Day 4: Petroglyphs & Ancient Volcanoes || Albuquerque, New Mexico

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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!

Walk the Petroglyph National Monument – Boca Negra Canyon Trail || Albuquerque, New Mexico (S. Rose, 2021)

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!

Sunset at Love’s in Erick, Oklahoma

The Petrified Forest National Park Coverac

Day 3: Petrified Forest National Park || 16 States in 16 Days

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“Easter Egg” Finds!

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!

Geodes and Petrified Wood in Petrified Forest National Park gift shops, Arizona (Video Credit: Sara Rose, 2021)

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!

Day 3: Crystal Forest & Painted Desert || 16 States in 16 Days at ThereGoesSaraRose.com

Crystal Forest & Painted Desert Cover (Photo by Sara Rose, 2021)

Day 3: Crystal Forest & Painted Desert || 16 States in 16 Days

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Are They REAL?!

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!

Petrified Forest National Park Sign, Arizona (Photo Credit: Michael Neri, 2021)

Petrified Forest

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!

My Experience

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
  • Celebrate!

Painted Desert

“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, Arizona (Photo Credit: Sara Rose, 2021)

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!

Day 2: Seligman, Arizona || 16 States in 16 Days

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“[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!

Wild, Wild…Cars?!

@theregoessararose

Western skit in Seligman, Arizona! The shot MAY have scared me. 🤣 #traveldiaries #route66 #theatre #western #thespian ThereGoesSaraRose.com

♬ original sound – ThereGoesSaraRose
TikTok video of street actors in Seligman, AZ (Video Credit: Sara Rose, 2021)
#BigAZz66sign in Seligman, Arizona (Photo Credit: Sara Rose, 2021)

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!

TikTok video of old cars in Seligman, AZ (Video Credit: Sara Rose, 2021)

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.

More Cars!

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.

TikTok of animated cowboy in Seligman, AZ (Video Credit: Sara Rose, 2021)

Never Enough

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!

TikTok of Seligman, AZ (Video Credit: Sara Rose, 2021)

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!

Grand Canyon Cover Photo (Credit: Sara Rose, 2021)

Day 2: Visiting the Grand Canyon || 16 States in 16 Days

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Join the chaos of my trip to the Grand Canyon during, “16 States in 16 Days” at ThereGoesSaraRose.com!

See more of my trip at ThereGoesSaraRose.com!

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”!

Listen to a podcast of this travel blog here: https://anchor.fm/theregoessararose/episodes/Ep-13-Day-2-Visiting-the-Grand-Canyon–16-States-in-16-Days-e15dp3j

Grand Canyon Entrance

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!

Wild Horses TikTok from car at Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona (Credit: Sara Rose, 2021)

The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon (South Rim), Arizona. (Photo Credit: Sara Rose, 2021)

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!

Grand Canyon vs Rock Layers Image from Visitor’s Center at Grand Canyon, AZ (Credit: Sara Rose, 2021)

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.

Last photo taken of the Grand Canyon, right before car alert was recieved (Photo Credit: Sara Rose, 2021)

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!

Three Rivers - A Quaint Getaway Cover (Photo Credit: Sara Rose 2018)

Three Rivers – A Quaint Town for Getting Away || 1k Celebration Post!

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 #TravelTuesdays and There 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!

Listen to a podcast of this travel article here: https://anchor.fm/theregoessararose/episodes/Ep-11-Three-Rivers—A-Quaint-Town-for-Getting-Away-e15849c

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!

Road Trip Safety Cover (Photo Credit: Sara Rose 2021)

Road Trip Safety-Dealing with Natural Disasters in the USA || 16 States in 16 Days

When I drove my first road trip away from the West Coast, I decided to go big! However, so did the weather in several areas. To be honest, at a certain point, I was scared. Why? I was unsure of the safest thing to do. Disaster movies came to mind with visual recollections of characters tying themselves to metal posts in tornados or being swept away in a tropical cyclone. What of these, previously entertaining moments, were factual, if any?

