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9th December 2019

USA PART 2 BTS

Our time in Phoenix felt like a whirlwind. We met up with new friends (Riley, Tripp and Vivian), re-stocked the cars, and took the opportunity to give the Airbnb washing machine a little work out in an attempt to start the next part of the journey slightly less dusty. To set the scene, the average daily temperature was still in the mid to high 30s. We thought we would’ve acclimatised by now but it wasn’t the case! The pure dry, desert heat didn’t even drop in the late afternoons, it was brutal!

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We picked up some classic American muscle and drove out to Apache Junction. The backdrop of the Superstitions mountains got us excited and gave us a little taste of what was to come. We experienced some amazing hospitality from the locals. They stopped as they were driving past to suggest shoot locations, and even picked up some cold water for us! Vivian worked some magic with her drone & after we caught last light we headed off to our next destination.

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We woke up in another historic Route 66 town that managed to survive after the decommission of the highway – possibly our favourite yet. Holbrook felt like it was from another time, a true melting pot of culture and history, and a lot of dinosaur paraphernalia! Apparently Holbrook is an area that’s filled with fossils, the preserved remains of plants and animals from the Triassic Period, which is known to some scientists as the “Dawn of the Dinosaurs”. Up until 2007 there was a tourist park that displayed concrete dinosaur statues as an ode to the Petrified Forest. When it closed apparently the statues were dispersed around town!

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We found Western supply stores stocking Wrangler, met some local Navajo people and stopped to eat at Joe and Aggies - the local diner which has passed through generations since it opened in 1943. The diner had so much charm, the old leather booths, vintage interior, souvenirs and delicious smells wafting from the kitchen had us all excited for a hearty breaky. It was definitely a crew favourite if you’re ever in Holbrook and keen on a breakfast burrito smothered in red or green chili.

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We hit the road again towards our destination - Monument Valley. An iconic symbol of the American West, Monument Valley has been a beloved location for many movies (it’s known as John Wayne country!) and when you get close you can certainly see why. The landscape is spectacular – beautiful earthy tones create layers through the valley, with the impressive rock formations standing proud in the middle. It was magical to see the sunset and sunrise here. We shot along Valley Drive, and even found a horse – perfect for Wrangler’s cowboy roots!

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Balcony of The View Hotel. Saw the landscape in all its glory. Only accommodation outside of family stays. It has Navajo employees, food and gifts. We discovered Indian Fry Bread which was delicious, but I have to admit we had a hard time not having a beer to wash it down!

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We woke up early to make our way out to the highway made famous in Forest Gump.. as to be expected there was a tourist overload! It was a little tough to shoot as we had to keep running off the road between passing cars, but after a bit of persistence we got the shots.. and a few tourist ones for the crew too.

 

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After a week in the desert, we’d possibly never been more desperate to see water and were really looking forward to a swim at Lake Powell - our next destination. We checked into our roadside motel and hot tailed our way to the lake. It was pure magic. The setting was incredible with big red sandstone rocks and blue water. It was just us and one other family enjoying the pastel sunset, clear water and remote setting. This is the type of thing road trips are made of!

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We finished the day and celebrated our last night with a pub meal in town, margaritas all round and a friendly game of darts. The next day was our last on the road – we were heading back to Las Vegas to return the two SUVs we’d lived out of for the last 6 days and fly to our final destination, LA, to finish off the trip. We absolutely loved our time in Arizona, we hope you get a chance to visit one day!

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Ladies here.

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