Thursday, August 28, 2014

My Absence

Hello World!

If you haven't noticed, I took a month off from blogging.

Following my move across the USA, unpacking, and starting a new job, some things fell off to the wayside. The blog was one of the things. But, post this holiday weekend, I'll be up and going again!

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Last Day of the Road Trip

Arizona
On July 14th, I woke up in St. George, Utah, to drive the last two hours to Las Vegas. As I mentioned in another post, I'll have to go back to St. George to visit the sights.  

My drive took me through Utah and into Arizona before arriving in Nevada.

For those who went to Syracuse, there is a certain feeling that you get when you turn the corner on I81 North and see the Dome. It's a feeling that doesn't change, no matter how many times you've done that drive. When I turned the corner out of a canyon and saw the Strip for the first time, it felt like I had arrived home. 

From a small town to Syracuse University to summers in Boston and DC to London for a combined two and a half years, I've finally arrived in my new home. It's been almost three weeks since I strolled into town, and I am so excited to now make Las Vegas my home! 

My Apartment

Road Trip Day #5

On day five of the road trip, Nicola departed back to Cleveland for other plans. I got to drive the 11 hours to St. George, Utah on my own. Before we get to my solo driving day...

We first had breakfast in downtown Denver with some friends. I got to see my friend, Nicole, who if you are a regular reader, will recall our trips to Italy and Amsterdam .  She did a one year masters in London during my first year at LSE. Nicola and I also got to be reunited by a fellow former intern friend from London.  We all had brunch at a place that was themed around the disco. 

Nothing like a disco ball going on a Sunday morning at 9am!

Anyone surprised?

Nicole and me

London Reunion 

Best Road Trip Co-Pilot! 
After breakfast and goodbyes, I snapped a few photos of downtown Denver before heading off into the Rockies! 


Leaving Denver around 10am, I hit Utah a bit before 2pm. There was quite  a few zones of construction in the Rocky Mountains. Plus, I was not used to the windy roads and the elevation! My ears popped enough for an entire year!

Perfect Music

Such amusement

Rockies

Rockies

For lunch, I stopped in Grand Junction to check out the Colorado National Monument. I had 30 minutes to spare, so I went in through an entrance and drove around for literally 30 minutes. The roads were nerve wracking, but the views were well worth that brush with death!

Colorado National Monument

Colorado National Monument

Colorado National Monument
The longest stretch of my solo drive was in Utah.

Everyone had told me to fill up my gas tank as much as possible once I got into the state until I hit the larger cities. They weren't kidding. The state doesn't kid either. I passed a sign that said, "No Service Area for 100 Miles." I stopped and filled up my tank even with 3/4 left.

To make my trip more enjoyable getting through Utah, I took time to get off at the scenic outlook spots as I was coming through the canyons and desert.

Utah

Utah

Utah

Ghost Rock, Utah
I was puttering out as I got out of the canyons. Thank goodness for coffee! And, when Las Vegas started to show up on the signs, I got a lot more energy!


I stayed in St. George, Utah, that night. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to spend exploring the city. Thankfully, it's only two hours away from Las Vegas! 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Road Trip Day #4

Apologies for the delay in posting these recaps!

On day four, we had rested up from our big drive into South Dakota, we headed downtown Rapid City. 

Rapid City has statues of 43 presidents on each of the street corners that covers the main part of downtown. It is a fairly cool to turn a corner and come across a president. We grabbed a map, so that we could spot some of our favorites. 

FDR

JFK and John Jr. 

Jackson

LBJ

Downtown Rapid City
Grabbing Starbucks, we soon headed up into the Black Hills to see Mount Rushmore. When we finally turned the corner, and it came into view, it was real sight to see!

We parked and then walked around for about an hour. You can't get super close, but there are plenty of viewing opportunities to stare up at the four presidents. There is also a small exhibit about how they carved each of the presidents.

Mount Rushmore 
As we left Mount Rushmore and ultimately South Dakota, we took the drive through the Black Hills rather than immediately jumping back on the Interstate. I highly recommend this to anyone. Sure, you go slower, drive through villages, and get stuck behind a logging truck (true story), but how many times do you get to hang out in the Black Hills?

Once we entered Wyoming, we headed to Devil's Tower.

Viewpoint from Devil's Tower 

Devil's Tower

Devil's Tower
I first heard of Devil's Tower when I was a little kid playing the Oregon Trail game. From there, being a history lover, I read numerous accounts of those traveling West coming across the rock structure.

It was truly an incredible sight to view. We walked around the base of it via the trail. Each side has a different appearance due to nature's elements.

As Mount Rushmore and Devil's Tower took up quite some time, we didn't stop again until Cheyenne except for gas and Lost Springs. Lost Springs is considered a city in Wyoming. It is one of the smallest in the USA, had a population of one in 2000, and has one bar! What a true obscene roadside attraction.  We had other stops planned, but it was better that we pushed on to make it to Denver this day.

Population of 4

Wyoming

Wyoming State Capitol 
We got into Denver around 10pm this day.  We were staying at a Doubletree, so we were very excited about those cookies waiting for us after another long day of driving!