1,742 miles. Just us, a handful of important belongings, the doggy and the road. I actually REALLY hesitated on writing a post about this road trip. It was just so magical, I considered hoarding it and holding onto those memories tight. After a few weeks of being settled in Chicago, I am realizing that sometimes moments are better remembered once they are written.
After a very long week ( let’s be real… month or 2 ) of packing, organizing and planning, we finally turned in our keys to our property manager. This was a very hard part of the process for me. We were exchanging in our favorite home, favorite neighborhood and irreplaceable neighbors who have quickly become friends. We had no idea what we were headed towards. I especially didn’t- I hadn’t seen the house in person until we arrived in Chicago. Chip had flown out to see it, meet with contractors for certain face lifts we were doing to the house and gave me tours via video. I had full trust in him. Yet we still had so many unknowns.
I had expected to be in tears driving through California until we hit the AZ border. Southern California has been my home my whole life. Surprisingly we both felt very relieved and at ease as soon as we hit the road and didn’t even hit up In N Out. Once we had said our ” see ya soon”s to our family and friends and packed up all of our belongings, the actual moving was the easy part.
We had very few stops actually mapped out along our journey. Cruising along the highway, listening to classic rock was just the sight-seeing we needed through CA. Sedona was the goal for the first night and we drove through a beautiful desert storm getting there. The sun was setting in the mountains surrounded by thunder and lightening. If you have never found yourself caught in a summer storm in AZ, let me tell ya, it’s powerful.
The first night of the trip was spent in a cute little Airbnb. Knowing we’d be checking in late, we opted for a simple spot with the necessities. This studio also had a sweet little outdoor patio for Bruce. He found himself quite comfortable immediately, as did we.
Rising early out of anticipation, we spent the morning outside discussing our plan for the day and scoping the map for cheesy route 66 spots. We decided since we were still on the west coast to grab an acai bowl breakfast and save the biscuits and gravy for the midwest. After spending a relaxing morning, we hit the road around noon driving the scenic route through Sedona. I’ve been to Sedona recently, but the mister had not. It is sincerely one of the most captivated places I have ever travelled. We were quiet the whole ride, taking it all in through the car windows.
First stop of the day was at an abandoned campground. This campground has housed a bunch of different businesses after closing in the 1980’s and is now abandoned and creepy. Bruce had an awesome time running around and peeing on all the decaying remnants.
Next stop: Winslow Arizona. The influx of national chains, such as Wal-Mart and the like have completely taken this town under and it feels like a ghost-town, hanging onto the glory days. Not much is left of the once booming railroad town, with the exception of Eagles and Jackson Browne tourist buys.
A Route 66 road trip would be incomplete without a stop at one of the WigWam Motels. I had wanted to stay there but we arrived mid-afternoon so it made sense to snap a few shots and keep on truckin’.
We stopped in Holbrook, AZ for a little lunch down the street from the WigWam Motel. It was an experience to say the least.
Shortly after crossing the AZ/NM border, we came across the famous El Rancho Hotel. The El Rancho Hotel is known for the Westerns once filmed there. The pup wasn’t allowed in, but we shot a few pictures around the property and got chatty with a few locals in Gallup, NM. Despite having a friend live there for a while, this was my first time in New Mexico. I fell in LOVE.
That night we wanted to book it right on through to Santa Fe so we could spend time with the more far-out artsy New Mexican residents. We had no dreams of a Breaking Bad meth tour or anything in Albuquerque so we found a last- minute late night AirBnb in Los Cerrillos, located along the Turquoise Trail. It was a fuckin GOLDmine.
After making so many stops in AZ and the western edge of NM, we rolled into the tiny town of Los Cerrillos super late. It was pitch black! These are small country roads we’re talking about with no street lights and very few homes and businesses nearby. We were running VERY low on gas and were in need of a bed. Mo, the owner of this unique space had warned us of the bumpy road leading to the casita and the space was described as “off-grid”. She was serious. The straw bale home took us some time to get to off the main road ( luckily we found a gas station right in time!). We arrived tired, a little stoned and a lot grumpy. We had maybe pushed our trip a little too far that day and made the mistake of eating at Sonic. ( grooooosssssssssss)
It didn’t take longer than 2 minutes of being in Mo’s relaxing, dog friendly space to change our road weary attitudes. Everything was so quaint, even down to the composting outhouse. Yup, outhouse. And it was cute as fuck.
After a night of very needed, extremely peaceful sleep, we woke up with thick black coffee to the sounds of birds and nature all around us. After the hustle of the move and the amount of computer time I log in on a daily basis, this peaceful break was such a connecting experience. I know how that sounds… insert dramatic eye-roll. But really. We spent the day with books, not computers, paper maps, not google and decided to stay another day.
Unfortunately Mo’s spot was booked that night, so we showered up, packed up the car and headed to town for lunch, wifi and a little shopping. Los Cerrillos is a tiny town off the Turquoise Trail between Albuquerque and Santa Fe with dirt roads and major Old West feels. We had extra time along our trip and wanted to stay in that area since it felt so good to both of us. Well, all 3 of us. Bruce was doing so well acquainting himself with every Airbnb we stayed in. It was a pleasant surprise after hearing a handful of horror stories about traveling that far with a pup. One of the things I like best about Airbnb is the hospitality hosts show for traveling with pets.
The second place we landed in New Mexico was only moments away in a town called Madrid, an old ghost town known for it’s artsy charm. The casita was so delightful and Bruce immediately had a friend. With beautiful nature views all around, a fully stocked kitchen and bitchin’ outdoor patio situation, we opted to grab a few groceries in town and spend the day relaxing outdoors, planning our next day’s trip, drinking cheap domestic, watching the sunset and playing house. Local eggs were supplied, as well as fruit, milk and coffee and the owners lived on the property. They were world travelled and refreshing to chat with while Bruce played with their little guy, Mr Darcy. I ended up taking a lot of photos on a film camera, which I will post once I get it developed.
Reluctantly, we packed up after making breakfast and enjoying coffee on the peaceful patio and jumped back on the road, making one last New Mexico stop at Tee Pee Curios for some gifts for the friends back home. This particular strip of the highway was littered with Route 66 era neon and hand-painted signs.
And then we hit Texas and the Midpoint Cafe, which is just what it sounds like- the halfway point between Los Angeles and Chicago ion historic Route 66. Join the rest of the trip- Part 2 coming soon…..