American Southwest Road Trip

3 days, 4 states, and so much later on this American Southwest road trip.

In episode #8 we tell stories from our three day road trip through Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and California and give you tips on how to see it all when you take this trip for yourself. We cover:

  • Road tripping
  • Winter hiking adventures in the Grand Canyon
  • Exploring Antelope Canyon
  • Seeing Horseshoe Bend 
  • What to do in Mesquite, Nevada
  • One of the best breakfast buffets we have ever had
  • Valley of Fire State Park
  • And you know we’re going to hit Hakkasan in Vegas on the way back 😉

American Southwest Road Trip – Episode Transcript

2 (55s):
Hello fellow travelers. Welcome to this weeks episode of the Travel Squad podcast. This is our American Southwest road trip

3 (1m 5s):
Today. We’re taking you on our three day road trip. We took through the American Southwest in one of these past December’s.

1 (1m 14s):
We only took one day off of work. We traverse from San Diego to the Grand Canyon. We made our way to Antelope Canyon, then looked out at horseshoe bend and ended our adventure at Valley of Fire State Park, a little north of Las Vegas before driving all the way back to San Diego.

4 (1m 32s):
All right, guys, let’s get into it with day one, our trip to the grand canyon on Friday night after work. Does anyone remember that road trip?

2 (1m 41s):
Yeah, we left early from work, which early for us is 4:00 PM. Hit the road, grab a Costco pizza and a Jamal drove us there.

4 (1m 50s):
Perfect time to hit traffic just as well.

3 (1m 53s):
Pizza sounds really good right about now.

4 (1m 55s):
I love my son Costco pizza that’s So we drove Friday after work. I think we all took maybe like an hour or two off to actually be on the road by four o’clock because when Brittany had Google mapped it, it projected to take about eight hours to get there. No big deal. And one thing to take into consideration for ourselves just as well. And anyone attempting to make this road trip, if you live here in California, is that Arizona is one hour ahead of us. So when we traverse the state line, we already lose an hour. So we got to it and there was a lot of crazy shenanigans that went on that drive that night.

4 (2m 36s):
Does anyone remember it?

1 (2m 37s):
So I feel like we took the absolute sketchiest way ever to get to the Grand Canyon from San Diego.

2 (2m 44s):
Cause we like challenge.

1 (2m 47s):
I think it just said it was the quickest way to get there.

4 (2m 50s):
Or why was this sketchy?

3 (2m 52s):
The last thing I remember before we got onto that really sketchy road, we stopped at a Denny’s I think to get coffee, maybe to use the bathroom

4 (3m 1s):
Combination of both.

2 (3m 3s):
Well, because Jamal didn’t want to stop on the side of the road to let us pee because it was so crazy to even stop on this.

4 (3m 8s):
Well, that wasn’t at that point yet because the Denny’s that Kim is talking about was actually like at the California Arizona state line. So up until that point, we were on an interstate highway, which was actually fine, but we were getting into Arizona and we saw from the Google map directions that we were going to be getting on, like Arizona, like highways. And obviously we’ve never driven on them before. So we didn’t know what we were going to look like, what we were going to come across. And we’re like, all right, we got a P it’s late at night. I need some coffee. So we stopped at that. Denny’s and then after that, that’s when we got into the lack of civilization and sketchy highways.

4 (3m 49s):
But I remember coming out after getting the coffee. And what did you do cam? When we got back to the parking lot, Which car?

3 (3m 57s):
I almost stole a car, I got out of the Denny’s and went straight to the car, opened up the door and then I was like, oh my God. Not the right car.

4 (4m 8s):
Yeah. So next to next to our car was the identical car that Brittany and I have that we were using for the road trip, but it wasn’t our car, but it was parked right next to us. So Kim attempted to get into that, like open the door and then we realized like Kim, the wrong car. And she almost had like a little like panic attack, like, oh my God,

3 (4m 30s):
So funny. Cause you two did the same thing on one of our more recent trips where I don’t remember where we was it Bryce. Yeah. It was Bryce to almost gotten the wrong car.

2 (4m 41s):
Me. Yeah.

4 (4m 43s):
But in our defense we had a rental car that time. So it’s a little bit more likely to be confused for that matter. We didn’t have a rental car on this one, but yes we did do that.

1 (4m 53s):
I don’t know if we’re just spoiled in California, but California will tell you like how far away you are from the next gas station when the nearest rest stop will be. And there’s a lot of signs on the roads. What you kind of know what to expect in the upcoming miles. When we were on this road trip, there was nothing, we were in the middle of nowhere on a deserted freeway, barely any other cars coming across us. And I remember Jamal saying, I’m not stopping if you girls need to pee.

2 (5m 26s):
Probably wouldn’t be safe.

4 (5m 27s):
Yeah. I mean, so at this point we were off of the interstates and we were on the Arizona highways and they’re just literally one lane roads in each direction and no lights on the roads completely like pitch black. They’re all, you know, windy roads. And I mean, I really can’t describe it until like you’ve actually seen it or been on it, but I had no clue where we were going. We’re out in the middle of nowhere, no signs saying, this is how far you are to the next town or next gas. And it was just really, really sketchy out there. Yeah.

2 (6m 1s):
So Kim and I eventually fell asleep in the back seat of the car per usual. I exactly

4 (6m 7s):
Having a good picture of them that time. Frightening.

1 (6m 9s):
I don’t know about that time in particular, but I’ve got a lot of good picks of Kim and Zayna sleeping never to be seen by the public

4 (6m 18s):
Post them to answer.

2 (6m 21s):
But Kim and I were a woken when all of a sudden Jamal slammed on his brakes in the middle of the road.

