Hello everyone! I hope you’re enjoying the start of summer. Mom and I are back from our cross-county road trip and, as promised, I have lots of beautiful pictures and fun stories to share. From the deserts of Arizona and New Mexico to the mountains of Colorado, we saw so much of the country and our trip was a much-needed post-quarantine getaway.
Our first official stop was Santa Fe, New Mexico and it took us about three days of driving to get there. We drove through Indiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, and the top of Texas. I have never been to any of those states before so the driving was actually very interesting. While passing through Missouri, we stopped at the St. Louis Gateway Arch park and took some pictures with the ‘Gateway to the West’. Sadly, we also saw many dead armadillos on the side of the road in Missouri. Poor little guys.
Surrounded by the rolling red and tan Zuni mountains, our drive through New Mexico was absolutely beautiful. In Santa Fe, we explored the shops in the plaza and the art galleries on Canyon Road. Canyon Road was a bit challenging to navigate in a wheelchair but other than that most everywhere was pleasingly accessible. I loved the laid-back, artsy vibe of the city and the unique architecture. We also made a stop at the New Mexico Museum of Art and at some delicious authentic Mexican restaurants.
Continuing our journey, we headed to Flagstaff, Arizona for a night. It was a very cute town that was, to my surprise, surrounded by the San Fransisco mountains. I had always pictured Arizona as a flat desert state, so the mountains were a nice bonus. The next day, we drove through the Coconino National Forest to get to Grand Canyon National Park. Luckily, I got an all-access pass that allows people with disabilities to drive their cars on roads designated only for shuttles. In the areas that weren’t very accessible for me to get out and explore, I essentially got my own private tour. It was amazing. The Grand Canyon was even bigger and more spectacular than I imagined. Pictures truly don’t do it it justice. One natural wonder of the world down, six to go!
Sedona, Arizona was our next destination. The drive on Highway 89 from Flagstaff to Sedona is actually rated one of the seven most scenic drives in the country. The drive took us through Oak Creek Canyon and had gorgeous, panoramic views of the mountains and red rocks. If you ever have the opportunity to take this drive, I highly recommend it! Beware though, the roads are extremely windy and scary at times. The entire town of Sedona is surrounded by towering red and pink rock formations that don’t even look real. We spent a few days there exploring all of the well-known red rock areas like Cathedral Rock and the Chapel of the Holy Cross. We also explored the town and some peaceful state parks with nicely paved trails and great views. I loved that there was no humidity in Arizona (good for the hair!) but man, oh man, was it hot.
Last but not least, we made our way through northern Arizona and Colorado to get to Denver. On the way, we made a stop at the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs to see the beautiful red rocks. One of the biggest highlights of my time in Colorado was trying out a hiking trackchair (pictured below) at Staunton State Park. They have an annual program where volunteers take people with disabilities hiking in these huge, all-terrain wheelchairs. It felt amazing getting back out on the trails and into nature for a few hours. All of the volunteers were extremely nice and helpful and made the experience really special. I will definitely be back! We also took a trip up to Rocky Mountain National Park and saw two moose within ten minutes of being there. So cute. The views of the snowcapped mountains were breathtaking. We drove up Trail Ridge Road until we were above the tree line and started to see warning signs. I must admit, I was freaking out a little bit driving up into the mountains but it was worth it for the views. Thank God for Mom’s A+ driving skills. We also made a pitstop at Dad’s favorite West Coast fast-food spot, In-N-Out Burger. Since I’m gluten-free, I got my burger ‘protein-style’ (wrapped in lettuce) and it hit the spot. I finally get what all the hype is about.
All in all, we drove about 5,400 miles roundtrip. Crazy, but it was worth it. We listened to countless podcasts and two audiobooks, The Wife Between Us and The Last Thing He Told Me, along the way. I have never been away from Willow for more than a couple of days, so she was super excited when we got home. Our road trip was a nice escape for a couple of weeks but sadly, every vacation must come to an end. Now that I am home, I am starting to participate in a clinical trial and OT at Jefferson that could be beneficial to my right arm. It’s very exciting stuff and I will keep you posted.
Thank you for reading!