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Travel With Bender

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Southwest, USA

Phase 8 #motherofallroadtrips: Grand Circle (Part I)

Colorado, Utah, Nevada

4th April – 5th May

Total approximate miles: 992 miles (1,596 km)

Total fuel: US$117

Phase eight continues our #motherofallroadtrips.

Phase 1: We toured Eastern Canada for over one month.

Phase 2: A little under one month in the Midwest USA.

Phase 3: We made our way from Oregon to Vancouver, Canada.

Phase 4: We discovered Western Canada with a quick side trip to Alaska.

Phase 5: Drove more than 5,500 km from British Colombia to New York.

Phase 6: A meandering journey from New York to Florida with stops in Nashville & Atlanta.

Phase 7: Drove west through Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and New Mexico.

This was Big Red’s final journey with us before he went back to his owners. We finally managed to get out of Santa Fe after a slight delay and headed north to Colorado. Due to delays in New Mexico we ended up with only 3 nights in Colorado before spending the next month checking out Utah. Oh, and we squeezed in a brief beach vacation in Florida too. Our epic road trip ended in Las Vegas, swapping Big Red for a Big RV as we took on part II of the Grand Circle.

Arches National Park in Utah


Phase #8 – Grand Circle (Part I):

Durango, Colorado

4th – 7th April

Accommodation: Strater Hotel (check latest prices...)

This sweet little town in the mountains of Colorado was absolutely adorable. We enjoyed every minute of that fresh, clean air. I made time to see a naturopath to tackle a couple health conditions I’ve experienced and the practitioner provided valuable insight. We caught a historic narrow gauge train through the mountains to Cascade Canyon and ate the best scrambled eggs of my life! We also managed to find time to visit the ancient and mystifying Mesa Verda. The Strater Hotel was a definite highlight though, both historic and beautiful. I wish we could have stayed longer.

Strater Hotel
Mesa Verde National Park

Moab, Utah, USA

7th – 10th April

Accommodation: Airbnb trailer (check prices in area...)

On our way to Moab we detoured to Four Corners Monument – the only place in the United States where 4 states meet. In Moab the cheapest accommodation we could find was a trailer and it was a fun adventure giving us a taste of what was in store for us on our RV trip the following month.

While in Moab we conquered the Canyonlands National Park and enjoyed every minute in Arches National Park. After all that sun and hiking we were so glad to get to Salt Lake City, buy groceries and not leave the house for 6 days.

Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

10th April – 4th May

Accommodation: Airbnb cottage (check prices in area...)

A very short few weeks catching up on writing and school work before we packed our bags and took a side detour to Florida for my son’s birthday.

Florida, USA

16th – 23rd April

Accommodation: Hilton Doubletree (check latest prices...)

Coastal Joe Vacation Rentals (check latest prices…)

While in Florida I attended the Family Travel Summit and lucky Josh and the kids spent a couple days on the beach. 

We followed this up with a relaxing 3-night stay in Cape San Blas in Gulf County, eating cupcakes and playing on the beach daily. It was too soon we said goodbye to the sunshine and returned to chilly Salt Lake City.

Port St Joe Marina, Gulf County

Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

23rd April – 4th May

Accommodation: Airbnb cottage (check prices in area...)

We spent another 10 days in SLC catching up on work and preparing to give Big Red (our car) back to his owners.  It went way too fast and we departed with much less luggage after lightening our load.

LA, California, USA

29th April – 1st May

Accommodation: KOA (check latest prices...)

One Friday around noon I was chatting on Facebook to a lovely girl I met the previous month at WITS, XOXO Lizza and she invited me to her birthday. The problem? It was starting that afternoon in Los Angeles. It would last 2 days.

In a spontaneous moment quite unlike anything I have ever done in my life, I booked a last-minute flight at 1:30pm and packed like the Tasmanian Devil from Bugs Bunny cartoons. I arrived at the airport at 1:50pm and boarded a flight to LA at 2:10pm.

That weekend I spent with 4 amazing girls I hardly knew in a KOA cabin, zip-lining, creating tie-dye shirts and having a marvellously fun time. 

Bryce Canyon, Utah USA

4th – 6th May

Accommodation: Bryce Canyon Resort (check latest prices...)
Bryce View Lodge (check latest prices...)

We left Salt Lake City quite suddenly when we hoped to extend our stay in our Airbnb property and it turned out to be unavailable at the last minute. Finding a place in Bryce Canyon proved rather difficult and expensive on our first night.

But it did give us a full day to attempt the Queens Garden hiking trail and thoroughly enjoy Bryce Canyon National Park.

Appropriate t-shirt considering Josh is on the edge of a cliff

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

6th – 7th May

Accommodation: Towneplace Suites by Marriott Henderson (check latest prices...)

This was it. I couldn’t believe it was all over. We drove into Las Vegas late one afternoon. And spent the night just outside of town. The next day we picked up our brand new vehicle, an RV! Afterwards we delivered Big Red to an address the owners had given us and said a tearful goodbye.

It was a poignant moment, but not one we had much time to reflect on, since our next adventure was calling us.


The End?

This marks 11 months since we first started back in June 2015 in New York City. We covered more than 15,645 miles (25,179 km) across 38 US states and 6 Canadian provinces.

The #motherofallroadtrips is finished.

We hope you have loved journeying through the US & Canada with us on all 8 phases of this epic road adventure, and are as sad as us that it is over.

But never fear! #BenderGoRving is just about to begin. We haven’t finished with you yet, USA.

Follow on for our incredible 7-day RV trip through Utah and Arizona – part II of our Grand Circle route.

And true to our original plan, we had to finish in California. So we’ve done a 7-day trip from Sacramento through Gold Country to San Francisco.

Oh, and we couldn’t wrap up our road trips without a 2-week drive through Nova Scotia, Canada.

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