How We Took A Bucket Record Street Journey Throughout The Nation

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We took an epic household roundtrip highway journey throughout the USA from the West Coast to the East, and again once more! See all the small print it is advisable to plan your individual bucket checklist cross-country drive.

Reese Household seeing the Grand Canyon for the primary time!

Why we took this highway journey.

For the reason that ladies have been little (Maddie and Ashley that’s, I nonetheless consider Emmy as little at 11 although she is as tall as me), Pete and I’ve wished to take a cross-country highway journey.

For years we now have mentioned “that is the yr”, however then life would get in the way in which, or alternatives in Europe would name our names.

Quick ahead to 2021 and borders are nonetheless closed, we had enterprise to take care of on the East Coast and Emmy remains to be not eligible for a vaccine… so, we resolve to drive there as an alternative of fly (we’re avoiding air journey till we’re all vaccinated) and FINALLY make that grand highway journey throughout the nation a actuality!

How we paid for this journey:

I used to be beginning to really feel very caught this previous spring, so I made a decision to problem myself to not pay for a single resort or our rental automotive, however not within the regular manner that we journey and not using a value working with journey companions. This time, I used bank card factors (you may e-mail me for hyperlinks to the playing cards we used) to pay for 56 resort nights (28 nights- 2 rooms for every evening) and the cashback I earned to pay for our rental automotive. 

I’m not a “journey hacker” who’s chasing each final level and we keep in largely upscale accommodations and resorts.

Plus, these have been lazy earned factors that means I used to be strategic the place I might be, (like utilizing a card that earns further factors for meals) however I made no further effort past ensuring I used to be utilizing the right card for our completely different purchases. We additionally earned factors from sign-up bonuses. 

Just a few issues we took into consideration when planning this epic highway journey:

  • 4 out of 5 of us are absolutely vaccinated.
  • We bought high-quality masks for all of us to put on every time we have been inside; exterior once we couldn’t preserve satisfactory house from others, and we modified them after each use.
  • We prioritized accommodations with balconies and home windows that opened in order that we may air out the rooms earlier than we eliminated our masks.
  • We additionally traveled with a high-quality air air purifier and let it run for the required time to wash the room air upon arrival, and we had it on the entire time we have been staying at every resort.
  • We wiped down the rooms with Clorox Wipes after which sprayed them with Lysol. It took simply a few minutes and was largely a precaution in opposition to the frequent chilly and flu. The very last thing I wished was for any sickness to derail our journey.
  • We solely ate exterior with patio eating or in our resort room.
  • After we stopped for toilet breaks alongside the way in which, we made positive to get Emmy again exterior as rapidly as possible- once more to restrict publicity.
  • We stayed versatile on the journey. When spots alongside our route began to emerge as “sizzling spots” we did some last-minute adjustments to mitigate the chance together with leaving a cease early and fully skipping different ones.
  • We by no means took an elevator with anybody else.
  • We hand sanitized like loopy and washed our palms at each alternative!

Did all this make our journey with out threat? No, by no means… however we felt prefer it didn’t take away from our enjoyment and hopefully decreased the chance. We’ve got now been again house for over 21 days with none challenge.

Right here is the route we took on our cross-country highway journey:

The pink dots are the stops we made alongside the way in which, together with fuel stations, and many others.

We initially deliberate to be gone for 31 days, nevertheless it ended up being 28 days and we traveled over 7,000 miles. 

I’ll break the articles up by the completely different locations, however right here is the grasp checklist of our cross-country highway journey!

  1. Began in Newport Seaside
  2. Flagstaff, AZ: 2 nights (spent a day on the Grand Canyon)
  3. Albuquerque: NM: 1 evening 
  4. Oklahoma Metropolis: OK: 1 evening
  5. Memphis, TN: 2 nights
  6. Knoxville, TN: 1 evening 
  7. Asheville, NC: 2 nights
  8. Charlotte, NC: 2 nights
  9. Chapel Hill, NC: 3 nights
  10. Nags Head, NC: 1 evening (want we had stayed right here for longer!)
  11. Ocean Metropolis, MD: 2 nights
  12. Washington DC: 2 nights
  13. Williamsburg VA: 2 nights
  14. Charlottesville VA: 1 evening
  15. Nashville TN: 2 nights
  16. Kansas Metropolis MO: 1 evening (last-minute change- deliberate St. Louis 1 evening after which 2 nights right here)
  17. Beaver Creek, CO: 2 nights
  18. Flagstaff, AZ: 1 evening (last-minute change- deliberate 1 evening in St. George UT + 1 evening Las Vegas)
  19. Newport Seaside, CA
Emmy missed touring a lot that she hugged her suitcase once we began packing.

