Unexpected Arizona

I thought Arizona would be flat, and mostly brown.

I was wrong.

We woke up early to begin the long drive to Tucson from Holbrook. I wasn’t really looking forward to it because I thought the landscape wouldn’t be very interesting.

Around an hour into the drive is when we learned that Arizona has mountains. Really tall mountains.

The mountains on the Blue Ridge Parkway seemed like little hills in comparison.

We drove up and down these huge mountains.  Through the snowstorm at the top, then back down to calmer weather and then back up again into the snow.

It definitely was not the boring drive I was afraid of.

Rocket Garden

NASA, and anything space related, especially vintage, is something we both really like. So a weekend trip to Florida to visit the space center at Cape Canaveral seemed like a good idea for our fifth anniversary. Neither of us had ever been before. It was the end of September, an escape to someplace tropical and warm before the cold winter months began. 

My grandma told me she lived nearby for a few years before moving back to Michigan and would often see the rocket launches from her house.  My grandpa was a NASA engineer.  I wish he was still around so I could hear all his stories that I never got to hear.

Rockets from various eras of the space program sit in the Rocket Garden, towering over the space center museums. It’s crazy to see these giant things, and realize the amount of fuel needed to leave our planet.

The Motel From a Dream

Staying in normal chain hotels is pretty boring.

Although it can be a bit of a risk to stay in some random motel, it always makes for a more interesting story and a more fun experience.

It was summer 2018, and I was looking for a place to stay on a last minute weekend trip to Cocoa Beach Florida to visit the space center. As soon as I saw a picture of this pastel castle, the opportunity to stay here could not be passed up. It went along perfectly with what my brain had dreamed up retro Cocoa Beach would be. The reviews were mediocre, but we’re not picky. The price was pretty cheap, but not the cheapest on the list.  Right where I like it. From the photos online, it looked like my dream motel.

This Motel is called Fawlty Towers, and I couldn’t find any more information on it before booking. But later on during our stay, I read that it had once temporarily became a nude motel in hopes of increasing business.  I couldn’t find any info on if clothing was still optional, but everyone I saw there kept their clothes on. whew!

The motel formed a square, where every room had a back door that faced the courtyard with a pool.  Palm trees covered the property and it was like a quiet little oasis.

At night, the courtyard pool felt a little like an alternate reality. I loved it.

The room was nice enough, with all the things you’d expect a motel to have.  It was clean and the bed was comfortable.

This crazy motel makes the list of top favorite places I’ve ever stayed.  I would definitely stay here again on another trip to Cocoa Beach.

 

 

Just Off the Desert Road

Just a few turns off the interstate, in the vast open desert, abandoned towns and buildings sit.

Free to explore, there are no fences or barriers.  No one else is even in sight.

The sun was setting over this forgotten little campground. A place where people probably spent many fun summer vacations, now overgrown on a cold day in early March.

There are so many little things to discover in the desert, just off the interstate.

The Big Hike to Hawksbill Mountain

I never posted the pictures from the Big Hike last fall.

It was a one mile hike to the top of a mountain that stood tall along the Blue Ridge mountain range. Towards the end of the hike the trail was nearly straight up the side of the mountain!

The views from the top of Hawksbill Mountain were some of the best I’ve seen in the Blue Ridge. It was also exciting because we finally managed to time it right to see the perfect autumn leave colors.

It can’t really be seen in this picture, but on that rocky ledge is Wiseman’s View, which I visited years ago!  It was cool to be on the other side of it.

These mountains overlook Linville Gorge, which is a river that runs though this area deep in the valley.

We stayed on the mountain top for a while, eating the little picnic we packed and looking out at at colorful mountains.

For some reason this short weekend trip the the mountains almost  a year ago really stands out in my mind as one of my top favorite trips. The weather was perfect and everything we did was so much fun, with no stress of worries. Looking through these photos really reminded me of the time spent there and made me excited to return soon.

The Beach in a Dream

Little beach towns always feel like a magical, altered reality type of place to me. A place far away from regular boring life, where time almost stands still. When thinking back, months later on that short little week spent spent at the beach, it almost feels like a dream. I think these Polaroids capture that feeling.

These Polaroids were taken with the Polaroid OneStep 2 and film.

The Trail to Oatman

The last day in the desert led us to the little town of Oatman, which is nestled high up in the mountains between Arizona and California. I didn’t realize the drive to get there would be so scenic.
We left the red rocky landscape behind us and headed towards these jagged rocky ridges. We had to stop every few minutes to get out and take in the views.
I could have spent a long time wandering around and discovering strange desert things.  Like this interesting desert shrine.  Or that forgotten car.
But our flight home was that evening so we had to hurry back to Las Vegas.

This part of Arizona made me want to visit California even more than ever.  Maybe because we were so close, it was just beyond this mountain ridge!  The landscape in this part of the country is so dramatic.

The town of Oatman is home to a bunch of friendly Burros.  As we got close to the town, Burros started to appear along the hills. I couldn’t wait to get to the town to see even more!