This post isn’t about business. It’s about me and my husband, Zach, and a CRAZY adventure we planned last Spring.
Let me set the stage, when we were newly married, Zach and I agreed we would follow traditional gift-giving based on our anniversary number. So year one was paper, year two cotton, year three leather, etc. Well in year two, I gave Zach this scratch-off map I found on Etsy. Because it was made with paper—cotton—I was trying to be clever. This map lets you scratch off States in the USA.
Ours is specifically titled “Places We’ve Been.”
Well you see, Zach has traveled all across the USA with his family, being an AirForce family. But I haven’t. I had only gone to four States—Florida, Alaska, Texas, and Oregon. But this map was “places WE’VE BEEN.”
For a long time, this map hung pathetically with only a few states scratched off on the Pacific Coast. We had made it to Califonia, Hawaii, and Washington. In addition to Oregon and Alaska. For over two years, this map sat mostly blank.
Until 2020. Before the world got ill. We were planning a trip to visit all our Grandparents and hit a few states on the East Coast. Once the world closed down, we began to reevaluate. An international trip—even just to Canada—seemed unlikely. So we began thinking about a trip around the US.
As the end of 2020 came, Zach and I were itching—like everyone—to travel. So turn the New Year, we knew we wanted to do a road trip because we felt it was safer and we could travel since most states around us were opening up.
We started to scheme. We had friends in LA that we wanted to visit. And I wanted to go to Joshua Tree National Park. Easy, they were about 90-minutes apart.
We figured we could hit a few National Parks since we love hiking and they were great excuses to go to some states.
Zach had wanted to visit the Grand Canyon as well, so we looked up how long a drive it was from LA to the Grand Canyon. It was more than we wanted to do in a day, but we saw that Las Vegas was a good middle ground. A city we both had never been to, also a plus.
I told Zach I wanted to see Zion National Park as well since it was “close” to Las Vegas. And that I wanted to see the Arches, National Park. Which was a little too far out the way.
Zach didn’t want to stretch himself, as he had never been the main driver on a road trip. But my persistence wasn’t going to let that stop us.
We have some friends that are trying to hike all the National Parks in the USA, so I reached out to her to see if there were any we REALLY needed to visit. She recommended going to Bryce Canyon National Park—an hour outside Zion. And totally reachable on our trip.
At this point, we had started to plan the trip as so:
Portland, OR flying to LAX + friends > Joshua Tree National Park > Las Vegas > Grand Canyon > Las Vegas > Zion National Park > Bryce Canyon National Park (hopefully off to the) Arches National Park.
As we kept looking at places, we figured it was smart to find little motels along the way so we weren’t spending so much money on these overnight stays. And since the world was semi-closed, hotels were VERY cheap. But we decided to splurge in Vegas and found an AMAZING deal for the Venitian Hotel.
I finally convinced Zach to go to the Arches, so we added a stop in Green River Utah, with the plan to drive to the Arches the next morning.
At this point, Zach mentioned he really wanted to visit Yellowstone…. in Montana/Wyoming. That was a whole two states away from where we were. But then we looked on the map on our wall and KNEW we needed to add another stop.
So we began planning a trip up to Yellowstone, via Salt Lake City, Utah, and Pocatello, Idaho. Both of which I had friends in. We were able to stay with one in Idaho and grab a meal with the other in Salt Lake.
The new plan became:
Portland, OR fly to LAX + friends > Joshua Tree National Park > Las Vegas > Grand Canyon > Las Vegas > Zion National Park > Bryce Canyon National Park > Green River > Arches National Park > Salt Lake City + friend > Pocatello + friend > Yellowstone.
But you see Yellowstone didn’t have an airport… We needed to find a way home. So we looked at driving back to Portland, it was too long, and we were running out of days left. Then we saw Bozeman.
There was an airport in Bozeman, Montana.
Portland, OR fly to LAX + friends > Joshua Tree National Park > Las Vegas > Grand Canyon > Las Vegas > Zion National Park > Bryce Canyon National Park > Green River > Arches National Park > Salt Lake City + friend > Pocatello + friend > Yellowstone > Bozeman, Montana fly to Portland.
But here’s the real kicker… we planned to do this all in EIGHT DAYS. Yes, you read that right. Eight days.
The two of us decided to visit six National Parks, seven States, in eight days. I know, we’re crazy. But we were determined to scratch off those seven additional states on our map and have an adventure of a lifetime. And you can best believe I made us a colour-coded itinerary.
We made it to May, everyone thought we were crazy. We packed our hiking gear, finalized our itinerary, and set off to LA.
Be on the lookout for part two of our adventure!