We knew we’d reached full capacity when we finally squeezed into the car and our knees pressed firmly against the plastic of the dash. The car was packed to the brim with Kim, my girlfriend, and my entire belongings. We were finally embarking on a journey we’d been planning for a long time, a chance to explore the country in its entirety from West Coast to East Coast. To start our true cross-country experience, we felt like we had to start on an American road trip classic: the Pacific Coast Highway.
On our first leg, the vibrant blues of the ocean gradually faded into the distant horizon as we turned and twisted with the road. To our delight, the Elephant Seals of San Simeon were bustling with activity, projecting their unique sounds for all other seals to be warned.
Though California steals a lot of the glory, our drive through Utah did not disappoint. We met up with friends for some welcome guidance in exploring the national parks. The Angels Landing Trail was rigorous, but well worth the stunning view of Zion's underlying valley.
Next up? Bryce Canyon National Park, which I must admit was the best part of the journey. The extraterrestrial terrain and peculiar formations are entrancing.
ROADTRIPPERS TIP: Bryce Canyon National Park has some of the darkest skies in the entire country. You can literally see 7,500 stars with the naked eye (that's 5,000 more than your average starry sky). Overnighters can stay at the signature lodge, Bryce Canyon Lodge though there's nothing like sleeping under the show at Bryce Canyon Pines.
A mere 150 miles beneath Bryce lies another wonder with a bit of a reputation: The Grand Canyon. I will truly never forget the chill down my spine that came as I sat on the edge, looking down at the expanse of rock wall.
We continued our way through New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma and Tennessee without spending much time in these states. One of the most memorable parts of any road trip, however, is taking in the gradual change of landscape, people, and culture. Even the change from brown to green was amazing to experience. It’s hard to replicate in words so we filmed it!
We climbed mountains for most of our journey, so when we hit Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave National Park, we were excited to be crawling under the Earth’s crust. It’s the largest cave system in the world!
From Kentucky, we drove through Ohio to get to Pennsylvania where we were toured the city of Philadelphia. It has always been a dream to try a Philly Cheesesteak and we weren’t disappointed with the taste in the city of Brotherly Love. Seeing The Liberty Bell, and being around one of the most historic cities in the country, brings out your pride and patriotism of our wonderful country.
We made a point to stay at the Holiday Inn right outside the Phillies’ Citizens Bank Park stadium. As we lounged by the refreshing pool, we could hear the crowd’s roar; a game was happening right next to us! The pleasant staff and immaculate rooms helped to make this stay one that we won’t forget.
Nearing the end, we hit Ocean City, New Jersey for a stunning (and hot!) beach day at and concluded that the Atlantic is warmer than the Pacific. We indulged in the beach cycle: get hot, cool down, repeat.
This was it. We were done. 3200 miles and 7 days to visit 14 states. We look back at our trip and realize that not many have this opportunity. But if our story can inspire anything, we hope that you feel compelled to go see it for yourself. This story is ours, but you deserve more than just to hear about it. Get out there and make your own story!
For the love of adventure,
Eric & Kim