Traveling from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to Houston, Texas and New Orleans, Louisiana is more than just one section of my summer 2021 road trip. This was an elevation decrease of 1,296 ft/ 395m and driving 871 miles/1401 km in just over 2 days. Follow along as I share with you the long journey to one of my favorite stops on my road trip, New Orleans!
The Long Drive
Welcome to, what seemed to be, one of the longest drives of my life. Driving long distances is nothing new to a Californian, however, nothing seemed to compare to the drive from Oklahoma to the Gulf of Mexico. I am unsure if it was the change in humidity, or if it was the wide open skies and road. One thing I remember for sure though, Texas seems to go on and on.
Water, In the Air?
Upon arriving to Houston, I excitedly opened the windows. The car windows had otherwise been closed and air conditioning on full-blast on the way down this trek of the United States. So what happened when I opened the windows? A change in humidity so drastic, I started to slightly hyperventilate. After a few seconds of adjusting, the moisture in the air felt pleasant compared to the desert air I’d experienced the first few days of my trip! (See the hottest day of the trip, here!)
Caught in a storm the night before, the water-lover inside me is in love with the environment. Amazed by the beginnings of the wetlands, I recorded too many videos of just water. Think I am kidding? Old River Lake (a video below taken on the way out of Texas!) is home to beavers, otters, minks and many more animals! Check out my video HERE as I enter Lousiana and see GATOR DEN!
Made It To New Orleans!
It might have been late upon my arrival, but I made sure to capture the view from my hotel in Louisiana! There is such an old and beautiful energy in New Orleans, full of history and mystique at the same time. I love everything Pirates of the Caribbean (Disney), grew up with The Pelican Brief (Pakula, 1993) as of my favorite movies and a fleur-de-lis tattoo on my back. New Orleans fit me like a long lost glove.
More from New Orleans!
Check out MORE from New Orleans in my next post! There was no way I could include all of the magic of my experience there in one post so look for more all December long from my travels in 2021 and more at “There Goes Sara Rose”!
Nature On Tap is here!
Digital art and travel photography by Sara Rose is LIVE and available to YOU! I am very proud to bring you nature through my blog when you need it (on tap!) and now, available at Redbubble.com/people/NatureOnTap/shop! Nature on Tap brings the world to you with backgrounds to your life on tapestries and many more home goods! Check out some of my newest designs and photos below:
One week ago I visited an extraordinary Lego® art exhibit in Los Angeles, California. 100 sculptures and over 1 million Lego® bricks blew me away! I visited Nathan Sawaya‘s The Art of the Brick and left nothing short of entranced. Here, the inner-child shines even though these sculptures are nowhere near your typical living-room Lego® creations. Supported with emotional depth, I must encourage you to attend before it leaves! Let me share with you, The Art of the Brick.
Only Until January 2022?!
Most of my travel spots you can return to at leisure, but not this one! The Art of the Brick is only at the Los Angeles California Science Museum until January 2, 2022 when it moves to San Francisco. Check here for the most current schedule. Art Exhibits change and are moved (curated) around the world so generations can experience the wonderful collections. However, I “OH MY GOODNESS-” ‘d so many times, I knew I had to share more with you immediately.
California Science Center
A massive faceless, yellow figure made of Legos® greets me from a building-sized poster as I step out of my car into the quiet morning air of Los Angeles. The drive from Hollywood was far too hectic and I was glad to be out of the car. But, we are hours away from the 10:00 AM opening time Google lists for the Center. I can’t quite tear my eyes away from the man, pulling his chest apart to reveal a hollow inside, spilling out more Legos®. Welcome to the California Science Center, where most things are not what they seem.
“So much movement and natural shape starts with the simple form of a cube.” This revelation followed me as I continued around each corner. A surrealistic artist with a fascination for breakout artistry (i.e. Monet), I have to be honest, I assumed I was about to walk into *insert eye roll* yet another pop art exhibit. However, even the recreations of historical pieces brought new life to familiar scenes! Allowing the viewer to experience what was once just viewing a 2D image sent fireworks through my neurodivergent brain. I only wished for a walkthrough of famous scenes next! Check out highlights of my favorite sculptures in my video link below!
PERNiCiEM: The Endangered Species Collection
Pairing with photographer Dean West, thePerniciem Collection sits at the end of Nathan Sawaya’s The Art of the Brick. With talents combined, the best was saved for last. I am delighted as I turn the corner to see the Perniciem scupltures. Each sculpture sits next to a beautiful photograph, at home in their own world. To be honest, the first several photos earned a double-take. I didn’t realize the Lego® version of the animal was in each photo! The biology was so well designed, the cubed creatures seemed real.
