Tips, Travel, US

…And 7,300 Miles Later

Well, we officially survived our West Coast road trip. Two months and eleven states later, we are back in Oregon. We saw so many great National Parks, listened to a crazy number of podcasts, visited more McDonald’s than I’d been to in years prior, ate a lot of PB&Js, and visited quite a few friends and family.

Half Dome in Yosemite
One second from every day of our trip

By the Numbers

  • Miles Driven: 7,300
  • States Visited: 11
  • National Parks Visited: 15
  • Days on the Road: 55
Adventuring in Arches with our good friend Summer
Beautiful drives through Wyoming

The Thoughts

Top Sights:

  • Mammoth Terraces in Yellowstone. This was definitely our favorite park, and this was my favorite place within Yellowstone. The travertine made by calcium carbonate in the hot springs makes everything look snow covered. The reflections in the ponds, the weird layers of rock forming staircases, the dead trees still standing in the water, it was all beautiful in a weird way. Even better, there was a family of elk hanging in the terraces.
  • Rim Trail in Bryce Canyon. It was my second time to Bryce and I loved it just as much. Seeing the colorful pink hoodoos popping up all over the canyon is magical.
  • Mesa Arch in Canyonlands. Simply stunning and a little scary to be able to see deep into the canyon from the arch.

Best Surprise:

  • Hiking in the Black Hills of Custer State Park. It surprised us how beautiful it is out there in western South Dakota!
  • Relaxing on the coast in Mendocino. Just before arriving back in Oregon, we stopped in the small beach town, a couple hours north of San Francisco. Massive crashing waves, big bluffs and gorgeous sunsets. I could have stayed watching the view from this incredible BnB for days.

Coolest Towns:

  • Durango, Colorado. We loved this little town. Beautiful spot right in the mountains and along a river. Cute historic downtown area with really good food, great live music, and a perfect BnB to stay at.
Cliff Palace in Mesa Verde National Park, outside Durango
  • Santa Barbara, California. Right on the beach. Awesome local restaurants, hip bars and wineries. Spanish-colonial architecture everywhere. Friendly and mellow vibe. What’s not to like?!

Best Non-Hiking Activities:

We did a lot of hiking, so we had to switch it up on occasion.

  • Biking 24 miles along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. It was hard not to gawk at the views along the ride but fortunately we never fell off while doing so!
Magical rainbow into the Grand Canyon
  • Miss Behave Gameshow in Las Vegas. When we needed a break from nature and national parks, we hit up Vegas for a few days. This was a hysterical and fun show, ridiculous and outrageous.

Best Tip:

  • Gypsy Guide app! “Jim” was our roadside companion and guide through 9 National Parks. It made those trips so much more interesting and fun. Plus then we had to do less planning, always a plus!
Loved the street art in Jackson, Wyoming

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