All that apart, I spent months engaged on this journey and it was a very good distraction.

I really love the strategy planning stage of holidays and I at all times have a plan B and C. This time I had a plan D, E, and F too.

Some journeys we arrive and I’ve carried out little or no analysis and we simply discover. This was not a kind of journeys. I had each single cease on our driving days famous and eating choices outlined earlier than we even left. This wasn’t foolproof by any means, nevertheless it actually helped. Since journey and the world, usually, are consistently altering proper now, having a whole lot of choices saved the day a number of occasions.

We’ve got by no means been so grateful to be touring and for highway journey meals as we have been on this journey.

Our rode-trip experience.

We had deliberate to take one in every of our SUVs on this highway journey however rapidly determined {that a} mini-van can be a greater possibility. Pete and I’ve bigger SUVs however they might have been past filled with our baggage and the 5 of us and having a mini-van on highway journeys has at all times labored greatest for us.

After all, there was an enormous rental automotive debacle happening once we have been leaving and I used to be listening to tales from others that even with a reservation many weren’t getting their reserved automobiles or not getting a car in any respect. We had a little bit challenge as a result of the primary mini-van we got had a mechanical challenge, nevertheless it was rapidly changed and we have been good to go. 

Little America Inn Flagstaff balcony view

First cease: Flagstaff, Arizona

We made fairly good time driving from Newport Seaside to Flagstaff and I took a few fast cellular phone photos as soon as we arrived to share with you all. This resort fully exceeded our expectations and was the right entry again out into the world. I cherished the view into the woods from our rooms!

Little America Inn Flagstaff King Room

We stayed at The Little America Resort.

I picked this resort as a result of it was proper off the freeway and I’ve had household that stayed right here previously they usually cherished it. The upper-end choices within the space felt missing once I was trying to find them and though I’m unsure I’d actually name this a high-end resort, it was manner higher than I anticipated. The placement was excellent to search out eating choices and it made it simple to drive out to the Grand Canyon throughout our keep.

Little America Inn had a pool that the children used every evening, a strolling/mountaineering/operating path, a restaurant, good web, and nearly every thing else you could possibly need from a highway journey resort. It is also connected to a journey middle for truckers so we have been capable of get a few a great deal of laundry carried out earlier than we left. Who would have ever thought I’d get all enthusiastic about quick access to laundry services, however right here we’re.

Household Resort in Flagstaff- Little America Inn

We stayed for 2 nights in Flagstaff and the primary evening we ate at The Cornish Pasty Co..

Flagstaff has a shocking variety of eating places with vegan (and gluten-free) choices. We cherished the patio arrange and the meals was fairly good!

We additionally went to the native Complete Meals that day and picked up some resort snacks, bottled water, and extra drinks to assist keep hydrated.

Emmy and I have been feeling the elevation at this level and we have been positively dehydrated after our 8+ hour drive from Newport Seaside, Ca.

Oh, and we additionally stopped to get drinks at Dutch Bros.

We don’t have these in CA and though we strive to not load up on sugar drinks, we contemplate this a “when in Rome” type of factor. In case you haven’t had Dutch Bros, strive their glowing flavored waters and occasional. You gained’t remorse it!

The Cornish Pasty Co. Patio
The Cornish Pasty Co. Vegan Possibility

The subsequent morning was Grand Canyon day!

Are you able to imagine we had by no means been? As I mentioned, this was positively a bucket checklist journey for us. We noticed so many issues and locations we now have by no means skilled earlier than and kicking it off with the Grand Canyon was the way in which to do it!

We began the morning with breakfast at The Toasted Owl.

I can’t even inform you how a lot we loved the meals right here. The service was tremendous fast they usually actually have one thing for everybody.

The Toasted Owl Flagstaff

This was all vegan too! Yep, even vegan eggs and bacon!

The Toasted Owl Vegan Breakfast

After breakfast, we took a leisurely drive to the South Entrance of the Grand Canyon.

This passes you thru a little bit city and there’s a place for fuel earlier than you head in.

There are two principal methods to get to the South Entrance of The Grand Canyon from Flagstaff. The freeway route or the scenic route. One has you taking the 40 to the 64 (freeway) or 180 to the 64 (scenic). We selected the scenic route and it was superior. This takes you thru the forest with wildlife sightings attainable. Each confirmed at about the identical distance and time (1 h 24 min).

