hike, we drove back to Albuquerque to have dinner with Jim and Nancy at another one of Hannah’s favorites, a Mexican restaurant El Pinto. The food was amazing and we even passed by one of the owners on the way out!

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Tomorrow, we start the longer portion of the two-day drive back to Athens, Ohio.

H + B

Day 13: Albuquerque (Part 1)

Winslow, AZ is known by it’s Eagle’s lyric, “I’m standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona…” so we made sure to stop by and take some pictures! We also saw the “girl in the flatbed ford.” A cute stop on our way to New Mexico!

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Our drive was successful and included a stop for fry bread.

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We made it to Albuquerque around 3:30pm. My grandparents gave us a warm welcome and we had a fantastic home cooked meal with family! We also made big plans to see lots of Albuquerque/Santa Fe tomorrow, and we will make sure to take lots of pictures!

H + B

 

 

Day 12: Grand Canyon

(Posted late)

We left Los Angeles this morning to embark on our first drive east since our trip began, and a bold one at that as we prepared to take on The Grand Canyon! We left early and hit the road to find some not-so-bad Los Angeles traffic on the way out. We stopped at In-N-Out Burger for our lunch, and Hannah daringly tried a cheeseburger this time around to see what it was all about – she approves.

The Grand Canyon offered us some views that were beautiful and breathtaking (not just because of the high altitude). We were among plenty of tourists, but managed to get away from the serious crowds for some great photos and a little “off roading.”

We ended our day with homemade salads from a grocery run before settling in at our hotel in Winslow, Arizona. Tomorrow, we’ll take a short drive to Albuquerque to stay for a couple of days with the Klein family!

Day 11: Los Angeles

 

We woke up this morning and had coffee and donuts before jumping over to the Hollywood sign for a short hike. We’ve fully embraced the tourist lifestyle, and are considering buying matching “I ❤ L.A.” shirts in the future.

After seeing the sign, we drove to the end of Hollywood Boulevard and walked the Walk of Fame. Some of our favorite stars were Chris Pratt, George Takei, Britany Spears, and the cast of Harry Potter. Oddly enough, we noticed that the only people interested in taking pictures of Donald Trump’s star were international tourists.

On each block of the boulevard, we passed by men and women selling Hollywood tours, as well as movie character impersonators. This included a pretty aggressive Spiderman and a flirtatious Marilyn Monroe. Our long walk left us hungry so we stopped on the boulevard for sushi.

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At that point, we had seen a large portion of the city, so we drove out to Santa Monica to see the ocean and get caffeinated at Dogtown Coffee. This was our second time enjoying the Pacific on this trip, and we can’t wait to go back in the future!

After a relaxing afternoon, we drove back into the city to visit the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, or LACMA. We saw everything from 18th century African wooden sculptures to a contemporary mini-metropolis that filled up an entire room; with it’s moving parts, this tiny cityscape was an engineer’s dream!

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The LaBrea Tar Pits were right outside, so we paid a quick visit after the museum. These tar pits are famous because the naturally occurring sludge has trapped animals for thousands of years. Scientists are still pulling out bones from the pits, and they recently discovered remnants of a dire wolf—yikes!

Also right outside of the museum is a giant rock balanced on two concrete walls. The “Levitating Mass” or “LACMA rock” is known for it’s size– at 340 tons, it was a feat to bring it into the city and place it above an empty space. Read more about it at http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/miranda/la-et-cam-best-view-michael-heizer-giant-rock-lacma-20150609-column.html

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We had dinner at home with Jenny and John, then went to Chinatown for a quick walk through the square.

After a full day, we stopped at Salt and Straw, a western ice cream chain, and tried ice cream flavors like Honey Lavender, Black Olive Brittle and Goat Cheese, and Coffee. Because of our inherent need for caffeine, we went with the coffee ice cream and made our way home.

We will hit the road early tomorrow on our way to the Grand Canyon, our first Eastbound drive in over a week!

H + B

Day 10: “California Dreaming” — The Mamas and the Papas

We left San Francisco early this morning to head to Los Angeles. The drive South was beautiful, and we managed to see amber waves of grain, purple mountain’s majesty, and a fruited plain all in the same state!

We arrived in L.A. in time to greet Jenny and John, Bert’s family, and their beautiful daughter. After a much needed break from driving, we went downtown to a Mexican restaurant and enjoyed what some may call “too much” food,

Our hosts gave us a driving tour of downtown L.A., then after a quick stop for Donuts, we made our way back!

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Tomorrow we will explore L.A. and enjoy our last day in California!

H + B

Day 9: San Francisco – The Sequel

(Posted late)

We woke up this morning in downtown San Francisco ready to explore the city. The first step to the busy day ahead was caffeine, which we enjoyed at Mojo, a shop that served coffee and beer and doubled as a bike shop. We also walked Boo Radley, our host’s dog and the sweetest dog who’s ever lived.

Full of energy, we decided to start with hiking in the Marin Headlands outside San Francisco where we got some amazing views of the Golden Gate Bridge. From there, we took a short trip to Fort Point to get another angle of the bridge and actually cross it over the bay.

After a beautiful overhead view, we drove down Lombard Street, a famously curvy descent, on our way to Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf where we saw sea lions (in all their glory, barking and wrestling each other off the docks) and ate fresh seafood for lunch.

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And then we made the mistake (I mean decision, we meant to do this) of driving downtown and having the full San Francisco traffic experience. But, after sitting in traffic, we felt we earned ourselves another cup of coffee, so we made our way to The Mission District, which was full of beautiful murals and street art that have a diverse history in the city. We got re-caffeinated at Philz Coffee, a local chain that serves a wide variety of different beans and roasts. We finished our drinks and poked around Adobe Books just down the street.

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Next up was Golden Gate Park – an enormous park near downtown San Francisco. We walked around for nearly an hour and stumbled upon the San Francisco Botanical Gardens, which just so happens to be free on the second Tuesday of every month (must have been fate). We explored plants and trees from countries around the world and even got our fill of small California redwoods.

After a short break to rest our feet, we drank bubble tea from a local chain called Boba Guys. Happily full of tea, we ate deep-dish pizza at Little Star Pizza right across the street from where we stayed. We finished the night playing Euchre with Kathy and Jamie, all of us happily stuffed with pizza.

Tomorrow will be the first time we drive any direction but west as we head south to Los Angeles.

B + H