Watermelon Popsicle On The Road: Arizona + Salvation Mountain

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How awesome is it to be able to check experiences off of your bucket list?

This time I want to share with you guys a bit more of my latest bucket list triple adventure.

A little over a week ago I turned 25, and that just by itself was an amazing experience. I felt loved by so many people and got to finally celebrate my birthday surrounded by dear friends for the first time in like three/four years.

On the morning of my birthday, Chris surprised me with the itinerary of a mystery trip he had been talking about for like two weeks. As my present, he decided to take us on a road trip that included watching a U2 concert in Phoenix, visiting the Grand Canyon and other towns in Arizona and stopping at Salvation Mountain on the way back to San Diego. I think I probably exploded inside when I read that itinerary.

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So on Tuesday, the 19th, we got on the road and drove all the way to the University of Phoenix to see my favorite band perform. All I can tell you is that I have no clue how we got super close to the front stage in spite of getting there at 5pm - I’ve been to U2 concerts in the past and it’s incredibly hard to get a good spot unless you arrive before the sunrise. Been there, done that.

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Being able to go to the concert was incredibly special for a handful of reasons. To mention a few: 1) I’m a huge fan of U2 (hence the tattoo on my wrist, which you can ask me for the meaning anytime) 2) I had already lost my hopes of going to this tour because all of the San Diego tickets were sold out; 3) I was really bummed because this was a really special tour, a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Joshua Tree album/tour and I had not made it to a single concert. Did I mention I’m a big fan?

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Needless to say, the concert was amazing, and I almost ugly cried a few times. However, I have to admit that I have no idea how we survived the whole thing. Every single muscle of my body hurt and yet I couldn’t stop dancing/jumping.

We let ourselves sleep in on day 2, because we wanted to be able to actually enjoy the trip, and since we had another long drive ahead of us, resting was probably the best and most wise option.

We left Phoenix and headed to Flagstaff, but we saw an exit to Sedona along the way and decided to check it out because we were feeling adventurous. BEST. DECISION. EVER.

Sedona is such a cute little town, full of quirks and small businesses - as well as big hotels - and it’s surrounded by the red rocks. We’ve actually contemplated the idea of moving there about a thousand times ever since we came back. If you decide to visit the town, my two must do recommendations are: 1) go hiking along the red rocks and lakes, the views are to die for; 2) stop at the pottery store Son Silver West. The place has a ton of really cute decor stuff that won’t break the bank, and it’s also a picture perfect spot. If you don’t it for the shopping, do it for the ‘Gram!

We spent so much time in Sedona and surroundings that we ended up not seeing much of Flagstaff. We basically went straight to the hotel and called it a day super early, because we had to be up at 4 am next day to drive to Grand Canyon.

The excitement was so intense that we both ended up getting up at 3:30 am without any alarms.

Driving to Grand Canyon was incredible, for lack of a better word. I don’t think I had ever seen so many stars in my life. We started seeing the sky turning yellow, we both got super anxious because we didn’t want to miss the sunrise. I think at that point, Chris was driving at 100 miles/hr.

We finally made it to Grand Canyon's South Rim at 6:12 am, sunrise was at 6:14.

What an unforgettable experience it was to see the sun coming from behind the canyon. It was one of those moments that you carry for the rest of your life. Not to mention the fact that you realize how small you are in this world and how amazing the things that nature has created are. Grand Canyon was more than beautiful, it was spiritual. The best word I can use to describe the feeling is plenitude, which is the condition of being full or complete.

Now, I could not forget to mention two things about my Grand Canyon moment. If you make it to sunrise, make sure to bring with you all of your heavy winter gear. It was 34 degrees there and I almost froze to death. Make sure that there are no rams in the area when you decide to take your pictures sitting on the edge of the Canyon, because I was surprised by one staring at me and though I was going to be run over by the thing. If being there wasn’t scary enough.

We walked around a lot, but didn’t stay past 9:30 am. I’d have stayed if I had food with me, but since we didn’t bring any, we were both getting hangry.

We ended up having breakfast at Fred’s Diner, in Bedrock Yabadadoo. You didn’t read that wrong. There’s a Flintstone's “theme park” right outside of Grand Canyon Village, and it’s a pretty scary place. Haha. I’m sure at some point the place was cool and all, but right now it’s basically a ghost town that you still have to pay to go in. Tip: save yourself the trouble and skip that part of the trip.

After a morning full of adventures, we drove back to SoCal and spent the night in El Centro, because it was close to our last stop of the trip.

Happy kid!

Happy kid!

Day four started with more sleeping in and getting work done at In-N-Out (I could use that as my office forever TBH). Then we headed to Salvation Mountain, our last stop.

Before I get into how cool the actual “mountain” is, I just wanted to mention that the place is located in a pretty scary area. Am I the only one who thinks that? Anyway, to those of you who have never heard of it, Salvation Mountain is a Southern California landmark that was built by a single man over the course of 24 years. The colorful mountain displays messages about God and love, and bible passages. The whole structure is made out of adobe clay and straws. You can (and should) find out more about it here.

The Salvation Mountain has got a lot more popularity in the recent years because of Instagram. Needless to say, the place was full of girls taking Instagram and Snapchat pictures, even though the heat was almost unbearable. All things considered, it was a great experience to visit and learn a bit more about the story behind it.

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After a week full of driving and adventure we returned to the piece of our sunny San Diego, but as much as I’m glad to be back, I can’t wait for the next trip.

I also just want to give my incredible boyfriend a big shout out for coming up with such a thoughtful present. Thank you so much! <3

Have you ever been to Arizona? What was your favorite part? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comment section!