A few weeks back, my love and I took the most wonderful road trip along the southwest and west coast of the good ‘ole USA. I love seeing new places and taking it all in, and that’s exactly what we got to do.
First, some good stuff:
Originally, we were going to drive up and back on Route 1 along the CA coast from SF. Then we found an amazing deal from Hertz. Car rental for $1 a day if we drove the car from Phoenix to SF. That’s right, $1! It was an amazing deal, and even with the cost of a one way ticket to Phoenix, it was less than we would have spent on the car rental had we not found this deal. Summary: always check Hertz (and other car rental companies) for their current deals!
Okay, now, let’s be real, this is the really good stuff:
Our trip started in Phoenix and ended in SF 8 days later. It was one heck of a journey! It looked something like this, although I’ll have to break it into parts since we had too many stops to add to one Google map:
So Let’s Get Started: Phoenix & Beyond!
Things started a little rough. We missed our flight for the first time in our lives! Apparently we needed a little extra sleep, but it did damper some of our plans for Phoenix. Since we were only traveling for a little over a week and wanted to hit up so many places, we didn’t have much time at each stop.
We didn’t let this ruin the trip, though. One of the best things to remember when traveling either domestically or abroad is to stay flexible, and that we did! We laughed it off, paid the change-flight fee (unfortunately), and went on our way.
In Phoenix, we drove around a bit, but honestly didn’t do anything too exciting. We also knew we were taking the scenic drive to Tucson, so we didn’t have extra time on our hands. I’ve been to Phoenix before and liked it, so I have a feeling we’ll be back at some point.
We drove the Apache Trail (Highway 88) to Roosevelt Dam and then on to Globe, all through the Superstition Mountains. It was incredibly breathtaking. We drove along lakes and through fields of majestic saguaro cacti. It’s a scene like no where else. We stopped at many pull-offs to snap some photos and yell into the valleys below. I highly recommend this drive to anyone who likes to see the beauty of the landscape and feel a little bit disconnected from the rest of the world (in an amazing way).
We also stopped in Goldfield, a ‘ghost town’ that is very clearly now just a tourist trap, but it was fun to step into this bit of US history. In the 1800s, it was a bustling gold mining town but closed down in the early 1900s. There are still remnants of the mine, tools, and buildings from the original town.
The scenic drive took 4-5 hours, and we ended up driving from Globe down to Tucson via 77 as the sun went down and into the night. We arrived at our AirBnB and it was super unique. It had lovely gardens and also had a temple inside!
We got some much-needed sleep and woke up early to depart for the next part of our journey.
A few hours in Tucson & on To Sells.
We grabbed a quick breakfast at Prep & Pastry and then drove to the Saguaro National Park to see more beautiful landscapes and lots of cacti!
We took a few hours to check out the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, and I’m so glad we did! It was so much more than a typical museum. They had many gardens, animals, great scenery, aquariums, and much more. One of my favorite museums I’ve been to! Plus, I love their mission and always love supporting places like this: inspire people to live in harmony with the natural world by fostering love, appreciation, and understanding of the Sonoran Desert.
After spending the morning+ at the museum, we knew we needed to get on the way to make it to our next destination before sunset. Daylight goes so quickly on a road trip!
We, again, took a bit of the long way to get there because we wanted to check out the Tohono O’Odham Nation Reservation. This is the first time I’ve ever been on a reservation and it was definitely interesting (and a bit sad and unsettling) to see. I have many thoughts on the reservation, but I’ll save that for another time. For now, I’ll just say, I’m glad I got to see a reservation for myself and meet some of the people that live on one.
We stopped in the reservation capital, Sells, and got a bite to eat from the supermarket and just drove around the community.
From Sells, we continued through the reservation to Why, AZ, and then up through Ajo (beautiful!) to Gila Bend on Highway 8. Then we continued our journey west!
We stopped at Dateland and got delicious date shakes. Dateland wasn’t quite what I expected (it was basically just a rest stop), but the shake was definitely delicious, so I recommend grabbing one to go!
After Dateland, it was starting to get dark, but we made it through Yuma and then to our destination of Jacumba Hot Springs, right on the Mexican border, by nightfall. Along this drive we saw the Mexican border and the wall on the border as well as border patrol and patrol stops. I have definitely never experienced that before in the US, and it was interesting, to say the least.
Jacumba was amazing, and I will definitely go back at some point. It’s a simple hotel but has pools full of hot spring water. It is so lovely and feels wonderful. We went to bed and then went for another dip the next morning before heading out on the next part of our road trip!
Tune in later for part 2 (and 3) of this series. For more images from this part of the trip, check out our Through the Lens section of the site for our photo portfolio.
Love to all!