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  • Writer's pictureSam Hageman

Road Trip: The Continental US, Part Four the South.

Updated: Jul 11, 2021

15,000 miles, 48 states, 42 tanks of gas, 34 days, 2 cars, 1 engagement.

June 12, 2017:

(38) Dinosaur Valley State Park, Texas:

That morning Garrett had to shower. While he showered, I took the tent down & packed the car. Once he finished, we left our site & hiked to the Paluxy riverbed to walk among the dinosaur footprints in the river. We saw no one in the river with us & were able to cool off while looking at some amazing dinosaur

fossils. Dinosaur Valley allowed dogs on leach everywhere & was a cool park, they even had a giant t-rex & apatosaurus on display from the world fair. We then left Dinosaur Valley to drive 6.5 hours to Palo Duro Canyon State Park…but we never made it there.

After 4 hours driving in the middle of nowhere Texas we stopped at a Gas Station for gas in Post, Texas & the Ford Escape started acting funny. This resulted in an eventful few day from June 12, 2017 to June 14, 2017 which you can read about on the blog released before this (check it out if you want to hear the crazy story). This resulted in us buying a 2001 Chevy Suburban in Lubbock, Texas, selling the broken Ford Escape, & finishing the trip around the continental USA.

June 14, 2017:

After purchasing the Suburban, packing the suburban, & finalizing everything with the Ford Escape we departed Lubbock, Texas at 8PM that night in an attempt to exit the state of Texas that night. However, Garrett & I both were exhausted by 11PM/12PM. We made it to a truck stop at the edge of the border between Texas & Oklahoma & slept in the car for the night.

June 15, 2017:

(39) Black Mesa State Park, Oklahoma:

We awoke at 6:30AM groggy, but we had a plan on how to catch up & make it to our next reservation in Utah that night. We headed to Black Mesa State Park in the pan handle of Oklahoma. This was a quick stop to see the black lava rock formations & the highest point in Oklahoma (a plateau). Dogs are allowed on leash everywhere in the park.

(40) Point of Rocks, Kansas:

To help us make up some time we skipped going to Monument Rocks National Landmark (massive rock formations with a 6-mile drive-able or walkable loop) & Lake Scott State Park (a place to camp/hike, originally one of the camping stops). Instead, we headed to Point of Rocks, Kansas in the Cimarron National Grasslands. This only 1.5 hours away & was another quick stop to explore some rock formations in the grasslands, which allow dogs on leash.

(41) Great Sand Dunes National Park:

We had decided to skip our stops at Garden of the Gods & the Manitou Cliff Dwellings due to time. So, we drove 5 hours to the Great Sand Dunes National Park, stopping along the way at a roadside park for lunch to enjoy the Rocky Mountains. One of the coolest things of the Great Sand Dunes is the terrain, it goes from Grass lands, to Sand Dunes, to Mountains, & even a surging river through it (a natural phenomenon as it is from the snow melt in the mountains) for part of the year. You also can rent sand sleds from the local store & sled the dunes. We ended up sledding the dunes for a little while then playing in the river to cool off. It was one of our favorite spots of the entire trip.

(42) Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah:

Due to the time we decided to skip Four Corners that day & do it the next day, as well as negate visiting Natural Bridges National Monument since Dexter could only go to overlooks anyway. We drove 7 hours from the Great Sand Dunes National Park to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in the middle of the night, arriving at 3AM (with some minor issues that you can read about on last weeks blog). We hit the hay the second camp was set up that night.

June 16, 2017:

The next morning, we were awoken by a construction crew at the campground at 8AM. We quickly realized we had messed up by setting up in the RV camping area instead of the tent sites, which we saw down another road in the morning. So, we quickly packed up before anyone else was awake & headed to the tent camping area to hit the showers. Thankfully it was a beautiful area & we were able to see the canyons from the tent area. We then headed out to drive some of the canyonland & see the river by Lake Powell. Thankfully Glen Canyon is very pet friendly, however there are a few limitations such as; archeological sites, marinas, docks, walkways, launch ramps; along San Juan River from Clay Hills Crossing to Glen Canyon; Orange Cliffs; Rainbow Bridge NM; Colorado River downstream to Grand Canyon NP; or Coyote Gultch. We found some dirt roads to take to the river & let Dexter take a dip in the shallow parts of the river. We drove back & stopped at some overlooks to see Monument Valley in the distance & then headed to our next stop.

(43) Four Corners, New Mexico:

As we needed to still stop in New Mexico, we skipped visiting Horseshoe Bend in Arizona. Instead, we drove 2.75 miles to Four Corners, a tribal owned landmark connecting Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, & Arizona. Although it was only a quick stop, it was cool to see it & dogs were allowed on leash. However, it can get very busy, so just be aware of that.

(44) Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona:

We drove 3.5 hours to the Grand Canyon. The campground is massive & has some nice sites. We arrived with daylight to spare, made dinner, & relaxed for the night. The stars were amazing that night, so we kept the rain fly off the tent to look at the stars. Although that may have been a mistake as we were very cold that night since the temperature dropped to 40 degrees overnight.

June 17, 2017:

We woke up the next morning after a cold night, refreshed & ready for the remaining parts of our trip & feeling like we finally had completely caught up. We ate, tore down camp, & headed to the South Rim trail. The Grand Canyon only allows pet along the South Rim trail on leash, this is mainly because the Donkeys used to go down into the Grand Canyon are terrified of dogs. The trail is paved & can get really hot later in the day. We were able to hike some of the trail in the morning, so it was not too hot for Dexter.

(45) Lake Mead National Recreation Area/Hoover Dam, Nevada:

Due to the heat we mainly drove around the Hoover Dam to check it out. It was easy to drive around to tour. We stopped at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area at an overlook to take in the view on a very hot 120-degree day then headed to Las Vegas.

(46) Las Vegas, Nevada:

We drove to our Laquinta hotel & took care of Dexter. It was very hot for Dexter, so he needed to relax inside in the A/C. Once we dropped him off, we grabbed an Uber into the city. Law Vegas is not only known for its all its casinos, but also having some of the best food in the country. Due to the heat, we did not want anything heavy, so we found a sushi place. The food was expensive, but it was very good. We then headed to the Flamingo Casino because both of us are nerds & love Ocean’s Eleven. We went to a card table to play some blackjack & quickly lost the amount we budgeted for (clearly we do not gamble). However, we then went to the penny slots, enjoyed some drinks, & had fun taking it all in.

However, we both agree casinos are not our thing. After that we headed to the Eiffel Tower at the Paris hotel & casino. We made it to the top just in time to see the Bellagio Fountain show. After enjoying the show we headed to find desert. We found a little shop that did ice cream sandwiches with cookies & ice cream. We both customized our own & enjoyed the cool treat during the warm desert night. We grabbed an Uber back to the hotel & slept.

June 18, 2017:

(47) Sequoia National Forest, California:

We headed to California the next day. Once again it was hot as we drive north from the desert. We drove through the Seqouia National Forest taking stops at the overlooks around & seeing the big trees throughout. Dogs are not allowed on trails but are allowed at the overlooks. Although we only got to drive through, we watched a beautiful sunset in the mountains.

(48) Kings Canyon National Park, California:

We headed to our campsite at Kings Canyon. We set up in the dark on a slanted hill & hit the hay.


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