21 Mar My Southwest Road Trip- 2015
Last Spring Steve and I did a big road trip in New Mexico and the surrounding states. We made it to Colorado, Utah, and for a short time Arizona. It was a really fun road trip. My first real U.S. road trip where I wasn’t on a mission from one place to another, but just going because we could and only having a rough outline of what we wanted to do.
Here’s the Outline:
For our southwest road trip we left Clovis, drove all the way to Denver for the night, drove the next day to Colorado Springs, taking a small detour to take the drive up Loveland pass and see the Continental Divide, then continued to Grand Junction for the night. Next we drove to Moab, spending the next two days in Arches National Park before driving to Monument Valley, the Four Corners Monument, and then to Santa Fe. The next day we drove home to Clovis, wishing to be back at Arches, but ready to not be in the car for a while.
In Denver, Steve and I randomly met up with a high school friend. We really had no plans in Denver other than braking up a long drive and seeing a city neither of us had been to. By ourselves we went to Great Divide Brewing. Steve really loves trying new beer and visiting breweries. Great Divide is one of his favorites and he really didn’t want to miss a chance to visit. They don’t sell food there but we ate veggie nachos at a vegetarian food truck that was outside.
We walked a few blocks to meet our friend at World of Beers. I’d never been to one, but, Steve loving any place with an assortment of beers, told me it was pretty good. We both got flights, something they had on their menu- by then I wasn’t exactly paying attention to beer type. We caught up with our friend and stayed out way too late.
We drove across the state on I-70 until just before the Eisenhower Tunnel. We could have easily gone through the tunnel and continued on our way to Grand Junction, but Steve told me about a trip to Colorado with his family when he was younger and he wanted to drive Loveland Pass. I would have gone along with it anyway, but when he said that we would cross the Continental Divide and see a pretty great mountain view, I was even more willing to go. After stopping and taking a few photos, looking at Arapahoe Basin toward the bottom, wishing we had brought our ski stuff, we kept on going along I-70 to Grand Junction.
We are obsessed with Utah, even the small chuck of the state that we saw. From Grand Junction we drove to Moab early in the morning and got to Arches National Park around mid-morning. We went right into the park, behind a long line of other cars. We spent the rest of the day walking around, hiking, and getting sunburnt. We came back the next day too, going on a longer hike this time, with less people, and just spent the day in awe of great surroundings.
We didn’t spend a lot of time in Arizona, but after Moab, we drove south and entered Monument Valley. For the most part, we drove right through, not really budgeting a lot of time to hike or sightsee, but we obviously stopped along the road every few miles to take more pictures of the amazing monoliths. After passing through, we headed east again, crossing into New Mexico, before heading north in the Navajo area to the Four Corners. While this wasn’t the most exciting part of our trip, I’m definitely glad we went. We took pictures standing in all four states and looked at a few of the Navajo stands selling trinkets.
We finished our road trip in Santa Fe, breaking up the long drive from Moab, through Arizona, back home. Neither one of us had been to Santa Fe before so we were excited to check it out. We were surprised by how small it is. We were expecting more of a major city, but we weren’t complaining. It’s small enough that driving isn’t a pain at all, no traffic at all, but there’s so many good places to eat. We obviously ate Mexican, and while we didn’t spend a ton of time there, I’m going to write a more in depth post on eating in Santa Fe soon. Because there’s so much you shouldn’t miss.
What I would have done differently:
I definitely would have budgeted more time. I think anyone would say that though. But there are so many parks and outdoor spaces that I wish we could have spent more time wandering around in. Especially in Utah, Arizona and Western New Mexico. We’re going back to Western New Mexico in a few weeks so hopefully we’ll hit a few more places on my Bucket List, but I’m just dying to get back to Utah. I could live there. Maybe.