The Ultimate West Coast-ish Road Trip: 3 States, 4 Cities, 7 Days

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It was my first time in San Diego, or actually my first time out to the West coast so we wanted to make the best out of our short trip. What a memorable adventure this was. From listening to the waves of the Pacific Ocean, to standing in awe of the Grand Canyon and sliding down the sand dunes in Brawley, this was a trip to remember for a lifetime! A lot of this letter was a reflection of this trip, where in hindsight I should’ve just took more time off to enjoy.

We flew into San Diego where Carl’s parents live and set off to our first stop, Las Vegas. This trip was more for sightseeing and not so much the nightlife so we stayed at a Holiday Inn off the strip (which was still nice and cheaper). We only spent a full day in Vegas so we did some shopping at the Premium Outlet, had a delicious buffet dinner at the Bellagio and toured the hotels at night. Most stores on the Vegas strip stays open till midnight so Carl and I did some damage.

Our next stop was the Lake Mead National Recreational Area, which was only a 50 minute drive away. This area consists of Lake Mead with smaller lakes like Lake Mohave – reservoirs on the river created by Hoover Dam and Davis Dam surrounded by desert terrain and wilderness. On the drive up, you get to see the depth of the reservoirs and the different shades in the rocks. This portion of the trip took around 2 hours just to get out of the car and take some pictures.

Then we were off to check off one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world from our Bucket List, the majestic Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon is a steep-sided canyon defined by the Colorado River with nearly 2 billion years of geological history. Also something to keep in mind, we went on this trip in May, and considering the fact that it was more desert areas we only packed shorts with us – this was a mistake! At 7,000 feet above sea level, even in May, the weather was quite chilly. We spent the next day here and stayed at the Grand Canyon national Park Lodges. If this is where you’d like to stay, you must book months in advance!

After a 2 hour drive, we got to my favourite place on this trip, but also a place where my naive 22 year old self I didn’t spend enough time appreciating (instead, we visited a random but decent outlet mall!). Up until this trip, I had never seen naturally coloured red rocks before. As Sedona’s main attraction, the famous red rocks are formed by a layer of rock known as the Schnebly Hill Formation. The Schnebly Hill Formation is a thick layer of red to orange-colored sandstone found only in the Sedona vicinity (wiki). That night, we drove into a small parking area off the main road turned off the car and gazed out in the sky. To this day, I can still remember how clear the night sky was. Given the opportunity, I would definitely go back.

From the red rocks of Sedona, we made our last stop to the Imperial Sand Dunes Cahuilla Ranger Station. The Imperial Sand Dunes are the largest sand dunes open to off-highway vehicle use in the United States. The dunes begin 10 miles southeast of Niland and stretch all the way into Mexico, over 40 miles away (ISDRA Sand Dune Guide). Standing on top of the sand dunes, it felt like the endless Arabian desert minus the heat. The sand was cool to touch and fine to sand on. There is the opportunity to rent an ATV, unfortunately for Carl, it was closed by the time we got there but what we did get to see was the incredible sunset with layers of vibrant colours. This night was also a special night to remember, Carl tried his first heart-attack-Double-Down from KFC.

And this concluded our 7 day road trip to some of the coolest places by the West Coast. We’re quite proud to conclude that on this trip, we drove more than 1,200 miles (that’s almost 2,000 kms) and more than 20 hours of total driving time – talk about a road trip!

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