Start: Flagstaff, AZ | End: San Diego, CA
Distance traveled: 488 miles | Time: 7 hours
States driven through: Arizona and California
Cities seen: Phoenix, AZ; San Diego, CA.
We’ve arrived!! But I’m sure you all know that at this point. We arrived on Sunday so this update is a bit late, but that’s because it’s been a very stressful week (more on that tomorrow).
So we started the last day of our journey in Flagstaff, AZ. Since we only had 7 hours left of the drive, we didn’t feel too rushed when we woke up. I got some work done from my computer while Zack went out to get the oil changed in the car. We were both up by 7:30am which was super strange considering I’m NOT a morning person whatsoever, but the slight time change has had me going to bed around 10 o’clock so naturally, we’re waking up a bit earlier. I don’t mind it. I actually hope I continue this type of routine after we get settled a bit.
After plugging Miramar into our GPS, it gave us three different routes to choose from. They were all relatively the same distance and time wise so we chose the route that brought us south into Phoenix. I am SO glad we chose this route because it was absolutely gorgeous. I was in complete awe over how beautiful Arizona is. I sat in the passenger seat with my Nikon in my hand continuously snapping away at every cactus and mountain I saw (I literally took over 200 photos). I had no idea Arizona was so mountainous. I’m not sure if that sounds weird or naive, but when I think of Arizona, I picture deserts. Not mountains. So I was pleasantly surprised with how beautiful of a state it was. It was easily my favorite state to drive through on this entire road trip and I’m already looking forward to going back when we see the Grand Canyon.
We arrived in Phoenix around 12:30 in the afternoon and, again, I loved this city. I wish we had more time to stop in and explore a bit, but being that we had been in the car nonstop for a week and were only about 5 hours from San Diego at that point, an extra stop was the last thing on our list. So we drove right through. Once we got out of Phoenix, we finally entered into the desert. Again, I’m not sure if this is weird or not, but I was rather excited to see a desert. I had never seen one before so it was all brand new to me. It was pretty cool to see a new environment like that, but I was over it in about 30 minutes. At that point, I was beyond bored with it.
Every now and then, we’d come across a run down little town and Zack would joke that we’d move there someday. No way could I ever live in a desert. We stopped for gas at one point and the whole time I was paying for snacks, I was wondering where these people lived and how far they traveled to get to work each day. It was crazy to me. And the heat was insane. It was about 105 degrees outside when we stopped and for me, I wasn’t dying or anything, but the poor puppy couldn’t even get out of the car to pee. We brought him out to give him some water and he immediately started pacing and trying to get back into the car. I was annoyed at first, until it hit me that he was uncomfortable. I touched the pavement with my hand and immediately had to pull my hand away. I felt so bad that we hadn’t caught on sooner, but it just wasn’t something we’d ever really had to think about. And it’s not like he was whining or crying either.
I opened the car door for him and he jumped right in without hesitation and laid down in the back seat. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to go to the bathroom on this stop, but he did drink a whole liter of water laying down in the back. We had to go back into the store to buy extra water for everyone because he was drinking it all. The rest of the drive through the desert was with the windows rolled up and the AC on high for him.
We arrived in California around 2 o’clock or so. Now for this entire road trip, I sent a photo or a video to friends and family every time we entered a new state. Every. Single. Time. So like all the other state borders, I had my iPhone out and ready to take a photo of the ‘Welcome to California’ sign. The one sign I had been waiting for a few thousand miles at that point. AND IT WASN’T THERE! No joke, you guys. There was construction going on at the Arizona/California border so the welcome sign had been taken down. Zack thought this was hilarious because he knew how excited I was about it, but I was pretty pissed. So many miles of built up excitement just to be disappointed. I was about ready to kill someone. But that doesn’t change the fact that we made it to California.
From here, the highway ran alongside the Mexico border which I thought was pretty cool. Again, it was new to me. I had never seen Mexico before or even been this close to the border. So it was somewhat exciting to me. At one point, we could actually see the wall that divides the U.S. and Mexico (which, by the way, wasn’t as big as I had anticipated. It looked rather small from where we were). We were also in the middle of another desert which was a bit different from the last one. This one had less shrubs and A LOT more sand. I’ve never seen that much sand in one place in my entire life. It was crazy to me. But again, just as boring as the last desert.
After the desert, we drove through some gorgeous mountains for a while and then FINALLY arrived in San Diego around dinnertime. Anxiety set in about 10 minutes before we arrived at our hotel. It all of a sudden hit me that we were in a new place…on the other side of the country. The furthest I had ever been from our home state or from family. We didn’t have a home or friends. I didn’t have a job lined up. We only had one car. We didn’t know our way around whatsoever. It was all of a sudden terrifying to the point where I almost broke down in tears. Once we got settled into our hotel room a bit, I felt a little better, but the first week was a bit overwhelming. But I’ll share all that tomorrow so stay tuned!