Travel

Road Trip to LA

WOW. It’s been a minute since I have written on here and there are some SERIOUS recent changes in my life.

I moved to LA from Cincinnati, moved in with my boyfriend of 6 years whom I have never lived with before AND have never even lived in the same city with before, I went to Belize for a graduate school trip, and started a new job out here in LA.

It was very hard leaving a job that I really loved with great coworkers. It was even harder to leave basically all of my family and friends to go on this new adventure, but I am excited for it. Don’t get me wrong… Cincinnati will always be my hometown and it will always have my heart (I have been talking up how great Cincy is to everyone out here. I don’t think they believe me). It was just time for me to try something new. 26 years is a long time to live in one place. It was also perfect timing considering I was contracted at work and my contract would have been ending in May 2020 (so I would have needed to find a new job most likely anyway), my lease at my apartment was up at the end of August, I have no children or major responsibilities either, SO WHY NOT NOW.

So my last day of work at the EPA was on July 18 and we had a going away party. It was a lot of fun and made me realize how much I will miss my coworkers. Then, the next day (a Friday) I had to pack up essentially everything I own into a Uhaul box, except the stuff that I would need for Belize and our cross country road trip. That Saturday, I had yet another going away party for friends and family. Tears were indeed shed that night. Sunday I was supposed to leave for Belize, but due to a flight delay, I ended up not leaving until Monday. This was actually great because it gave me one more night with my family and my cat (who is currently staying at my mom’s house until we figure out how to get her to LA).

I was in Belize from July 22 until July 31 and it was incredible, but this will be a separate post later on. My flight landed around 10pm on the 31st and I had to essentially wash and repack everything I had with me. The following day we were off!

The first day we drove to Kansas City. Kansas City is very underrated! It was a lot of fun. We ate at Joe’s BBQ, which is like famous, then we went to Boulevard Brewing for some beers! That night we stayed at a hotel which was V nice because I had been sleeping in super hot Belize for like 10 days and an air mattress at my apartment. It was nice to have a real bed.

The following day we drove from KC to Denver. Driving the entire length of Kansas is truly a shocking experience. Like I knew the Great Plains were flat, BUT DAMN. You could literally see for probably 100 miles into the distance. It was one of the craziest fucking things I have ever witnessed. It was basically like that all the way until Denver! In Denver we spent the evening with my friends Kevin and Emily. We walked around a bit, got beers and had some dinner.

The next day we headed up to Rocky Mountain where we decided to hike the Sky Pond trail. This trail was about 8-9 miles and it was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. We walked past some gorgeous lakes, trees, and lookouts where I swear you could see the entire park. When we reached what we thought should almost be the halway point, we realized there was no trail. Nope. The trail was climbing up a fucking waterfall. You bet your sweet ass we climbed that waterfall though. It was horrifying! The rocks were super wet and slippery because there is literally a big ass rushing waterfall RIGHT NEXT TO YOU! I will say though, coming back down was way worse than going up! Alas, we survived unharmed. The views were well worth it too! Grandma, I know you’re reading this post and I’m sorry about the whole waterfall thing.

Rocky Mountain

After our hike, we headed to our campsite WHICH WAS INSIDE THE PARK! It was incredible. We were surrounded by mountains. Also, bears are like a real thing there so we had to be very careful with our food. All our food had to be locked in a bear box, even any food inside of the car! Which, I mean, Jordan and I were on a 9 day road trip so we had a lot of food to move! I slept pretty well that night despite the looming threat of getting eaten by a bear. The next morning we tore down our campsite and headed out of the park. We took Trail Ridge Road, which I HIGHLY recommend. It definitely took us way longer to get out of the park that way BUT DAMN. You literally drive to the top of a mountain, like you’re above the tree line in the tundra. It is wonderful.

