Sunday, June 19, 2016

THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD HOME

I made the long drive home to St. Louis with Elizabeth the other day, and we finally made it. It became a lot longer along the way... but I'll get to that later. We started on the road after Elizabeth's last final at around 4:00 and drove until we hit Colorado. Searching everywhere for somewhere to stay the night, we hit up Colorado National Monument where we drove up several thousands of feet and camped out in her car in a random parking lot. The place was totally gorgeous.



 We crossed it anyways L O L


First successful starry sky picture I've taken !!

We left around 7:30 and headed across I-70, making our way to Rocky Mountain National Park. The freeway after Glenwood Springs is insanely beautiful and I couldn't stop taking pictures. The Colorado runs along the interstate and there was a set of railroad tracks that followed the river so one of these days, I'll for sure take the train home.



My head was outside the whole drive, no shame. We had to take a sketchy gravel road to get to the Rocky Mountain National Park and it took us through a bunch of green hills and farmlands and when we turned a corner, we saw this weird thing.


Literally a small mound of gravel with a dozen goats all over it. We were so weirded out that we stopped our car to look closer and bleated at them and they bleated back. MAN it was so weird after driving through nothing for miles. We finally made it to the park after another hour of driving and it was so worth it. I didn't realize that the park consisted of driving up a mega road to the actual top of a mountain. I just gawked by the window for an hour as the subaru putted up the steep mountain road. We were probably going 15 under the speed limit as we tried to floor it, the car was really struggling. But the view was so breathtaking.









I really wish we would've had more time there, but Elizabeth was really in a hurry to get home so we couldn't stop anywhere. When we got through Denver, the air conditioning started shutting on and off and the engine was getting way too overheated. We made it across the Kansas border when the car started jerking around and wouldn't get over 40 mph, so we pulled it aside to a rest stop. This is the same car that broke down on us on our way to Idaho and got it's engine replaced and it STILL was a piece of crap. Her dad told us we had to take it to a mechanic so he got us a hotel room for the night at a Holiday Inn Express and we instantly went to bed. In the morning, we checked out of the hotel and limped the car back to the mechanic to find out that the catalytic converters in the car were toast, so there was no way we were taking that car back to STL. Elizabeth's dad called around to every human imaginable to see if they would come to Colby, KS to pick up a couple of stranded college girls for $200. We finally got a boy from Elizabeth's ward named Jackson to drive the 9 hours to pick us up, so we just needed to find somewhere to hang out for that time. We settled on a seedy bar called "Twisters" and sat there for the whole 9 hours, picking at fries, sleeping across the booth, and doodling eyes on our ankles bc count olaf. These pictures aren't great quality because my camera died but I had to record the place where I stayed for those 9 hours.

 The lovely view from my seat. Those TV's across the way kept me entertained for hours, even if the sound on them was turned off.

 The storm moving in right as we were leaving

This freaking place sheltered us for the time we were waiting for Jackson but I've never been so bored in my entire life

Jackson finally got there and we loaded all of our belongings into his car and was finally on our way home, driving through a thunderstorm and heavy rain. He drove the full 9 hours back since the weather was so bad and so to stay awake, we sang the whole way home to Wicked, random old pop songs, and soundtracks to movies (the a la menthe). We got home at around 6 am and I was finally able to sleep. It was such a long trip home but I'm glad to not be in a car anymore. It is pretty weird being home though, I feel like the whole college thing never even happened. I love STL, but I can't wait to be off on my mission and then back in school, being back home just makes me feel like a high schooler again. Stay tuned for my next stop in England!!!!

Monday, June 6, 2016

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK

My inner mountain woman came out this weekend. I went to the grand freaking canyon.
We drove to the border between Arizona and Utah to camp at this random borderline campsite.


My attempts at a night sky are improving but still pretty crappy


There was literally nothing all around us. We took this dirt/gravel road for miles until we reached the interstate then took that for another two or three hours until we finally made it to the Grand Canyon.


I don't know why, but I guess I always thought that the Grand Canyon was a huge gouge in the middle of a wide desert but the North Rim has tons and tons of beautiful pine trees.


We took the Bright Angel trail, the Cape Royal trail, and the Cape Final trail and all of them together took us about four or five hours. Four or five hours of absolute and total BEAUTY.










This is the forest that goes on for miles and miles until you reach the Utah/Arizona border. It smelled like pine all the way through and was actually a bit chilly in the forest.

It was only around 5 pm when we started heading back home so we decided to hit one more cool place before we decided to peace out. My mom suggested that we go see the Coral Pink Sand Dunes and it was on the way home so it worked out perfectly. Man they were SO cool.






It was a good way to finish off my time in Utah. I have a family reunion next weekend and then I'll be out on the road for Saint Louis. I'll miss these road trip crumbs.