coast to (almost) coast

Back in the summer of 2014, Matt and I decided that we wanted to take a big trip for the last winter break of his life. We talked and researched many places. We had finally settled on Iceland and Ireland when we looked at each other (and Zelda, because it meant leaving her behind for a month) and second guessed the whole trip. We had always talked about seeing the US; getting in the car and just driving around the country.  We wanted to stay in cheap motels, hike amazing spots, see friends who lived on the opposite side of the country, and dip our Floridian feet in the Pacific ocean.

So we did just that. It was an amazing month and, not to sound too cliche, it made me feel like an actual proud american. We have seen so much of the rest of the world already, but really hadn't seen much of the US. We made a list of all the places we wanted to go; the grand canyon, Vegas, pacific ocean, big sur and we created a trip.


We started in Nashville and headed to Little Rock to visit Matt's family and have an early mini Christmas since we would be spending actual Christmas alone in Tahoe together. From there we spent the morning in Hot Springs, Ark and then jetted down to Dallas. After Dallas we took a (very) long drive to Santa Fe, drove the turquoise trail and watched the sunset on the top of a (cold) mountain. We then drove to the Grand Canyon which is my personal favorite from the trip. From the Grand Canyon we went to Vegas and realized gambling isn't that much fun when you are on a tight budget. After Vegas we spent a week in Tahoe skiing and enjoying the snow. After Tahoe we made our way down the coast of California, stopping in San Fransisco, Big Sur, and Los Angeles. On the last day of our trip we got to go to the very first(!) college playoff game (FSU vs Oregon) and watch FSU lose in spectacular fashion. 


The whole trip took us 1 month. We took our time getting out there and then on the way back spent 3 12-hour days driving straight through and binge listening to Serial. (#teamadnan) I will admit that I think we are crazy for waiting so long to take this trip. We didn't exactly have a shoe string budget but it could have easily been done on one. We stayed in super budget motels (like super super budget....sometimes using our own blankets instead of the nasty ones they give you) and used gas cards we acquired from credit card points to help fund our travel, but we ate out a lot and spent a ton of money skiing.  All in all though it was amazing, and now all I want to do is drive around the US aimlessly because it really is amazingly beautiful. 

Click here to continue on to the start of the trip where we leave Nashville and hang out in Little rock with family. 

Or skip ahead: Dallas // Santa Fe // Turquoise Trail // Grand Canyon // Vegas // Death Valley // Tahoe // San Fran // Costanoa Lodge // Big Sur // Playoff game in Pasadena.