4 (6m 28s):
Yeah. So I mean nearly after eight hours of driving, we’re finally finally getting close to our hotel

2 (6m 38s):
At five miles,

4 (6m 39s):
Less than five miles away from our hotel, which is literally only about three miles away from the Grand Canyon of where we need to be. But it’s the middle of the night again, we lost an hour getting into Arizona. What was it like two, 3:00 AM. Maybe even later. Yeah. 3:00 AM. And you know, when you see photos of the Grand Canyon, I just want to say, you know, it looks like arid desert, and all you see is that, but I was really shocked because this was my first time there. And up at that area, there’s a lot of forests. So we were driving kind of through a forested area at that point, getting to our hotel slash lodge. And again, roads are pitch black. It’s 3:00 AM in the morning.

4 (7m 21s):
And all of a sudden I rounded turn here in the little forest road that I’m driving on. And I see a huge giant like elk or moose, just pop out into the middle of the road. And I literally had to slam on my brakes because I was almost about to hit it. I mean, you see signs all the time, like cow crossing, horse crossing, deer crossing, you know, on the roads. And I’m just like, I’ve never seen an animal like that. And here we are seeing those signs and this was the first time I ever came across one and I nearly hit the fucking deer or elk. Excuse me, my God. Like it was huge,

2 (7m 56s):
But I’m glad you didn’t. And when you didn’t, what did you say?

4 (7m 60s):
Yeah, I was stoked that I didn’t hit it because literally a month or maybe two before Brittany and I had finally just finished paying off our car and I would’ve hated to total my car after I finally completed payments on it and took off my collision and completed final payment on it.

2 (8m 21s):
And you don’t want to kill that?

4 (8m 22s):
Well, obviously, I mean four of us. Well,

1 (8m 25s):
Did you guys see the elephant or were you guys still asleep?

2 (8m 28s):
I thought Jamal was kidding.

4 (8m 33s):
Yeah.

2 (8m 33s):
Yeah. I didn’t see it, but I know that like Jamal looked like he was sweating a little bit because it just,

4 (8m 39s):
I literally almost heard it.

2 (8m 40s):
Yeah, no, no. I think that you had great navigation skills. You have a good eye, you were able to see it, you know, and stop in time. But I think like obviously for anyone it would shake someone up and it shook you up and I didn’t see it, but I felt

4 (8m 54s):
It. So nonetheless, I woke up Kim and Zayna about like three miles away from the hotel as we were about to check in. Cause we were right around the corner from that. So we stayed at a really, really nice lodge. And I know when we made the reservations, Kim was excited about something in particular from that hotel. What were you excited about? Kevin

3 (9m 12s):
Indoor pool and spa.

4 (9m 14s):
And did we get to use it?

3 (9m 17s):
We did it, they were beautiful. It was premium relaxation.

1 (9m 22s):
Yeah. We had planned the trip to only spend one night in this particular hotel because we were moving to several different locations along our road trip. So we got in at 3:00 AM and we left the hotel by like 9:00 AM the next morning. Yeah. So we really got in, went to sleep, ate breakfast and then left.

2 (9m 44s):
Yeah.

1 (9m 45s):
So we didn’t get to use many of the amenities.

4 (9m 46s):
I mean, it was a really nice little indoor pool. I was actually looking forward to it when I saw ourselves, but we just got there too late, unfortunately to use. But the lodge that we stayed at was a really nice rustic cabin style lodge had tons of taxi Germede animals hanging up on the walls, but in a classy kind of way, not in a creepy way. So I mean, it just kind of added to the whole atmosphere of being there. But again, it just really tripped me out because I really wasn’t expecting the top of the canyon and have so much forested area based on like the photos that you see. I don’t know if that took any of you ladies, a vaccine that at, or while you guys were expecting, when we got there,

3 (10m 23s):
I was most surprised to see all the snow we arrived because I dunno for whatever reason in December, it wasn’t thinking there’d be snow, but know

1 (10m 33s):
In the desert.

3 (10m 34s):
Yeah. Who would’ve thought, but the icicles hanging from the lodge too, it just looked like a winter Wonderland there and they had it all decorated for Christmas and

1 (10m 42s):
It was beautiful. Yeah.

2 (10m 43s):
Yeah. Here in California, we barely get rain. So to leave, you know, a dry land in December and then go to such a cold land, you know, it’s different.

1 (10m 53s):
So Saturday was day two and I told everyone it was going to be our easy day. Just kidding guys,

3 (10m 60s):
Obviously know by now that there are no easy

4 (11m 2s):
Days, Brittany, when she says easy

2 (11m 4s):
Day after sleeping only what four hours. Yeah.

1 (11m 6s):
Yeah. We only slept four hours and we woke because we wanted to get to the Trailhead early in the day so that it wasn’t too hot. And we, there was actually a craft fair in our hotel lodge. And so we actually picked up $2 breakfast burritos, which is what we ate before our hike.

3 (11m 22s):
How good were those breakfast, Brita?

4 (11m 28s):
I mean, I wasn’t a fan of them. They

2 (11m 30s):
Did, its job

4 (11m 31s):
Did its job. That’s for sure.

3 (11m 32s):
I know I didn’t have cash on me. So traveled dad had to step in and buy my burrito.

4 (11m 37s):
It’s always a pleasure. So after we had eaten breakfast and we made our way to the trail head, so we entered into the official boundary of grand canyon, national park. But one thing to keep in mind, a lot of national parks when they have high traffic volume, some of them Institute policies where you have to kind of like park at the entrance and they have shuttle buses. So we had to take our shuttle bus to the trail head and we specifically hiked the south Kai Bob trail,

3 (12m 10s):
Which is the trail you should do. If you’re going to be at the Grand Canyon

4 (12m 15s):
On the south rim of the grand canyon,

3 (12m 17s):
Which is the best rim.

1 (12m 19s):
I think the north room was actually closed in December. And that’s one of the reasons why we decided to do this trail.

4 (12m 26s):
Well, yeah, the north rim is actually like at a higher elevation in the south rim. So definitely it’s a lot cooler. So more snow, a lot of this stuff is closed, but for us, at least where we’re coming from in Southern California, the south rim is the spot to go to because we would have to go the long way if we wanted to traverse around the canyon to go to the north rim. So it just didn’t make sense for us to do that. So we did the south rim and the south kebab trail. How

2 (12m 55s):
Big is the Grand Canyon? Jamal?

