Oh, the West 

Living out of your car and traveling for four months straight sounds pretty terrifying to some people, but to me, it sounded exactly what I was meant to do.

 

In January 2018 my best friend Melody and I set out on a four-month adventure of a lifetime traveling across the US in my Subaru.

Join along, it was a crazy ride.

Up First: The Magnolia Silos 

Our journey started on a snowy Monday morning at 4 am with hopes to make it to an hour or so outside of Dallas, TX by midnight that night. Totally possible, seeing as there were two of us and it was only about a 15-hour drive. Though, around 8 pm - an ice storm that we had been watching on the radar all day rolled in sooner than expected - stopping us in a hotel in Texarkana, TX  for the night (so hey, at least we made it to Texas). Which, probably wasn’t a bad thing - since we had decided that we were going to sleep in the car the next night in order to get to California as fast as we could. 

 

The next morning, we woke up ready to hit the road for a long day of driving with our first stop in Waco, TX.  Anyone who knows me knows I'm OBSESSED with Fixer Upper, so stopping here wasn't even a question. It was freezing, and we had just driven 5 hours on some of the most boring roads we had ever seen, but man on man - was getting to walk around this place worth it. 

Next Up: Saguaro National Park 

After we left The Magnolia Silos - the next destination in mind was Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico. We drove the rest of the day into the night and stopped and slept in our car that night (it was honestly the only night we got GREAT sleep in the car) then woke up the next morning and drove 2 hours into the park. I had never been into caverns or caves and it was incredibly scary when you walk into a room and they say "Okay, you're going to go down 79 stories in this elevator"  - like….great. ha! Let me tell you though, it was so worth it! Unfortunately - I didn't take many photos here though, because you had to be quiet in the caverns because even a whisper echoed and my shutter echoed A LOT. 

We then made the quick decision to head to Guadalupe Mountains National Park right over the border in Texas, because it was only about a 45 minutes drive. Now, both of these parks were unplanned so we weren't really planning on spending much time in them because we were trying to get to California as fast as we could (little did we know, that wasn't going to happen..). Guadalupe Mountains was most definitely a hiking park, so we only spent about an hour there and then off to Saguaro National Park to camp for the night (our first-night camping, yay!). 

It was about a 6 and a half-hour drive to our campsite so we were high tailing it to make it there before sunset. We rolled in with about 10 minutes of light left - set the campsite up and passed out. 

Waking up in our first campsite, was so motivating.  When we left Indiana, we had sort of just thrown everything into the car with plans to organize it all once we got to our first campsite and that’s exactly what we did. We made some amazing coffee and oatmeal and unpacked every single thing in the car, to turn around and put it right back in.

We then made our way into Saguaro, explored around for a while and then off to Joshua Tree…or so we thought. 

We had plans to adventure a little bit into Saguaro, then make the 6-hour drive to Joshua Tree National Park and have that be our first official stop and hang out there for a week or so.

About four hours into the drive - all our plans changed. 

We had made it through Phoenix and had 3 more hours to go, we were both in great moods, super excited to make it to a place that we were staying at for a few days, and then someone drove up beside us and was mouthing "your car is smoking!" to us, which is never something you want to hear when you are 3 days into a four month trip... (read all about it here.)

Back on the Road, finally! 

After a 5 day setback in Phoenix - we were back on the road and heading to California! We stopped and camped in Joshua Tree for a night and then because of the setback in Phoenix we made our way into California because we were craving the coast! That night, we slept in the hills above Santa Barbara (which was NOT as great as our previous experience of sleeping in my car) and woke up and drove down to the coast.

We came across one of the most beautiful beaches, which made for a perfect morning walk with all of the pup's. 

Honestly, though, a morning walk with fresh air was exactly what we needed.

It was super refreshing and put us in a wonderful mood for the rest of the day. We ventured around Santa Barbara a little bit then set off to Pismo Beach, aka my favorite place in the world - to set up camp for a few days. This was the start of our coastal adventures - from that point forward, we had plans to head all the way up the coast on Highway 1 and what a wonderful plan that was. 

It was about a 3-hour drive up to Pismo Beach and we had no plans for it - which allowed us to stop at anything cool that we wanted to stop at, therefor - some amazing sand dunes made the list. 

We came across one of the most beautiful beaches, which made for a perfect morning walk with all of the pups. 

