Getting on a plane is second nature to me at this point. Hanna and I have flown so many times to see each other, I'm starting to feel a little home in airports. This time we had another road trip planned when I landed in Portland International Airport. The plan? Drive from Portland, Oregon to Mesquite, NV to where some of Hanna's family lived. We turned the road trip into one giant loop totaling a couple thousand miles and over forty hours of driving.
We tried for an early start since the drive to Salt Lake City is about twelve hours. This let us see the sunrise through the Columbia River Gorge, which words can't be put to how gorgeous that was.
Salt Lake City, Utah
We made it to Salt Lake! I slept about all of the time Hanna drove through Utah so it felt faster for me than it did for her. As you can see, we were welcomed by a rain shower and a beautiful rainbow.
Provo, Utah and some car problems
We stayed in Provo for a few nights with one of Hanna's friends and the night we got there, he wanted to show us this canyon. With Hanna having a Jeep, we thought nothing of it. We got to the top fine, witnessed the beginning of a wildfire on the side of a mountain, took some photos and made our way down.
The way down, we had to brake a lot because it was so steep. Once we got to more level ground, we did it kind of abruptly, which made Hanna's a/c run off hit the hot brakes. We didn't know it was the a/c at that time, we thought the car was overheating. We quickly jumped out and all we smelled was burning brakes and we saw smoke pouring from the engine bay on both sides. Deciding it wasn't safe to drive it the five miles back to Hanna's friend's, we called him back to check it out. After checking it out, we decided to leave it on the side of the road so it didn't get towed overnight.
The part that made this more scary was we were twelve hours from Hanna's and we were on our way down to Moab, Utah. If her car had any serious problems, we'd have to cut the trip short and have it towed all the way back.
The morning after, we went back to check coolant levels, troubleshoot things and ultimately decided it was fine. On the way to Hanna's aunt's, we smell this burning smell but not sure where it was coming from. When we got to her aunt's, we parked the car and let it cool off. One of her other friends came over to check it out and that's when they said it was the a/c runoff hitting things that were hot. After all was said and done, we took it to a shop and had the brakes cleaned and that seemed to solve all of our problems.
Big Cottonwood Canyon and couple photos
Hanna and I both have talked about getting couple photos of us taken, and outside of Salt Lake, we made that happen! Thanks to Blake Hogge
Sand Hollow, Utah
Part of the plan this trip was to go camping. We did that... one night. Hanna and I assumed it would get cold enough to sleep comfortably in a tent. After the first night outside of Zion National Park, we decided it definitely didn't get that cold, and got hotels thereafter.
Being in a desert, we had to cool off somehow. Hanna had told me she used to go cliff jumping at a place called Sand Hollow, which is a manmade reservoir and swimming hole with rocks you can jump from. I had never actually gone cliff jumping so it was a little scary for me, but we had a blast.
Zion National Park
Ah we made it. All the way to Zion. Getting there a little late, we didn't have much sun but good thing to admission ticket is valid for a whole week.
The Morning After
We got up somewhat early to head back into the park. This was unlike any place I had ever seen before and I couldn't even believe it was natural.
After going down the road where you can drive your own car, we caught the bus to get even further into the park. We were planning on hiking but the high for the day was about 100 and we drank all of our water halfway through a half mile hike, so we decided not to hike anymore.
Snow Canyon and the Old Highway
After spending a few hours in Zion, we headed to Snow Canyon. A way less touristy place. By less touristy, I mean for the hour we were there we saw four cars at max.
The Old Highway was one of the most barren landscapes I'd ever experienced. The desert seemed to go on for miles, with the abandoned building ever so many miles.
We saw a storm rolling in, and storms in the desert are something else. We kept seeing lightning and Hanna and I... being Hanna and I, drove closer to it. Then we saw this road we planned on driving down but once we got to the entrance, a few guys in a pickup truck said it was raining so hard that it was flooding the road and left tourists stranded on it, so it wasn't a good idea. We pulled over and watched the storm for a little.
Glen Canyon Dam, Arizona
We saw the exit for the Glen Canyon Dam and decided to stop. It's one of those things that are so deep, if you look down it makes you sick, even if you're not afraid of heights.
Horseshoe Bend, Arizona
Hanna and I try not to be too touristy when we go on these trips but there was no way to avoid Horseshoe Bend. Easily a few hundred tourists but we managed to get away from them for a little bit.
Hour One Million
What seemed to feel like we were on the road for forever, we ran into another storm. We were in the desert during monsoon season, where flash floods are a normal occurrence so it puts you on edge all the time but the heavy rain and lightning is gorgeous.
Monument Valley, Utah
This was a big stop on our list of places. I don't believe you can go to Utah without going to Monument Valley. One of the most unique places in the southwest.
One of the things Hanna and I love to do is surprise each other with things to do. She set us up for a two hour horseback ride in Moab, Utah. I had never rode a horse before so I didn't know what to expect. I also didn't take too many photos from this because I was too scared to take my camera out of the saddle bag but Hanna took some photos of me on the horse.
I surprised her with a fancy dinner outside of Salt Lake in a log cabin overlooking the mountains.
Back to Portland
I had never experienced southern Oregon, so being able to see a sunrise AND a sunset was such a memorable experience.
Off to Seaside, OR
We decided for our last night together, we'd head back to Seaside. We stayed there last June when we first met so it has a place in our hearts. We roamed the town and then came back to our hotel room and passed out.
This time wasn't a full two weeks which made it feel shorter, but back scratches and massages await, Hanna. I love you and see you soon.