Art Making a Difference
I am excited to share, “A percentage of the [PERNiCiEM] proceeds will go to NGOs that are on the ground protecting and preserving the beauty and splendor of our world,” (PerniciemCollection.com). Lego® is even perfecting bricks made from recycled plastics and we appreciate their efforts (Wired.com, 2021)! I’m not a scientist, but I love nature and animals and any attempt to understand how we can do better is vital (Sara “Milbrodt” Rose, 2019).
What To Know Before Visiting
Proof of vaccination or proof of negative test was required before entry into the California Science Museum (one of the several buildings at the Science Center). Fortunately, signs with links and QR codes made finding my information very easy. I did not plan this stop on my trip and if the information was not so easily accessible, this article would not be here today! I did notice several testing tents around Los Angeles and at one on a street corner near the Center, a reminder of COVID-19.
Order your tickets online before you go! Choosing time slots online made my day a breeze and allowed for breaks. I arrived over an hour early so picked my ticket bundle while eating Quiznos across the street. I wanted to try everything but overall, three activities cost me less than attending a movie theater!
Can’t Make It?
If you can’t get to Los Angeles before the exhibit leaves, you may still be in luck! Just up the West Coast, San Francisco is the next stop for The Art of the Brick. You never know, maybe I will see you there! Find the most up-to-date details on where to see the exhibit, here! Until next time, There Goes Sara Rose.
Welcome to another adventure in, “16 States in 16 Days,” as we travel to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma! With my great-grandfather from Oklahoma, I wanted to know more about this state even before I arrived. Some dark, curiosity tugged at my brain. Getting to my hotel room later than anticipated and rushing to see friends in Texas the next day, I fall asleep staring out at a beautiful city of lights and wonder, “What did I miss?” Let’s find out!
Lost History, Lost Souls
Often the state name is defined as, “red people,” the meaning lost in translation. Digging just a bit deeper, a more accurate translation is a Courageous or Honorable Nation or a Brave People (Kahlalin, 2017). What a beautiful reflection of self-worth! But the beauty of the people indigenous to the area became lost under current conditions, leading to missing loved ones and voices forever silenced. It is wrong to continue my story from the summer, without pausing to respect how the area came to be.
While on my road trip, I saw a few, small government signs indicating the “Trail of Tears,” but not much more information or learning to be had. What is the 5,043-mile Trail of Tears, you ask? Early United States enacted the Indian Removal Act, evicting thousands from their home states and forcing them to walk to “Indian Territory”. However, in 1907, Oklahoma became a state and “Indian Territory” disappeared (History.com).
Make Informed Decisions, Notice What is Missing
As there were SEVERAL Route 66 and National Park stops, glamorous when compared even to the small signs, I was disappointed. How could such a major part of our nation’s history, end up hidden? In comparison, a child’s response to shame is to hide the proof, so is the United States ashamed of what they did? How can we grow from our mistakes unless we discuss them?
Attempting to research more on the history, I found myself accosted with statements such as, “the white farmer” vs “the Indian” when, in reality, it is made pretty clear the United States Government is the one who enacted these laws. I studied propaganda, Titles and infinitives are a GREAT way to attempt an emotional reaction in the uninformed. Always ask, “Who is not taking their share of the blame in this problem-solving discussion?“. If it is the talkative group with Capitalized Titles, this is propaganda and makes Them seems more powerful than they are.
End the US versus THEM conversation, NOW!
How many have heard the statement, “I learned about racism through school”? There is MASSIVE difference between understanding racism and eliminating negative cultural tones meant to keep others down; Learning about history from one source doesn’t cut it.
Can You Handle It?
Be prepared for the mental shift. The more you learn, you may find yourself disgusted at past thoughts and statements, moments of muscle memory from nature or nurture. Be HAPPY in those moments, we could have continued in our stupidity instead. In six-grade, I choose to read Roots, by Alex Clare, but it took me six months to finish as I would get sick to my stomach in the details. If I could keep learning something so tough as a child, we can keep learning as adults now.
We can make a difference together!
Many of us are having the same conversation, but afraid to ask our neighbor’s story because of “Cancel Culture” or not wanting to look stupid. PLEASE, please tell us HERE how something was uninformed or wrong! Let’s research! Let us LEARN through growth and vulnerability and accepting our past selves so we can accept who we are today.