Central Coast Magic: Pismo Beach

Ever since I discovered this place in October 2017 I've been in love. Pismo Beach is easily my favorite surf town on the coast of southern/central California. The people are amazing, the location is perfect, the weather is to die for, and the town is adorable. To say I was excited to get here was an understatement - I'm pretty sure this place was all I had been talking about leading up to this trip. 

We had a few campsites that we were planning on checking out near Pismo beach, but after searching around for about 2 hours going back and forth between camping out of town in a free site, on the beach, or in a paid campsite closer to the beach, we settled for paying for one. Which, in my opinion, was one of the best choices we made the entire trip. We originally paid for 2 nights and within 2 hours we had paid for 4 more nights because we were so in love and so ready to just unpack and relax.  The spot that we had chosen was right on the path that walked out onto the beach, the people were nice, the bathrooms were clean, they had showers (such an important thing when camping!), and we were an 8-minute walk into downtown Pismo Beach! 

Our time in Pismo Beach was beyond perfect. After relaxing the first day we were there, we ventured out to find a coffee shop that we could set up shop at to do some editing and blogging with intentions to only go one day and get caught up. Then, we somehow ended up at Red Bee Cafe daily - which wasn't a bad thing by any means. We ventured into Pismo Beach a few days, got vegan donuts at an amazing donut shop, some amazing vegan pizza, drove up to the coast and found a few cute coffee shops in Cambria, saw TONS of sea lions, and hung out on the beach for some amazing sunsets.

Spur of the Moment:  Sequoia National Park 

Sequoia National Park is easily one of my favorite places in California, the first time I saw the Giant Forest I cried - a lot. We had originally planned that we weren't going to head into Sequoia since we were going to see the Redwoods further up the coast of California, but on our last night in Pismo Beach, I jokingly said  "let's go to Sequoia tomorrow" and Mel was all for it. 

The next day - we dug out our cold-weather clothes and started the 4 1/2 hour drive through wine country into Sequoia. We opted for camping in a campsite on the southern side of the park, because we couldn't figure out if we could drive through the park from the top - and Mel NEEDED to see the Giant Forest, which is closer to the southern entrance. When we pulled up to the entrance the first thing the park ranger said to us was "Are you carrying chains in your car? If not, you can only go 7 miles into the park" and of course, we did not have snow chains. Luckily, our campsite was within those 7 miles, but the plan was to drive up to the Giant Forest in the morning, which was much further than 7 miles into the park. After a lot of consideration, we decided that buying snow chains was our best bet - because if we had to rent them every time we went into a park with snow (we were heading north into Canada, so that was going to happen a lot), it would've added up fast. 

The next morning, we woke up and headed out of the park to buy the chains, then back into Sequoia we went. Now, if you've never been to Sequoia I HIGHLY recommend driving in through the southern side, it's incredible watching the terrain turn from dry desert into the mountainous forestry as you make the drive up into the Sierra Nevadas. I also HIGHLY recommend doing it right around sunrise - when there are not tons of people out, so you don't have people in front of you or behind you driving up so you can take your time; because trust me, you're going to want to. 

For the first half of the drive, you're curving along the outer rim of the mountain and then once you start getting close to the top, the forest slowly starts towering over you. If you've never seen a Sequoia tree in person, and you're like me, you start assuming every large pine tree is a sequoia - but let me tell you when you see a Sequoia tree you know it. The second you pass the "Entering the Giant Forest" sign, the trees stretch up to the sky like nothing you've ever seen before. I've tried to explain the feeling that I have when I drive through this section of the national park since my first time doing it last year and the only word that comes to mind is Breathtaking. 

The Giant Forest is breathtaking. Absolutely breathtaking. 

Might as well see it all - Kings Canyon National Park

After spending some time in the Giant Forest and realizing we couldn't drive all the way through the park (we were only like 25 miles from the northern entrance) we had to turn around drive all the way back out and all the way around the park to get to the northern entrance. We ventured through the California countryside on the smallest back road we had ever seen (we're from Indiana, so we're used to small back roads!) around Sequoia and into Kings Canyon National Park (which is in between Sequoia NP and Yosemite NP). 

We had originally planned on camping in a free campsite - but there was more snow up north than normal and my car was having a slightly difficult time after driving up mountains for a solid 5 hours. We pulled into the only open campsite ran by the park and found a perfect spot surrounded by Sequoia's and set up camp for a few days. 

The campsite was gorgeous, our camp neighbors were perfect, the trails around us were breathtaking and it was a perfect escape from the coast for a few days. 

