First off: This is a sponsored post and I’m telling you now because it seems shitty to read a whole post and then at the end get a “HEY, THIS IS AN AD” but you should read this one because at the end one of you will win a shitload of money because the sponsor is Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen and they want you to get out and have a bad-ass road trip that doesn’t end in cancer. WHO CAN HATE ON THAT? No one. So let’s begin.
Blue Lizard (who I love and have used for years) asked if they could sponsor a post and my first response was the same one I always have for that question, which was, “I don’t really do that” but then they said “You can write whatever you want” and I was like “Can I write about ghost hunting?” and they were like, “Sure. But that seems like something you wouldn’t need sunscreen for since ghost come out at night” and I had to explain that ghosts don’t sleep in the day because they aren’t vampires and it got too complicated so instead I was like, “How about I go on a road trip to fucked up places I never knew existed?” and they were like, “That sounds weird. But good?” And then I was all, “AND THEN YOU CAN GIVE ONE OF MY READERS A CHANCE TO SEE FUCKED UP SHIT TOO?” and they were like, “Okay. But, um…define ‘fucked-up‘?” and I was like, “Don’t worry about it, Lizards. I GOT THIS.”
And I did. Because it gave me the perfect excuse to do a family road trip weirdo-style. So I set up a road trip agenda to take us to the world’s largest pistachio nut and then Victor was like, “Or we could actually take Hailey to see something worthwhile, like The Grand Canyon or a National Park” and I was like, “Well, I guess we can do both if big nuts aren’t good enough for you” so we did. You may have seen some of this on instagram but I saved the best stuff for this post. Let’s start:
First off we flew to El Paso, which slightly seems like breaking the rules of a “road trip”, but driving from the middle of Texas to the end of Texas takes 480 years.
Photo 1: please prepare for lift-off. Photo 2: ladies and gentlemen, we’ve run out of rum.
Then we drove toward New Mexico.
Dust storms: the most exciting thing I’ve seen in 3 hours is mobile dirt.
Then we hit Arizona:
Arizona dust storm. Much more exotic than the New Mexico or Texas variants.
That’s when I took control of the agenda and gave Victor directions to see the gravestone of Rex Allen’s famous horse.
Visited a famous horse grave? Check. (Hailey: “This is a weird vacation.” Me: “And we are weird people.”)
Then we saw a billion billboards for “THE THING”. What is “THE THING”? Excellent question. And one we asked ourselves for the next several hours as we saw a sign for it every mile. Victor attempted to not go see THE THING because he’s the kind of guy who never opened up his digital alarm to see if there were squirrels in it (there weren’t) so Hailey and I screamed in protest until he pulled in to the gas station where you buy tickets to see The Thing.
WHAT IS THE THING?! I’m not telling you. Because that ruins the mystery. But I will say we got to walk through two separate trailer parks to see it. It was very thingy.
My reaction: “Huh.”
Hailey’s reaction: “Whoa.”
Victor’s reaction: “JESUS CHRIST. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? I WANT MY DOLLAR BACK.”
On the way to see THE THING we walked by 100 gourds carved to look like monsters and also a shocking amount of home-made torture-related displays. I sort of thought we might get murdered (spoiler alert: we didn’t).
“Fucked up road trip stuff?” CHECK.
Next stop was Tombstone, Arizona, where we made a shitload of movie references that no one else seemed to get.
Tombstone: Home of campy fun and the worst margarita I’ve ever had in my whole life.
We did some ghost tours in Tombstone but the only thing that showed up on my camera was this weird orb that I kept getting at Boot Hill, which was either a ghost or a moth. Or a moth’s ghost. Can’t rule anything out when it comes to the supernatural.
The next day I took over the navigation.
Unexpected joys of a road trip. “VICTOR! STOP! VAMPIRE STRIP CLUB!”
Then we stopped at Rooster Coburn’s Ostrich Farm and they had a big wall with holes where goats stick their heads out so it looks like you have live, taxidermied goat heads. Or like giant glory holes but with goats instead of penises.
This goat liked to eat food out of people’s mouths. It’s a little like what I imagine a strip club is like, except replace dollar bills with goat food. And goat’s lips are boobs. Or butts. Depends on the strip-club. And on flexibility. Either way, it felt dirty but also exciting and later I was worried I picked up a disease. So, a LOT like a strip-club, probably.