After we got out of the park, we started our drive to Arches National Park, which just on the other side of the Colorado/ Utah boarder. The drive was spectacular with towering mountains and rushing rivers. At one point though, the map took us on some “state route” road which sounded normal, but we ended up on a 27-mile long dirt road which was a little unsettling because it was pretty hilly and I felt like I wasn’t in control of the car. After a four hour drive, we ended up at Arches. Arches is a weird place. It feels like a different planet! It was somewhat late in the day by the time we got there, so we really only did a short hike to Delicate Arch but it was tough! The entire hike was super steep and we had to climb up this weird rock hill thing, but again, it was totally worth it!

Delicate Arch

That night we went to Moab Brewery and slept at a hotel (we were supposed to camp but SOMEONE (me) fucked up our campsite reservation to be hike-in only aka you can’t have a car with you and that was a problem since we have a car). It was really nice to take a shower and sleep in AC because Moab was HOT. Oh, and did I mention continental breakfast!?

The next day we headed out of Moab towards Bryce Canyon. If you look at a map of Utah, you basically HAVE to drive past Capitol Reef and Canyonlands to get there. Unfortunately we didn’t have much time, but we got to see some cool geological features outside of the parks! That day we went to Zebra Slot Canyon, which is not in a National Park, but rather it’s part of BLM land. It was about 3 hours away from Moab and yet again, we had to travel down a very long dirt road to get to the trailhead. The hike itself was pretty nice, it was about 5 miles total out and back. When we got to the slot canyon, we realized that it was full of water! Not going to lie, I was pretty pissed because I wanted to like go into the canyon since that’s the whole point. Jordan and I decided that you probably don’t get too many chances to swim inside of a slot canyon. So we said fuck it, let’s do it! We got down to our skivvies and walked in. The water got so deep at certain points that we couldn’t even touch the bottom! Plus the canyon gets super narrow so we were trying to swim and get through the narrow walls. It was so fun! But also terrifying.

Zebra Slot Canyon

After we were done at the slot canyon, we air dried for a bit and hiked back to the car. It was so hot and I was so thirsty that I couldn’t even chew my PB&J because my mouth was so damn dry! We then headed out for a 1.5 hour drive to Bryce Canyon and rehydrated.

Bryce Canyon is yet another wild place. I can’t even describe how cool and crazy it was and I feel like my photos don’t do it justice. We did a short 3 mile hike down into the canyon and back up. I liked this hike because we got to see the canyon from all different viewpoints.

Bryce Canyon

After our hike, we headed towards Zion which was another hour away to stay at our Airbnb “yurt.”The yurt was essentially just a large glammed up tent which was moderately disappointing. HOWEVER, it did have a bed and an AC unit inside so I wasn’t too mad. Oh, and we had a chance to shower! Woo!

The next day we got to spend the entire day at Zion National Park. We hiked the Narrrows which was fun! But also a little scary because apparently it can flash flood in an instant and kill everyone. The Narrows is another canyon (not as small as the slot canyon) with the Virgin River flowing through it. The water only got to about my butt but it was pretty hard to walk over all the rocks and with the strong current, oh and I was wearing my hiking boots. We hiked about a mile into the river and stopped on a riverbank to have our PB&Js. After we hiked back, we did a 3 mile hike on the Watchmen Trail which was really beautiful and gave us a great higher overlook of the park. I absolutely DID NOT do Angel’s Landing. I just like living too much for that. If you don’t know, Angel’s Landing is like a 2,000 foot tall cliff where you walk along this narrow-ass trail with a large drop off on either side of you. There’s like a chain running down the center of the trail for people to hold onto BECAUSE THAT’S HOW NARROW IT IS. I think like 3 people died this year so far doing it. Nope.

Zion- The Narrows

ANYWAY, that night we camped at site just outside the park. Our campsite was right on the Virgin River with a large cliff just on the other side. It was so beautiful! That night though, I kept hearing something (probably crickets) and convinced myself that it was a rattlesnake outside our tent (definitely was not). I could not fall back to sleep because I had to pee really bad but wasn’t trying to get attacked by a rattlesnake. Then, something either fell or brushed up on our tent and it was so loud it even woke up Jordan! Ugh. Still don’t know what it was! Luckily I fell back to sleep eventually and held my pee.

