I’m always up to hit the open road. The wide open spaces, the tapestry of landscapes, the never ending horizon are just a few of the winning qualities that converted me to become a long-term road trip enthusiast.
Last month, I embarked on a mini weekend getaway to Arizona for a girlfriend’s 27th birthday. The three-day road trip took two months to plan. It was a brief escape yet more than enough to explore three of Arizona’s most famous natural wonders: Grand Canyon National Park, Horseshoe Bend, and Lower Antelope Canyon.
Ever since my family started going on annual road trips when I was 10 years old, I knew I wanted to eventually set foot in all 50 states. It’s been nearly 15 years since I started the journey, exploring nearly every state in America. Last June, I had the opportunity to explore my 31st state… ALASKA.
After a few days of heavy rain storm, Southern California’s peaks finally received a much-needed helping of fresh powder. It was absolutely breathtaking. Snow truly does beautify everything it touches.
My family and I headed up the mountains early Saturday morning and surprisingly had a smooth ride up. It’s been years since my last visit to Big Bear, and I had a wonderful time with my family bob sledding and having snow ball fights! Regardless of age, snow brings out the inner kid in every one!
The serenity of Montana was restorative. My family and I stayed at a cozy 2-bedroom cabin at Island Park Village Resort, which is located just a few miles away from the Wyoming-Montana state line. Located 22 miles outside the west entrance of Yellowstone National Park, the resort is a nature lover’s paradise. Surrounded by lush forestry, the area is open to visitors who wish to stay in cabins, tents or RVs.
Island Park Village Resort
Prior to entering the park, we spent a few minutes strolling around their town, which was oh so charming! As a city girl, I find the vibe of small towns so refreshing. The old Chevy pick-up trucks, the friendliness of the locals, the mom and pop’s restaurants… there’s is something about All-American small towns that warm my heart.
Yellowstone has been on the top of my list of national parks to visit, and it was surreal to finally be able to make it happen. Despite the season, the weather felt chilly, perhaps in the low 40 degrees, with slight wind chill.
It was a 2-way road in and out of the park, and merely five minutes upon entering, I noticed cars slowing down. I investigated the cause of the potential traffic, and lo and behold… there was an American bison eating grass on the side of the road!
I could not believe my eyes! I rolled down my windows and was immediately in awe of such majestic beast. It was literally 5 feet away from us! What struck me by surprise was how calm it was. Despite the lines of cars driving beside it, not once did it look up to see all the attention it was receiving from the visitors. It just continued to eat its lunch and do its thing. Little did we know what was ahead of us. A few more miles up the road was a wide open field with hundreds of bison! (the plural form of bison is also bison; English is weird)
It wasn’t long until we started noticing fumes rising from the ground. You know what that means… geysers!
I’ve never experienced being up close and personal with geysers before, so I didn’t know what to expect. The first set of geysers we observed were easily accessible given there was a wooden pathway for the visitors to walk through. Some geysers were only a few feet away that their fumes, with the right wind gust, would blow directly to your face, which to be honest, was quite a unique experience to say the least. The fumes were moist and warm and thick. The smell? Sulfuric. PEE YEW! Aside from the rotten/boiled eggs odor, the geysers were extremely fascinating. There were a few where you can literally see the liquid boiling! The vibrant colors of the hot springs were also a favorite of mine. The bright blues and the tie-dye action of the colorful chemicals were definitely a sight to see.
Of course, a trip to Yellowstone would not be complete without visiting Old Faithful herself. By this time, the weather has been unpredictable, with sporadic rain, snow, and even hail!
Old Faithful Geyser, WY
There was a sign that conveniently indicates each upcoming eruption, and lucky for us, we arrived just in time! A few hundred miles out of Old Faithful were benches where spectators can safely observe the showing. It goes without saying that Old Faithful did not disappoint!