The Southwestern United States is a grand palette of history, culture, and natural wonders as brilliant as the reds, oranges, and golds of the dramatic landscape itself. Thisis a sampling, an itinerary from a trip of my own, of locations in Colorado, Utah, and Arizona. Integrated throughout are tips on cutting costs as well as lodging and dining recommendations along the way.
Though it was August, Lassen’s peak had just a touch of snow and ice remaining—its white crown prominent over the kingdom of earth below. I turned to look at the world beneath me. Stretching across the horizon I could see other peaks in the Cascade Range faded blue in the distance and spotted with pine trees.
From Devils Tower we drove west across much of Wyoming, seeing nothing but fields. Fields, fields, fields, some hay bales, an endless stretch of road, and more fields. What I did not realize was that we were also rising, approaching small mountains on the horizon. It wasn’t until we were up on the mountain’s side that I realized how high we had risen. So high that we could see the line of haze where the atmosphere of the great big sky touched the vast green fields of earth below. This was a god’s point of view, and we could not help but stop for a few moments to take in the view.
You’ve decided to take a holiday in France, in the region of Burgundy to be exact. It is a land known for its rich history, quaint villages, castles, churches, lakes and forests, and rolling hillsides swathed in vineyards. Burgundy is probably most famous for its wines of the same name, though the countryside of east-central France has that and more to occupy many fulfilling adventures.
Our drive through the Great Plains became a blur of field and sky. This was the Great American frontier, vast and wild and free. I watched it fly by in waves as we made our way to the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Walking into the Wisconsin Welcome Center, we knew it was going to be a great day. A man greeted us cheerfully and pulled out a map where little wheels of cheese marked the hot spots of the area. And who doesn’t love cheese?
Canada held a beautiful countryside. The air was crisp and refreshing, and we stopped along our drive to admire odds and ends that we passed along the way—a stone railroad bridge, a sparkling creek, a quaint farm. It was simple and charming, like out of a fairytale. Though Canada shares a border with the United States, there was a definite change in the aura of the landscape. I could feel a difference as we passed through. And when we crossed back into the United States, camping along Lakes Michigan and Superior, I felt a different sense of nature here too—still beautiful, but different.
On a Sunday in late July, I set off for the trip of a lifetime with my boyfriend, Shane, and his friend, Patrick, from Germany. We were going to be on the road for about a month, making our way through destinations in the U.S. and Canada. The route was roughly planned, and we were going to be joined by Patrick’s friend, Helena, partway through, but the rest of it was a serendipitous adventure. We had no idea who we might meet or what oddities we would come across, but we were prepped and ready for life on the road.
We all have that place—a family home, neighborhood, or vacation spot—that is filled to the brim with the childhood memories of summertime.
Almost immediately I grabbed my beach towel and walked down to the beach. The unfortunate events of the day could not keep me from it any longer.