An aspect of my life I wanted to highlight in this blog is my love of travel and the adventures I go on. Johnny and I definitely prioritize travel above many other things and devote as much time and money as we can into getting out and seeing the world. I want to give you all a glimpse into our travels to keep not only your closet inspired but your sense of wanderlust as well. Never stop exploring--advice that applies to every aspect of life. Enjoy these highlights from our month-long road trip around the western U.S.!
First stop, the Badlands. This bizarre South Dakota landmark looked like we drove off the prairie and into another planet! It was desolate and calm at our campsite...until a storm rolled in to test the weather-resistance of our tent. We were so tired from J's residency graduation events that we slept right through the storm.
Next (after a very quick stop at Mt. Rushmore) we visited and camped by Devil's Tower. I was a bit skeptical about Johnny choosing this destination at first, but after visiting I was very glad we did. We did a cool hike, and celebrated 4th of July with the locals--very interesting times!
Yellowstone National Park was the third stop on our list. The first thing we noticed was the large amount of tourists present from all over the world. To escape the crowds, we climbed up a mountain! Our favorite part of Yellowstone was a restaurant in nearby Gardiner, MT called The Raven Grill--a small-town cafe setting with the best gourmet food we ate on the entire trip!
Glacier National Park...fourth on our list of stops, and favorite destination of the whole trip. It was a land of craggy mountains, turquoise clear waters, and abundant wildlife. We camped there for three nights, hiking during the day, exploring the famous Going to the Sun Highway and enjoying beers by the campfire watching the mountain sunset in the evening. We can't wait to go back when we can spend more time.
This little slice of heaven is Sun Mountain Lodge in Eastern Washington's Methow Valley. We relaxed here for a couple days to recuperate from our week of camping. This resort was very laid-back and decorated in an extremely tasteful lodge style (without being too kitschy, hallelujah!). This part of the country is so idyllic with orchards, rivers and mountains all draped in a fuzzy gold light when the sun goes down.
From the Methow Valley, we traveled the North Cascade Scenic Highway to Seattle, WA. Our hotel was right next to the Space Needle, making it easy to catch a ferry to Bainbridge Island, explore the nightlife and check out the Chihuly Gardens.
Our next stop was Auburn, WA. This small town is where a former student and friend from Johnny's residency lives and we stopped for a day to see him. The day was so chill. We hiked in these beautiful woods, had a campfire in the backyard and spent the night grilling hot dogs, drinking Rainier beers and catching up with our friends.
From Washington, we continued on to Oregon. Our destination was the peaceful Diamond Lake Resort. Our first day there we biked around Diamond Lake surrounded by views like this.
For our second day at the Diamond Lake Resort, we traveled to nearby Crater Lake and hiked up Mt. Scott. This afforded us amazing views of Crater Lake and provided a great time to catch up with another of Johnny's Pacific-Northwestern-located friends who met us there.
After leaving Diamond Lake, we moved west towards the coast and began our drive down Highway 1. We stopped in Brookings, Oregon the first night. It was a long-awaited first glimpse of the Pacific and it did not disappoint with gray sand, beach bonfires and a beautiful sunset.
Highway 1 led us to San Francisco where we stayed at the absolutely stunning Inn Above Tide in Sausalito. Our deck was literally on the water! Above is the view from our room's deck (sorry it's not the best quality picture). You can see the Bay Bridge, SF skyline and Alcatraz. We had one full day in SF. The ferry took us into the city where we spent the majority of the day exploring Haight Ashbury. We had some craft beers, went to a Victorian punch bar (yes they had bowls full of spiked punch), went to a hookah lounge and capped things off with dinner at my favorite restaurant in the Haight, Cha Cha Cha, a Cuban tapas place. My favorite part of SF was our mornings on the deck with the view and a glorious breakfast spread.
After San Francisco, we continued our journey down Highway 1. I had made this trip before with my cousins during the springtime, and I have to say the summer tourist season makes for a completely different journey. The overlooks were jam packed to the point of not being able to park and look out--people just everywhere. That is not what I experienced the first time I drove the one. In fact, the thing I liked most that first time was the solitude and beauty. It was definitely still beautiful, but I doubt I will travel it again in high summer.
We took Highway 1 into Malibu--so picturesque! If you have ever seen a movie where they do an aerial shot of car driving down a curvy road by the ocean, that's the PCH by Malibu, guaranteed. Highlights of the trip were brunch at Paradise Cove Beach Club (the Perfect Day drink has so much booze in it, it will make anyone's day perfect FYI, lol). Then we hung out at Zuma Beach. While the SoCal lifestyle was a little too populated for us, we were able to escape up into the hills to this AMAZING Air Bnb property! It was a completely renovated vintage Airstream trailer with this incredible view out to the ocean (Taylor Swift and Karlie Kloss did this Vogue photoshoot there!). We read vintage Playboys, drank rose and talked about life. The night was culminated with a visit from a very friendly white dog who laid and stargazed with us.
From Malibu, we traveled to Las Vegas. I don't want to break with tradition--what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. But I did want to share this absolutely amazing dress I wore! And this was one of the rare times during the trip that I actually wore makeup. :)
We shocked ourselves by having enough energy to do some hiking on the Bright Angel Trail in the Grand Canyon even after spending three days in Vegas. It was pretty hot and pretty packed with tourists but Johnny was glad to check the Canyon off his bucket list.
Our final stop on the trip--Aspen! I had to bring Johnny here because it is one of my favorite places in the world. I love all the cute shops. They are all unique and it is fun to see couture shops since that is something we definitely do not have in rural Kansas. I treated myself to a couple pairs of rag + bone jeans while shopping here. I've wanted to try some designer denim for awhile and these rag + bone jeans fit me so well! While in Aspen, Johnny got a haircut--he had been rocking the man bun (which we both loved), but needed to be clean cut to start working at the hospital.
This trip was incredible in so many ways--definitely the best I've ever been on. But when all was said and done, the best part about it is how much closer it brought me to Johnny. There aren't many (or maybe any!) people I could not only be with 24/7 but also in close quarters on the road traveling with, but I could with him. I think our relationship matured at warp speed by going through all these experiences--it makes things sound like a fairytale, but really, for me, it made our connection all the more real. Perhaps this is best exemplified by the fact that days after our travels were over, Johnny asked me to move in with him. And thus, the adventure continues... :)