Listen to a podcast of this travel blog here: https://anchor.fm/theregoessararose/episodes/Ep-10-Road-Trip-Safety-Dealing-with-Natural-Disasters-in-the-USA–16-States-in-16-Days-e158251

My summer 2021 road trip, “16 States in 16 Days,” totaled about 6,000 miles, and I bumped into everything! In Louisiana, the trip found itself caught on the edge of Tropical Storm Claudette on June 18th just as the drive headed toward Tennessee (the storm lasted in Louisiana for a few days). Just a day later, my phone alerted me I was in a, “dangerous +2 lightning storm,” while headed to St. Louis, Missouri. Both of these drives had rain so hard, it was difficult to see the road, cars, or anything but water. During the evening stay in St. Louis, there was minimal rain. However, the lightning shot across the sky from all around and sometimes struck the same spot several times within a few seconds of each other.

Windy, of course, and drizzling most of the next day in Chicago, that evening turned for the worse. I spent 2 hours in a hotel stairway that night, accompanied by rain, sirens, a lovely couple who had just gotten married, and an F3 tornado raging about 15 miles south of our location. This was easily one of the most scared moments I have had in my life, fascinated by the science, hopeful for others caught in the path of the “finger of God”. As much as I loved Chicago, (trust me, there was PLENTY of time to see things in the city!) I nope’d right out of there the next morning. If that wasn’t enough, several fires raged across the USA with the worst in Colorado, and, well, it even rained in Las Vegas. Yes, it does rain in Vegas. Seeing events like these firsthand humbles you and makes you really appreciate first responders and the helpfulness of a fellow being.

Every time you go on a road trip you run the risk of hitting some kind of weather event or natural disaster, whether it’s a major storm, wildfires, landslides, earthquakes…so, what do you do when it happens? I was of more extreme weather changes in the mid-West but did not realize the intensity until being present for them and checking online weather reports. Let’s look at things that can happen in all three major regions of the U.S. to keep YOU and I safer on our adventures!

West Coast

Yes, we do have earthquakes. Thankfully, our infrastructure is built for them and it’s relatively rare for one to do real damage. But we have some other issues, too. Here’s what to do in each of them.

  1. Earthquakes. If the road starts to shake, you should carefully pull over. Do not stop under or on a bridge or overpass, or under trees, light posts, signs…anything which might fall on your car. The safest place to be is in your car. When you resume driving, keep it slow and watch for breaks, cracks, potholes, fallen rocks, and damaged bridges. If you’re at the waterfront and the sea starts to leave, get inland and onto high ground quickly. Receding sea can be the first sign of a tsunami.
  2. Wildfires. Unfortunately, fire season has been particularly bad over the last few years. If you are in an area with smoke, keep your windows rolled up. Stay in your car. Close your air vents. Continue driving, but avoid heavy smoke if possible, keeping your headlights on. Obey road closures and detours and always let firefighters past. Be flexible with your plans.
  3. Storms. Hailstorms are pretty common in the mountains, and can sometimes trigger rock falls and landslides that block passes. Try to avoid a schedule that will cause issues if a pass is blocked for several hours.
  4. Excessive heat. Southern California gets pretty hot, and this is also a note for the southwest desert states. If driving through the desert, make sure to have plenty of water in your trunk and also take salty snacks. Park your car in shady areas if possible.

Central

We’re not going to talk about those Midwestern winters because that’s not when you’re going to be taking your road trip. Leave that to the people who live there.

But there are some things to worry about even in the summer.

