Using Flagstaff as home base for another night (and after chowing down on the most delicious pizza and gelato from Pizzicletta), we detoured from Route 66 to see the Grand Canyon – just a hop, skip and a jump away! – and from there, we’d continue west to Las Vegas and down to Palm Springs. Only then would be veer back onto the path and (finally!) round out the adventure in Los Angeles.
FLAGSTAFF TO GRAND CANYON. I imagine that the first time anyone sees the Grand Canyon, it must be breathtaking. And it was for us, but not without a little good-natured drama. The day started like most days we’d had before – blue skies, shining sun, the whole nine. After walking along the safely fenced in overlooks, we noticed that there was a peak where you could really get in the canyon, and well, we wanted to do that! We were halfway down to that coveted spot when it began to rain. The sky turned to night almost instantly, and before we had a chance to think, hail kicked in, and to be quite honest, I was terrified; our exposed skin was pelted with mini chunks of ice, and I remember screaming as we huddled under a tree (we were quite literally between a rock and a hard place!). Five minutes later, the sky turned a deep navy blue as the rain slowed down, and little rainbows began popping up all over the canyon. It. Was. Amazing. Like, rub-your-eyes-am-I-really-seeing-this amazing. Absolutely worth the pain of All the Hail.
LAS VEGAS. Our most drastic change of scenery was the trek from the Grand Canyon to Las Vegas, as I’m sure you can imagine! After spending so many days in peaceful, serene nature, it was a bit of a shock to find ourselves surrounded by that much energy. Scott had never been before, and I had only been one time when I was 16 (like, a thousand years ago), so we did what you do when in Vegas – eat, drink, gamble and take in a show. And by gamble, I mean spend twenty bucks on the Ellen slot machine and call it quits when you’ve still got 30 cents. Las Vegas favorites: dinner at D.O.C.G., brunch at Hash House a Go Go.
BETWEEN LAS VEGAS AND PALM SPRINGS. This might be the most memorable leg of the journey, if only because it couldn’t be more different than what we see everyday living in Chicago. After Vegas, our next stop was Palm Springs, which we got to by way of the Mojave Desert and Joshua Tree. At one point, we passed through the town of Amboy, which put us back on a few mile stretch of Route 66, making us extra happy!
PALM SPRINGS. Aah, I heart you, Palm Springs. I always have (you know, based on my one prior visit – ha!), and now I’m pretty sure you’ve taken Scott’s heart, too. We stayed in the colorful Saguaro Hotel, and although we only had one day there, we took full advantage by thrift store hopping, desert exploring and poolside laying. In the evening, we walked through downtown where there was a rather large pop up festival, and we had dinner followed by milkshakes with a new-to-us friend. Palm Springs favorites: dessert at Great Shakes, Saguaro hotel, ALL those windmills!
PALM SPRINGS TO LOS ANGELES. We left Palm Springs with mixed emotions, knowing we were almost to the Route 66 finish line, but also because we were thisclose to completing the 2,500+ mile journey! Route 66 ends at the Santa Monica pier, and we made it there about an hour before sunset. We spent not enough time with Kalli, one of my best girls, grabbing brunch at the farmers market, shopping our way through Silver Lake, and binge-watching Netflix. Before hopping on a homeward bound plane, we loaded up on Randy’s doughnuts – always important. Los Angeles favorites: dinner at Bowery Bungalow, the sunset at Silver Lake Reservoir – and the palm trees, ocean and sunshine, of course!
For anyone who has ever considered driving Route 66, I promise that you won’t regret it. As someone who is famous for napping through every long car ride, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about the actual car time. That said, I surprised even myself by sitting wide-eyed, eager and totally awake through the entire journey. Later this week, we’ll share how in the world we were able to make it work for us, after which, we’ll get back to regularly scheduled DIY! Speaking of, we cracked a new can of paint over the weekend, and the scent was oddly intoxicating – in the best possible way.