4 (12m 57s):
The Grand Canyon it’s grant. I mean, it’s about like 277 miles long. I think at its widest point, it’s about like 18 miles across. And I mean, when they say Grand Canyon, it’s not an understatement realistically. I mean the canyon has an average depth of close to like a mile deep from the top of the canyon. I think the average depth is like 5,250 feet, which is just 30 feet or 32 feet shy of making it a mile. So re it’s huge. I mean, you don’t expect it when you hear the Grand Canyon, but then you see it and you’re just taken back like an awe.

2 (13m 38s):
Well, I don’t know, Kim, what did you say when you saw the Grand Canyon?

3 (13m 41s):
I said, I thought the Grand Canyon would be a little bit more grand grandness. This,

4 (13m 46s):
I don’t know how you weren’t impressed

3 (13m 48s):
Because it’s I, and I know why from the top of the rim, it doesn’t look that big. And so if you’re actually going to go to the Grand Canyon, don’t just stand at the rim and look at it, hike into it. Because as we started hiking down through the kebab trail, it began to open up and appear much more vast. But yeah, from the top, it doesn’t seem that Grand.

1 (14m 11s):
So the south Kaibab trail, like we said earlier, this is the trail you have to do. So the hike does start on the rim and it descends all the way down onto the canyon floor. So the elevation loss on the way down is approximately 4,800 feet total round trip. It’s 14 miles. So seven miles down, seven miles back. We started late. So we weren’t able to complete the entire hike. But during this hike, it offers 360 degree panoramic views of the canyon.

4 (14m 44s):
One thing that was really interesting about the height too, is you start off at top and it’s a really, really high elevation. I mean, we’re talking about literally the canyon goes a mile deep from the top. So you’re at a higher elevation and there’s snow cover and it’s cold. But as you traverse into the canyon and actually get lower, it starts to really heat up. So it’s just really a large dynamic of a varying temperatures. I mean, you’re bundled up at the top because there’s snow and the further you get down, it starts to heat up and actually get really, really hot.

2 (15m 15s):
One thing to keep in mind is that whatever goes down, it’s going to come back up.

4 (15m 20s):
So, I mean, you’re going to hike 4,000 feet down, imagine knocking 4,000 feet back up.

1 (15m 28s):
There is no water along this trail. So this hike is actually not recommended to do at all, all the way to completion in summer, which is why we attempted to do this hike in December because we wanted to go all the way down. We wanted to do the entire trip. Unfortunately we didn’t make it all the way down to the canyon floor, but we did make it most of the way down.

4 (15m 49s):
Yeah. We wanted to make it all the way down. It wasn’t because we got too tired, but we had so many things to do that on this road trip. And we were supposed to be leaving that night to drive to pagers zona for the next activity that we’re going to be doing. So at some point we basically said, okay, we’re close enough. I mean, at the bottom is just kind of really the campground. We don’t need to get there. Let’s save ourselves maybe an hour, hour and a half and just start the hike back up. But like Kim was saying, you know, when you’re in there, you can just really actually see how vast the canyon is when you’re inside it versus just standing on top.

1 (16m 28s):
So make sure you dress in layers because at the top it’s very, very cold, but as you go down, it becomes much warmer. And also one thing just to know is depending on when you go, you might want to bring crampons because the switchbacks do get a little icy and slippery. We didn’t use them, but we did have them on us just in case it got a little dangerous

2 (16m 49s):
For anyone not familiar with switchbacks. Jamal, you want to give a little bit of detail about that

4 (16m 54s):
Switchbacks.

2 (16m 55s):
Yeah. You know what, if I was not a hiker, I would have no idea what a switchback is.

4 (16m 59s):
Well, I mean, so switchback is just basically just imagine a trail that just kind of zigzags back and forth, but in a really steep pattern, because you know, it’s kind of, I don’t want to say on a sheer cliff, but it helps you either ascend or decent and elevation gain relatively quick. And there is no normal passage. Sometimes they’ll carve it out, but basically it’s just a lot of zigzag patterns of the trail to help you get up and down, like really, really fast.

2 (17m 29s):
I just know that it was a big day and it was a big hike. So at the end, when we finally got back to the switchbacks, you’re so excited because you’re so close to being done, but there’s so many switchbacks that it just feels like, oh my gosh, when is this going to end?

4 (17m 41s):
Yeah. Well, not only that, I mean, when you’re in the lower part of the canyon, you get really hot and then you just start hiking back up. Obviously this is where you actually like or hiking up. So putting in more work, but you’re starting to get to the colder elevation. So then I remember starting to get cold, even though my bike, my body was heating up and I know we didn’t make it to the bottom for the 14 mile round trip, but I think we at least went five miles of the trail down and back. So I think we did at least 10 miles and that definitely worked up an appetite. So I from where did we stop? Like on our road trip back to, or go into page.

3 (18m 18s):
For some reason we had been talking about Chile on this trip. Like it had been a topic of conversation over and

4 (18m 25s):
Over. Cause it was cold.

2 (18m 29s):
Yeah.

3 (18m 29s):
So we stopped at Wendy’s. What else are you going to find out in the middle of nowhere?

4 (18m 35s):
I was digging the Wendy’s chili. After that hike, it was so satisfying. I had some chicken nuggets just as well, and we ended up eating it in the car if I recall correctly.

2 (18m 46s):
And let me tell you, after a 10 mile hike, you will not have better Chile ever in your life. After that type of a workout,

1 (18m 56s):
It was a two and a half hour drive from the Grand Canyon to page Arizona, which was our next destination. And we did not want to lose any more time because it was getting late. So when we grabbed dinner, we got in the car and we ate in the car and Jamal really wanted to have the chili as well. So I had to spoonfeed him while he was driving.

2 (19m 17s):
Easy to saving

3 (19m 18s):
Time.