  1. Tornadoes. A tornado warning means that conditions are possibly suitable for a tornado. A tornado watch means that the storm is producing potential tornado conditions and/or a tornado has been sighted. In towns where tornadoes are common, you may hear sirens…if you do, go into the nearest open building and go to an interior room or basement. Find out if your hotel has a tornado shelter or a basement area. If not, the safest place to be is the bathroom. Do not go anywhere until the tornado warning has passed. If you are on the road and the tornado is distant, turn at right angles to its path and drive until you find a sturdy building. If you’re actually caught in high winds, pull over, park, and tuck yourself in the bottom of the car….or leave and put yourself in a ditch. Don’t shelter under a bridge.
  2. Lightning. If you are driving during a lightning storm, stay in your car. Even if your vehicle is hit, you are likely safe as the metal frame conducts lightning past you. Make sure any sunroof is thoroughly closed. Pull over if visibility is too bad to safely drive.
  3. Excessive heat. In the central south, you have the same heat issues as in the desert. However, the further east you go, the higher the humidity. Check not just the temperature but the heat index and avoid physical activity during the hottest part of the day.

East Coast

In general, the East Coast has less severe weather than other areas, but the biggest concern is hurricanes. Unfortunately, hurricane season overlaps with the summer vacation season. You might, though, consider scheduling your trip earlier in the summer. While hurricane season starts on June 1, it’s rare for there to be severe storms before August.

  1. Hurricanes. The nice thing about hurricanes is that you can see them coming. The bad thing about them is they last for days. If you are planning a trip during hurricane season, be ready to change your plans. If you’re booking stuff in advance, consider travel insurance. Don’t stick around…make sure you have a full tank of gas and get out. Every year, some idiots get hurt trying to watch a hurricane.
  2. Lightning and thunder. East coast storms tend to be shorter and less intense than those in the Midwest, but dangerous summer storms are not unknown.
  3. Excessive heat. High heat and humidity are an issue everywhere from Maryland south. Avoid scheduling heavy activities for the hottest part of the day and keep plenty of water in your car.

The most important thing is to be flexible. You never know what might happen and you need to be willing to accept a bit of a detour. Sometimes it can be more exciting than your original plans! To find out more, contact There Goes Sara Rose today.

Route 66 Sign in Santa Monica (Rose, S., 2021)

History, Art and the Free Spirit on Route 66 || 16 States in 16 Days

You know about US Highway 66, not because you are deeply invested in highway systems, but because of the yearning for freedom. Though it wouldn’t be completely paved until 1938, US Highway 66, commonly known as Route 66, entered the US Highway System in 1926. Its significance takes many forms. It was the first all-weather highway between Chicago and Los Angeles, two massive economic focal points of the American West. Its development from dirt-road-to-superhighway epitomizes economic development and the remarkable geographical links brought about by a robust national public highway system. Its birth and development came at a time of immense turmoil and economic upheaval, yet it persisted.

Listen to a podcast of this travel article here: https://anchor.fm/theregoessararose/episodes/Ep-9-History–Art-and-the-Free-Spirit-of-Route-66–16-States-in-16-Days-e1570m1

As a result, it became the romanticized highway we know today, coming to symbolize the optimism that fell over the American people after WWII. Bridging the Rocky Mountain divide and stretching to the Pacific Ocean, Route 66 represents the free-spirited ideation of a country already firmly built on free-spirited ideation. Pulling on the history of the USA with its free-spirited energy, and embracing what it means for my own adventures, is why I’m going.

Why is this trip so pivotal? This is the first time I have left the West Coast, the first time I have traveled on such a road trip, and the first time I have gone so far with the specific goal of collecting and sharing what I can with all of you (translation: Taking more tech supplies than clothes!). This is the moment I set out on my professional path, one I carve out for myself, and I welcome you to come along as, “There Goes Sara Rose”!

How to Road Trip on Route 66

“Historic” vs Interstate

In 1985, Route 66 was removed from the United States Highway System, as its utility had become unnecessary in the wake of the successful Interstate Highway System. After it was decommissioned, numerous organizations worked to preserve significant structures, features, and artifacts of the road. Their work has resulted in the “Historic Route 66” that we know today. This is not to be confused with Interstate 66 (I-66), which is not connected whatsoever to the original Route 66. 