Then we saw the ostriches who were all surrounded by “WE’LL BITE YOU” signs and I was like, “Yo, I’ll be careful” but right then this asshole slams his head over the fence, slaps me with his own face, and grabs my whole bag of goat food and shatters my thumbnail. Like, literally he drew blood.
This fucker just assaulted me and now he’s acting like I’M the one who started it. YOU DON’T KNOW ME. I DID NOTHING TO YOU. #RestingTrumpFace
Then on the way to the next stop I saw that there was something pretty awesome a half hour away.
Flaccid penis rock or haunted former asylum in a ghost town? I’M NOT PREPARED TO MAKE DECISIONS OF THIS MAGNITUDE. (But apparently Victor is.)
So we missed the stone schlong that so we could go to the haunted Grand Hotel in Jerome, Arizona.
I walked in and almost passed out. Probably from altitude sickness though. I didn’t see any ghosts.
It was a weird town. Half awesome and half threatening.
In hindsight, it was maybe not the smartest idea to pull over to get a better picture of this sign
Next morning we took off on a train to see the Grand Canyon. It was one of those trains where old-west train robbers board the train and mug you and I thought that sounded like fun and also that if I stole all the hootch in the booze car I could blame it on bandits, but then it turned out there wasn’t even a booze car and I reminded myself why Victor shouldn’t be allowed to book trains and also I wondered why trains even existed. But it was surprisingly cool.
And it ended with a stop at the Grand Canyon, which is basically an enormous hole. But a pretty hole? Sorry. They should have sent a poet.
The most memorable part of the Grand Canyon though was the toilet.
“DO NOT DRINK” Why do we need to be told not to drink from the toilet? Why is this sign even necessary?
I thought it was just a weird one-off thing, but then further up the canyon trail I saw this:
“WATER TOILET.” You’re giving mixed messages here, Grand Canyon.
And it was nice to see something that everyone talks about, but honestly Antelope Canyon was so much cooler and I highly recommend. It started with an authentic Native American hoop dance in the eaves of a non-functional gas station in front of a Taco Bell. Then we loaded into the back of a truck like it was the 70’s and when we got there it was one of the most amazing things I’ve seen. Go there.
I TOOK THIS WITH MY PHONE.
Then we sent to see a giant meteor crater in Arizona.
Meteor Crater in Arizona. Arizona has cornered the market on big holes, y’all.
We saw the Petrified Forest, which is the least foresty forest ever:
And the Valley of Fire Lava Fields, which were not on fire and the Smokey the Bear museum where they buried Smokey, and the jail where Billy the Kid shot his way out, White Sands National Park in New Mexico, which is all beach and no giant octopuses. We stopped on the side of the road to see giant, 10-foot tall zombie hands outside of a cave that sold knick knacks.
And finally we were at the end, as we celebrated the biggest pistachio nut IN THE WORLD.
And it was magical. And ridiculous. And an excellent chance to see the world (or at least a small part of it) with my favorite people. And none of us got sunburned because we were covered in Blue Lizard. I highly recommend. The trip, that is. And the sunscreen. They aren’t mutually exclusive.
So here’s the fun part. Leave a comment about something awesome you’d like to go visit and the best comment will get a $500 VISA card from Blue Lizard to use on your next road trip. Also, you can use coupon code P20ROADTRIP for 20% OFF orders over $35 at www.bluelizard.net all through 2016.
Leave a comment y’all. (PS. Use a good email so I can contact you if you win. I won’t use your email or give it out for anything else so no worries about spam. Also, they can only ship the prize to the U.S. Just FYI.)
Updated: WE HAVE A WINNER!
I would love the $500 to contribute to my family’s awesome road trip scheduled this summer! (Also, I have had repeated occurrences of melanoma, so I am basically slathered in sunscreen 24/7 from April thru October.)
Here are the stops on our planned road trip: Orient Mine -to watch hundreds of thousands of bats fly out for dinner at dusk. Colorado Gator Reptile Park (because alligators in Colorado); Great Sand Dunes National Park (sand boarding and sledding, with fantastic views) ; Best Western Movie Manor (drive in movies you watch from your hotel room); River rafting in Durango; Choco Canyon in New Mexico; Roswell, New Mexico to hang out with aliens; Carlsbad, New Mexico (more bats, maybe some ghosts) and then back home (with an overnight stop along the way to visit a cemetery in Pueblo, where my great, great grandfather was buried in 1901). ~ Tracy
Check your email, Tracy.