It’s now been a crazy FEW months. Obvious fact coming your way – uprooting your life and moving across the country takes more than a few weeks to get used to!! With that said, I finally have my furniture and clothes after living out of a suitcase from Dec 22 – January 20, I know how to drive around LA without using a GPS 1000% of the time, and Caroline and I see each other about 4/5 times a week! Things are great!! But I’m here to talk about the most exciting part of this life change – the journey. Man, what a journey it was too, this country rules(d).
December 2016 for myself was one of the best and craziest months of my life. We knew we were leaving New York so EVERY night was out having dinner with friends, going away parties, and holiday parties. Shout out to my friend Priya for taking me out to the best dinner of my life at BLUE HILL BABY OMG! I wanted to cry at every course, I can still taste the venison… Then on December 19th my best friend in the whole wide world asked me to marry him and I was like YESYESYESYEYSEYES, and THEN on Dec 22 we were out to see family for Christmas, only to turn around immediately to have the movers come through and get us out of our Brooklyn Castle. There were maybe 3 opportunities to breathe before we hit the road on New Years Eve.
First stop: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
We decided on a Southern route, since it was January and the furthest south I had ever been was the Outer Banks, and we also decided to drive no more than 12 hours a day so Myrtle Beach it was. We stopped in Maryland for crab cakes (WTFWTF PEOPLE OF MD ARE SO LUCKY WTF), and then we drove through DC and saw the White House while it was still beautiful and sacred to this country!
I was SO SO excited since I’ve always associated SC and Savannah, Georgia, specifically, to be the kingpins of Southern charm! Turns out I was probably only right about Savannah (nothing wrong with MB except that no one is there in the winter haha DUH ASHLEY), but the journey there was beautiful.
Second stop: New Orleans, Louisiana
This was the longest journey of ours – 12 hours. We arrived at Myrtle Beach at night, and left at 5AM in order to get to NOLA asap, so our stay on the actual beach was a little pointless. We stopped at Bojangles for lunch, it was my first time. Y’all ever had those biscuits?! I was shouting from the rooftops declaring my love for those biscuits! When we got to Louisiana, it was pouring rain like I’ve never known. This was rapture rain, we were basically driving under a waterfall for hours and people still be going 65 on the highways!!!!! It was terrifying!!
Now, this is where I need to start paying attention to the length of this post because I could write 5,000 words on NOLA alone. It is the most beautiful and unique places in the world there is NOTHING like it. It was everything I was hoping for and more, and that’s with pouring rain, an insane amount of humidity, and college kids everywhere because it was Jan 1 and the Sugar Bowl was the next day! Those are all things I hate(!!!) and it still couldn’t overtake the magic. The best part was that Zack and Caroline were there a few days before and hid a present for us somewhere in the French Quarter. They gave us clues via words and photos and we were PUUUMMMPPPPEEEDDD for our Indiana Jones adventure. The next morning we hit up the Quarter, kind of lollygagging, until it started raining again and we turned into Holmes and Watson to sniff that sucker out. We found it fully intact, despite the death rains, and luckily no one was around to wonder if we were breaking in to someone’s home or numerous other illegal things (photo below).
I’m going to end this now without talking about the food because, you know, my life changed and I can’t EVEN shorten that story, but I will say this – I’m currently drinking chicory coffee and will for the rest of my life.
Third stop: Dallas, Texas
The SECOND we crossed the border from LA to TX it stopped raining haha. What a relief!! It was a short drive too so we took our time getting into the city. Dallas is HUGE, and really pretty!! I was so shocked at the skyline, I had no idea how great it was. The place we were staying at was very…roadside motel. It was totally fine, but I was worried that Anton Chigurh was going to be knocking on our door in the middle of the night. It’s important to have a scary motel adventure on a road trip. We’d been lucky with Marriott’s the whole time, so it was only right <shrug emoji>
Fourth stop: Wichita, Kansas
We made this stop because half of my family lives there!!! I was so so excited to to see my cousins AND get a home cooked meal, omg. While we’d had a great food adventure up to that point, we’d been eating out for breakfast lunch and dinner. We needed a break and my aunt made us my FAVORITE – cheese enchiladas, sopa and fideo oh my GOD. Just like my grandma makes, I must’ve had my weight in food that night. Then after we got obliterated at my cousins house (mansion) and it was a great time until the morning…oops 😉
Driving through West Kansas and West Texas may seem like it would be boring but my God is it beautiful. I felt like I was in a cartoon the whole time, it was so picturesque. BRIGHT blue skies, corn stalks, power lines, and NOTHING for miles.
Fifth stop: Albuquerque, New Mexico
I truly felt bad for all the other cities after NOLA. There was no way that my heart could grow three sizes like it did there, I would never love anything as much! Then we crossed the border of TX and NM. THEIR DIRT IS PURPLE, PEOPLE. All of the sudden you had giant geographic formations in the distance, plateaus everywhere, strange little plants sprinkled about, and a sunset just getting started. Not a sunset, THE sunset. Where NOLA is man-made beauty, NM is God-made beauty.
Albuquerque was fun! We had so much food that I could barely finish a beer and that NEVER happens, saw some live bands, hopped around what seemed like the college district, all the fun charming things.
Have you ever had a native taco? Out of all the delicious food we had, all the LIFE CHANGING food we’ve had, the one that sticks with me the most is the native taco we got at a Route 66 roadside diner called Hopi Diner. It is basically a fry bread the size of a plate, topped with usual taco fillings and dowsed in green chilies (I opted for red and green, another strong rec). Also, if you’ve never had green chilies, get to the Southwest as soon as you can. NOW, GO NOW.
Sixth stop, the mother of all stops: Grand Canyon, Arizona
What is to say about the Grand Canyon? There aren’t words for that place. It was snowing, we stayed in the actual National Park (add this to the strong recs) and I cried. I straight up cried, you can’t look at something that large and not cry. I couldn’t tell if I was looking at trees or bushes, like I almost thought I was having an ocular migraine because I couldn’t focus!! Everything was a beautiful illusion!!
On our journey out of the Grand Canyon was treacherous, that’s a whole other 5k word situation, but we made it out alive! Alive and stronger because of it!
The whole trip was the best of my life. America is so beautiful and different and weird and PERFECT. We have everything here and we do everything well and despite less than half of us electing a Cheeto-jaundiced idiot to run this country for a little while, I’m still proud to live here and even more pumped to do my part to protect it from tiny Cheeto fingers.
I love you, America!