4 (19m 18s):
Yeah. Well, I mean, if I was on a straight road, I could’ve maybe eaten it myself, but these roads along the canyon, I mean, there are kind of like winding and whatnot. So I don’t really want to take my hands off the road. Some of it has a little bit of ice, so yeah. To save time, Brittany was spoonfeeding me, my chili on the way

3 (19m 35s):
Logical person would say, why don’t we switch off drivers? So Jamal can eat.

4 (19m 40s):
I don’t trust any of you ladies. I’m not saying you guys aren’t a good driver. I just don’t think any of you ladies are road trip driving.

3 (19m 49s):
If that makes sense. Especially on windy roads,

4 (19m 51s):
I’ve heard stories from Brittany about that.

3 (19m 53s):
Okay. Yeah. Like semi-trucks will pass me. I hate windy roads.

4 (20m 0s):
So yeah, we had a two, two and a half hour drive from the Grand Canyon to pager zona. And Paige is the biggest city closest to Antelope Canyon, which was our next stop on our American Southwest road trip. Now Antelope Canyon is actually on the Navajo nation land and Antelope Canyon. There’s an upper canyon and lower canyon. And you actually have to reserve tours to do either both or one or the other. We chose to do the south canyon that day,

3 (20m 35s):
The lower, the lower,

4 (20m 35s):
Lower canyon. Excuse me. I’m thinking south kebab trail still. So that’s what I’m saying. So

2 (20m 40s):
You know what we did before we went to Antelope Canyon?

4 (20m 44s):
Yeah. We had a bomb ass breakfast buffet. Yeah, I got ahead of myself.

2 (20m 49s):
I was like, I know you can’t pass this breakfast up. There is no biscuits that were dynamite, but this breakfast itself. Woo what’s what a thing to write home about

1 (20m 59s):
Coming at you live from the breakfast

2 (21m 1s):
Buffet. Yes ma’am. We stayed at the quality in lake Powell and woof there breakfast buffet,

3 (21m 7s):
Honestly, not a very classy hotel, but it was pretty affordable. And the breakfast buffet came out of nowhere.

2 (21m 18s):
And while you’re having your dynamite breakfast buffet, you’re surrounded with the beautiful view of the natural desert landscape.

1 (21m 25s):
What was a really nice

2 (21m 26s):
View. It was

4 (21m 27s):
The view. What was your favorite thing about the buffet? I mean, a breakfast buffet sells me when they have a good waffle station. I don’t know about you guys

3 (21m 35s):
That the continental breakfast.

4 (21m 37s):
Well they do, but sometimes the waffle batter or the waffle makers, they’re not up to par. It depends on the syrup too. This one was high quality. I will say that.

2 (21m 46s):
I know I got pretty crazy in the breakfast buffet cause I dropped my driver’s license and one of the servers came and brought it to me while we were sitting at the table

3 (21m 57s):
To me, a good breakfast buffet has good eggs And bacon and potatoes.

4 (22m 9s):
Yeah. And this hotel had all of the above talking about Costco pizza earlier now talking about breakfast. Oh my goodness. But yeah, so we stayed at the quality and in like Powell, awesome breakfast buffet. But then we made our way to the canyon. And again, we did lower canyon. Now, the reason why we did lower canyon is as mentioned, there’s upper and lower now upper, most people do upper canyon for two reasons. One it’s actually less hiking. And what we mean by that is you enter in the canyon actually at your normal ground level and the CA and you walk kind of like Intuit and it’s an easy path out.

4 (22m 54s):
And also a lot of photographers like that, just because of the way the actual light from the sun shines into the canyon. It makes for good photo taking. But the lower canyon that we did. And as we’ve talked before, Brittany can never turn down a good hike, a good hike. So the lower canyon, you actually have to traverse stairs down into the canyon from ground level. And it’s really hard to find and certain places, your footing to traverse your way through it gets a lot more narrow. So it is a little bit more challenging. So you gotta be more agile and comfortable with your physical abilities to do lower canyon.

4 (23m 34s):
And Britney can never turn down a good hike. So that’s why we didn’t lower canyon.

1 (23m 38s):
I do want to say that it wasn’t really a hike. We wanted to look really cute. So we did look really cute. The girls, at least really

2 (23m 46s):
Cute.

4 (23m 47s):
I had my flannel and my, my Timberlands. I looked good.

3 (23m 52s):
You’re going to be taking a lot of pictures in there. So plan your outfit accordingly.

1 (23m 56s):
Yeah. Cause you do traverse down the stairs, but it’s not difficult. So just wear good shoes, cute good shoes and a good outfit. And you’ll be okay.

2 (24m 5s):
Okay. And do not take pictures when you’re traversing down the stairs. That is a no-no you might lose your footing and all of that good stuff.

4 (24m 13s):
Yeah. Your guide will tell you all about that. And that’s like I said before, you have to make reservations for your tour. And when we made reservations, we got like really, really lucky.

1 (24m 25s):
Yes. So as a planner of the group, I plan this trip in advance and we went in December. So it was low season, which was a huge benefit to us because we were the only people on our tour. So it was literally the four of us, the Travel Squad with our personal guide flash photographer. It

3 (24m 43s):
Was amazing.

4 (24m 44s):
We got really lucky,

2 (24m 46s):
Super lucky

3 (24m 46s):
Because usually if you go in the high season, there’ll be lines. You have to wait for hours. And then you’re just stuck, like in a line of people

4 (24m 55s):
In the

1 (24m 55s):
Sun,

3 (24m 56s):
Which is part of the reason why it’s so important, not to take pictures on the ladder because these canyons are actually made because of the rain and the rain storms and the wind storms. And this area of Arizona is prone to flash flooding. So if you’re stuck on the ladder, taking photos, being done, it’s a life or death situation. If flash flood were to hit and you guys had been in a flash flood in Arizona before in Utah.

1 (25m 26s):
Yeah.

3 (25m 26s):
We had those things come out of

4 (25m 27s):
Nowhere.

1 (25m 29s):
So Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon. The reason why it’s formed is because of the rushing water going through the rocks, the storm does not even have to be in that area. The storm can be several miles away and you just don’t see them coming. People actually have died in Antelope Canyon. And so they removed the wooden ladders that were unsecured and put in staircases that are bolted to the ground for safety reasons, because I think it was in 19 97, 11 people died due to a flash flood.

