35+ Hours in an HR-V with Two Friends
A lot can be said when you put three people in a car together for five days of travel. The adventure began in Indianapolis, Indiana. After working three and a half years at a children’s hospital in Indy, I loved my job but was not quite ready to settle down just yet. So, I decided to dabble into the world of travel nursing starting first in Reno, Nevada. Luckily I did not make this journey across country alone. After some relatively quick persuasion I convinced two of my coworkers to come along for the ride.
We left Indianapolis and drove eight hours on I 70 W towards Kansas City, MO. There are some of the “World’s Largest” items along the road in Casey, Illinois. Take a quick stop, you might meet some cyclers traveling all the way from the Bay Area. St Louis breaks up the drive halfway and is a great place to stop for a bite to eat and a view of Gateway Arch National Park. If you have the time, you can go on a tram up the Arch which lasts approximately one hour for $13. When traveling, make sure to use this opportunity to visit friends! My friend Sarah took us to a wonderful brewery called Boulevard Brewing Company in Kansas City followed by the most amazing BBQ at Q39. For those that are unaware, the burnt ends are the BEST! Also, “Who would order the veggie burger at a BBQ place?” Hahaha.
After a wonderful evening of catching up we headed towards Denver, Colorado along I 70 W another nine hours of driving. This was without a doubt the most boring drive, traveling seven hours through Kansas. Luckily I think people figured that out, and put some interesting sights along the drive right off the highway such as the “World’s Largest Czech Egg” and the “World’s Largest Van Gogh Easel”. The Oz Museum was worth checking out in the small town of Wamego, Kansas. The friendly people and quaint town feel were really adorable. Daylight Donuts next door offers ice cream donuts! Also, don’t forget to purchase some ruby red slippers for $15. I almost put them on in the car in hopes of getting out of Kansas faster! After the longest day of driving, we finally made it through Denver and into Evergreen, Colorado where our hotel was for the evening. Ray Lamontage had his last show of the tour at Red Rocks Amphitheater that night so we ended up catching some music under the stars.
The following morning we left Denver heading towards Moab, UT. This was without a doubt the most beautiful drive of the trip. We took our time driving through the Rocky Mountains, spending the afternoon in Vail, then continuing on into Glenwood Springs and eventually stopping in Moab, UT. Vail is one of my favorite places in Colorado. It is a small town compared to Denver, but with a Bavarian-Swiss look.There are tons of outdoor activities here such as golfing, hiking, skiing, and mountain biking. You can rent bags for corn hole while taking a break from shopping at Vail Village. The Vail Farmers Market and Art Show brings 135 vendors into the village every Sunday during the summer. There is honestly so much to do here and the scenery is stunning through any season. Unfortunately for us we needed to get on the road again. Once in Glenwood Springs, we stopped for a mid afternoon beer at Glenwood Springs Brewery before finishing the drive to Moab around 9:00pm. FYI: Everything shuts down by 10pm here except for McDonald’s and Burger King. Luckily we found a place that would still seat and feed us just before 10pm. We stayed at the SpringHill Suites Moab, it was fabulous. They have a huge water park overlooking the red rocks, so take advantage. Being less than a 5 minute drive from Arches National Park made it easy to be at the park by 7:30am. I would highly recommend getting the the park early because it gets hot and crowded. Arches is stunning! We made it to Delicate Arch within about 40 minutes and the view was so worth it. Take some time to sit and enjoy the view and bring plenty of water.
Driving from Moab after the hike at Arches into Salt Lake City was supposed to be the shortest drive of the trip, but it ended up being what felt like the longest due to road construction. We went through two thunderstorms while driving in Utah, one that was quite terrifying for a moment with water rushing along the sides of the roads in between the red rock mountains. Reflecting back I can say now that all the lighting hitting the red rocks was quite beautiful. Once in Salt Lake City, our great friend Carla and her husband took us on a drive up to the Albion Basin at 9,500 ft elevation where everywhere you looked there was wildflowers. Such a surprising and beautiful place being so close to downtown. It is 15 miles from downtown, but it took about 30 minutes to drive to the top. Once in the heart of those mountains, you may see moose (which we saw a female moose in the middle of lunch), marmot, deer, goats, and a lot of variety of birds. It is not surprising this is a popular place to take wedding and family pictures during the summer. While in Utah our short time, we also were able to view Utah Lake from Saratoga Springs, which is just south of Salt Lake City. This lake is so peacefully quite, which is surprising because it is very large and highly residential. It was a great time spent in Utah!
The last leg of the road trip was one of the longest, but went by the fastest with really no reason at all. It is only an hour drive in Utah before entering Nevada, taking I 70 W on the last seven hours of the trip through the mountains and desert. Sagebrush with its pretty sage green color is everywhere here. Sagebrush, although it appears to look more like a plant, does actually flower and happens to be the state flower of Nevada. The bristlecone pine is the state tree and the mountain bluebird is the state bird. As soon as you arrive in Nevada, West Wendover is there to greet you with cowboys and casinos. Speaking of casinos, it is very easy to become a lightweight once in Reno. The altitude and free drinks that are served at all 24 hour casinos here will easily intoxicate you and make you regret going to a casino in the first place. When in Reno I guess!
Side note: Special thanks to Jackie and Adam who helped turn this long drive into an EPIC ADVENTURE! Thanks to my special friends who we got to see along the way too! Such great memories!