Fast Tip: Use Google Maps. Not simply right here, however in your full highway journey. I created our maps earlier than we left on my laptop computer with Google Maps after which texted them on to my telephone. A number of occasions Google Maps would reroute us to assist prevented accidents and main slowdowns. This saved us hours upon hours over our entire highway journey.

When visiting, your timing is fairly vital throughout peak season. We have been simply moving into the busy season once we have been there at the start of June. Absolutely the prime time to reach is earlier than the crowds, early within the morning (examine for present opening occasions).

We’re not these individuals although. We have been nonetheless drained from the drive-in the day earlier than and determined for a later entry. We hit the timing fairly effectively with just a bit wait to get into The Grand Canyon. There are lots of people who drive in from Las Vegas and these outer areas too so they have an inclination to reach round 10 or so within the morning so additionally take that into consideration. We have been there about 11:15 am.

Grand Canyon Park South Rim Entrance

As soon as we have been into the gates we adopted the map we got to the Grand Canyon Village within the South Rim.

The Grand Canyon Customer Heart Constructing remains to be closed, however they’ve an Info desk arrange exterior the guests middle constructing staffed by park rangers who keep bodily distanced from you whereas answering your entire questions.

There have been a few choices for meals and drinks right here too and the Grand Canyon Conservancy Park Retailer was additionally open. We cut up up on the finish of our go to and I purchased Emmy a magnet and Maddie and Ash memento shirts whereas Pete went to get us all a snack and one thing to drink.

It will get very popular, in a short time so costume in layers if you’re coming early and staying for any period of time.

Beginning the Canyon Rim path on the Grand Canyon.

Throughout our precise time taking within the Grand Canyon, we walked the Rim Path.

You may catch this proper off the Grand Canyon Guests Heart space. There are indicators for it, or you may simply observe the group. It is a very simple stroll and a good way to see the Grand Canyon with out having to drive wherever or exert your self. With as heat because it received, it was a very good go to. Pete would have cherished to truly hike into the canyon, however there isn’t any manner I’d even try any type of hike within the warmth.

Rim Path lookout factors.

Here’s what we noticed simply from the Rim Path of the Grand Canyon:

Visiting the Grand Canyon
South Rim Grand Canyon
Wildlife within the Grand Canyon
View of the Grand Canyon from the South Rim
Grand Canyon Guests Heart South Rim
South Rim Grand Canyon Views
Grand Canyon views from Rim Path.
Searching over the Grand Canyon.

The Grand Canyon was much more lovely than we thought it might be.

There have been some severe purple hues being thrown once we have been there!

I nonetheless can’t imagine that we noticed the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone earlier than THE Grand Canyon!

We stayed simply a few hours and we might positively return. Scratch that- we will certainly be again!

Vegan pizza in Flagstaff, Az.

That evening we went to Pizza Patio for some vegan pizza.

They’ve common pizza too and likewise gluten-free so all of us had a great dinner. The Pizza Patio employees was a bit frazzled on the evening we visited, however the meals was good. Because the world is opening up, we now have been being further affected person to permit restaurant and journey firms to ramp again up. Be sure you mood your expectations. Most are actually attempting as exhausting as they’ll in these getting-better occasions.

We had a reasonably early begin the following morning for the following leg of our journey so we wished to get as a lot sleep as attainable so we ate and went proper again to the Little America Flagstaff.

Strolling path at Little America Flagstaff

Early the following morning Pete, Ashley, and I received up further early to go for a stroll on their nature path earlier than we received again on the highway. Driving all day is a whole lot of sitting so we wished to maneuver as a lot as attainable. We have been nonetheless capable of get on the highway very first thing within the morning.

Street journey cease in Winslow, Arizona on Historic Route 66!

On this leg of the journey we went from Newport Seaside, Ca. —> Flagstaff, Az. (Grand Canyon) —> Albequerque, Nm. —> Oklahoma Metropolis, Okay.

Our USA cross-country highway journey. Flagstaff to Albuquerque

As a result of I’ve a factor for stopping at anywhere talked about in a track that I like, we needed to cease in Winslow, Az. It was such a advantageous sight to see! (wink, wink)

Our stops in Albequerque and Oklahoma have been simply deliberate as locations to sleep at evening so we didn’t see a lot of something there.

Subsequent stop- Memphis Tennesee!

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