2 (25m 59s):
I have no idea that you guys got in a flash flood in what was it? Utah

1 (26m 5s):
National park and all

2 (26m 6s):
The story.

4 (26m 7s):
Well, I mean, just real quick, it was a hot day. I mean, it was like a hundred plus we were doing a hopper. It was my birthday weekend, a hundred plus degree weather. We were doing a hike. And I remember telling Brittany, I was like, my God, it’s fricking hot. Like I’m going to leave the sunroof opened the car and everything like that. We got done with our hike and the blistering heat. Then all of a sudden the cloud cover came over and it started under storming, like heavy, heavy rain. And we were soaked. And by the time we got to our car with the sunroof open, like the inside of our car was just completely soaked. And anyone who was doing the narrows trail, which is a trail and Zion probably had like flash flooding come through and just rush through the river down there.

2 (26m 49s):
That’s crazy.

3 (26m 50s):
And let me guess freak out.

4 (26m 54s):
It’s so long ago. I don’t

2 (26m 58s):
Remember no pun intended.

1 (26m 60s):
My favorite part about that trip in particular was we also had to take a shuttle back to our car and because it was so hot, it was over a hundred degrees. They had all of the shuttle tops open and then it started to rain and thunder storm. But all of the tops remained open because they’re ones that you have to manually open and close. So even though we’re in the shuttle, it’s raining on top of us while we’re in there.

2 (27m 23s):
No one got up to like close it or anything.

4 (27m 26s):
It’s like a big bus. You can’t reach

1 (27m 28s):
The top.

4 (27m 29s):
So the driver didn’t go close. Cause it started on us like while we were kind of, you know, in there and it started anyway.

1 (27m 35s):
Yeah. Jamal was having a freak out in the shuttle bus.

2 (27m 39s):
Was it full?

4 (27m 41s):
No, it wasn’t that full. And I know I started having, okay. I had a freak out.

1 (27m 47s):
I had a freak out also because he knew that that top was open and he knew that he left the sunroof of our car open. So he knew how our card was going to be. Once we got back to it,

2 (27m 56s):
Is that your rental car or

4 (27m 58s):
No? No. It was actually our actual car. But on top of that, I think I was just so annoyed with the rain and getting soaked that we missed our actual stop that we needed to get on where a car was out in the parking lot. So extra time for the rain to like come in and then extra time, you know, like I was like, fuck man. All right. So we had to go two more stops before we, I missed that stop. And so we had to go

2 (28m 24s):
To extra salt.

4 (28m 25s):
We had to go to extra shops before we turned back around. But anyway, circling back to Antelope Canyon, like Brittany was saying that flash flood that came through the lower canyon that killed the 11 people in 97 is the main reason now why you have to have the guided tours for Antelope Canyon.

2 (28m 44s):
So when you’re a tour guide is telling you stuff, listen to your tour guide, they know what they’re doing and they’re there to keep you safe.

4 (28m 49s):
Absolutely.

3 (28m 50s):
Yeah. So Antelope Canyon is this beautiful oranges and yellows and purples and the colors are gorgeous reds and they’re, they’re wavy and they’re tall and you look like a little speck in the middle of them. So you want to capture photos of these in the best way possible and just snapping a photo on your phone.

1 (29m 14s):
You can do it justice. I

3 (29m 15s):
Mean, you’re going to get a picture. It’s going to be beautiful, but there’s a better way to do it. And thanks to our amazing tour guide. We know a few tips. This is actually where we learn how to take panoramic photos vertically instead of horizontally.

4 (29m 30s):
I mean, I have no clue. You can do that. I mean, it honestly makes so much sense now that you think about it, but in general, like I, would’ve never thought, let me take a panel verdict,

3 (29m 38s):
You simply turn your phone and move it up. And there you go, you can get the whole 20, 30 feet up.

1 (29m 46s):
Yeah. You can get from the bottom of the slot canyon all the way up to where the sun interests the canyon.

4 (29m 52s):
Yeah. So when Brittany says slot canyons, you know, they’re formed by the water rushing from flash floods and other things. But one characteristic to kind of think of when you think of a slot canyon is the really narrow, but deep. So since they’re deep, you need that panel to kind of like shoot up. But one of the things too, in terms of photography that we’re talking about, honestly, ask your tour guide. They know what filters based on. Do you have an Android? Do you have an apple is the best filter to kind of take the photos in to actually capture the colors of the rock. Because if you just take it in your normal setting, it’s going to come out looking nice, but let’s not kid ourselves. We all know how a filter can make something pop.

4 (30m 33s):
And when you take it kind of what that setting, I mean, the photos came through. So clutch,

3 (30m 38s):
Hashtag no filter.

2 (30m 40s):
Yeah. If you don’t know what Antelope Canyon is, I promise you you’ve seen pictures. So if you look it up and see the pictures, you’ll say, oh, that’s what Antelope Canyon is. Pretty

3 (30m 49s):
Sure that’s how we discovered it was just seeing it on Instagram and being like, we have to go here immediately.

1 (30m 55s):
And

3 (30m 55s):
That’s pretty much how our trip came about.

2 (30m 58s):
Yeah,

1 (30m 58s):
Yeah. And really close to Antelope Canyon is actually a lookout point called horseshoe bend.

4 (31m 3s):
Yeah. Horseshoe bend, as I would hate to equate it to anything like the Grand Canyon, but it kind of gives you the same feel, but on a smaller scale. So realistically horseshoe bend is a lookout that you can see of the Colorado river carving through the desert landscape. And hence the name horseshoe is shaped like a horseshoe. So it’s kind of a little U shaped bend and it gives you a really, really good lookout point down. And the river is a thousand feet below from the cliff top. So it’s a really popular photo spot. These days obviously become an Instagram popular.

