Page 3 of CStephens Travel Blog Posts

North America » United States » New Mexico » Albuquerque August 17th 2015

After waking up somewhat early - before 8:00, which is early for us - and getting breakfast, we got started on our long drive. We had about 8 hours of travel planned for today, not including stops, so we wanted to be out early. Around 9:15 we got on the road with 2 stops in mind, but others possible. First up was Marble Canyon, which sits at the eastern head of the Grand Canyon. It's on the edge of Navajo lands, so there's a lot of native culture there too. On the drive, we went by stone houses built into cliffs and boulders, which it turns out actually weren't built by the natives, but rather by settlers. Inside the houses was actually cooler, somewhat surprisingly. I definitely could not have fit living in any of them; ... read more
Saucy in the stone house
Stone House
Marble Canyon

North America » United States » Arizona » Grand Canyon August 16th 2015

Well, we couldn't go on a southern road trip without hitting the Grand Canyon, could we? We got a late start, enjoying the rest day, since drive days we usually get moving early. Serena and I went to the lodge for breakfast while Laura and Amit slept in a bit, then we all got ready to move out towards the Grand Canyon. It's about an hour drive to the North Rim from where we're staying, so we got in sometime in the late morning. We had three trails planned to hike. Originally, we were going to do a quick trip to the Grand Canyon and then another one of the several beautiful parks near us, but (luckily) the others talked me into just the canyon. We started at Bright Angel, which is the point where most ... read more
We drove by a herd of bison
That's pretty big
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North America » United States » Arizona » Grand Canyon August 15th 2015

This is where it all really begins. Although Vegas was fun, road tripping is really about the days of driving. We had several stops today, and saw some amazing things. We started by going southwest to the Hoover Dam. It wasn't on our original plans, but we had time, so why not take a peek while we're around? It did seem a little overrated in my opinion. Sure, it's a tall dam, but what else? Maybe it would have been better if we'd hit the visitor's center, but we didn't. Not that it wasn't cool to see, of course! There's Lake Mead on the one side, the Colorado on the other, and a stupidly tall and thick dam between (that we got to drive over). After that, we drove north en route to the Grand Canyon. ... read more
Hoover Dam
The yellow knolls, where we hiked
So nice to see

North America » United States » Nevada » Las Vegas August 14th 2015

Well, I finally got to bed at about 4:30 am, still up on money overall. We woke up around 10:00 something...not sure exactly, because I didn't check the time, and almost all Vegas hotels smartly have blackout curtains. Serena was desperately craving bacon, so we went to the IHOP down the street, but there was literally a line out the door. I wasn't about waiting in line for mediocre pancakes, nor were Laura and Amit, so we went back to our hotel and had food at the diner downstairs. After breakfast, we went upstairs to the Radius Pool, an outdoor pool on the 25th floor. Great views of the city, and, of course, outdoors is awesome. They had a bar for drinks - unfortunately, the only places you get free drinks in the city are in ... read more
Vegas at night

North America » United States » Nevada » Las Vegas August 13th 2015

Day 1. Las Vegas. What better way to start off a road trip than by going to the best place to lose all your money? After a breakfast of sandwiches, Serena and I packed up and headed over to pick up Laura and Amit, our road-trippin buddies. Laura, as predicted by Serena, was not ready, so we headed down to the UPS pickup store, where a package Serena had ordered to Laura was waiting that never got delivered. We ended up getting on the road in the early afternoon - not too bad timing, since San Diego to Las Vegas isn't a horrifically long drive; a bit over 4 hours. For now, only Amit and I are driving - Laura's out of practice and didn't want to do busy roads, and Serena hates driving in traffic ... read more
Desert on desert
Art in the Bellagio

North America » United States » California » Escondido August 12th 2015

Well, I certainly can't say we rushed out of the house this morning. We were both due for a good long sleep, which we got. After taking longer than necessary to wake up and get functioning, we left to go a couple blocks away to Snooze, a brunchy place that had great reviews. It was apparently super popular, since at 10:something on a Wednesday morning it had a 45 minute wait. We went to a nearby juice place to get something to hold us over, and walked around the neighborhood until our table was ready. When we finally got seated, it was time for a good old American breakfast: an egg-cheese-ham breakfast sandwich for Serena, and some fancy Eggs Benedict sandwich for me. We then made our way back to the house and got ready to ... read more
Bird of a feather?
Chinchillas are the cutest
A bunch of Timons

North America » United States » California » San Diego » Hillcrest August 11th 2015

Again, hello readers and sorry for the delay! Internet has been questionable and/or I've been exceedingly busy, so I know I owe you almost a week. So for that, settle in and get ready to read! Today, we got in to San Diego around 9:30...right on time, but after 17 hours of flying in the past 27, it seemed a bit too late. Luckily, our bags came out quickly, and there was a shuttle from National waiting so we could get straight to the rental. The shuttle driver actually knew me by name...I'm guessing from the uniqueness of our trip and the number of times I've changed the reservation, it caught their eye. As it was a Tuesday morning, National was busy with business people, which worked out great for us. They were bringing new cars ... read more
San Diego at last!
One of these cars is mine
Sausage and cheese and deliciousness

South America » Argentina » Buenos Aires » Buenos Aires August 10th 2015

I really should probably list this as somewhere over Brazil or something, but we'll go with Buenos Aires for old times' sake. This was our last day in South America, which was sad. We woke up for a 7:00 breakfast before our bus came through at 8:00. A bit of time in the airport, and we caught our flight to Buenos Aires around 10:45. After landing in the city airport, we took a taxi to downtown to change money one last time for lunch and a cab to the international airport. Lunch was one last bout of empanadas at our favorite empanada place near the school. We hung out there for a while and met a Canadian dancer who speaks no Spanish and was very confused about pricing. To be fair, pricing is confusing here. Many ... read more

Today was our second time taking on the national park, and it was amazing. We did the second part of the park adventure package we'd paid for, which was the better half (the first was the ecological tour yesterday). This part was called the Gran Aventura (grand adventure), and it was grand. It started with a jeep ride through the heart of the jungle, to see the plants and hopefully some wildlife. Unfortunately, as we took it at noon, in the heat of the day, we struck out on the second part, but the jungle and the information we learned was cool. There are a couple thousand species of plants in the jungle, which is the only real jungle in Argentina. There are 6 species of cats, the three largest of which are the jaguar, puma, ... read more
More waterfall
Selfie by the falls!

Welcome back, readers! Sorry again for the long delay. Our hotel in Iguazú actually only has internet at reception, so we were nicely out of touch for quite some time. Anyway, as you should know, we are now in Puerto Iguazú, a town in the north of Argentina. Nearby is Iguazú National Park, where the widest (or second, depending) waterfalls in the world are. The Brazil-Argentina border splits them, so both sides get a lot of tourism. There's plenty to do in the park and a ton of different ways to get a good view. The big ones are the three walkways, and the park adventures, which cost extra but are apparently worth it. For today, Serena and I covered the walkways. Starting with the lower, which is about halfway up the falls, we got to ... read more
These are coatis
More waterfalls

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