We are not IMPOSTERS, nor are we our grandparents, we are the generations making a difference.
Driving to the Petroglyph National Monument as the next stop on my trip, plants and the earth change into more shades and colors than I can understand. The land is not like the long California Central Valley I hail from. On my way to New Mexico from Arizona, the earth changes between red and sandy browns and is splashed with flora and fauna in yellow- to icy-greens. Learn more about my hike around the Petroglyphs, ancient volcanos and more; Welcome to Day 4 of my summer 2021 road trip, “16 States in 16 Days!” at ThereGoesSaraRose.com!
Utility Before Everything
There is something different about the mindset in New Mexico that is very obvious between one state and the next. Trucks and utility vehicles rule the road, some brands I have not heard of before. In this northern trek through the state, I rarely saw a sedan-style or compact car, if at all. The people seemed tough and focused on their task at hand, not distracted with phones or friendly chatter. Most of the restroom stops made me keenly aware I was one of the only travelers “out and about” while almost all others were truckers or workers. The bright-signs of Route 66 behind me, the time for “new” and “different” had begun.
No Shoes, No Shirt? No Problem!
No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service is a sign used by some businesses in California and what came to mind as I stepped into Subway for lunch. I realize how little style and fashion matter as soon as I enter New Mexico. Shirts worn were thrown together haphazardly, “wearing” their shirt by a slight technicality. One button through the wrong button hole would show sun-baked skin, hardened by work in the wilderness. Here I thought I was someone who loved travel, loved the forest; these are people who live the forest life and I was jealous and humbled at the same time!
Petroglyphs National Monument
A small rangers hut marks the entrance of the Petroglyphs National Monument. $1 parking fee paid ($2 on weekends) and a short drive to what looks to be a nearby hill and I made it! It is 11 AM on June 14th, 2021 and 91° F/ 32.7° C but it barely feels warm. Why does it feel so different here? Just a few short hours away from California, this heat feels enjoyable and even…fresh? And it hits me, the air is CLEAN! Until that moment it never occurred to me just how different air can feel in different climates. Lungs no longer challenged by polluted air, it hits me with full force how much easier it is to function when I can breathe.
Take a Hike!
There are several trails to hike at the Petroglyphs National Monument. Again, I found myself wishing I had more time to explore! The Boca Negra Canyon Trail, a short 1 mile hike, is an ancient, very steep volcanic cone and requires good, close-toed shoes. I was able to record the hike back down with only a few slips and several up-close views of the carved images. Take the hike with me on my YouTube here or watch the video below!
Road Trip TIP!
After the hike, I still had several hours on the road as I crossed over the tip of Texas to get to Oklahoma. Remember, self care is INCREDIBLY important on a road trip! Love’s was recommended to me & I will pass on the knowledge: Make Love’s you bathroom stops! They are consistently the most clean and well stocked. Share your travel tips in the comments below or on any of my social media and until next time, There Goes Sara Rose!
What will YOU find at the Petrified Forest National Park? Is there even a forest? When I visited this northern National Park in Arizona, I was shocked over and over again! In fact, this would become one of my favorite stops on my summer 2021 trip, “16 States in 16 Days”. If you are interested in how this National Park came to be, check out, Day 3: Crystal Forest & Painted Desert! Just like the hidden items found in video games, be sure to share your travel “easter eggs” in the comments below and let’s see what I found, next!
Broadway, Film, TV & Radio
Did you know, National Parks have long been the backdrop to movie scenes? They have! Yet, I never knew The Petrified Forest (1936) was a film and broadway production! What brought a star-studded cast to the Petrified Forest National Park? Time to dig in and find out more about the history of this incredible place. Follow the adventure here at ThereGoesSaraRose.com!
Inspired by Desperate Times
The broadway film, “The Petrified Forest,” (1935) originated from the famous playwright, Robert E. Sherwood. One fascinating fact is Sherwood was inspired by a famous character in the news, the FBI’s first Public Enemy #1, John Dillinger! Set during the Great Depression, the play inspired a litany of entertainment, and first turned into a movie only a year later. (More about Dillinger when I share my stay in Chicago, Illinois!)
Released in 1936, “The Petrified Forest” and it’s star-studded cast of Leslie Howard, Bette Davis and Humphrey Bogart was even more important than you think. What makes this movie special? THIS is the movie that set Humphrey Bogart on the path to stardom! There were several radio and television adaptations of The Petrified Forest since then. Who knew an ancient place contained such recent history?