The next morning we were off the Grand Canyon! From where we were in Utah, the North Rim was a far better option than the South Rim (the more popular side). OMG. We definitely picked the better side. Holy shit. The North Rim is WILD. The entire drive in, we were surrounded by lush forest! Even inside the park! I was so confused because I literally could not see the canyon?? We stopped at the visitor’s center to get some maps and decided to do the little look out trail that was right there. I have never seen anything like it. It was so huge and beautiful! And I think the north side of the canyon is like a lot deeper than the south side too. #northsideforever

Grand Canyon

Jordan wanted to do a hike where we could into the canyon. We decided on this trail that actually can go ALLLL the way down into the canyon. But of course we weren’t doing that. It takes like 2 two days! We only hiked about .75 miles down to a lookout point then went back up. I’ll tell ya, that .75 miles back up was a BITCH. I was so out of breath and struggling hard, and I consider myself to be in pretty decent shape! I cannot imagine hiking all the way back up from the bottom.

After our hike, we drove down a road with a bunch of lookouts (we were pretty much over hiking at this point). Then we left the Grand Canyon to head over to Las Vegas where we were spending the night.

I hate Las Vegas. It’s just so crowded. Don’t forget, we had also just spent like a week in quiet National Parks, campgrounds, and inside of our car. So Las Vegas was way too much for me. We stayed at the Westgate (because cheap) and apparently it is  like a historic hotel! We showered and got ready to go to dinner. For dinner we went to the most authentic taco place I’ve ever been to and MY GOD. Definitely the highlight of Vegas. We then walked down the strip and went into some casinos. I withdrew $20 to do some penny slots. The first machine I did I didn’t realize you had to change your bet. Like you could bet like 35 cents or up to $5 on one spin. WELL I did two spins before realizing that I WAS DOING $5 BETS. SO I LOST $10 DOLLARS IN LIKE 2 MINUTES. NOW I HAVE A GAMBLING ADDICTION AND NEED TO CALL THE GAMBLING HELP HOTLINE. Jk, but this another example of why I hate Vegas.

Jordan and I were exhausted and sick of walking through large crowds of trashy old people so we Ubered back to our hotel to go to bed.

The next day we got the hell out of there and headed to Joshua Tree! WHICH MEANT we would finally be in California!!! The drive was VVVVVV boring. We went through the Mojave Desert and there was nothing, literally nothing, for like 30 miles. Not even gas stations! Thank god we were all filled up already!! When we got to Joshua Tree, it was HOT. Neither of us were really feeling up to hiking in that heat. So we picked out a campsite and set up our tent etc. Then we went to a few lookout points and went back into town to buy some beer and hotdogs. That night I ate FOUR HOTDOGS. I mean, we had only each had a small breakfast sandwich from Starbucks but still. Damn. They were good hotdogs though! We got to watch the sunset over the giant rocks surrounding our campsite. After it got dark, we wanted to stay out look at the stars. Early August is the peak of Perseides meteor shower and there are few greater places to see the night sky than Joshua Tree! So we pulled the air matress out of the tent to lay and watch the sky. I saw like 7 meteors! It was really a lovely night and the perfect way to end the road trip.

The next morning we got up, tore down our campsite and headed to Los Angeles! On our way in, we stopped at a Home Goods to get some stuff we still needed for the apartment. Everything went pretty smoothly getting our keys to the apartment. And MY GOD the apartment is so beautiful! It’s the nicest place I have ever lived! The next day our Uhaul with all of our stuff was delivered and we hired movers to move all of our stuff into the apartment (best decision ever). We spent Saturday afternoon getting groceries and unpacking all of our stuff. Basically everything is all set up now!

I started my job on Monday too and it’s been great. I really like my boss and the people I’ll be working with! I also think the work that I will be doing should be really fun!

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