4 (31m 45s):
There is a little half mile hike from the parking lot to it, but it’s a really good scenic lookout. Yeah. I would call it a stroll. Not a hike. Thank you for clarifying. Yeah.

2 (31m 53s):
Yeah. When we say easy, we really mean easy for this one.

1 (31m 56s):
It’s another place where you can look really cute for your photos.

3 (32m 1s):
Always look cute. We got some really, really cute shots where we’re sitting on the edge of the cliff looking down, it looks like our feet are dangling down over the lookout. Just be careful because it was shortly after we were there that someone was doing that same thing and felon perished.

1 (32m 19s):
No, you have to be very careful when you’re taking photos. If you’re taking selfies, just watch your, watch your step. Make sure you’re not too close to the edge. And also just remember that cliff edges, do you have the tendency to break off? So don’t get too close

3 (32m 33s):
And that’s about it. You’ll be there for 30 minutes max, and then you can move on to the next stop. Like we did was Mesquite Nevada.

4 (32m 41s):
So mosquitoes the city on the edge of the Nevada Arizona border. So with any city, when you’re getting into Nevada, there’s always going to be a few pop-up casinos at the border just because it’s Nevada. So we use this spot as a resting point after Antelope Canyon and horseshoe bend that day to spend the night before our next stop. But we had a blasted Mesquite. Did we not ladies,

3 (33m 10s):
We did

1 (33m 11s):
The best.

4 (33m 13s):
Tell us about,

1 (33m 13s):
You know, it was the middle of nowhere. And as the trip planner, of course I had booked this hotel and advanced and it was super cheap. It was like one of the cheapest hotels we’ve

4 (33m 24s):
Stayed at 30 bucks a night

3 (33m 26s):
And it was brand

1 (33m 27s):
New cheap. And I literally thought there’s gotta be something wrong with this place because the prices were so cheap. But no, it was really nice. It was brand new, but it was in the middle of nowhere.

2 (33m 38s):
And when we say $30 at night, imagine splitting that four ways

4 (33m 43s):
For me and Brittany, that was seven 50 a person. How to love it.

3 (33m 47s):
Rising star sports ranch resort was the name of it.

1 (33m 51s):
What was your favorite thing about that hotel Kim?

3 (33m 53s):
Oh my God. This hotel had these softest blankets. I like, I literally wanted to pack it in my suitcase and take it home.

4 (34m 1s):
What was your favorite thing about as I know

2 (34m 3s):
Bingo,

4 (34m 4s):
We can go, well, we didn’t, we didn’t do bingo there though. We didn’t do bingo there. We went to a different casino along there, but bingo. Nonetheless.

2 (34m 12s):
Oh, okay. Well my favorite thing about Ms. Skeet, then not the casino, but Ms. Was the bingo.

4 (34m 18s):
Was it not our first time all playing bingo together.

2 (34m 21s):
Kim suggested it. I had no idea what she was talking about when I was like, fuck it. Let’s do it. So we got bladders and we gambled, we got some drinks and we played bingo.

1 (34m 31s):
And this was after a three course meal. Right. We had gotten there. We had a three course meal with the wine and stay. It was really

4 (34m 39s):
Good booze on a little bit. Yeah, we

2 (34m 41s):
Did

1 (34m 41s):
Price

3 (34m 43s):
Free drink, say, Hey, but back to the bingo though, I’m a big bingo player. Me and my family liked to meet up in Temecula and go play bingo. And so when I saw that Ms had bingo like, come on guys, we have to do it. I’ll teach you how to play. It’s really fun.

1 (35m 1s):
We all bought bladders. We were getting serious about it.

2 (35m 4s):
And they told us that it goes fast and we’re like, okay. Yeah, yeah,

4 (35m 9s):
Yeah. I didn’t think anything much of it when they said fast. I’m like, okay. I mean, they’re going to be calling some numbers, like whatever, but you know, when you’re playing bingo, you have like 10 cards in front of you. So I mean, they call a number and you really got a look at all the cards.

3 (35m 22s):
That’s the thing about bingo is you’re not just playing one game. Like we used to in school, you’re playing probably yeah. Like 10, maybe even more cards at once. So if they call B6, you gotta block B6 on every single card you’re playing. And

2 (35m 36s):
If you’ve had drinks before, too, it’s even faster.

4 (35m 41s):
Yeah. Mean you don’t need to tell me. I mean,

1 (35m 44s):
I think you had a freak out while we were playing bingo, Jamal,

2 (35m 48s):
And they’re calling the numbers too fast. It’s too fast for any, they’re calling the numbers too fast.

4 (35m 51s):
You know what we got there? They told us they called the numbers fast. They said, you know, you have the option to play on the computer where you don’t have to do anything except just kind of sit there. And it’s going to check mark the numbers for you called bingo for you. And we’re like, where’s the fun in that? So we’re like, no, no, no, no. We could keep up. And we had bought the blotters. We were invested. And then they started calling the numbers. And let me tell you something.

3 (36m 13s):
After,

4 (36m 14s):
After a few weeks after a few drinks and you’re a little intoxicated and I’m not going to lie. I mean, I wouldn’t say it was wasted, but definitely intoxicated for that night. My God were they going fast? And apparently the lady said I had a freak out. I don’t know about that. I mean, I maybe

3 (36m 29s):
Pretty sure you like three or bladder down and stopped blogging. Brittany had to bluff,

4 (36m 35s):
You know, when everyone was winning, who were playing on the computers. So, I mean, I was a little defeated. I was a little drunk and you know what, because it was a Mesquite, the cost of play wasn’t that much. And I figured it was just a few dollars for fun.

1 (36m 47s):
I was just trying to keep up on my own card. And while I’m trying to do that, Jamal was like, oh my God, Brittany, I can’t keep up. I can’t do this. I don’t know how to do this. So I’m kind of blot for both of us. And then he throws down his blotter and I’m blogging for both of us trying to keep up. And he’s like having a

3 (37m 3s):
Meltdown

4 (37m 5s):
On the side,

2 (37m 7s):
But Hey, didn’t you win?

