Waking up in Vegas, I was ready to hit the road. While I’m sure there is more to do in Vegas than hit Encore, XS or the slot machines (right?! there has to be?!), Vegas for me was really an oasis in the desert. It was a place to stop and refuel, rest up and catch some shut eye before heading to Mammoth Lakes. This meant I hit the road super early for me (about 9 am) even though my drive wasn’t as arduous as some of the others I’d done.
Driving out of Vegas, I was surprised by the scenery unfolding in front of me. Oh my goodness! Those majestic mountains rising up from the stark desert! This is kind of embarrassing to admit, but even though I’ve been to Vegas before (hello 25th birthday trip!!), I had no idea this is what the surroundings outside of Sin City looked like. I loved it.
PS I hope you notice I’m rocking my new turquoise earrings I bought in Sedona.
I was also surprised to see snow so soon outside of the city as well.
There have been so many awesome views I’ve seen through my windshield on this trip. One of the lessons I’ve learned on this trip is there really and truly is beauty everywhere. In the desert flowers in New Mexico, in the red rock in Sedona, on the gulf coast in Alabama. So often we are stuck with our eyes cast down, looking at our smartphones, checking Instagram, tweeting about reality TV (guilty of all three!) and I want to make a note to put the damn phone away and just look at the incredible creation that surrounds us.
After a couple hours of driving through desert, I made it to the border with California.
True story, I had no idea that I was going to hit the border when I did. I actually had to stop on my little country highway and stick my car in reverse to get back to it!
This was a major moment for me. After traveling through 7 states, I had finally made it to my 8th and last one. I thought I would feel some huge shift or something when I made it back to my home state. What I mostly felt was a sense of relief…it can be so tiring to be on the road for so long! And I was also a little nervous. Being on this trip means that I always have something going on, and I didn’t have to think too much about the future…what is my next step? What am I going to do about a job and where will my next home be? I didn’t particularly want to confront all of those questions just yet!
Driving through the Sierra-Nevadas was just beautiful.
The only thing that was worrisome about the drive is that it got very twisty and at certain points I was basically driving through rock cliffs! And the other concern was that there is basically nothing out there! Mental note: good place for a vacation home at some point in the future. But that meant I was also thinking, “Okay, I’ve got 120 miles until empty. Am I going to get to a gas station?” And, of course, no cell reception, no radio stations coming through! I had made it this far though, so I had faith.
When I finally made it into Mammoth Lakes I was so excited!! This was my last night on the road and I wanted to make the most of it. I decided to splurge on the Westin Monache Resort.
The hotel was beautiful! I loved the view from my room was awesome, seeing the mountains and the swimming pool and hot tub from my little nook under a window.
The other thing I loved about this hotel was how pet friendly it was! I didn’t have to pay any extra fees to have Remy stay with me, and they even brought up a little pet bed and bowls for him! It was so sweet and totally won me over. In case you are a fellow traveler with pet in tow, I want to mention that there is a Westin in Napa that does a similar deal called the Westin Verasa Napa that I am adding to my to visit list!
After refreshing with some wine and tacos at Happy Hour at Gomez’s, Rems and I headed back out to see some of the beautiful lakes and sights around us.
I liked that Mammoth had a really good balance between development and nature. It meant that not only did the Village Lodge have tons of cute restaurants, bars, and shops, getting to all the different lakes was easy because they were so accesible. We could drive around from spot to spot, enjoy the views, park and walk around a bit, and get back in the car.
This was perfect for me and Remy, because my energy was approximately -12, but my personality isn’t one that let’s me just hang out at the hotel and watch TV (not that I don’t love doing that too!).
Another reason why it was great for us was because it was FREEZING cold and we were woefully unprepared. Not like New Mexico throw on my new long sleeve shirt from Target cold. Like people had actually been skiing and shit. I did not expect that!
Another beautiful view!
I snapped this photo because I thought it showed so starkly how the drought has been affecting California. Look at how little water is in that lake!
We had a lovely, if cold time, exploring Mammoth! We can’t wait to head back.
I ended the night with some take out sushi and miso soup, turned the fire on, took a relaxing bath (if you know me, you know I love a good bath!) and got into that heavenly bed.
Distance Traveled: 309 miles
Low: Forgetting my jacket in my car and having to ask the valet to go get it for me!
High: Tie between seeing the beautiful lakes and the bath I took at the Westin