On October 29th, I received a phone call from Josh, my little sister's long time boyfriend. I knew why he was calling & answered the phone so quickly I got whiplash. I could hear him smiling through the phone. Josh began to pour out the details of asking for my father's permission to marry Lauren & his plan to propose to her on their upcoming road trip.
Josh had big plans for us too: requesting that we ship a dress - & more importantly nail polish - to the middle of Monument Valley Tribal Park, on the border of Arizona & Utah on Thursday, November 8th sometime between 10 am - 3 pm. He would hire a photographer, who would pose as their tour guide & Lauren could be camera ready after he popped the question at the edge of John Ford Point.
Now those of you that know that Mr Farina’s personally know that he is a hopeless romantic. He planned the most beautiful proposal for me & he’s a real sucker for this kinda thing. He buzzed around me with excitement as Josh divulged his proposal ideas over the phone. Then out of nowhere, without even the slightest hint of hesitation, my husband invites ourselves to fly out & be there for the proposal - dress & nail polish hand-delivered & a camera crew of two coming in hot. The ultimate Hubs & Hers adventure.
This might have been the second happiest moment of my life. Damnit I love my husband.
Josh lovingly accepted his offer & the secret was set in motion.
My husband's next brilliant plan was to turn this trip into a road trip - RV & all. But this trip would have to be condensed, because we were crazy to leave home just two weeks before Black Friday, but we are actually crazy, so this is totally on par for us. So a top secret plan was devised: We would fly into Las Vegas, Nevada (McCarran Airport being the least expensive of our air travel options), scoop up the RV & head west towards the Grand Canyon (a snippet of our trip we decided to dedicate to ourselves). We'd then continue north west towards Monument Valley for the proposal & then travel through the night along the Arizona-Utah border, making our way back to Las Vegas for an 11 am flight back to Florida. The trip would begin Tuesday & be wrapped up by Friday, traveling just under 6800 miles when all is said & done.
It's true what they say: hindsight is a motherfucker. I’ve had my heart set on RV road trip for as long as I can remember, but I'm relieved that we can check this off our bucket list for good.
TIPS FOR RV ROAD TRIPPING (aka a lot of advice we would have benefited from knowing prior to our excursion) :
Pack your own bedding - we knew it was going to be much chillier than it was in FL, so we utilized half of our check bag to pack a big, heavy blanket to keep us warm. We had packed two pillows & got by with a little help from our RV’s heater & my husband’s body heat. We ultimately decided against purchasing a 'bedding kit' from the RV rental company, but they are available for an additional fee.
Bring state maps - best thing we packed BY FAR - THANKS MOM. Anticipate loosing cell service when driving through the mountains & national parks. We relied heavily on old school paper maps (we snagged on Amazon for less than $3). The maps familiarized us with cities we’ve never heard of & made the road trip way more of an adventure.
Avoid driving at night at all costs - think of the ricketiest u-haul truck you've ever rented to move, now pack it full of all your living essentials. Then, drive it through the mountains with limited visibility. We recommend planning ahead - we were not expecting to lose all natural light before 5:30 pm & not regain it agin until after 7 am. These beautiful rural areas do not have much man-made lighting on their highways, so anticipate it being darker than you thought possible. The stars are the only thing you’ll see after dark.
That being said, plan for running later than you planned. We traveled below the speed limit the majority of the trip, for obvious safety reasons, which caused the GPS to drastically underestimate our travel times. For every four minutes we traveled, we'd watch another minute be added on to our estimated time of arrival. Can't forget about those time zone changes either!
You’ll still need all the necessities- toilet paper, paper towels, soap, tooth paste, cups, cooking utensils - you name it, bring it. Your RV will most likely not have it & you’re going need it. Make room in your suitcase or plan on shopping. We chose to purchase the overpriced ‘kitchen starter kit’. The plan was to pinch a few pennies & purchase groceries to keep in the kitchen, but ultimately we both had our fair share of fast food.
Also, not all campsites are outfitted for RVs, nor are they free. You're going to want to find parks that are RV friendly & have hook ups for running water & unlimited electricity, this way you won't have to rely solely on your generator & limited water tank supply. Plan on spending ~ $30-50/night for accommodations.
Your RV is not welcome everywhere - The spot that Josh picked to propose was located deep in Monument Valley Tribal Park. We had no clue that our RV would not be permitted to drive through the park until we arrived. We had to get special approval from the Navajo natives to drive our RV into the tribal park, but as soon as we began our descend, we knew exactly why oversized vehicles were prohibited from this property. Had it not been for my husband’s impeccable driving skills, we could have rolled right off those cliffs.
I'm so thankful we survived this RV trek, if only to share these photos.
SIDE NOTE: WHERE'S MR FARINA? Look for the guy that is decked out like a tourist, attempting to look incognito in his bright red wind breaker. That's my husband. Standing on the edge of a cliff for hours in anticipation of Josh & Lauren's red rental SVU turning the corner, so he can signal me to get camera ready.
No really, can you find Mr Farina?
THIS FACE. Worth every mile.
ADDITIONAL HIGHLIGHTS OF THE TRIP:
Eating breakfast outdoors with elk, pleasant conversations with strangers, all the fresh air you can dream of & bumping into Kristen & Scott, Hubs & Hers supporters visiting Las Vegas all the way from Kentucky! We met them whilst chowing on In & Out burgers, having just landed in Nevada & ironically looking rather rough, considering the real traveling had not even begun yet...