4 (37m 8s):
No,

2 (37m 9s):
I’m just kidding.

4 (37m 12s):
No, we did win everyone who won was playing the fucking computers, man.

3 (37m 17s):
She didn’t let it defeat you. And we played bingo again on another trip

4 (37m 22s):
That we did. And I learned my lesson

2 (37m 25s):
Faster.

4 (37m 26s):
Well, they did go faster, but I played less cards, but I didn’t learn my lesson to use the computer. But nonetheless, don’t go into bingo with a lot of drinks and don’t play a lot of cards if you’re a novice.

1 (37m 38s):
So Ms. Skeete was just really a stop for where we could sleep before moving on on our road trip. The next stop was Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. So it’s located about 50 miles north of Las Vegas. And it’s the oldest state park in Nevada, right? Jamal.

4 (37m 54s):
Yeah, it’s the oldest state park in Nevada. And the name Valley of Fire actually comes from the red sandstone formations that the park is famous for. And basically you can kind of see sandstone formations in layers and they’re kind of wavy and under the right light when the light waves hit it, it kind of gives the optical illusion that the cliffs themselves are on fires. Hence the name Valley of Fire State Park. So really, really cool geological formations to see when you’re there.

1 (38m 26s):
When we arrived, we actually are, again, it was December and the entrance to the park was unstaffed. So we had to pay the $10 day use fee and put it in an envelope at the entrance station. And that was the only w I mean, we didn’t have any human contact, but

4 (38m 44s):
So, I mean have cash. I mean, you could be one of those people who sees it’s unmanned and not pay to go in, but don’t be one of those people,

2 (38m 51s):
Karma will get you.

1 (38m 52s):
Yeah. The state parks are for everyone to enjoy and the fees are used to take care of the parks,

2 (38m 59s):
Especially since funding is being cut.

4 (39m 1s):
Yes.

2 (39m 3s):
It’s another time. That’s another subject, but put your $10 in the envelope, please. Don’t be someone who a chief’s out. There’s other places you can

4 (39m 11s):
Be cheap, bad nature preservation.

1 (39m 13s):
So we were so excited and we got into the park and there was that Polaroid cutout where you could take a picture from, and it said greetings from Valley of Fire State Park. So we all got in the Polaroid, cutout started waving, taking pictures, super

2 (39m 28s):
True.

4 (39m 29s):
I mean, I remember taking our photos there and I didn’t have sunglasses and I didn’t have sunglasses. And the way that that sign was positioned was staring like right into the sun. So I couldn’t get a good photo. So I think it was your sunglasses. Wasn’t a Zaina that I had to borrow, just so I didn’t look like, oh, I can’t even see and be all squinty and looking weird

7 (39m 55s):
Now,

4 (39m 56s):
But

1 (39m 57s):
Always we

4 (39m 58s):
Have issues with sunglasses. We’ve talked about this before,

2 (40m 1s):
But the episode, yeah, we lost it in the water,

4 (40m 5s):
But so you let me borrow your sunglasses Aina yet there are feminine sunglasses and they had a shade of pink to them. So if you look really closely on my photos, you can see me wearing pink sign.

2 (40m 17s):
And I remember Jamal said, I don’t want to wear your sunglasses. They’re girls sunglasses and they’re pink. And I said, oh my goodness, they’re barely pink. No one will notice. And our girlfriend, Nicole in Mexico city, when Jamal posted the picture, she says, oh my goodness, I love Jamal’s pink sunglasses.

4 (40m 33s):
They were noticeable. But what hikes did we do that day?

1 (40m 38s):
We hiked the fire wave, which, I mean, if you’re going to the Valley of Fire State Park, you might as well see the fire wave located in the park.

2 (40m 46s):
It’s about one and a half miles round trip, so easy.

1 (40m 49s):
And there’s not a lot of elevation gain. It’s pretty flat. It was just beautiful. You could just see the striations of the rock, the white, the orange, the red, and just the shimmering of the sun.

4 (41m 0s):
Yeah. We were able to get really good photos too, because I mean, this, the rock was kind of like the same color that we saw on Antelope Canyon. And after our tour guide told us, like, these are kind of like the good filters and ways to take the photos. Like those photos come out, came out like really, really popping. So, I mean, I loved them a lot.

1 (41m 19s):
So fun fact, our album cover for our podcast was actually inspired by the colors we saw in Valley of Fire State Park.

4 (41m 29s):
Yeah. Our background was actually the photo of the striations in the, the rock at Valley of Fire. But as we tweaked it a little bit more, we have a different background, but we kind of kept that same color here. So that’s where the inspiration for that came from. But beyond just the actual rock formations and the wavy striations, one really unique thing about Valley of Fire is that there are actual petroglyphs that are carved into the rocks. And it’s for anyone who’s listening, who doesn’t know what the petroglyphs are, the ancient carvings into rock that shows ancient caveman like hunting and you know, things like that. And it’s basically pictures before apparently there was riding

1 (42m 11s):
Animals, symbols

4 (42m 13s):
Rides. Yeah. So there is a petroglyph canyon trail. It’s only about three quarters of a mile round trip. And it’s filled with these ancient petroglyphs. The petroglyphs are said to be created by the Anasazi people who were part of an ancient native American culture that inhabited the Southwest region of the United States. But it’s just so interesting. You know, you think my God, like people lived in this desert desert landscape, it’s just like, how did they do it? Like, I can’t even stand to be in it during this, like, but they lived in it and made it work. It’s crazy. Yeah.

2 (42m 49s):
The petroglyphs you’ll either see them really easily, or you have to be on an alert to really look, to see where they’re at.

3 (42m 56s):
And fun fact about the Valley of Fire State Park is all my bachelor nation fans out there. But Yeah, this is where the iconic fight between Jordan and David happened, where there was a big freak out and David was left alone and Beck and Jordan ran off into the distance. So yeah, go back and watch that episode and check it out.

2 (43m 22s):
And this is Becca’s season when she was the bachelor.

