Sometimes, you have to dread those 3-day weekends. They’re too short to do big trips. They’re too long to stay at home and waste your already limited time off. Most of all, everyone must face the insistent question of “What are you doing this holiday weekend?” as if your answer will actually bring enlightenment to their own probable lack of plans. I mean, it’s only the second worst question to “How’s the weather?”
Sometimes, these types of situations lead to crazy decisions. And, in this particular case, it may involve hitting the open road blindly and hitting threee states in threee days. You know, it just happens.
In any case, with map and roads and no end in sight, we traveled from California to Nevada to Utah and back. Here are some epic snapshots of this trip. Next chance you get a daring urge for spontaneity or have a midlife crisis, try it out!
Our epic trip began in San Francisco, CA taking the scenic route through Yosemite to the other side into Nevada. Advice: rent a car with a 16-gal gas tank. We had driven for so long without seeing a gas station that it would have been impossible for our own cars to make this trip; needless to say, all that mileage would have hiked up our car insurance. After sleeping in some town in the middle of nowhere, we decided to head out to Death Valley National Park, NV. Contrary to belief, this place is not just a barren wasteland of endless sand. For one thing, Death Valley is huge! It has some of nature’s greatest creations from sand dunes to salt flats to majestic mountain views across miles and miles on end.
The winds in Death Valley create rippled patterns across these sand dunes.
And as you can expect, it was more than hot at 117°F. The more we looked for shade, the more we saw these dead trees and shrubbery reminding us of what’s to come.
Pictured here is Badwater Basin where the salt flat is located. This is the second-lowest point in the Western Hemisphere. There is a small spring-fed pool of “bad water” accumulating salt from the surrounding basin. Because of the concentrated salt content, the water is undrinkable, hence the name.
Dead trees, bad water, beating sun. After a long day, we certainly got nature’s hint that it was time to hit the road again. Though we hardly put a dent in the vast sites available to see in Death Valley before darkness settled in, we headed out to Vegas for a place to sleep. Yes, you read correctly. We went to the Sin City to do everything opposite of sinning. After recharging our batteries, we set our eyes on Zion National Park in Utah!
Pictures simply cannot convey the breathtaking beauty here. The characteristic reddish Navajo sandstone formations and cliffs are an extension of the the Grand Canyon circuit running through Arizona, Utah, and Nevada. The circuit is a whole ‘nother travel itinerary in itself.
We highly recommend planning beforehand to stay overnight and reserving some of the back country hikes which have even more incredible views to offer. If you’re a hiker, there are quite a number of challenging trails offered at this park.
After seeing such beautiful landscapes, we were sad to see that our trip was coming to an end. On the drive back to California, we had to make one more pit stop at a ghost town called Calico.
As you can probably tell from the fact that there’s “Calico” somehow imprinted on the mountainside, this was a major tourist attraction. In fact, it strangely resembled Frontier Land at Disneyland with props and shops mimicking the Wild West. This is no surprise since Walter Knott of Knotts Berry Farm used to own this town and restored it based on old photographs from the silver rush. He later donated the site to San Bernardino County.
One cool thing, though, was this bottle house built in the 1950’s for Walter Knott. We had to peer inside, which only revealed more bottles and furniture. It is still unclear whether this house existed in the original boomtown. But, it was exciting nevertheless to see that old towns could repurpose these bottles to make a house.
Alas, all good things must come to an end. But, we had a pleasant farewell with this beautiful sunset to send us home. Hope you are all inspired to take your own road trip and discover some of the sights that are only a car ride away.