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My Best Road Trip: the National Parks of California, Arizona, Colorado and Utah

Veruska Anconitano and Giuseppe Milo hit up Death Valley, Bryce Canyon, the Grand Canyon, Sedona and Joshua Tree Park.

Source: Google Maps

  • Each week, TheJournal.ie/DoneDeal motoring mag will feature a reader’s best road trip. If you’d love to see your top trip featured, email us on melanie@thejournal.ie

MY BEST ROAD trip was driving around some of the best National Parks in the US.

Who: Veruska Anconitano and Giuseppe Milo, Dublin, Ireland, La Cuochina Sopraffina
Route: Los Angeles to Los Angeles
Distance: 997km
Time: 16 days
When: March 2016
Vehicle: Toyota RAV4

Source: Giuseppe Milo

Road trips are our kind of thing: we love to explore new places while driving, stopping when we want and planning everything without any constrictions, given the fact we love to hike, get in contact with nature and take pictures.

Having been to California quite a few times, this year we decided to finally visit some of the best National Parks around California, Arizona, Colorado and Utah. Yosemite and Sequoia Parks weren’t on our list because we had already been there. We really wanted to experience the famous No Man’s Land, driving miles and miles without meeting anybody, finally reaching a destination and being surrounded only by nature.

We chose to fly in and out of Los Angeles to give circularity to our trip. As soon as we picked up the hire car, a Toyota RAV4, we realised this would be an epic trip.

Source: Giuseppe Milo

First stop was the infamous Death Valley, just a few hours from LA. We knew the Valley was supposed to be unbelievable, but when we approached the entrance, we felt like we were in a totally different world. No cell phones, no water, no food for miles and miles. Just you, your car and your gear. Our Death Valley visit was divided into two days.

Among other things, on the first day we went to the dunes just before sunset and being alone in the middle of this massive stretch of sand in a dry land really made us feel small and overwhelmed.

Source: Giuseppe Milo

The second day was just epic! We arrived at the Racetrack using a secondary road, then got stuck in the middle of nowhere! We met a couple with which we shared the experience. The arrival at Racetrack was stunning, with the moving stones and the arid land and nothing else – no noise, no tourists, nothing at all. Imagine a movie by Quentin Tarantino, and maybe you can feel the sensations we felt.

We then set off to drive to Bryce Canyon and the Grand Canyon. Arriving in Bryce was an experience itself. We were surrounded by these red spikes, which are cut in the middle of the valley, and we “only” had to find the best perspective to describe, photographically, this beauty of nature.

We hiked, descending into the canyon to admire the spikes from a different perspective, and then the sunrise came. The spectacle of the valley that woke up, moving from being black to becoming red like fire, is something that will always be with us.

Source: Giuseppe Milo

Leaving Bryce Canyon was not easy and our expectations were really high. So when we arrived at the Grand Canyon, we had to find new motivation given the fact that on the road we also visited some of the best Navajo sites in the area; because of the proximity to Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon is really busy. And compared with Bryce, Death Valley and the Navajo valleys, it’s another thing; it’s just the majesty of nature at its most brilliant.

Source: Giuseppe Milo

Sedona took us by surprise: we knew this area was magical, but it’s way better when you dig into it. The canyons are just amazing! The number of hikers is reduced, and the view on the Red Rock Scenic Byway is stunning. Bell Rock and Cathedral Rock are the most famous places, but the Oak Creek Canyon itself is unbelievable when discovered on foot. And the Vortex sites, even if you’re not a believer, are fascinating and you really feel something there with you.

Source: Giuseppe Milo

The last part of our wild trip was on the road to Los Angeles at the Joshua Tree Park. We decided to arrive at sunset to avoid the tours from LA and the decision was definitely worth it! Joshua Tree can be considered overrated, but visiting the park when there were just a few people gave us the feeling it is beautiful and the ecosystem is so varied that it is impossible not to be fascinated. On the road to LA that night, we drove part of the famous Route 66 and it blessed us with a stunning sunset.

Source: Giuseppe Milo

It’s hard to describe the feeling of this trip and the many things we were able to see, but a road trip to the National Parks in the US is something we really recommend! Especially for the lovers of nature and freedom and for all the people interested in discovering our Planet from a different perspective.

READ: Best driving roads – The Stelvio Pass

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About the author:

Veruska Anconitano

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