Sorry I've been a bit slack with the blog the last couple of weeks but we have been very busy and covered a lot of ground since Vegas. First thing we did after leaving Vegas was driving over the Hoover Dam and into Arizona, where we stopped by the Grand Canyon. I know it sounds a little redundant but that thing is massive! Of course we knew it was enormous but we will still taken aback by the sheer size of it when standing on the edge of it. And of course being the maverick, rebellious little scum-bag 21 year olds we are we went into the area I don't think we were meant to but it made for a good photo:
After spending the night in Flagstaff we hit the road to the road again with our sights set on Moab, a town in south-east Utah that is close to two national parks. After a brief stop standing in four states at once (Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Colorado) we arrived in town and after a nights rest we spent the day in Arches National Park. You may not guess it from the name but there were a lot of arches, we did a couple of moderate hikes and got some good photos, then headed back to Moab for the night. We spent the next two days and nights camping in Canyonlands National Park, made famous for being the park where Aron Ralston got his arm pinned by a rock in a slot canyon for five days before eventually hacking it off himself. Fortunately we didn't have the same bad luck however unfortunately we did not make it to any slot canyons in the area, though not for lack of trying. We did a pretty intense hike one day which apparently eventually led to some however along the way was massive canyon, it took us an hour or so to get down it and after another half hour of hiking we still saw no signs of anything resembling the slot canyons, it hit 3 o'clock and we'd gone through half our water so we reluctantly turned back. The hike back up the canyon was not as bad as expected but still really draining. There was snow and ice over a fair bit of it too which made it even more difficult. We got fires going both nights we were there and we were more prepared for the cold this time so the nights weren't intolerably uncomfortable. We did more than just the one hike though but there's not much point talking about them when you can see for yourself.
Matt at Arches
Silver lining of having a campsite covered in snow: free fridge
The ridiculous canyon we went down and up from both angles just to prove we actually did do it
After that we spent the night in some tiny backwater town called Montrose in Colorado. We planned to gradually make our way through Colorado and stay in towns along the way so that we could spend most of the day checking out some of the national parks they had in the mountains. That lasted a day. It was so intensely cold in that state at 8000 feet it was like being back in Kelowna, we'd had enough of the cold and done our fair share of hiking so we powered through to Denver. We stayed two nights there and while the town didn't really offer anything you couldn't get at any other city, we did a couple of cool things. We went and saw our first American basketball game where Denver easily beat Atlanta. It was a really good atmosphere and once Denver got a bit ahead they put on a good show pulling off some fancy trick shots. The following day we spent all day driving about a thousand kilometres straight through Kansas, the most boring drive of all time. It was a continuous eight hours of one straight road with nothing to look at but prairie land, Dorothy was better off in Oz. While in Kansas City though we did visit a gun range which got the heart going. We rented out a 9mm and while we didn't get any real instruction on how to use it (I know right, 'merikah...), Bruce Willis and Liam Neeson taught me well and I had it loaded and shooting away pretty quick. We both really enjoyed it although we decided against progressing to a bigger gun because of a few reasons: cost, time and pride. Without instruction we would have just made fools out of ourselves so we just stuck with the handguns.
After the night in Kansas City we went back on the road for St Louis. We only in spent the night in St Louis and in retrospect we kind of regret it. Unfortunately though the hostel we were planning to stay in was closed when we got there (maybe just for the season or maybe permanently) and we struggled to find affordable accommodation, we ended up driving about ten miles out of the city and stayed the night right next to the airport, exciting I know. We did drive past the arch though which was really cool but we didn't go up the top of it or anything. The following day we had lunch with some of Matt's extended family in Springfield, Illinois which is most famous for being where Abraham Lincoln spent most of his life. We had a nice buffet lunch (biggest buffet I've ever seen) and got a quick tour of the University Matt's second cousin works in and we got back on the I-55 northbound for Chicago.
Chicago was perhaps one of the bigger disappointments of the trip, not for the city itself which was amazing but more for the weather. We still got to most of the touristy things like Navy Pier and Millennium Park but it was raining pretty constantly and of course still really cold. We keep telling ourselves only five more weeks before we're on mainland Europe where it should be a bit warmer. The greatest thing about Chicago was really just the city itself, walking around downtown was incredible with all the great buildings and architecture. We also saw a couple of locations from the Batman movies which of course I nerded out at. The hostel we stayed at was incredibly good though, it was so new and clean and fancy. They had a pub crawl on the Saturday night we were there which was a lot of fun although oddly there weren't really any bars or clubs in the city they were all in the surrounding areas.
After four nights in Chicago we're now in Cleveland and scheduled to arrive in Boston on Thursday in time for St Patrick's Day (weekend). I have a feeling it will have a great weekend with lots of stories I look forward to never telling any of you family members about. Before then we are hoping to get in a day of nothing, we're both pretty exhausted at this stage and need a holiday from our holiday. I know, poor us. We're now exactly twelve hours behind home time now and in high spirits for the North-East despite the perpetual cold. Next week I will be a bit more diligent with the blog writing.