Bureau of Land Management to National Park
The Petrified Forest was more famous than I realized! time to dig into more recent times. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) transferred the care of the Petrified Forest to the National Park service in 2007. Although this expanded the park by thousands of acres, this means some “reminders” in the park, are not your traditional Federal Government sign. In Humbolt, Arizona, you may find just such a sign if you pay attention. Visitors are often reminded not to take anything home from the park, leaving things just the way we found it. Poking fun at this mantra, a broken down station wagon attempting the theft of a MASSIVE log of Petrified Wood sits at the Petrified Forest Gift Shop.
Local Gift Shops
Local shops and owners proudly showcase handmade pots, collectibles, one-of-a-kind pieces and more. With history and knowledge of the area combined, many serve as gift shops, visitors centers and museums all-in-one. “No Photography” was requested by signs or artists so I can only encourage you to visit and check out the sights for yourself! Some shops even had piles of rock and geodes available by the pound. I don’t know about you, but an outside fireplace made of geodes like the store-front below would be amazing!
Check out some of the large, and very expensive, pieces of Petrified Wood in my videos linked below! Keep an eye out for the 2,600 million-year-old fossil, Wild Bill!
The Future of the Petrified Forest National park
With the help of the International Dark Sky Association and the National Park Service (NPS) Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division, the Petrified Forest is working to achieve International Dark Sky Park status. How do they do this? To become a dark sky park, they must prove how dark the skies can get at night. To learn more about the process, check out the Petrified Forest Dark Skies efforts at nps.gov! Whatever part of the park your journey takes you, be sure to share it! Subscribe to ThereGoesSaraRose.com, follow on any of my social media or comment below and SHARE YOUR ADVENTURES! Until next time, There Goes Sara Rose!
Read MORE about the Petrified Forest National Park here!
Crystal Forest and The Painted Desert. The names sound like magical places, imagined, brightly-colored, and in a far away land. However, they are right here in Arizona, in the United States of America! Join me as we travel and adventure 6,000-mile road trip, “16 States in 16 Days,” at ThereGoesSaraRose.com! Let’s begin Day 3 as I explore the Petrified Forest National Park in Northern Arizona!
Set aside in 1906, the Petrified Forest National Park is one of the largest collections of petrified wood in the world! Many of the local structures in use are now on the National Register of Historic Places as well! Whatever spot you are visiting, be sure to ask a park ranger for the most up to date information on the park or visit http://www.nps.gov/pefo. The most popular way to visit is to take the 28 mile drive through the park with short trails to stop at along the way. It is illegal to take any wood with you, but you can purchase some at the shops nearby! So what can we do at this park how did wood become rock? Let’s find out!
A dry heat hits you as you open the car door. Similar to opening a heated oven, moisture is sapped from your face like a sponge that fell out of the ocean. A California native, this heat didn’t bother me as much as I thought. Why? The air here is clean (more on California air another time!). Strapped with water bottles, my first trail of the day was at the back of the visitors center. About a mile later, I was SHOCKED at the layers of colored earth in the valley below! There may have been heat, wind, and a dryness that did not stop, but every moment of the day, things looked different. The sun moved and changed the colors around me. I could have stayed and relaxed in the sunlight all afternoon. What will YOU do on your visit?
What To Do
Any time spent at the park is amazing! The highest concentrations of petrified wood are found in the southern end of the park, while the northern end showcases the human story and Painted Desert views.
One or Two Hours to Visit:
South End: Visit the Rainbow Forest Museum and watch the park film; walk Giant Logs and Crystal Forest Trails; drive the Blue Mesa Road
North End: Watch the park film at Painted Desert Visitors Center; select several overlooks to take in views of the Painted Desert, walk the Tawa Point Trail and visit the Painted Desert Inn.
Half a Day to Visit:
Drive through the entire park (28 mi/45km main road)
Walk the Painted Desert Rim Trail to Kachina Point
Enjoy the views and wayside exhibits at Route 66, Newspaper Rock, Agate Bridge, and Jasper Forest.
