2016 USA Road Trip: 8 Key Moments

This year we visited the States again for a short road trip around California, Nevada and Arizona. It’s difficult to try and put the whole trip into words, but here are 8 memorable things to happen on the road.

  1. The return to Lone Pine – we first visited Lone Pine, CA in 2014. We passed through by accident after we were all pretty much dead on our feet following a trek up to Half Dome in Yosemite. As such we decided to incorporate it into this years road trip, just for old times sake. And guess what? It was just as beautiful and peaceful as we remembered. You wouldn’t think a pool in the middle of a car park would have magnificent views of mountains, but it did.

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2. Finding Manzanar – We came across this National Monument on our way out of Lone Pine, and I’ll be honest, none of us knew about this part of America’s history. We stopped to check it out and learnt about this heartbreaking, eye-opening, sobering part of history. No one escaped this place with the intense heat in the summer, or the freezing snow in the winter. And while we stood there in the remainder of the camp, we couldn’t believe the feeling of isolation they must have felt.

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3.  Revisiting Death Valley – We managed to swing through Death Valley again, conveniently at the time it hit 104! What I remember most? The sand burning my toes through my shoes. Good footwear advised!

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4. Hello Pahrump! – Now there’s not much of anything here, but this cool wild west style was too cool to not mention.

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5. Tonopah – Every year we decide to incorporate a random place into our itinerary, and Tonopah was the lucky town this year. I won’t lie, we fully expected the towns folk to be completely unwelcoming, but how wrong we were! We started our drinking day at the Tonopah Liquor Company and met Suzie, an amazingly friendly woman. Later we visited the Bug Bar and met some more of the locals, got a free drink from most of them, the most notable being a man called Ron. We spent the evening chatting with old Ron, and my brother even swapped t-shirts with him… like some kind of bizarre post-football match ritual. The smaller places are certainly the best!

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6. Beware of Random Cows – Notable moments and memories don’t just come from people you’ve met, or places you’ve visited, they sometimes come from unlikely moments. This unlikely moment being the time a cow ran out on us when we were travelling 95mph in the Dodge. I was asleep at the time and can’t even begin to explain how bizarre it was to wake up to intense car braking while a cow stared me down. We told this story to a local man we met later in the night and strangely enough he was an EMT. He told us a miracle story of how a couple drove through 3 cows and survived. The passenger would have been a goner if she hadn’t laid down her chair for a nap minutes earlier. The moral of the story? Look out for cows… or drive slower.

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7. Lake Powell Isn’t As Blue As You Think – I mean this isn’t the best memorable moment but it’s worth noting. We camped at Lake Powell and it was great, but it was REAL hot. And naturally if you’re in a hot place and there’s a lake, you go for the lake. So we did, and it turns out that Lake Powell isn’t as blue as you think. When you get up close and personal it’s surrounded by like a million prickles and the water is some kind of gross brown colour. Like most things, they seem perfect from afar.

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8. Living For The Moment In Flagstaff – We LOVE Flag! I have so many amazing memories of this quirky little town, but what stuck in my mind was a moment I observed in a bar one night. As I sat listening to the soft delta blues of the tribute band playing, I watched a woman in her late 60s, dancing away on her own without a care in the world. As I watched her I thought to myself, I hope I carry myself like that going forward in life. Not caring what anyone thinks, dancing solely for myself, and living entirely in the moment.

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