Well friends, a lot has changed since we last spoke. This summer has been noting short of a rollercoaster ride. For starters I moved! Yes, I left sunny California to be with the people I care about the most… my family and friends. Secondly, I moved alone. That’s right, I definitely entered back into a season of life I am not sure I was really ready for, but I did and I absolutely made the most of my single summer. Third, my sister, best friend (both named Michelle), and I took an epic cross country road trip at the beginning of the summer and I haven’t stopped since. (oh and I’m saying things like epic now… insert eye rolling emoji here.)
Michelle and Michelle flew out to Los Angeles on a Friday night. They passed out on my couch for a few hours and on Saturday morning we started our journey home. We made a few stops along the way, ate a lot of food, and even threw in an old school sleep over night while we recovered from a crazy night out in Nashville.
Friend Michelle (as I will have to refer to her since they have the same middle name also…) and I made a pact back in freshman year of high school that after graduation, or when we became millionaires, whichever came first, we would take a cross country road trip. Well we graduated and this little thing called college got in the way. Ironically, that’s the same thing that got in the way of being millionaires so currently we are 0 for 0. So when I decided I was going to move home and I wanted to make a road trip out of it, I knew exactly who to call!
Sister Michelle has an awesome job as a night Labor and Delivery nurse that gives her amazing flexibility and well, my new roomie wasn’t about to miss out. So we packed up my little Nissan Sentra and headed back home.
Day 1 Los Angeles to Albuquerque, New Mexico
Day one had one mission: get as far out of California as you can! No but in all seriousness I was absolutely prepared for our first day of driving through the southwest to be one of the more boring days. We took Route 40 straight across and there’s not too much between here and well… Nashville. Or so I thought.
Friend Michelle is a crazy diligent researcher.. for literally everything we do. So she had found a gas station (yes, gas station) off of Route 66 that we just HAD to stop at. We got off in Needles, CA just before we entered into Arizona to get gas and head up into Old Route 66. Just before we got to this famous gas station we were #blessed to find the amazing town of Oatman, AZ.
Let me paint the picture for you. We had been driving for about 15 miles with nothing around us and barely any cars coming from the opposite direction. Literally the most exciting thing we were seeing were the rock formations people had left along the side of the road. But then we saw a sign that said donkey crossing. We noticed it and laughed as we pulled up to a cute small little old western town, which had wild donkeys everywhere. It was the most absurd thing we had seen. People were just walking around this little town, in and out of the shops, on this one single dirt road, with wild donkeys wandering right next to them. We stopped and talked to one of the shop owners who told us there are about 15 donkeys that come down from the mountains every day to be fed by tourists passing through town. Now keep in mind, when I say town I mean this one road that is about two football fields long. Max. It was amazing.
After we got over the shock of the donkey welcome to Arizona we got out and walked around a little. There’s really not much to Oatman, we only spent about 10 minutes there but it was good to get out of the car and take some photos of the old buildings.
From Oatman it was still a while until we got to our first stop in Albuquerque and we got into New Mexico after dark. New Mexico actually has quite a bit of things we wanted to check out like a teepee village, White Sands National Monument, and Carlsbad Caverns.
Day 2: Albuquerque to Ft. Smith, Arkansas
So day two we left New Mexico, and headed through the panhandle of Texas, through Oklahoma and into the first town in Arkansas. Just outside of Amarillo we stopped at Cadillac Ranch, which previously all I knew of this was there were a lot of country bars named after it. What I didn’t know was it is an amazingly cool piece of art in the middle of Texas. Remember this from last year? We had stopped just outside of Vegas in awe of these amazing neon colored rocks? Think the same thing but it’s actual cars in the ground. I don’t think you’re actually supposed to spray paint them but there are paint cans everywhere and of course, Friend Michelle got a can from some other visitors and made our stay known. It was really crazy to see these old cars in the middle of a field and what years and years of paint and weather had done to them. Lucky for us it was just off of Route 40 and we hopped back on and headed into Oklahoma.
**Just a little warning, fill up in Amarillo. There’s not much of anything between Amarillo, TX and the Oklahoma boarder. Very little gas stations, fast food, exits or even radio stations so be prepared. And while you’re at it, grab some coffee to keep you awake.
We headed through Oklahoma and stopped in OKC at a great brewery. OKC is such a cute little city right in the heart of cow country, it was a perfect place to make a stop and grab a bite to eat and a beer. It actually has a pretty good craft brewery scene so we stopped at Twisted Spike Brewing Company and it was amazing. A good selection of beers from smooth and light to heavy and hoppy. Parking isn’t the best here so be on the lookout for street parking. We did have to go a little out of our way to get here, but navigating the OKC highways were pretty easy and it was just off of an exit.
From here we ended out night in Arkansas and let me tell you, this little gem of a town was amazing to wake up to, but more on that on Friday.