Walk the Giant Logs Trail (pick up a trail guide at Rainbow Forest Museum)
Visit Puerco Pueblo
Attend a ranger program (available seasonally)
Explore Blue Mesa and walk the trail
Full Day or More to Visit:
Hike to Long Logs and Agate House
Choose an Off the Beaten Path hike
Spend the night at the park’s Wilderness Area
“A broad region of rocky badlands encompassing more than 93,500 acres, this vast landscape features rocks in every hue – from deep lavenders and rich grays to reds, oranges, and pinks,” the Painted Desert must be experienced in person. Photo after photo made me realize, I could not capture every color in one photo, the adventurer must experience the desert in person to truly understand the beauty of such a place.
There is a sizzling quietness which, if you listen closely, is teeming with life and survival, not a dead thing to be disregarded. These elegant layers, painted by mother nature through volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and floods is home to many amazing views and worth every moment spent here!
Painted Desert Inn
Although no longer accommodating overnight guests, the Painted Desert Inn is a historical monument surviving from the 1920’s! Originally, “The Stone Tree House,” Herbert David Lore created his vision with the help of family members and officially registered the tourist attraction in 1924. This National Historic Landmark, although touted as a museum online, was closed when I visited. Since no one was around, I was happy to get footage of the outside of the museum, be sure to check that out here on my Tiktok! Share your experience and thoughts in the comments below!
More to Come!
There are still so many questions! Did I bring any petrified wood home? Why is there a broken down car on my Instagram? What chaos occurred on Day 3? I could not share it all in just one post so be sure to check back soon for more from Arizona and New Mexico on Day 3 of, “16 States in 16 Days”! Still not enough for you? Check out more on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube or hangout with me LIVE on Twitch! Until next time adventurers, There Goes Sara Rose!
“[Route 66] didn’t cut through the land like that Interstate. It moved with the land. It rose, it fell, it curved. Cars didn’t drive on it to make great time. They drove on it to have a great time.”
–Sally, Cars (2006, Pixar)
“The Birthplace of Route 66”
As I step out the car, I hear a gunshot from behind me. Here I thought I was just stopping at a ghost town, but no! Historic Route 66, and Seligman, Arizona is literally poppin’! Welcome to another stop on Day 2 of “16 States in 16 Days”. A 6,00 mile road trip I travel around the United States on ThereGoesSaraRose.com and hope you join me in the story! Originally “Prescott Junction”, Seligman was name after Jesse Seligman, a railroad financier in 1886. Although not included in Interstate 40 in 1978, the town was saved by becoming the, “Birthplace of Historic Route 66,” in 1987. With that kind of title, it seemed like the PERFECT stop on our trip!
Local thespians share their comedic, Western-inspired skits, reinacting what it might have been like to live in the Wild Wild West. With bright costumes near the local #BigAZz66sign in Seligman, Arizona I found where the previously mentioned “gunshot” originated! Notice anything special about this sign? Yes, that is Lightning McQueen and Mater from the Pixar movie, Cars! “Somewhere between Gallup, New Mexico, and Kingman, Arizona,” (Pixar.com, 2021), it is said Seligman, AZ is just one of these towns which inspired Radiator Springs from the movie! If you haven’t seen it yet, it is a create family film and shows some of the history of Route 66 and towns like Seligman, Arizona!
Home of Commodore Perry Owens
What happens to a Cowboy when they retire? They settle in Seligman, Arizona, of course! Commodore Perry Owens, a sheriff of Apache County, was said to be an amazing shot, with both and rifles, handguns and so ambidextrous he carried two guns! Unfortunately, he found himself relieved of his position when a shoot-out ensued in 1852, killing The Blevins Brothers and the Commodore unharmed. Relieved of his position, Commodore Owens settled down and ran a saloon in Seligman, Arizona. Check out my photos of his blue house and signage depicting his life.
What I was NOT expecting to find is how ready the town was for tourists! Whether it was the movie which breathed life back in the towns (or vice versa!) I was so surprised with how much there was to see that I cannot wait to return. I did not expect to step into a modern Western, but that is exactly where I was! Growing up in California, if someone told me we stopped at a scene in Universal Studios, I would have been less surprise by my surroundings.
A major regret the majority of this trip was not allowing myself more time to wander through parts of these old towns on my road trip. As we drove, many times I would scream, “STOP!” to my friend and driver and we would try to take as many pictures and videos as possible, even if it meant making it to the next stop exhausted and much too late. If you have questions or thoughts about what I share, please comment below!
Please share your favorite parts of Route 66 in the comments below! Make sure to subscribe to get early access to the blog and follow my social media for more great photos and videos! Until our next adventure, happy trails Adventurers!