VW Bus Tourist Stop next to The Copper Cart in Seligman, Arizona. Photo: Rose, S. (2021)

The modern version of Route 66 we know today isn’t entirely drivable, as it no longer needs to serve as a functional highway. Instead, the drivable portions serve as monuments to American history. Some of these spots have been turned into historic locations with informational posts, signs, and more! You will see many on my socials and here at ThereGoesSaraRose.com.

Navajo & Hopi Indian Arts and Crafts Center in Winslow, AZ Photo: Rose, S. (2021)

Packing Your Clothes

Compression travel bags, such as the Hefty Shrink Pak Travel Bags I used, are an excellent way to pack for a road trip when organized correctly. A packing tip section may sound simple, but these bags and this method saved me hours of frustration:

  1. Keep your clothes CLEAN! You may try to keep dust and dirt out of the car but the windy air will not allow it!
  2. Keep your clothes EASY TO ACCESS! With one bag per day for clothes, you can skip taking the suitcase into your lodgings except when it is time to wash. Traveling with friends? Still consolidate outfits into one bag per day.
  3. Keep your clothes ORGANIZED! Folding and keeping bags flat as possible before compression leaves room for important extras such as swimsuits, extra socks, a windbreaker etc. to help with various weather plans.

You will want to map out a plan regarding when you will clean your clothes and take change and laundry soap; do not assume you will have clothes cleaning services nearby! Having a windbreaker, rain poncho, and/or warm weather gear when traveling in winter is a key part of being prepared for anything.

Route 66 Highlights-Subscribe for More!

The love for nostalgia is evident in the care that has been taken with preserving these pieces of history, a moment in time saved to share a story. Many of the stops have several signs touting a landmark of some type, beaming with pride at passing drivers, enticing them to “taking the next right!”. The unplanned stops became my favorite; the finding-of-the-unexpected just as appealing as a curated museum. A friend and I spent almost an entire 16 days photographing, recording, and taking notes of various parts of the United States, from the Mojave Desert to New Orleans, from Chicago to Las Vegas. Makes sure to subscribe and follow this blog to be the FIRST to get these stories, photos, and more!

Here are a few excellent attractions along Route 66 I missed I planned to return back to, such as:

Delgadillo’s Snow Cap Drive-In

Located in Seligman, Arizona is a historic eatery that was built in 1953 by Juan Delgadillo. It stands out from the crowd quite literally as it was built mostly from scrap lumber. Flamboyant and humorous, featuring menu items like “Dead Chicken” and “Cheeseburger With Cheese”, Delgadillo’s is a delightful stop on Route 66. 

Cadillac Ranch

A public art installation in Amarillo, Texas, Cadillac Ranch is one of the many quirks of Route 66. Buried in the desert sand are ten graffiti-covered Cadillacs. Visitors to the installation are welcome to contribute to the artistic display with their designs spray-painted onto the Ranch’s vehicles.

The Wigwam Motel

A curious motel in Holbrook, Arizona furnishes guests with the chance to sleep in wigwams for the night instead of traditional motel rooms. While the rooms are shaped like tipis as opposed to the more hut-like wigwam, this kitsch motel is still a great place to lay your head.

Join The Adventure!

The dream of travel, seeing places never seen, and turning that into art, is the whole reason why I write this blog. If that’s something you’re dreaming of too, I hope these posts help inspire you towards taking your own journey. Want to get your kicks on Route 66? Come along with me for the first major leg of my travels in “16 States in 16 Days”! Follow me on social media for updates as they happen and subscribe to my blog for stories on my adventures. Thank you for coming on this journey with me.

Sara Rose at the Grand Canyon, Arizona. (Photo: Neri, M. 2021)
Sara Rose at the Grand Canyon, Arizona. (Photo: Neri, M. 2021)

P.S. Notes while traveling are key! Purchase Word Vomit: A 90-Day Expression Journal to give yourself space for mindless doodles, inspiring art, and processing unfiltered emotions! This is a great way for you, your friends, or kids to prepare for a blog of your own or just word vomit!

