For our honeymoon, we packed up our van and embarked on a 6-week road trip across the U.S. Right off the bat, we faced numerous setbacks, starting with the van breaking down as soon as we drove away from our wedding reception, our hotel room flooding and having to be relocated to a DIFFERENT hotel in town, and getting pulled over for driving without the headlights on... Oops.
But that's one thing that I love about our life -- it doesn't matter what's going on around us, because we always manage to make light out of tense situations and have a good time. However, the first week of the honeymoon definitely was the roughest...
Portugal got SUPER sick while we drove through Missouri, so I bundled him up in blankets and made him lay down on the futon while I drove straight through Kansas to my aunt's house in Colorado where we ended up staying for 5 days while he recovered. (Thanks for letting us crash at your house, Aunt Louise!)
The day we left Aunt Louise's house, the serpentine belt snapped in the mountains and we were stranded in a tiny town called Gypsum. Definitely not ideal honeymoon conditions. Luckily, we stumbled into a Napa Auto Parts store where we were put in touch with a mechanic sent from Heaven. We were on the road by the very next day, and our bad luck streak was finally over!
Our first "official" stop on our Honeymoon tour of the country was Arches National Park in Utah. If there's one thing I would tell anyone who is considering taking a trip out west, it would be 1.) JUST DO IT. and 2.) GO TO UTAH. Utah is MAGICAL. Deserts, mountains, other-worldly rock structures. We could have spent our whole 6-week getaway in Utah and been perfectly happy.
After Arches, we drove straight to Canyonlands National Park. Portugal knew of a scenic route, so we took our time winding through desert farmland and huge rock monoliths. And of course, we stopped for prime photo-ops along the way. (Pictured below, bottom-right, one of my favorite scenes from the whole trip: Newspaper Rock.)
Some more prime traveling advice for those seeking a desert road-trip... A lot of National Park campgrounds are first-come, first-serve, no reservations allowed (meaning you have to be an early bird to save yourself a campsite inside the parks.) We are not "early" people, so this was a near-impossible feat for us. Luckily, we met two girls camping in the park who let us share their campsite with them. We got to share our story with them and hear a bit of theirs, which is always good.
The next day, we drove through Monument Valley. You know, where Forrest Gump stopped running. Words can't even describe the awesomeness of this drive... Truly breath-taking. And speaking of breath-taking, we also managed to find time to visit the Grand Canyon on our trek across Utah. ALSO breath-taking (and just like, so massive that you can't even fathom it there in front of you.)
But my FAVORITE stop, hands-down, was Zion National Park. Oh. My. Gosh. Go to Zion. Go to Zion. Go to Zion. I forgot to even take photos there because I was so in awe of our surroundings. Luckily, Portugal snagged a few -- including one of me in pursuit of petroglyphs hidden in the National Park. So hidden that park rangers aren't even allowed to tell people where they're hidden. Luckily, we were able to find them pretty easily with the help of an online treasure map. The art historian inside of me flipped out.
After nearly a week and a half of exploring the desert (not that it's something you easily get sick of) it was so great to stumble into Las Vegas, a true desert oasis. Our friends Makhailla and Trevor hosted us and showed us around their city. We both agreed that it was very reminiscent of Miami. We walked around lavish casinos and shopping districts to people watch. Portugal was in street photographer heaven.
We said goodbye to Makhailla and Trevor on Easter Sunday and headed towards L.A. Traffic was horrid, but we were able to spend our first night in L.A. seeing Underoath perform on their reunion tour. Definitely an awesome welcome party. And of course we spent the next day at Disneyland!
The next few days were spent exploring Huntington Beach and chilling with old and new friends alike. Our last day in L.A., we dumpster-dove at Trader Joe's and came out with an incredible haul of food that lasted us until the end of our trip. Thank you, Jesus!
HIGHWAY FREAKING ONE. So, so beautiful. These flowers just grow everywhere. Truly a dream come true.
Beach camping in Oceano, California was one of the most unforgettable parts of our trip. We made a fire, cooked ramen and enjoyed the sounds of rip-roaring ATVs roaming the beach all night. Haha.
San Francisco! Such an amazing and genuine place. We struck up a few conversations with strangers that were truly heart-warming. I wish we had had more time in this city, but we are grateful for the time that we did have. We even got to meet up with one of Portugal's old friends from when he was a camp counselor.
Our night in the Redwoods was nothing short of... terrifying. We pretty much got lost and ended up winding down a gravel road (with a gorgeous view), only we realized too late that we were stuck on a road consisting of endless downhill switchbacks for miles. We were literally dizzy by the time we got to level ground, and super duper lost. We continued onto a very hilly road, and as we were cruising down a massive hump, Portugal exclaimed, "Oh my gosh... the brakes are out." I felt my stomach fall out of my butt and I could hear my heartbeat in my ears as we flew downhill at 45 MPH. Luckily, my intuitive husband was able to throw the van in second gear, then first, then park as the hill plateaued. We caught our breath changed our pants (kidding... or not) and tried to figure out what the heck was wrong. It turns out we were out of brake fluid from going down all those switchbacks. Fortunately it was an easy fix, but then we spent 45 minutes driving in the wrong direction only to hit a dead end. We turned around and drove an hour in the direction we had just come from, and by the time we found a spot to camp, it was 3am and we were so dead inside. Thus concluded the worst night of the honeymoon. But we did manage to get some beautiful photos before all of that went down:
The next few days were a million times better than our night in the Redwoods. Ashland, Oregon is truly magical and everyone needs to go there at some point in our lives. We went to a beautiful park where fairies probably live or something and were able to get this close to some friendly deer. We even laid down with them in a grassy field for a little while, when a cat showed up out of nowhere and joined the party by sitting in our laps. Magic, I tell you. Then we got to meet up with our awesome friends Scionn and Flower. We boondocked on a snowy mountain, made dinner for them, and talked around the campfire for hours. (Thanks for an awesome time, y'all.)
PORTLAND. So hip.
We met up with Sean and Melanie (A Fist Full of Bolts) again in their home state of Washington and they showed us all the best that it had to offer. Black sand beaches, crazy ocean rock formations, and so much more.
Some of our favorite shots from our shoot with them pictured below. See more here!
On our way back home, we were able to stop in North Dakota to visit some of Michael's family, see buffalo and wild horses up close at Theodore Roosevelt National Park (a truly hidden gem!)
Next, we visited our friends Ian and Kelly in Minneapolis. We biked around the city, ate all kinds of crazy pizza, rode in the back of a truck, introduced them to coconut paletas (my addiction) and skateboarded.
Our last stop was St. Louis, where we visited the City Museum and ate lots of BBQ. The perfect ending to the perfect honeymoon! We are anxiously awaiting our next opportunity to take another road trip like this!