Day 2 of my road trip, “16 States in 16 Days,” was an incredibly eventful start to the adventure and could not be shared all at once! However, I could go no further without sharing a particularly interesting moment from this day first. Welcome to, literally, my hot mess of a story with “There Goes Sara Rose”!
The South entrance holds a Visitor’s Center and a SIX-STORY IMAX Movie Theater presenting, Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets. Be sure to check with staff for the most up to date information on events, hotels, restaurants, maps of the area and more! Stay up to date on the Grand Canyon from the Nation Park Service here or current park operations here!
The Grand Canyon was not our only stop of the day, but it should have been. As the sun moves across the sky, the colors around you change. Never in my life have I seen so many shades of greens, reds and the orange-brown layers of earth, forged through eons of time.
Wild, Wild West: Horses and…Disaster?
No one ever described to me how populated the Grand Canyon area is. Yet, there is wildlife grazing comfortable nearby all the same. Right after the entrance to the Grand Canyon National Park, you continue driving before getting to the Canyon and I was so surprised to see wild horses! See my photos above or my video on Tiktok, here! We continue on the road, find our parking spot and get ready to finally see the Grand Canyon! Returning to the car, after deciding to walk to park with the GoPro, we are off!
The Grand Canyon
Words cannot describe the immensity of the Grand Canyon, a National Park encompassing 277 miles (446 km), said to be as wide as is it deep. As busy as it was (National Parks are getting a lot of attention post-lockdown!), there is a peace among travelers. Everyone is polite, even talkative, something I am not as used to in California. Is it the travels, a new state, a conglomeration of so many people and languages from around the world? I don’t know but I loved it here. I could have stayed at the park all day and plan on returning!
GoPro Footage Coming Soon!
I traipsed around the South Rim of the Grand Canyon with a GoPro strapped to my chest and a camera in each hand. There are several centers for visitors to learn more about the Grand Canyon on site, but not all were open at the time of my visit. At the same time, not everything can be shared here! Check back soon for the GoPro walkthrough or on my YouTube, here! I’ve left another piece of my heart in a National Park, but I think this one was from a heart attack! What drama unfolds next? Well, let me tell you…
But, Did I Lock The Car?!
Weeks of planning had come to fruition; in no way was the trip, or attendees, under-prepared for the adventure. As a helpful feature, new vehicles can connect to mobile devices and alert you if you have left the car unlocked and perfect for road trips. The Grand Canyon does not have the best cell reception, so although we just received an alert, “The passenger door has just been opened”, the option to lock the car isn’t connecting. Regardless, the alert was clear as day. Why was this important? As I was moving family heirlooms across the country, almost everything important to me is in that car, and it was about half-a-mile away from me, in the middle of a parking lot, as busy as any theme park in the summer.
It is well over 100°F / 38°C, and I am running full speed. The heat isn’t bothering me, or the crowd of people I am running through, or that I am running in hiking boots. What is bothering, why I am running in sheer terror is, I may have already made a major mistake at the very beginning of this trip. As my side begins to ache, and with leg-muscles screaming, I round the corner and the parking lot comes into view. Just a few more rows and I know I will be at the car. The question is, did I make it in time?
Not Close Enough
At this point, I am one row away from where the car is parked. I search desperately for people at a passenger door, hoping I have caught them in the act. It is so hot, and I am so exhausted, I cannot tell which car I should be looking for. I just realize, there is no one rummage through a vehicle anywhere near me. Relieved and confused, I find the car, which was unlocked. I opened the CLOSED passenger door, frantically look through the car expecting to not find my prized electronics, but everything is as it should be. I find a water bottle, and begin to recover. “What happened?” you may wonder? As my friend and co-pilot return to the car, cell reception and alerts resume to normalcy. The bad cell reception, mixed with the fact I returned to the car to get the GoPro, ensured I was alerted of the open passenger door, 20 minutes after I opened it.
Sour Huckleberry Beer & Pizza
The excitement of the afternoon left me exhausted! We were on our way to the Geology Museum when the chaos-inducing-alert occurred and interrupted the plans. Rehydrated and all belongings safe-and-sound, it was decided to grab some pizza and drinks at the Grand Canyon for an experience. And may I say, the locally-crafted, Sour Huckleberry beer was delicious!
Many times on the road trip something did not go as planned, as you saw here today. Enjoying life is all about perspective, and the Grand Canyon was AWESOME! Thank you for joining the journey and see more of my adventure, “16 Days in 16 States,” soon at ThereGoesSaraRose.com!
Join me as I share my first steps of “16 States in 16 Days”!
