American Express (6 week road trip in one blog post)!

So ridiculous but I’ve been procrastinating over this post for ever! I’m going to attempt to summarise our road trip through Southwest USA, and whittle down 2000 photos, in one post. Here’s a speedy summary:
Started in LA (Disneyland!) > Palm Springs > along Route 66 through Arizona > side trip to Monument Valley > back down to New Mexico > along Route 66 through Texas and Oklahoma, then home. About 1700 miles of driving, and it was beyond amazing. Here are just a few highlights:
I met my ‘penfriend’. Kim is a fellow blogger, and super talented maker of mobiles (which you should check out). We’ve connected through our blogs over the past few years, and never dreamed we’d actually meet, but we did, twice! Kim blogged about it here, with more photos. Our families caught up for dinner at the fab Cindys in Eagle Rock LA, where I tried grits for the first time (ahem, an acquired taste I reckon). That’s us below (Kim left, me right). We also hung out at the mind-blowing Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena. A big mwah to you lovely Kim and family. Hope we can meet again one day.

Palm Springs, LA. I suffered camera elbow there. Too much mid century goodness! I won’t bore you with photos of the houses, but you can see ’em on Instagram (if you like).
Noah Purifoy’s Desert Art Museum, Joshua Tree. In the middle of the desert and just incredible. Our boys were enthralled as they were able to walk through, touch and explore everything – not your average museum!
We made s’mores. One of our motel highlights was the Blue Swallow in Tucumcari, New Mexico. The owners, Kevin and Nancy, put on a barbecued s’mores feast for us and the other guests. S’mores, where have you been all my life? So simple, so gooey, so damn delicious!
Wigwam Motel, Arizona. We stayed in many cool mom n’ pop motels along Route 66, but the concrete teepee was an absolute family favourite!
Monument Valley, Utah. We had a little cabin right on the edge of the valley, and pinched ourselves each morning. The views! We did actually see a real live road runner, but no sighting of Wile E. Coyote.
Tinkertown Museum in Sandia Park, NM; created and hand-carved by one man, Ross Ward, over 40 years; and the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe are the best museums in the world in my humble opinion. I almost cried in both. I have no words. Our boys adored them too – all those mini dioramas!
Route 66 itself was a revelation. Call me mental but I’ve been contemplating starting another blog to share more photos – the signs, the big things (so many dinosaurs and muffler men), the wildlife (burros, mustangs, gophers, elks), the beautiful decay, the diners, the trading posts, the rock shops, the people, the cars, the things our kids loved… The Mother Road is worthy of way more than a snippety blog post.
Will share food memories and US/Mex/Tex recipes soon. USA we ♥ you!
PS. If you’re still awake, and can bare looking at even more holiday snaps, the husband and I signed up to Instagram just before we left. Yikes! Another screen addiction! You can find me here, and my man here.

Kim and SasPalm Springs dinosaursNoah Purifoy Desert Art Museum, Joshua TreeBlue Swallow Motel, TucumcariS'mores at the Blue SwallowWigwam Motel, Holbrook, AZWigwam Motel, Arizona'The View' cabins at Monument ValleySanta FeSanta Fe, NMMuseum of International Folk Art, Santa FeTinkertown Museum, NMRock Shop, Holbrook, AZYellow Horse Trading Post, AZWild donkey, OatmanRoute 66 to Oatman, Arizona

41 thoughts on “American Express (6 week road trip in one blog post)!

  1. Meeting you in person was like a dream. We are very much on the same wavelength.. we both have Sidney’s and Oma’s and the same toys growing up. i wonder if we are related?!! Saskia, I just posted some pics of the Noah Purifoy show at the LA county museum of art. They pulled some of his installations from the desert…. feels a bit strange to see them institutionalized and sad to see that this is his first major museum retrospective and he’s not alive to be there. i would have loved to meet this artist… had I known…. I’m angry that they didn’t teach us about him in art school or anywhere and all the while he lived right here!!!

    • Awww hello lovely! It did feel like a dream. Smiling my head off remembering our meeting 🙂
      Oh WOW I just cannot imagine Noah Purifoy’s art out of context in a gallery. All that white space and no sand! The desert itself just seemed to be such an important part of the art. That’s amazing you didn’t learn about him at art school. Hopefully some of the LA art schools will visit the gallery to witness his awesomeness.

  2. Amazing, amazing photos. Aaron and I have an American trip on our bucket list but it hasn’t happened yet! Your photos represent the diverse landscape so well. And of course, my fave snap is your smiling face (so gorgeous Saskia!). Such a fun post to read xx

    • Thanks for the lovely comment Laura!! *blush* Hope you make it to the US one day. I reckon you guys would love it. Seriously so much variety, especially ’round the Southwest. The best part was getting our kitsch on Route 66 though 🙂

  3. What a wonderful trip…it’s a part of the US that I have not explored yet, except for a bit of Arizona. Hoping to venture there as well someday. I must say that I was not bored at all and if you wish to share more, I’ll be happy to read 🙂

    • Thanks! I feel like we just skimmed the surface of Arizona. LOVED what we did see though. Would love to check out the south around Tucson and Tombstone one day. Yay, I may sneak in a few more pics and stories into my next post… 🙂

  4. What an amazing trip for your crew, Sas! Fantastic to see some of your many pictures here, a whirlwind mini tour. The discovery of ‘smores alone made the trip worthwhile, I’m sure. 🙂

    • Hi df! It was indeed a whirlwind, and speaking of such things I forgot to say we saw a real tornado, a very small one (thank goodness!) but quite exciting. I’m also excited to say that I have found Graham crackers in Melbourne, so all we need to do is light a fire in the backyard and we are set for a s’moresathon!

