California, Colorado, North America, Slider, USA

Los Angeles to Denver: A 16 Hour Road Trip testing our new Engagement

What does a three-day road trip from Los Angeles to Denver look like exactly? Well, it’s not all bleak desert landscape like you might expect. For us, it featured stops at 3 National Parks, 2 National Forests, wild bison and antelope, dozens of bizarre and unique shops, 12 tacos and hours of music courtesy of Spotify. It also was the first big test of our new life as an engaged couple.

I’m not sure how or why I was able to convince Bob that a three-day, 16 hour, road trip was the best way for us to attend TBEX. I think I asked him after I feed him something delicious or after I attended a 24 hour improv festival. Whatever it was, he must have been in a very happy mood because he didn’t question my motive or the long drive once.  Well, that was until we were pulling into Vegas at midnight on Tuesday and he realized we still had a three states to go through until we’d be in Denver.

Saying “three states” sounds like a lot… I’ll admit. But really the drive was going to be broken up in several stages, each stage filled with a different National Park where we’d get out of the car, hike around and feel inspired by the natural beauty of our country. We were going to get back to nature- forget the stresses that were in our daily lives and just be together- without our iPhones or computers to distract us.

It sounds so romantic right?! 

The thing is, it’s still a 16 hour drive. No matter how you break it up, it’s a long freakin’ time in the car. And to add a small, tiny complication to it, we brought the dogs.

:: nervous grin ::

Thankfully, Bob and I work together really well when traveling. It’s like we have these “traveling hats” that allow us to communicate better, solve problems more smoothly and make decisions quicker. This week, though, those hats were seriously put to the test.

For example, National Parks are NOT dog friendly. Even though I looked each one of them up online before we left for the trip and they all said there was at least one trail that dogs could go on, that wasn’t exactly true when we arrived. My whole lovely plan of escaping to the great outdoors ended up being more like escaping to the parking lot at the trail head.  Even if they could have gone on a trail, it was so hot and they were panting so much, that I think they might have died, and I’m not kidding. It was frustrating and sad because we weren’t able to explore as much as I had envisioned.

We love road trips, and while our trip from LA to Denver tested our relationship, I think it made us stronger too. The trip wasn’t perfect- in fact, those fancy traveling hats are a little faded and frayed right about now (hour 9 of our return trip) and even after 10 years of knowing each other, each trip teaches us something new.

There were many other tests, but here’s some of the sights we saw along our way:

Zion National Park: Bob & the dogs on the one hike they were allowed to go on

Bob filming at Bryce Canyon National Park

Our view from our room in Keystone, Colorado

What kind of traveler are you? Are you better at traveling as a couple or solo?