How to Prep for a Day Hike in Yosemite in Spring of 2021

Are you longing to get out of the house? As COVID-19 restrictions start to wind down and more people get vaccinated, thoughts of travel are hitting all of our minds. At the same time, you’re probably looking for a safe option.

If you live near Yosemite or another mountainous region, now is the perfect time to take a day hike. You can get in some exercise, see some new stuff, and stay outside and away from others. Spring is a great time to explore the mountains before summer fire season.

Listen to a podcast of the travel article here: https://anchor.fm/theregoessararose/episodes/Ep-3-How-to-Prep-for-a-Day-Hike-in-Yosemite-in-Spring-of-2021-e155nve

What is Yosemite Like in April and May?

Weather in the late spring is usually pleasant, but not warm. Highs in the valley tend to be in the 60s and lows in the 30s. Rain and snow are still possible, and you should dress accordingly. Fire conditions are possible but less likely than later in the summer.

Some higher areas in the mountains may still be snowbound and Tioga Road is still closed. Mariposa Grove usually opens by mid-March. Glacier Point Road is also closed (and as a note, it will be closed for the entire of 2022 for rehabilitation). Generally, plan a route that won’t take you above 6,000 feet and check with the rangers to see what is or is not open.

The spring snow melt makes the waterfalls particularly pretty, especially in the Valley. While it’s generally not clear enough for backpacking without snow camping, there are plenty of day hike options.

Check out my video from our day trip to Lower Yosemite Falls!

What Should You Do To Prepare For Your Hike?

Preparing for a spring day hike requires some conditioning. You need to know your limits, especially if you’ve been exercising less and have put on any COVID 19-weight, as it were. Do some walks in your local area and increase the distance, and choose a route that you are comfortable with; don’t go from being sedentary to an 8 mile hike. As it’s still spring, you won’t be at altitude anyway, but you still need to be fit.

You will also need the right gear. Dress in layers; the wide temperature range in the spring may mean you will be taking stuff off, putting it on, taking it off again…so make sure you can do that comfortably. You will also need:

  1. The right footwear. This is the most important piece of gear for hiking. Given the risk of rain or snow in the spring, hiking boots are generally your best option. If you’re staying on easier trails, walking shoes or trail running shoes may work well. Think about what kind of ankle support you need.
  2. A fleece jacket or wool sweater makes a good middle layer for the temperature range you are dealing with.
  3. Rain gear including rain pants. You definitely need rain pants. Bear in mind that wet jeans are the worst thing to be stuck in.
  4. Proper socks, ideally ones designed for hiking.
  5. A backpack. If you plan on hiking all day, get a daypack. Otherwise, an ordinary backpack is fine, but do not carry it slung on one shoulder (you will walk one sided and put strain on yourself).
  6. Some kind of hat. If it’s colder, you will want a wool hat. If warmer, you might want something to keep the sun off.
  7. Insect repellent. Make sure that you have and use a DEET-based insect repellent that also repels ticks. Apply repellent to exposed skin, but also to the cuffs of your pants and your hat.
  8. Sunscreen. Even if it’s not that warm.
  9. A hikers’ first aid kit. For casual hikers, a pre-made kit is more than sufficient.
  10. Gloves. You may want them and if you don’t, they’re light.
  11. A camera & gear. Maybe you will find a good smartphone is enough, but a DSLR will still give you better pictures if you want to make the investment. I take a lot of photos on my hikes and encourage you to do the same.
  12. A flashlight, even if you plan on being back well before dark.
  13. Food and water. If you’re really high in the mountains you can get fresh water, but in the park you want to carry enough for your hike.

If you are older and/or the trail is steep, consider investing in trekking poles. Another thing to consider is downloading an app onto your phone that identifies plants, wildlife,  etc.

It’s time to get back out into the world, and a mountain day hike is a great way to do so without worrying about that pesky virus. Watch my video on how to pick hiking boots and please come back to ThereGoesSaraRose.com for more travel advice (and awesome pictures!)