There's nothing more American than a road trip and our trip to Sedona last month was the perfect welcome back experience.
We've been car-less for nearly four years now (counting when I last lived in LA and got rid of mine) and currently have no plan to buy one. So when it was time to head to Sedona for a friend's wedding, renting a car and hitting the open road felt like a big adventure.
Growing up in LA I'd notice historic markings all over town indicating that X Y Z street was a part of 'Historic Route 66'. I knew where the route ended (the Santa Monica Pier) but I had no idea what the rest of it looked like. The Sedona trip was the perfect opportunity to see what was east of Los Angeles and California on the 'Mother Road' that invented motels and created (once thriving) small towns around it.
We used the freeways leaving LA but as soon as we passed Barstow and had our required In-n-Out meal, Route 66 was it. It was quiet, there were no trucks, and it was right next to the landscape. When we saw something we liked, we stopped and enjoyed it for a minute or two. Some sections of the road were in need of repair but for the most part it was easy driving.
The photos above are from Amboy and the surrounding area. Before we stopped for a coffee break at Roy's, we saw the landscape change to a beautiful mix of volcanic rock and white sand. We wondered how long ago the eruption happened and how far away and got our answer when we followed a sign into the National Park for Amboy Crater. What a cool spot. Not only did we get great view of the cinder cone (you can hike to its rim if you have the time) but it was the site of the raddest picnic table I've ever seen. I took at least a dozen photos of it from different angles! We really wanted to hike the trail and just be in the stillness and silence that was all around it but it was getting late and we still had our overnight stop in Kingman ahead.
We hit the road, back on Route 66 where every hour or so was a new possibility of experiencing something from the past: a retro motel, a greasy diner, a scenic view. Had it not been for a meeting I had to come back for, we would have extended our trip by at least a week. The short stretch of Route 66 that we did was a tease but it reminded me of the diverse landscape that we have here. In other parts of the world you can drive six hours and pass through one or two countries with fairly similar looks and feels but here in the States, it's possible to feel like you've been in three or four different worlds all in one day. Same country, no passport required. As much as I love working my passport, a good ol' American road trip was just the ticket.