Back to the Coast

After almost a week camping in Kings Canyon, we made our way back to the coast with intentions of camping in Big Sur - which turned out to be MUCH harder than we anticipated. We ended up finding a free campsite in wine country that was back along (like 10 miles) dirt road on top of a hill that was so secluded and quiet - with P E R F E C T cell service. 

We spent a week there, catching back up on videos and blogs just relaxing and planning out the next leg of our trip.

Getting back out to the coast was a priority for both of us, so after a week of relaxing, we drove out to Big Sur. The last two times I had been out to the west - we either didn't have time or it didn't make sense for us to drive through Big Sur (because the southern half of highway 1 within Big Sur has been closed for the past year because of a landslide) and driving Highway 1 through Big Sur had been a dream of mine for a while. 

The coast throughout Big Sur is unlike any other part of Highway 1. It's perfectly rocky, with hidden beaches, coves, and waterfalls everywhere AND if you get lucky - you can do some serious whale watching at basically every pull off.

Then if you plan accordingly to see the sunset in Big Sur - you will be so pleased.

Then, the adventures really started 

After Big Sur, we stayed the night in a hotel in Monterey (because of course no campsites) and did a Whale Watching cruise in the morning, then drove up to Santa Cruz to spend the day. 

We explored the boardwalk and had some amazing garlic fries (let me tell ya, California loves their garlic) and then ventured into an amazing coffee shop to relax for the afternoon. 

After our night in the hotel in Monterey - we were having a TOUGH time finding campsites. All campsites either weren't allowing tent campers this time of year or they were $50+ a night. Sleeping in my car wasn't really a realistic option and all AirBnB's were pretty expensive - so we resorted to Couchsurfing. Which let me tell you, was the best decision we ever made. Now, it's not as scary as it sounds - it's basically AirBnB for free. People have reviews and ratings so you can pick and choose whom you're comfortable staying with. 

We signed up and started searching through the people around Santa Cruz and came across a girl named Hana - who lived in a Yurt. We requested to stay and she accepted almost instantly. Mel and I had no idea what to expect, but we were some kind of mixture of nervous and excited. We arrived at Hana's property typed in the code to get into the gate, drove up to her Yurt and instantly fell in love. 

Hana was honestly the most inspirational person we had ever met. She lived in a one-room 200 sq. ft. Yurt, with her pup, doing work trade on the farm her yurt was located on. She's traveled everywhere, had so many stories, and was truly living her life with no worries. She spends her life never settling down too long in one place, she lets herself be free, be where she wants to be when she wants to and figures stuff out as she goes. 

Her friend Mandy was with us as well, who had just flown back from Indiana and  was picking up her van which was parked on the property. We all sat around and talked all night, had some amazing dinner, slept wonderfully and had an amazing breakfast in the morning. 

We were so amazed when we left in the morning - it felt like we had just spent the night with old friends. Hana was so welcoming, she opened up her home to us without hesitation. 

Driving away that morning was when I realized I was finally doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing. 

Back south we went

We got super lucky on this trip and my dad and his fiancé were traveling across the US in their RV the same time we were - and we couldn't pass up spending some time with them. The next morning we headed back down to the Santa Barbara area to spend a week exploring the area. 

We found an amazing campsite with showers, laundry, and wifi right up the hill from the coast near a little town named Ojai. If you're unfamiliar with the area - this was the part of California that got hit the worst in the fires in November. 

Toward the end of the week just relaxing around the area my dad and his fiancé, Jenny decided that we were going to rent a car and drive up to San Francisco for a day to see the city so they didn't have to do it in the RV. Though Mel and I were planning on being in San Francisco next on our trip - it was so fun getting a little sneak peek of the beautiful city beforehand. 

We drove down Lombard Street, saw the golden gate bridge and hiked down at least 300 steps to a black sand beach - which in my opinion, was a perfect sneak peek of San Francisco. 

Oh, Hi 

Ojai pronounced Oh - Hi.

Ojai, California is nestled within the hills above Santa Barbara (fun face: Easy A was filmed here) and it may be. the cutest little town I've ever seen. We ventured around here quite a bit the week we stayed with my dad and Jenny. There are tons of little shops and restaurants for all of your wants and needs. It has a slight Spanish feel with the architecture but it also has a little bit of a mountain town vibe. 

Mel and I fell in love with this town almost the second we drove through it. 

The people are wonderful, the Kombucha is fantastic, and the vibes will forever be calling me back.

