Our drive to California was a long one. In total we probably spent about 50 hours in the car between Thursday of last week and yesterday. We finally made it home to Houston at about 4:00 a.m. Tuesday morning. You can imagine how happy we were to crash into bed at that point. But we were also pretty overwhelmed and excited about everything we managed to pack into those five days of travel.
What is that saying… lo bailado ya nadie nos lo quita. And boy did we dance!
This was our first time driving all the way to California – Los Angeles to be exact – and since we were traveling alone without the boy, we knew going in that detours might run a little long. We’re horrible when it comes to not encouraging each other to make a bunch of stops. We are metiches after all, LOL. Siempre queremos andar en todo. Which also got us thinking. We have actually gotten pretty good at traveling long stretches by car. That comes with experience mostly, since we’ve now made the drive to Miami, New York, Las Vegas and Los Angeles by car. And that’s not even mentioning all of the years we spent traveling to Mexico with our families in the summers.
You learn how to pack smarter, what foods to avoid, how to listen to your body (especially when you’re tired), how to pick good detours, and most importantly, how to keep road trips fun. That’s what we care about most when we are on one of these long stretches. We want it to be enjoyable for everyone in the car with us.
So with that in mind, in case you’re making the drive to or from Texas and California anytime soon, here are some of the stops we made along the way that you might enjoy as well too.
First off, rest stops and state welcome centers can be a lot of fun. Some of them are located against beautiful natural backdrops on this drive, and others just speak so much about the culture of the region. This one in particular was right before the Texas-New Mexico border.
We had already driven through El Paso, Texas before, but never during daylight. Being able to see Ciudad Juarez, Mexico across the freeway in front of the University of Texas El Paso was sort of surreal. On the way back we spent some time at the shops in downtown El Paso and came back with a few goodies for our home.
In Los Angeles, we had to take the scenic drive through the Angeles National Forest. It had some amazing views along the way, but the other drivers zipping past us made us a bit nervous so we didn’t drive the entire route through the mountains. What we did see, though, was breathtaking.
Probably our favorite stop this time around was the Saguaro National Forest in Tucson, Arizona. They have a desert museum tucked away in the mountains, as well as an amusement park of Old Tucson. The park was closed by the time we got there, but we were content with just the natural scenery. We’ve learned that national and state forests offer some of the best destinations for detours (long or short).
And finally, one of the stops we had on our list to visit was Prada Marfa, Texas. This installation in the middle of the Texas country is hugely popular and we just wanted to appreciate it for ourselves. It was totally worth the extra hour of drive time on our road trip.
What other places are on your list of destinations to visit? We’d love to know for our future road trip adventures.