Road Trippin’

The last road trip I took involved going up the coast of Oregon, and it was amazing! I have fond memories of camping in Northern California, exploring the Oregon beaches, visiting the Tillamook factory, and checking out Powell’s Books.

When I discovered that Left Coast Crime was happening in Albuquerque, I figured we could drive to New Mexico. (And by we, I mean my other family members—thanks, y’all!)

On our drive, we made a pit stop in Phoenix. Even though I missed the “Welcome to Arizona” sign, I got this:

“Um, isn’t that an oxymoron?” asked one of my kids. Fresh jerky? Hey, it could be really good…

While in Phoenix, we went to the Desert Botanical Garden because why not pay to see plants you can find on the roadside? Seriously, though, it was wonderful. I got to learn about interesting cacti, including the Crested Whortleberry.

I even saw the iconic green Palo Verde, the state tree of Arizona. And there were Chihuly sculptures scattered throughout the grounds, which also explains the steep price for tickets.

Entering New Mexico, I (again) missed the welcome sign. But I took a photo of this very accurate sign:

 Since I arrived before the conference, I got the chance to visit the Indian Pueblo Center (loved the PIVOT skateboard deck art exhibit):

I also got to nap  relax in the Beyond Van Gogh art experience:

Then, obviously, I had a fab time at LCC. I loved meeting you readers and my fellow Chicks sisters!

Photo credit: Ellen Byron

On the way back home, you could say that I took in a grand view…

Apparently, every single family member has gone to the Grand Canyon except my brother. Somehow we always left him out of our prior invites—sorry! But I think we made it up to him:


Share your road trip stories!

31 thoughts on “Road Trippin’

  1. Sounds like a fun trip and excellent conference. Love road trips, especially the side roads. Thanks for sharing the experience!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Fab pictures, Jen. Thanks for sharing! I’ve taken too many roadies to count. I have to mention the trip the family took to the Texas Gulf Coast a few years ago. The highlight of the trip included a couple of days in Memphis. We got to tour Beale Street, the Gibson Guitar factory, and Graceland, of course. Great memories!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I love all the photos, especially the Crested Whortleberry cactus. Someone had fun naming that! We also drove (meaning my husband did) to LCC and stopped at the Cadillac Ranch outside Amarillo Texas. One time we stopped there and someone had painted the girl’s face from Les Miserables on the hood of one of the Cadillacs. It was gorgeous. This time they were all brightly covered with graffiti.

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  4. How much did I love hearing about your road trip, Jen? I flew over everything. I’ve really been wanting to see one of those immersive art exhibits, too. But tell me…I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon, but what are those little green eyes? Are they….aliens? Nope nope nope, lol. Next stop: Bethesda!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Lisa! There’s a museum in Tokyo (teamLab) that has digital art, and you can watch or interact with the displays.

      Yikes! I don’t know what those green dots are; maybe some weird stitching of the panoramic photo or…

      See you in Bethesda!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, man … I love road trips! I’ve only taken one by myself, though, and that’s when I drove my daughter from CO to OR to go to college and then came back by myself. That involved a long detour to the OR Shakespeare Festival where I gorged on theatre for several days. Since most of the venues were outdoors, I had to buy a fleece at the Goodwill store near her college. I still wear it and remember how much fun we (and I) had every time I put it on.

    That Crested Whortleberry is interesting. I lived in Phoenix (and have been to the gardens) and have never seen one!

    I’m glad you guys had a fun trip!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, I’m so jealous, Becky! I wish we’d stopped at the Shakespeare Festival in OR.

      I once bought a scarf from a vendor in NYC since it was snowing. (It was springtime, so all the stores carried short sleeves and skirts and such.) I still have that scarf and its matching beanie!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It was fantastic! I also have several sweatshirts from San Francisco (why do I never remember how cold it is there??). Oh, and in Rome I had to buy a pashmina dealy to wrap around my waist because my skirt was too short to go into the Vatican. The pantomime with the Swiss Guards was funny because I had no idea what they were trying to tell me for the longest time. Mainly because my jean skirt was NOT immodest. I mean, I’m a middle-aged lady ferpetesake!

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Sounds like a great trip.

    We would take road trip vacations when I was a kid. Including my first Grand Canyon visit where we visited the north rim (we also spent time in Utah that trip). Yes, I’ve been to the south rim since.

    Haven’t taken many road trip vacations since then. I should try to fix that.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sounds like fun, Mark!

      I grew up in Central California, so we’d often take road trips to beaches to cool off in the summer.

      I’ve still got to visit the north side of Grand Canyon. Also, maybe that glass bridge…but I’m not too fond of heights.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Jen, I love these photos. I guess you could call our family vacations road trips since we drove to all of them until I was 14 and we flew to Nantucket. My favorite memory is we’d leave in the middle of the night to get a full day at our destination. I loved having my dad wake me at 2 or 3 in the morning and driving in the dark and watching sunrise from the back of the station wagon. A less fun memory is hitting traffic during DC rush hour on our way to Williamsburg and the screaming when accidentally wound up on the DC beltway.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Two or three in the morning–wow! Once, I think my dad woke me up in the middle of the night to drive to an amusement park. It was not a fun experience. I kept walking into the walls in our house because I was so tired!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I just about spit out my coffee when I saw that photo of the “Fresh Beef Jerky” sign, because we passed that same sign, and I too made the same comment to Robin: “How can it be fresh if it’s jerky?”

    We also drove to ABQ, and once again I was astounded by the beauty of the Southwest. And for a rock hound such as I, it was a glorious experience!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Aw, what a fabulous trip! I wish I could have seen y’all at LCC and given out hugs and high fives.

    I love a good road trip! My most memorable was an ill-fated college spring break trip to Tijuana with my besties. It was amazing, hilarious and fraught with disaster. I wouldn’t change a thing. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We missed you, Kathy! Lots of virtual hugs and high fives!

      You’ll have to share more of that spring break trip with me at another time! I had friends in college who drove across the country–I think that would be amazing!

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Great post, Jen! Sorry I’m late checking in today. I just got in from my own mini road trip — just me driving and just to Chicago for three days. My sister had flown in from DC for a work conference. I could drive down and crash in her room, so it was pretty cheap trip for me. When she was done with meetings, we could hang out and do stuff together. I’m currently hobbling around on a walker, so we did Uber if we left the hotel! Short trip, but I’ll take advantage of any chance to visit with my little sister! And it was a bit of salve on my bereavement wounds for having to miss out on another conference with the Chicks! But I’m hanging all my hopes on Bouchercon this year!

    Liked by 1 person

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