Travel future: Las Vegas and Southwest USA road trip
I love a good road trip – a bit odd for a non-driver I know, but where I lack in driving skills I make up for it with my navigation, trip planning and snack-supplying expertise. But although I’ve done some epic road trips around Australia and New Zealand, I’m yet to experience the road trip in its spiritual home – the USA. It already feels familiar after seeing it in so many films and TV shows, from Thelma and Louise to Tombstone. My trip starts off in Las Vegas and loops through the southwest USA, through seven national parks, five states and something like 2000 miles. Here’s what the next three weeks have in store…
Week 1: Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon
The trip starts off with my first trip to Las Vegas. While my boyfriend is working at a trade show, my sister and her husband are joining me for a week of being a complete tourist in Sin City. We’re all Vegas virgins so plan to travel the world via the casinos – from New York and Egypt to Paris and Venice – catch a show, hang out by the pool and partake in a cocktail or two. If you’ve got any recommendations of places to eat, drink or for quirky things I should check out while I’m there do let me know. We will be escaping for a couple of days to visit the Grand Canyon to stretch our legs and try to catch that perfect canyon sunset.
Week 2: National Park hopping through Utah and Colorado
Once my sister heads home, we pick up a rental car and head out for two weeks road-tripping. Our first state is Utah, where we’ll be visiting Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks. From there it’s on to the wild west town of Kanab, where hundreds of western films were shot. It’s also home to the US’s biggest animal sanctuary, where we’ll be volunteering for the day. Then we drive on through the iconic landscapes of Monument Valley on our way north to Moab, where we have a couple of days to explore Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. Then it’s across the border into Colorado to check out the ancient cliff houses at Mesa Verde before a couple of lazy days in a cabin by the river near Durango.
Week 3: New Mexico and Route 66
From Durango we head south into New Mexico with a night up into the mountains at Taos before carrying on down to arty Santa Fe. We’re big Breaking Bad fans so will see if we can spot any filming locations en route as we travel down to Albuquerque where we pick up Route 66. The Mother Road will take us past petrified forests and painted deserts, as well as plenty of kitschy roadside attractions as we cross into our final state, Arizona. Our last stop is at Sedona, where we have a couple of nights to soak up the spiritual atmosphere and red rock views. And because I can’t have a trip without a wine region visit, I’d like to fit in a tasting trip through the nearby Verde Valley before heading on to Phoenix airport for our flight home.
So that’s my southwest USA itinerary. Have you ever visited any of these places? If you have any tips or suggestions of places to see, eat or drink while I’m out there, please let me know.