  5. It looks like you all had a fabulous adventure! Woehoeee!!!! Thanks for the lovely recap with amazing cool fun pictures & fun, fun, fun! 🙂 It is lovely to hear thatbyou had a splendid time over there in the US of A! 🙂

  6. Wow! What an amazing adventure! We visit California around once a year (from Australia), but there is so much still to see there and beyond… Love the pictures! Maybe one day when we are retired we’ll be able to follow your journey ourselves.

  7. Oh my goodness you really took a road trip! You took me back to my childhood with all these wonderful photo’s of the southwest. We drove that route several times from California to Arkansas. It was our annual family summer vacation. We lived in California and my father’s family lived in Arkansas. I remember that trip a couple of times with us three kids riding in the camper. Fun times! The dinosaurs and teepee’s are spectacular and you have inspired me to take that trip again, maybe in a ’69 Impala! So glad you had a wonderful trip Saskia and that you have a love of the USA! Look forward to your Tex-Mex posts. Oh, and I’ve heard (if you can’t find graham crackers) they are very easy to make and way better than “honey maid”. 🙂

    • Ohhhhh would love to visit Arkansas one day. We were so tempted to change our tix and just keep driving once we got to Okla! That whole region is definitely on our bucket list. Maybe the husband and I will do it in a camper when we’re retired old folks 😉
      Can’t imagine the Southwest being a part of your childhood memories – how amazing. We grew up on US culture, so for us this trip was a living dream. We could sense the ghosts of Flukey Luke, Yosemite Sam and Daniel Boon along that road.
      We did look into hiring a classic (gawd, yes, how good would a 69 Impala be?), but the cost of gas for a 1700 mile trip was a bit scary. Lots of Route 66 was unsealed too – it’s amazing the conditions a hire car can cope with though 😉

    • Thanks Karen – it absolutely was memorable, although I need to organise one of those printed photo albums quick smart, before we forget the names of all the tiny towns we drove through.

  8. I love it! We’ve been thinking of doing a road trip and this looks fantastic! Great photos and info…How long did it take to trek the 1700 miles? 🙂

    • Thanks so much Linda. We took our time, and spent 6 weeks on the road. We’d initially planned to do the whole length of Route 66 (backwards, from LA to Chicago), but decided to do half instead so we could hunker down in a few places, like LA, Palm Springs and Santa Fe. With two young boys, this was a great way to do it. We used Air BnB for the towns we stayed in for 3 nights or longer (highly recommended)! The dream is to do the other half of Route 66 one day…

  9. yay so ace of you to share these pics! those dinos!! ugh everything looks incredible! you’ve made me want to do my own route 66 road trip now : ) how lovely you met kim too. i LOVE her mobiles.

    • Thanks heaps Evie 🙂 There were even more dinos! The ones in the first photo were our faves though. We went to a really old Flintstones amusement park in Arizona (so ace) with a dino slide! Hope you get to Route 66 one day – I reckon you’d love it. So great to meet Kim. Love her mobiles too.

  10. Crikey! I have never heard of the animals you listed! Man i would love to do that trip. Will check your snaps for sure. Beep beep!

    • Ohhhhh the animals! I thought our native critters were amazing, but the US ones had us grinning.
      The beautiful burros were in an old mining town called Oatman – that’s one in the second-last photo! They’re wild donkeys, descendants of miners mules, left to fend for themselves when the mining boom finished. They live in the mountains, and every morn when the shops open they canter into town for carrots! Mustangs are wild horses – they were galloping around Monument Valley. Divine! Gophers are the little critters featured in Groundhog Day and they really do make those weird noises! Elks are wild deer/moose creatures, also beautiful. I think the wild road runner was the most exciting sight though! Beep beep indeed!

  11. It really looks like the trip of a lifetime Saskia. S’mores are the best aren’t they? I have been obsessed with Texan fare lately so I am looking forward to your upcoming recipes. Glad you had such a good time. Did you have a favorite place or experience?

    • S’mores are the BEST, especially cooked on a BBQ. I’m on the hunt for Graham crackers in Australia now.
      Oh boy we loved the Texan fare! Visited quite a few BBQ places. I was pretty boring though and nearly always went for the brisket. Drooling at the thought.
      SO hard choosing just one highlight! We all loved Monument Valley, and the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland (did that one twice!), but I think just being on Route 66 itself was the most fun… arriving at a new little town, checking into a fun hotel then heading out to explore and eat. *sigh*

        • There’s a shop nearby called USA Foods, which I’m always looking for an excuse to visit. If they don’t have Grahams, I’ll be very alarmed. New Mexico is the best isn’t it! I remember you went to Santa Fe. That place is a dream!

    • Thanks Nez. Gawd, so hard choosing my fave snaps!
      Yep, that’s one of my favourite things about blogging, the online camaraderie. Kim and I just clicked straight away; similar-aged kids (and we both have a Sidney!); similar interests and she’s just an ace chick.

I love a chat!

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