sateless suitcase
An Art Historian, a Journey, and a Suitcase

In the summer of 2016, I did the craziest two week road trip across the Southwestern USA with Steffen, my favorite travel partner in crime — and although it already feels like a lifetime ago, I have so much to say and oh-so-many photos to show! We flew into San Francisco where we spent two full days before picking up our rental car to chase after all the beautiful desert and canyon sceneries in Arizona, Utah, and Nevada. We hiked longer than ever, haunted down amazing craft beer, and even managed to visit friends in Phoenix who we met on a crazy pub crawl in Prague back in 2012.

I had been to the States 11 years ago, but road tripping along West Coast and the Southwest couldn’t have been more different from my homestay experience the South back when I had just turned 18. Before I write in depth about this trip (and get around to editing my gazillion dSLR photos) though, I just wanted to share a few stats along withe the photos I posted in realtime on my social media channels to give you an idea how this trip went down — I love the raw in-the-moment-ness these photos imply and how looking at them reminds me of that beloved vacation-feel.

Miles driven: 2,200
Hours of plain driving: 51
States visited: 4 (5 if you count the layover in Charlotte, NC: we had local beer and Bojangles!)

Beers in Charlotte, NC

Beers in Charlotte, NC

National Parks visited: 4
Miles walked in total: 105, 9
Miles hiked: 55,6
Just-like-in-the-all-movies-motels slept in: 6

Hostel in San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California

Breakfast in SF

San Francisco, California I starting staying “Julia with an additional K” after this incident 

San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California Remember the summer of 2016, back when Pokémon Go was still a thing?
Beerkachu jokes totally worked.

San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California
Lombard street and the law-abiding tourists

San Francisco, California
Hunting down a very famous beer in a very weird bar

San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California
Can you spot that famous bridge? 

San Francisco, California

Dollars spent on gas: 180
Dollars spent on sightseeing including national park admission fees: 222
Dollars spent on parking in Hollywood: 12
Dollars spent on a bottomless boozy brunch buffet for two at the Caesars Palace in Las Vegas: 117
Tacky souvenirs bought: 7

Road trip meals in California

California Road Trip

Days we saw the Golden Gate Bridge without fog: 0
Weird roommates in our San Francisco hostel dorm: 3
Percentage of red lights on a Friday afternoon in LA: 100

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

Times I fell on my right knee while hiking in Yosemite National Park: 2
Total of mosquito bites: 11
Cockroach sightings: 2 (both outside luckily)
Other weird bug incidents: 1 (a huge bright blue bug attacked us during lunch in Riverside, CA)

California Road Trip

California Road Trip
All of the basic brown-box-breakfast-excitement!

California Road Trip

Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara, California

Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles, California

California Road Trip

Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles, California
Doesn’t the Griffith Observatory have the cutest Snapchat filter?

Los Angeles, California

Sunburns: 1
Bruises: 4 (Walked into the wrong door at CLT + took the bus in SF + fell twice in Yosemite)
Blisters: 2
Bleeding injuries: 3 (aside from falling in Yosemite, I also cut my thumb open while hastily packing up my razor)

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Scottsdale, Arizona

Scottsdale, Arizona Brief morning pool-time in Arizona

Sedona, Arizona

Sedona, Arizona

Sedona, Arizona
Culture nerd gone outdoorsy!

Flagstaff, Arizona

Pairs of gross muddy hiking socks found in the back of our rental car after 10 days of basically living in it: 5
Times we regretted not getting a 4×4 as a rental car: 3
Sunsets seen from the car: 5
Scary sun-darkening dust storm experiences: (Haboob season in Phoenix!)

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Numbers of bathing suits I packed hoping I’d spent a lot of time in the water: 4
Hours actually spent poolside: (including a Las Vegas pool party)
Pages read in my book: 0
dSLR Photos taken: 2,280 (at least on my camera, Steffen took about 8,000 on his)
Photos I managed to take of those insane giant cacti in Scottsdale, AZ: 0 (and they would have made such great #emojisinthewild images, ugh!)

Horseshoe Bend, Arizona

USA road trip

Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon, Arizona

USA road trip Cold leftover pizza for the win!

Utah

Local craft beers consumed: countless
Awesome specialty coffees had in San Francisco: 4
Breweries visited: 3
Times I was ID’ed when ordering a beer: 6 (I felt so gloriously young!)

Zion National Park, Utah

Zion National Park, Utah

Zion National Park, Utah

Zion National Park, Utah

Zion National Park, Utah

Times I had Quaker oats for breakfast because they were the only semi-healthy option at motel breakfast buffets: 5
Clifbars consumed while hiking: countless
Mexican food occasions: 4 (Chipotle counts right?)
Pizza occasions: 3 (4 if you count leftover pizza lunch in the car on the next day)
Nacho occasions: 3
French fries occasions: 7 (don’t judge, you know I love them and if the US knows one thing, it’s definitely fries!)

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada Bottomless brunch at the Caesars Palace

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

Just looking at these numbers and random phone snaps makes this USA road trip seem so unreal! It was super fast-paced and we encountered almost too much diversity to process in such a short time, but I’m so glad we made the most of our two weeks in the States! Albeit the US being an easy destination (aka not being lost in translation, understanding (most) food and cultural traditions), this trip was certainly a challenge for us because it was the longest and farthest trip Steffen and I ever took together and our itinerary was designed on the verge of exhaustion. But I’m so, so happy we actually made this big travel dream come true together!

Have you road tripped the the United States?

 

PS: I visited a pre-election America and I don’t feel qualified to say anything on politics, so I’m treating the United States like any other tourist destination that is worth visiting for stunning nature, friendly people, and great food. But if you are interested in a more political statement, please read my friend Jessica’s blog post on how we can save the US National Parks — after having seen a few of them with my own eyes now, I was throughly shocked to learn how endangered they are.

 

Let's talk about this


  • http://www.trevorhuxham.com/ Trevor Huxham

    This makes me so happy to see all of your photos from such a grand road trip around the American Southwest, Julika!! It’s too bad our paths didn’t cross, what with me living in Phoenix now, but I love that you were able to see so many amazing places in Arizona when you visited! Really looking forward to seeing proper write-ups for each place…because I know your photos will definitely do them justice!

    • JulikaSarah

      I would have loved to meet you for coffee in Phoenix, Trevor, but our itinerary was just too crazy! Arizona was amazing and three days there certainly weren’t enough!

  • Veena

    You had Bojangles’ AND In-N-Out?? That’s enough to make this girl jealous, even without all the other beautiful photos. I’m glad you had such a great time, and I’m happy to know my country treated you well! xx

    • JulikaSarah

      And I didn’t even mention that we also went to Taco Bell and Chipotle, Veena! 😀 Seriously though, I had the best time and so many delicious fries!

      • Veena

        Now you’re speaking my language! 🙂

  • http://atravelingb.com/ Bridget @ A Traveling B

    What an incredible trip! You did so much in a short time! I’m proud of your French fries consumption, mine would have been plenty more on vacation I promise. We visited the Mighty 5 in Utah this year and Zion was one of my favorites. Looks liked you hiked the Narrows as well! Itching to get to Yosemite – your pictures are all beautiful!

    • JulikaSarah

      Haha, I’m glad you can relate to living off of fries while traveling, Bridget! Zion was absolutely stunning and I definitely want to go back to see the rest of the Mighty 5 in Utah now! And I can’t recommend Yosemite enough, it’s just out of this world!