San Francisco, for real

After a week with my dad and Jenny in southern California - it was time to get back on the road and head back up to San Francisco. We decided on using Couchsurfing again for the nights while in San Fransisco because camping around the area was outrageous but other than that we had no plans for our time in San Fransisco. 

We woke up refreshed (we had our own room with an amazing bed!) and ventured out into the city. After setting up shop for an hour or so at a coffee shop that had black lattes (the obvious reason why we went there) we drove to the Golden Gate Bridge and hung out around the bay for a while, then went to find the Painted Ladies. Let me tell you, the roads are no joke in that city..I have no idea how some cars make it up some of those hills and parking, is a whole other story! 

Coastal driving, lots and lots of coastal driving

The main plan that we stuck to during the trip was driving up Highway 1 for as much as we could. We had hopped on it right above L.A and so far had driven all of it all the way up to San Francisco (minus the closed part within Big Sur, obviously) and we had no plans of changing that. Our next destination was Redwoods National Park so we hopped on 1 again and north we went. Driving the coast is incredible - it feels like time doesn't move, all of the little towns that are situated in the hills along the coast are all so different and beautiful. 

Some are towns that have been modernized, some feel like not one thing has changed in the last 60 years, others are surf towns and some are ghost towns. 

Keep in mind, getting anywhere fast on Highway 1  doesn't happen - so we blocked out about a day to get from San Francisco to the Redwoods. After driving about 5 hours - we decided to stop and sleep for the night in an adorable town (one of the ones that haven't changed in 60 years) called Mendicino, in a little B&B. 

Redwood National Park

I had heard my grandma talk about the trip her and my grandpa took to the Redwoods when they were younger since I had come out west in spring 2017, so to say I was excited to see them was an understatement. We had plans to stay in the area for a few weeks - so we were taking our time exploring the area. 

First up - was finding a campsite and boy oh boy did we hit the jackpot on this one. After searching the area and a few apps for a while we rolled in on a state park that had the most gorgeous sites surrounded by Redwoods. It was honestly the hardest campsite to leave, ever. 

We explored The Avenue of Giants - which my grandparents had also driven on, watched  elk roam, explored what was the most magical forests I had ever seen, drove along the coast, made some amazing food, and had the time of our lives - until the last night. 

We've both camped in the rain and were prepared to do so on this trip - but apparently, our tent was not.

 

The last night, before we went to bed the rain started. Just to be safe, we put a tarp over our tent in addition to our footprint under it. 

We both fell asleep perfectly listening to the rain - and then were abruptly woken up at 2 am by sirens in our campground. Now, if you've never heard sirens echoing in and out of Redwood trees - W O W. It's incredibly loud. The sirens went on for about 45 minutes, accompanied by two other police cars, a few park ranger trucks, and later on a tow truck. Mel and I had gotten out and sat in my car, because we were completely unsure as to what was happening..and if it was even safe to be in the area. After sitting in my car for almost an hour and a half - everybody cleared out so we went back to bed. (We're still unaware of what had happened).

We woke up about 4 hours later - both completely soaked. It had rained all night long and apparently, our tarp AND tent weren't enough. 

 

We were so ready to get out of there at that point. 

So we managed to pack up everything in the pouring rain - threw our soaking wet tent into a garbage bag and threw it on the carrier on top and headed to Oregon. 

At this point - we were too far north for this time of year.

Now, don't get me wrong Oregon is BEAUTIFUL and probably my favorite state, but we should've headed back south instead of heading to Oregon -  at least at that point in the trip. 

I debated on how I wanted to go about this - did I want to only show and talk about the amazing parts of this trip, did I want to talk about the serious struggles we had from this point forward or not. 

 

Then, I finally decided:

Nothing ever works out perfectly - so why act like it did. 

Just to bring you in the loop, the original plan from this point forward was: head to Crater Lake National Park, explore Oregon for about a month, head into Washington for a few weeks, meet my mom in Vancouver for a weekend, explore into Banff and Jasper National Park, head down to Glacier National Park in Montana, go to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons, relax in Salt Lake City and then make our way back to Cincinnati hitting a few more National Parks along the way.  

None of those ended up happening. 

I'm not saying that the rest of the trip was horrible because it wasn't. There were some REALLY great places and things that happened - but there were also some really crappy things that played out and some situations prior that we were stressed about

Oregon stole my heart

I had never been to Oregon, but I had a feeling I was going to fall in love with it. We drove up the coast a little bit before we were going to shoot over to Crater Lake National Park - and that was the best decision we could've made.

The Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor is what stole my heart almost instantly. Just a little under 15 miles into Oregon on Highway 1 is the most beautiful coastline you will ever see. Pine trees everywhere, cliffs ending into the iciest blue water, and if you're lucky it'll be slightly foggy too - the perfect Oregon day. 

We pulled off at so many pull offs I can't even count - but my favorite was easily the natural bridge. We hiked down a trail that was maybe two feet wide, covered in mud, that just kept doing down; that opened up to one of the most beautiful views I've ever seen. 

I could've stood in that spot for hours taking in that view. It was magical.

Nothing went as planned

Next, we were supposed to be heading into Crater Lake National Park - but after our last night in the tent, we knew we needed a few dry days/nights to let our tent dry out so we could camp in it and that was not in the forecast. Crater Lake was getting a huge snowstorm - so we decided to stay out by the coast in a little town called Coos Bay for a few nights with Couchsurfing so we could hopefully figure the tent stuff out. 

We stayed with a wonderful woman named Pam - who seriously came to our rescue. After telling her about our travels and what had happened to our tent - she offered us her old tent that had a small hole in it. We fixed it up and it ended up being PERFECT for us.

After exploring the coast around the area for 3 nights hoping the weather would pass, to say we were ready to get out and camp again was an understatement. Though unfortunately, the weather just wasn't breaking so we decided to head a little further north up to Portland because I had friends that we could stay with there. 

We ventured through Eugene first in search of a little vegan cafe that had AMAZING reviews. Let me just tell you, even if everything went wrong in Oregon their vegan food would've made up for it. We had both been craving biscuits and gravy for a few weeks at that point and Cornbread Cafe fulfilled that craving for us, along with amazing mac & no cheese and PERFECT cake. 

Then, onto Portland, we went. Before we had even left on this trip  Mel and I had been seeing all of the vegan restaurants and stores that Portland had and we were ready to try everything. 

Tattoos and two amazing restaurants are what came out of it and I was ecstatic. 

Those are about the only good things that happened in Portland.

They were also getting a huge snow storm so all of the waterfalls, parks and trails were all closed, we couldn't stay with my friends and all campsites wouldn't allow tent camping. 

After two nights in Portland - we made the decision that we needed to head back out to the coast because the weather was looking like it was a tad better out there and there were more campsites open - or so we thought. 

I'm not one to give up, but if I was - this is when it would've happened.

We ventured back out to the coast, driving through some amazing forests which dropped us out in Seaside, Oregon, a perfect beach town nestled right along the border of Oregon and Washington. With a wonderful mixture of a beach town, surf town, and a little bit of an east coast vibe - we both instantly decided we were moving there someday. After hanging out for a few hours - we made our way into Washington. 

This is the part of the trip that almost INSTANTLY made us want to be home. We were up north a few weeks ahead of schedule - which ultimately is what really messed a lot of things up. 

 

I'm sure Washington is beautiful, don't get me wrong - but I don't think there was one part of our time in Washington that was enjoyable.

 

We had planned on staying with someone on Courchsurifing for 2 weeks in Port Angeles and we were so excited to explore the coast of Washington. It was about a 3-hour drive from where we were which would put us getting there right around sunset.

We were taking our time driving along 1 and planning out our time in Washington. We got to explore the open section of Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park and drive through Forks, Washington (FYI - NONE of Twilight was filmed in Washington so don't get your hopes up as we did haha). We were in such a good mood, up until we pulled into our Couchsurfing location. 

We pulled right in and turned right back around and left. 

Before we used Couchsurfing the first time, we both agreed that if anything felt off at all, we weren't going to stay and let me tell ya our radar was out the roof. At that point, it was almost too dark to try and find a campsite (none would allow tent camping anyway though - we had already looked) and it was too late to try and book an Airbnb for the night,  so we decided to just start heading closer into Seattle. 

This was the start of a VERY stressful 10 days. 

Let's get really real for a moment 

This portion of the trip really sucked. I mean BAD. It seemed like nothing was working out for us, at all.

We went into this knowing everything wasn't going to go as planned, things were going to happen, we were going to end up spending a little more than planned, and we probably weren't going to get to see EVERYTHING on our list, so we were trying to stay pretty optimistic - but when everything you had planned for the next 3 weeks falls through within 24 hours it really takes a toll on you. 