4 (43m 24s):
We’re bringing this up because all of us are bachelor bachelorette fans. That’s a Valley of Fire was a really, really cool state park.

1 (43m 31s):
And I recommend going in the winter because I mean, it’s out in the middle of nowhere, it’s a desert. So in the winter it was sunny. I can’t imagine going to it middle of summer. It

3 (43m 42s):
Was pretty warm still in December.

4 (43m 44s):
I mean, if any of you guys have been to Las Vegas during the summer, I mean, why would you even want to be out hiking somewhere in like the summer a hundred plus degree heat? So definitely if you’re going to do it, do it in the fall or winter season.

1 (43m 56s):
And there was almost no one there. So when we were taking pictures on the fire wave, we got photos with no one else in the background, we were on the trails, mostly alone. It was really nice to have the place to ourselves.

4 (44m 9s):
So Valley of Fire was the last thing on our American Southwest road trip. So we hit off the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, horseshoe bend Valley of Fire. And so we did a giant loop and the quickest way home for us was just taking interstate 15 back down to San Diego. And from Valley of Fire, what’s on interstate 15 is the last

2 (44m 31s):
Day

4 (44m 33s):
Last Vegas. So what did you want to do when we went to Las Vegas

3 (44m 36s):
Kept

4 (44m 39s):
Inside of

2 (44m 40s):
This top bar

4 (44m 41s):
Inside joke, Brittany and I always go to haka sun when we’re there. So Kim always likes to say, we’re going to hock aside.

2 (44m 47s):
You guys really?

4 (44m 47s):
No One. Would you tell the backstory camp? All right, well, so one time we were in Vegas, it was just me, Brittany and Kim, And you know, Kim, she wanted to go out that night, even though we had an early morning to go hiking and drive desire on national park the next day. And so she’s like, let’s go to like Hawk Hassan. And they were

3 (45m 10s):
Like, I can get us on the guest list for free. Let’s just go.

4 (45m 13s):
Yeah. I mean, we had gotten there late cause he drove on like a Friday after work.

1 (45m 17s):
And I love how Kim suggests this when she is the one that’s always asleep in the back of that.

4 (45m 21s):
Yeah. And I always have to drive. So we got there late and she suggested like haka sawn. So now every time like

3 (45m 29s):
Th the story is I did go out, you guys stayed in and I went out and you

1 (45m 33s):
Didn’t

3 (45m 34s):
Go to Hawkins. I didn’t go to Hawkins on. But then I came back and I was like, what’d you guys do last night? And you said,

4 (45m 40s):
Yeah. It was like, oh, you left. And we went to haka saw. So now it’s always our thing. Like we were in Vegas, we went to haka song.

2 (45m 47s):
Oh, well, Kim, if I were with you guys for that, I would have gone down with you

4 (45m 52s):
Again.

1 (45m 52s):
You would be asleep in the backseat the next day,

2 (45m 54s):
But I would have gone to haka Hassan, whether I’m

3 (45m 56s):
Asleep in the backseat that next day.

4 (45m 59s):
So anyway, like after Valley of Fire, one thing, we were going to be driving through Vegas and we were like, we need to eat some food. But before we left Valley of Fire, all of us were changing out of the trunk of our car. Cause we’re like, we’re going to Vegas. We’re covered in dust, hiking gear. We don’t want to look like schleps going into like Las Vegas. So I remember all of us just like changing out of the trunk of the car and whatnot before we went. But what did you want to do in Vegas?

3 (46m 25s):
I wanted to try shake shack because we’ve never had it. And this was before. It’s not even, it wasn’t even on the west coast at that point. And so like, come on, guys. We love in and out big California in and out people. And so we wanted to check it out

1 (46m 40s):
And what’d you think?

3 (46m 41s):
Mm, I gotta say in and out, it’s still better, but I did like it. The burger was good. The fries had much to be desired.

4 (46m 48s):
Nonetheless. I mean, we stopped in Vegas. I mean, you live in, you learn, right? I mean, yeah. I mean, I don’t regret stopping there. Now. I could say I’ve been to shake shack when everyone talks about like how great shake shack is. Yeah. We should have gone to haka Hassan. Isn’t that,

2 (47m 2s):
You know, after having the breakfast buffet and page Arizona, I don’t know what else we eat for the rest of the trip. It just couldn’t even compare

4 (47m 9s):
Mindblowing

3 (47m 12s):
Trip. We

4 (47m 13s):
Really, I don’t know. I’m very, I love my Wendy’s chili.

3 (47m 16s):
The three course dinner.

4 (47m 17s):
Oh yeah. The three course dinner and mosquito. That’s right. That’s right.

2 (47m 21s):
Kim ordered wrong that Jamal sent it back. Let’s

4 (47m 24s):
Put it this way. We had a lot of good food on that trip, but shake shack left a lot to be desired, not ragging on shake shack, but just we’re California natives and partial to in and out. Let’s put it that way.

1 (47m 33s):
And Valley of Fire was on our third real day, driving back to San Diego. And this is the one day that we did take off of work. So most of it was completed on the weekend, but Valley of Fire was completed on a Monday. And we did take this day off of work to do this road trip.

3 (47m 50s):
All right. And that about sums up our trip. We’re going to close it out. If you guys have any questions about this specific road trip or about any of the places we went, hit us up on Instagram or DMS email us, and we will get back to you since we didn’t have any questions in this episode, but thank you so much for listening. I hope you enjoyed hearing about it. We had so much fun taking you on the trip and we can’t wait to talk to you again

4 (48m 13s):
Again, please subscribe as always guys to the podcast and leave a review and tune in every travel Tuesday for new episodes.

2 (48m 22s):
And if you aren’t already following us on Instagram and Twitter, make sure you do so at Travel Squad Podcast,

1 (48m 28s):
Unpack your bags and relax. Cause next week we aren’t going to be taking you on a destination. We’re giving you an easy day Now that we are several episodes into the podcast and we’ve gotten to know us a little bit. We want to share with you how we all met and how we started traveling.

2 (48m 45s):
So stay tuned.

keep the adventures going

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