My heart raced, I was about to begin a trek of thousands of miles away from my home state in just twenty-four hours. Up to that point, there had been zero fear in that journey, except the goal was to stay with family in Illinois at the end of it. My life would be forever changed in a few weeks and I wanted to do it right so, I asked friends for help on my journey. It is a long drive back home from Illinois to California driving solo, so it was decided I would return to California after dropping off my belongings in Illinois. It is an easy train ride to Illinois when I was ready. The plans were made, the destinations set. It was time to step out in the world.
One thing I would like to mention, travel changes you. Your perspective about the way the world works and where you fit in it begins to shift. These moments of growth are incredibly scary and sometimes painful. There are moments you look back at your past self, thoughts, comments made to others, and realize how uninformed you were at the time. You may even feel dumb, disappointed, or upset at how you handled past instances. When that moment happens, stop and applaud your current self. “Hindsight is always 20/20”, I’ve been told when stewing over a past moment and wondering at the post-event clarity. Once a government employee where privacy meant safety and growing up in a cult that didn’t allow social media, I am now allowed to share my life online in a way I never have. Every time I hit, “Publish” on any platform, it is nerve-wracking. However, in a year from now, I want to look back at this moment and catalog the growth, as if marking my height as a child on the inside of a doorway at home. As my post and journey become more personal, and I share these moments, feel free to do the same! It is all about progress, not perfection!
And We’re Off!
Friday, June 12th, 2021, 7 PM PST arrived and we were on the road. With the plan to be at the Grand Canyon on Saturday, we decided to spend the first night sleeping in the car at a halfway point. The map was set, leading us to a rest stop in Arizona with an anticipated arrival time of 12:54 PM. One fast food stop later and odd conversations, such as deciding to be a Drunk Unicorn for the next Halloween party, carried us through the 410 miles to the Haviland Rest Area. A huge thank you to my co-pilot and friend, @MadHatterMikie, who took the first driving shift of the trip after a full 8-hour work day so I could record the first stage of the trip! With the sounds of semi-truck engines on all night (with sleeping drivers inside or not, I am not sure), I drifted off to a dreamless sleep for the first night of my road trip, happy to be in another state and not worried about the odd seat angle at all. Check out clips of the night-drive and sunrise @ThereGoesSaraRose online!
Haviland Rest Area, Arizona
Sleeping in a car when the backseat is full of personal belongings getting moved, means you get very little sleep. I suddenly cared a lot about my sleeping position through the night, LOL! I enjoyed the attempt at roughing it, but get me a tent instead any day! When on a road trip, most are probably not moving things across the country, “It isn’t normally this much of a problem, you brought a guitar,” I remind myself. Getting to see the sunrise against a clear, blue sky was a GREAT way to start the trip! As a recommendation, get as many sun shades as you can if staying at a rest area. I was surprised how bright everything was at night (see photo below)! Plan to wake up early as well, it was 109°F / 43°C by 7:40 AM!
The first rest stops on a major highway or interstate seem to have much more information about the state as shown here! Not every rest stop will have similar amenities (and some will have much more) so plan accordingly! We also took a flat of water and kept it in the trunk and it came in so handy! Drink water often, especially in the desert areas of the United States, you can end up dehydrated faster than you anticipated. A gift for future journeys, we also brought along a large, spiral-bound book of maps of the USA. Although mobile maps run on GPS, there were a handful of times tech failed me and a real map was required. As the trip was marked in the book prior, it made finding the next turn a breeze! I also marked each page with a sticky note and the name of the state, you never know when you need fast information!
Historic Route 66
Pictures taken, rested and refreshed with body wipes, we began the next leg of the trip. As planned, we diverted off the Interstate and planned to stop at towns along Historic Route 66. From my research alone, there would be so may interesting things to see! There was no way I could include everything about our first day on Historic Route 66 in one post so stay tuned for more on my AMAZING trip, “16 States in 16 Days”!
There Goes Sara Rose Podcast mini series is out soon! An audio tale of my journeys and the reason for todays delayed and shorter post. I am very excited to bring this mini series to you, recorded by ME! Stayed tuned for more details and share your favorite podcasts with us for inspiration! I am hoping to have all the current post turned into podcasts by the end of this week, depends on how my voice does! Would love your ideas and feedback on the project, see you all soon!