After searching for a place to stay for probably 2 hours we decided on driving the 3 hours (it was already probably 8 at this point) around Seattle to get up close to the Canadian border so we could hang out in Vancouver for longer than planned. 

Once we got to the hotel we started looking up what the situation was like when crossing the border into Canada and realized we had 90% of the things on the list that you couldn't bring in (camping gear with dirt, hunting knives, fruits, you know basically everything you would have with you if you're living in your car for 4 months)

So after a lot of back in forth - we decided to cut Canada (which meant Vancouver, Banff, and Jasper) our of the plan.

 The next morning, we woke up to a pretty unexpected snowstorm - which marked  North Cascades National Park off our list because none of the roads were open within the park.

At that point, the only place we could go was south - so we started heading toward Mount Rainer National Park. During the drive - Mel and I quickly realized that finding campsites was beginning to be impossible due to weather. Almost every campsite was closed to tent campers, or just in general. To go along with everything else that day - Mount Rainer got marked off of our list because of the huge snowstorm coming in as well. 

At that point - we made the decision to start heading toward Yellowstone and Grand Teton, keep in mind we were up north about 3 weeks early.  Which within about 2 hours also got cut out of the plan because the roads through the parks weren't open for another 4 weeks. 

We had two options at that point - head home or try and get somewhere warmer in hopes that camping would be possible. 

To warmer weather we went

Or, so we thought. 

We started what should've been a 10 hour trip to Salt Lake City to stay with my friend Hannah for a few days to recoup.

 

Heres a breakdown of how that went:

 

Day 1: Decided we were going to drive through the night, got stuck in yet ANOTHER snowstorm and had to stop at a motel at 2 in the morning.

 

Day 2: Woke up to 10 inches of snow on the car, but decided to push through it because the highways looked decent.  Drove for about 3 hours into Idaho until it started snowing so hard that we couldn't see the front of my car. We pulled off at the next exit and got a hotel for the night because the snow wasn't stopping anytime soon. 

 

Day 3: Woke up the next morning to... SUNSHINE, so we got on the road and about 45 minutes later - my car overheated. We had to wait for a little under 2 and a half hours for a tow truck - to the two us 2 more hours to Salt Lake City, which was the closest Subaru. Though, of course, it was a Sunday night so we couldn't figure anything out until the next morning so we got an Uber to an Airbnb.

 

Day 4: Realized we left the keys in the Uber and the spare was in the locked car at Subaru. So we went back to Subaru - had them get into my car for me so we could get the keys while we waited for our Uber driver from the night before brought us the original back, and then had my car diagnosed. After about 3 hours, we were told that my radiator had a crack in it and they couldn't get the part in for 3-4 days (ended up being 5).

Days 5 -10: We took this as a much-needed break in a wonderful AirBnB with a wonderful host. We planned out the next 3 weeks of our trip, caught up on photo editing and video editing, got some MUCH needed rest, and made some wonderful meals. 

Day 10: We got my car back at 8 am and explored the Great Salt Lake before finally... MAKING IT TO HANNAH.

Yup, you read that right... a 10 HOUR trip turned into a 10 DAY trip. Talk things not going as planned.

Back to the desert

To say we were ready to get back out into nature was an UNDERSTATEMENT.

Before meeting up with Hannah and Sam the trip had drained me, mentally and creatively. I hardly even wanted to touch my camera if I was being honest with you, the drive to capture anything I was seeing was at a steady halt. Which, I had luckily brought my 35mm along with me in case this exact thing happened. 

With every intention to set my digital down for the week (with the exception of a few long exposures) - onward to Zion National Park we went. 

We set up camp there for a week, exploring the area, hiking the trails, letting ourselves reconnect with the outdoors

Our home for the next two weeks

After Zion NP - we decided to land in Page, Arizona. We figured it was a good spot to venture out and take little day trips but also be surrounded by lots to do right in the area. 

We went down to the Grand Canyon one day, followed by a beautiful sunset at Horseshoe Bend, ventured into Antelope Canyon (we highly suggest Lower vs. Upper!), and by the end of the two weeks made our way up to Moab  to see Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park to then hop on 70 and head home. 

What would typically be bittersweet - was the best feeling in the world

The drive home was pretty harmless - we knocked it out in a little under two days. 

We were both pretty anxious to be heading home at that point. Bittersweet is the best way to explain it -  being home sounded great after the stressful month prior, but a little bit of my heart was breaking over the fact that we had made the decision to come home early. 

Though, no matter how things played out, my heart will always belong out west. 

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