Road Trip from Oklahoma to California

At Painted Desert

Even though my trip started from California heading to Oklahoma, I thought I would write about the ponderings of leaving Oklahoma heading back home to California.

For one who has traveled throughout Europe and parts of the U.S, I never thought I would visit Oklahoma. It was never a state I had on my list of places I wanted to see. My mind has changed on that since being here for a couple of days or should I say a day and a half. The houses or the ones I have seen are all brick, the grass is green, rolling hills and plenty of places to walk. Or should I say the places in Oklahoma I saw had plenty of paths to walk and run if you are into exercise and staying healthy.

This trip wasn’t one of visiting a state I have always wanted to see as I stated above. It was one of saying so long to my niece who is leaving home for the first time and going off to college. She is starting her own life; the next chapter in her own book of life is being written as she takes each step towards the path of her future. For me, it is a chapter closing on part of my life where I watched her grow up into the person she is becoming. But as they say as one door closes another one opens or another chapter in your own book is closing another one is opening for you. As it should…….

I already see a couple of doors opening for me that I have seen slowly start to open up as I walked through the campus where my niece will be attending college. I realized I want to move back East; I miss living out this way, well North Carolina, Virginia way and I want to move back home. The home states that I miss. That was one glimpse of a door opening and the other one is I know now, without a doubt, that I want to go back to college and finish what I started years ago when I attended Western Kentucky University. I want to get my degree in Journalism and my minor in Folk Studies. As one professor said during my niece’s orientation, finish what you start and for me I need to finish what I started with obtaining my degree. Things to work on and look forward to in this next chapter of my own book.

It will be sad to leave her behind as we head back home to California but I know she is going to be fine. I know there will be many tears shed as we say our goodbyes but that is to be expected when you say so long to loved ones. We head out today, August 18th, and though I am not looking forward to the drive home it will be nice to drive through parts of the country I have never seen i.e. New Mexico and Arizona.

We traveled through New Mexico to arrive into Albuquerque tonight. We left about 10 – 10:30 and made a couple of stops along the way. You didn’t think I would be driving 8-9 hours without seeing some of the state, now did you? Now if I had to choose between Oklahoma and New Mexico to drive through than hands down it would be Oklahoma. Parts of New Mexico were boring in the way of driving through it. All you could see was hours of low or is there another word for mountains that appear low to the ground. Can’t think of another way to describe it but low mountains, seeing parts of Americana on the side of the road that is no longer open which is Stuckey’s and the dirt is really red. I can only imagine trying to get the dirt out of your clothes if you got any of the dirt on you.

Now I am sitting here in my room at Econo Lodge in Albuquerque writing this as it hits me that we have another two days of driving before we make it home on Tuesday. Good thing I am not making this road trip on my own because it would take forever to get home. Maybe not forever but I would be driving 8-9 hours on my own.

We drove through New Mexico on I-40 West sightseeing along the way. We stopped on the side of the road where a vendor was selling jewelry she had made. There was a sign that basically said vendors were not allowed on the sides of the road but I guess they can get away with it by selling their stuff on the other side of a wire fence that keeps them on one side of the road and the people who want to buy from them on the other side. The jewelry she was selling was all hand-made by her.

One thing that was cool to see were bits of black rock that we found out was lava from a volcano and that we were driving along the floor of the volcano.

Then we made our way into Arizona and stopped at a few more places along the way to see some petrified wood and gemstones. Another place we stopped at as well as drove through was Petrified Forest National Park which is 50 miles from the border of New Mexico. It is located in northeastern Arizona. That was really interesting to see especially the Painted Desert. I couldn’t believe all the different colors of the rocks and how far all of these rocks expanded from where we were standing. I believe this is how it would almost look if I got to see the Grand Canyon where you are looking as far as the eye can see and beyond……. Another place within the forest was the Painted Desert Inn which I wish was still open for customers. It was a cute café and behind the counter top was a menu from when the place was first opened was a list of ice creams and drinks i.e. lemonade that sold for .15 each. I couldn’t imagine buying something for that cheap. After leaving the Painted Desert Inn, we made one more stop within the forest to see a bit of historic route 66 and take a photo of an old car that was sitting on the side of the road. After leaving the park, we were back on I-40 West on our way through Flagstaff before finally making it to Kingman, Arizona where we are staying the night.

One thing I thought for sure that we would see a lot of while driving through Arizona would be tumbleweeds and cactus. I did see cactus but I thought they wouldn’t be as spread out as they were.

As we drove the remainder of the way through Arizona to California, we passed the exit for Lake Havasu City where London Bridge is located. Yes, the London Bridge from England. It had been dismantled in 1967 and brought over and completed in 1971 to link an island in the lake to Lake Havasu City. We didn’t get a chance to see it but it was cool to see London Bridge listed on the same sign as Lake Havasu City. It is something I would like to see some day if I travel through Arizona again. Hmm, maybe another road trip…… We didn’t make too many stops on our last day of traveling but we did stop at a cute diner in California City that made me feel like I stepped back in time or at least back to the 60’s. Not that I would know what a 60’s diner looked like but it had that type of feel to it. After lunch, we finished our drive back home.

Would I take this drive again? Maybe not the route we took but I would definitely be up for another road trip. It would need to include New Orleans, Louisiana and Savannah, Georgia. Sounds like a cross country road trip to me.

Would you take road trips if you could? Would you drive cross country on your own or take someone with you to help with the drive? I would love to hear your thoughts on road trips and driving through states in general.

Painted Desert Behind Me

Painted Desert Behind Me


  • Kathy Wagner says:

    I love this Kim. If only I had the money and the time I would love to see parts of the world too. But I would take my daughter with me, just because we have the same interest in things and she doesn’t get on my nerves like some friends do. I love hearing about your adventures, because I know I will never be seeing them myself so I visualize it through your words.

  • Kim says:

    I am glad you love reading about my adventures, Kathy. Let me know if you decide to take a trip with your daughter one of these days and I can help you budget for it. I am great at planning trips and getting the most out of my money for these trips. At the end of the trips I take I always end up bringing some money back with me and yet I don’t cheat myself out of doing things I want to do when traveling. I know you can do this too.

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