[Day 1] Off to Kanab, UT

We wanted to start the day early but after packing all our food in our icebox and moving things to the car, we ended up leaving the house around 10am. Our plan was to get to Las Vegas and eat lunch or late lunch and make it to Kanab around 9pm. I thought we would start seeing the fields but it wasn’t until we hit the border that I felt that we were truly on the road. We were prepared to be on the road for a while but I think the bathroom was our biggest fear. Our first stop was at a local gas station on Route 5 and luckily, they let us use the bathroom. Right before we hit the border, we also saw a truck stop that had a bathroom so plan accordingly.

We made our first stop at the Seven Magic Mountain around 3pm, a lot later than we expected. We also didn’t see the art installation until we were really close to it so I thought they were small. But once we parked at the lot and started to walk towards it, I realized that they were actually really tall!

We did see some people but most of them were wearing masks and people were distancing themselves as well. But it was still hard to get a picture with no one in it. The colors of the rocks were so bright, contrast to the bare sands of Nevada and really gave it that POP. We admired the work of Ugo Rondinone, took some pictures, stretched our bodies, and headed to the nearly picnic area (which happened to be in Las Vegas).

We brought some food that needed to be cooked and we needed a bathroom and picnic table and ended up in a park named Jesse Ellyson Picnic Area. It was a bit into the residential area but had a gazebo, picnic table, a grill, and a bathroom. However, the bathroom here was closed to the public. We took our what we needed and started cooking.

We brought my burner and camping equipment set so we had pans, pots, plates, and even bowls. We bought meat and veggie the day before and were able to enjoy our meals this way. I cooked some and my roommate cooked some and we both enjoyed it. We ended up eating around 4:30 pm so we assumed this would be our lunch and dinner and we would snack on the way if we got hungry. We filled up our gas and tried to use the bathroom at the 7-11 which was part of the gas station but they said that they were closed to the public (the horror!) but luckily, there was a gas station across the street and they had their bathroom open to the public (phew!)

Once out of Las Vegas, it was all desert again. The road went from 3-4 lanes to just 2 lanes and it got dark very quickly. And because of how dark it was, the stars were becoming visible. We ended up parking on the side of the road around 8:30 pm and just looking at the stars for a bit. And by the time we arrived at our lodge, it was close to 10pm.

We stayed at the Perry Lodge because it was walking distance from the community center where they would do the lottery in the morning. The check in was quick and the lobby area was very clean. They had hand sanitizer and were giving out masks for people who needed them.

The Lodge seemed pretty empty and they still had the vacancy sign on. They were being very careful with things so people won’t have to touch what other people have touched. So breakfast was going to be bagged and we would need to pick it up in the morning. And also, ice. They turned off their ice machine and if we wanted ice, we needed to ask front desk for a bag of it.

When we got to the room, we were surprised at how large it was. We had 2 king size beds and also had a fridge and microwave. The view out the window was just of the community center but still nice. It was very quiet and we were able to sleep in peace.

Traveling with a First-Timer to Grand Canyon and more

In April, a friend of mine will be visiting the USA for the first time. It is her for her to get time off from work so this was something we had to plan way in advance to make sure work would permitted. When she told me she wanted to visit me, she asked gave me two options: Visit Grand Canyon or visit New York. With only 1 week, I knew doing both would be impossible. And also, she has never flown for longer than 2 hours so I did not know what she would be like after crossing the waters. So we decided on Grand Canyon.

I have been to Grand Canyon several times now and there are places I’ve never been to but to make it a memorable trip for her, I planned it as if I was visiting for the very first time. I didn’t mind going back to the same places because every time I see them, it is still amazing. (In the last 4 years, I’ve been 3 times and it never gets old. I want to go hiking there but that will have to wait.)

my original plan

She and I are both Disney nerds so we had to slip in Disneyland somehow. I purposely left the first day empty to see how she would be feeling after the long flight. And once in Las Vegas, I knew we would be doing a lot of driving so I wanted to leave a lot of error time for just in cases. Since it was semi-confirmed, I purchased the airfare tickets, hotels, rental car, and the Antelope Canyon Tour. Also, there was a sale going on for 3 day passes at Disneyland and it was cheaper than buying 2 day passes so we hopped on that. However, we had to make a HUGE change to our schedule.

My friend went to an autograph signing event for Andy from Shinhwa. Since he is from California, she asked him for recommendation. (Note: At signing events, you can ask a question on a post-it and the artist will usually respond to it)

Q: Going to USA for the first time in April. I’m heading to LA area and do you have any recommendation?
A: San Diego Sea World

With his answer, my friend contacted me and said “I want to go to Sea World.” Welp. Time to change our plans around. We couldn’t change too much of it since most of it was paid for. But we could make our schedule a bit tight to make things fit. I didn’t want to make the trip hard for her but she wanted to push to see everything since she didn’t know when she would be back again. So we altered our schedule to include Sea World. The last time I went to Sea World was when I was… 10? So this would be something “new” for me as well.

our current plan

So now, this is our plan. We have less than 30 days left for this trip so I hope we can stick to this. We will be heading over to Disneyland right after I pick up my friend from LAX and I really hope she will be ok. I will also need to get some good-night sleep before she comes so I can have the energy to run this plan myself! But overall, I cannot wait for her to visit me 🙂