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1k ALL TIME views?! Just last week, the TGSR Adventurer Community reached 1,000 views on ThereGoesSaraRose.com! May I say, OMGOODNESS and THANK YOU! Taking a pause to celebrate this incredibly special moment, I come to you humbled, appreciative and with something in return. It clear, you enjoy what we do and I couldn’t be more proud of how far we have come. In celebration of this and to continue sharing top tier adventures, I bring you #TravelTuesdaysandThere Goes Sara Rose (TGSR) Discord! #TravelTuesdays will bring a new Travel Blog Post to There ThereGoesSaraRose.com EVERY Tuesday at 11 AM PST! Get ready to Join the Adventure! The TGSR Discord was released just this week and YOUR feedback and suggestions matter the most! The community deserves a place to connect with each other in a fun and safe environment and we are excited to meet you as well!
Regardless of how fun and hectic life can get, when it is time to recenter, I visit a favorite spot in nature! Let us celebrate together and join me as I share with you this SPECIAL Blog Post, A Quaint Place to Getaway, Three Rivers!
What to Expect
A recent trip of mine was to Three Rivers, California. As a small, tucked-away town, many locals don’t know it exists. It sits right at the entrance to the Sequoia National Park and a place I had to visit before seeing more of California on the production, “16 States in 16 Days,” (more on that on my next #TravelTuesdays Post!). I had such a blast visiting this hidden treasure of a town. Here are my favorite parts of the area, some directions, and a guide to local history!
A Utopian History
Three Rivers, a small town nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, has been charming guests since 1886. This is when a group of settlers founded a commune in the area based on the principles of social equality and economic fairness. Every individual participated in creating and sharing public goods; this cooperation helped the community thrive! However, when Congress founded the Sequoia National Park in 1890, the utopian settlement was absorbed by the community surrounding it to join into one town — Three Rivers. This history of acceptance and equality is a source of pride for its modern day residents, and the hard work of the original community is still highlighted by the stunning memorials displayed across town.
Getting to Three Rivers
California Highway 198 will take you straight into Three Rivers. Several major cities have direct access to 198. As you get closer to Three Rivers, you’ll pass some other small mountain towns, each with hidden gems of their own. If you stop at any on your way, be sure to share your finds in the comments!
Hiking Trails Galore
Between the national parks and mountain ranges, Three Rivers has some of the most breathtaking nature I’ve seen. Luckily, there are dozens of hiking trails to explore in the area. I had such a great time venturing outdoors and hiking — I even got a firsthand look at one of the rivers! Make sure to strap on some appropriate hiking boots and go hit the trails.
The trails inside the Sequoia National Park were friendly for beginning hikers and take you through the stunning sequoia forests. A few paths will also take you along the shorelines of the local rivers. The park is a testament to the beauty and diversity of nature. It’s definitely worth stopping in to hike here.
Another option is the Skyline Loop. This is a popular trail with locals, and it’s easy to see why. Salt Creek Falls, a waterfall system, is right along the path! It’s a serene scene, and something I would encourage every visitor to go check out. If you want to stay away from the parks while still taking in California nature, this trail is perfect.
Must-See Local Stops
One of the best parts of visiting Three Rivers was getting to see the shops and museums in town. These three visits are essential stops when you’re in the area.
Reimer’s Candies & Gifts shop was such a fun visit. After selling homemade chocolates and sweets for 50 years, trust me, they have perfected the craft. Reimer’s offers over 80 different kinds of chocolates, and every treat I tried was to die for. They also have super creative and delicious fudge flavors. Their creations come in all different assortments and sizes. I absolutely loved getting to try these local sweets!
My absolute favorite stop was Three Rivers Village Antiques. This quaint shop was full to the brim with local antiques and goods. Western Americana is on display throughout the store, with collections of artifacts from Western settlers, cowboys, and Native American tribes. I had an awesome time looking through all of the old jewelry, photographs, and goods they’ve collected. It’s definitely a must-see when you’re in town!
Another cute place in town was the Three Rivers Historical Museum. They had exhibits showing off the tale of the town’s founding all the way to modern times. Several renovations are planned to add even more interactive galleries for guests to see. I encourage everyone to see what it has in store. There are also several local restaurants to refresh yourself in between hikes or before heading home, each with amazing views of the river! See below for one such view from one of my top spots, River View Bar & Grill.
Get out today to go see Three Rivers! Please share your favorite parts of your trip, including other small towns you find, in the comments below. Make sure to subscribe to this website to get early access to my blog, as well as extra pictures and videos of my travels from social media. Until our next journey, happy trails Adventurers!