Grant and I finally got hitched last fall, and it was a crazy busy year for us. After a whirlwind year of milestones and planning every last detail of the wedding, we decided to take a relaxing road trip honeymoon— with almost no itinerary.
Since we had a retro wedding, we thought our honeymoon should follow suit. We decided to take Route 66 to the Grand Canyon. We had eight days to travel through ten states, and here's what happened:
We left Des Moines around noon and ended up in Kansas City, MO, making a few stops along the way. Grant bought some fireworks and we had dinner at a gastropub called Beer Kitchen.
After driving for a couple hours, we stopped at an antique shop along a highway town in Kansas. I found the cutest atomic fish glasses ever, along with some other less notable stuff.
We saw our first road side trading post in Oklahoma and decided to stop. Pottery and tapestries and leather fringe galore! And an entire room full of moccasins? Yes please. WE WERE IN HEAVEN. We spent probably an hour there, (and ended up spending too much money,) but it's our honeymoon, so yeah. Memories.
We made it to Amarillo around midnight and quickly passed out after checking in to the motel.
Our first stop of the day was Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, TX. Created in 1974 by the art group Ant Farm, Cadillac Ranch is a public art installation in the middle of a field next to the highway. There are ten cars sticking out of the ground, caked in decades-old paint. Previous guests leave cans of spray paint all over, and graffiti is definitely encouraged. We added our mark to the cars and went on our way.
Plaines evolved into Mesas as we neared New Mexico. We stopped at yet another trading post a few hours out from Albuquerque, where we saw our first cactus of the trip.
Before the wedding, Grant and I decided to buy his actual everyday wedding band on our honeymoon. We loved the idea of his band reminding him of our first journey as husband and wife, so he used a simple silver substitute for the ceremony. Grant found his band at this shop in NM, and I love that his band is as unique as we are.
Another long day of driving! Our favorite stop was a roadside trading post/rock shop. We found lots of cool crystals and geodes, along with some wooden figurines, falsa blankets, and jewelry.
The meteor crater wasn't on our route, but we just had to see it. It was a nice preface for the Grand Canyon. We didn't stay long at all, though. Once you've taken a few pictures and looked in the telescopes, you're done.
We arrived in Tusayan around sunset. We had planned on camping, but it was nearly freezing. Us being naïve Midwesterners, we assumed Arizona = hot. We were mistaken, so we payed too much money for a hotel room. BOOK YOUR TRIP IN ADVANCE. Last minute reservations are not very wallet-friendly.
After driving through a surprisingly lush pine forest, we finally made it to the Grand Canyon! The park offered such a diverse landscape and we enjoyed the colorful flora, unique wildlife, and scenic views. It was definitely worth the drive! Pictures will never do it justice, but we took many anyway.
The majority of our visit was spent near the southern rim. We hiked Bright Angel Trail and drove a little north, but we were due to spend another night in Tusayan before heading to Denver, so we stayed close.
Goodbye Grand Canyon, hello Utah. Today was a driving day, and Utah was an interesting state to drive through; nearly every town we stopped at was abandoned. Grant decided that we weren't stopping until we got to Denver. Winding up and down through the mountains in the dark? Not my favorite thing to do. But we did it and we survived!
Grant's sister and her husband live in Denver, so we spent the day with them. After brunch at Toast, we went antiquing in the art district. We stopped at a few different stores, including my new favorite Denver stop: Garage Vintage. I found the cutest aqua tea canister ever, among other things. Then, I went to IKEA for the first time (!!!) with my sister-in-law while Grant and his brother-in-law had a couple disappointing beers at Rock Bottom.
After a walking tour of the historic houses on UC Denver's campus, we stopped by Tivoli brewery for a beer. After we finished our German pretzels and seasonal brews, we headed back to his sister's house for the night.
Nebraska is 430 miles long, and there must be a black hole somewhere along I-80. The drive home felt like the longest drive of the entire trip. Other than stopping in Omaha for gas and food, our eighth and last day on the road was uneventful. We picked up our cat from my parents' house and made it home just in time for bed.
What better way to start a marriage than with an adventure? We had so much fun exploring the southwest, and we plan to keep up this newfound tradition for many anniversaries to come!