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Jess and Bob’s Excellent Adventure Part V

Our art director and her husband are hitting the road in a souped-up campervan for a full-on Wild West adventure! Sleeping in the desert. Crazy road food. The works. Follow them here for the best of what they’re doing, seeing, and eating en route.

Day five:
Time to hit the road for the four-hour drive to Arches National Park. Our first thought on arrival: Stunning!!! Followed immediately by, Hotttttttt!!!  By 10 a.m., it was already 92 degrees, which perhaps explains why we were able to score a rare camping site on the Colorado River in the canyons. Only us and the crickets!

 

 

 

The next day, we woke up early and hiked to the iconic Delicate Arch. Otherworldly landscape aside, the greatest  thing about visiting Arches is that you can do a combination of hiking and driving there. So you can get some exercise, then escape the heat!!!

 

 

Another great way to escape the heat there? Margaritas! Took us a bit to get to the restaurant, as we had to explain to some interested Swedes what our van was all about. But once we settled into our table at Fiesta Mexicana, someone had to explain to us what these walls were all about! This crazy place packs thousands—and I mean thousands—of pictures of sombrero-topped guests! But the setting isn’t just hilarious; it’s thoughtful: There are magical misting machines to take the edge off the heat. Still, nothing like a tasty—and giant—margarita to cool off in the desert.

 

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Jess and Bob’s Excellent Adventure Part IV

Our art director and her husband are hitting the road in a souped-up campervan for a full-on Wild West adventure! Sleeping in the desert. Crazy road food. The works. Follow them here for the best of what they’re doing, seeing, and eating en route.

 

Day four: After a gloriously lazy morning in Dixie National Park, we did the 15-minute drive back to Bryce for some canyon hiking! We hiked both the Navajo/Sunset loop and the Fairyland loop—about 10 miles total—and wow, was that worth every step. Even for someone (yours truly) who’s slightly afraid of heights!!

 

 

 

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Jess and Bob’s Excellent Adventure Part III

Our art director and her husband are hitting the road in a souped-up campervan for a full-on Wild West adventure! Sleeping in the desert. Crazy road food. The works. Follow them here for the best of what they’re doing, seeing, and eating en route.

Day three:

After a night in our amazing off-road campsite (check out the view!), we said goodbye to Zion for a little while—and hit the road to Bryce Canyon.

But something stopped us along the way: food!! Bob is a man of many breakfasts and by 9 a.m., he was ready for his second of the day. Lucky for us, we happened to be right by the Thunderbird Diner, a local institution founded by a husband-wife team in the 1930s.

 

The wife’s pies were reportedly legend among truck drivers, and if the breakfast we polished off was any indication, her spirit is still alive and well.

As for this sign: The diner’s founder abbreviated “home-made” in a very…particular way so everything would fit on the sign. And you know…the tagline stuck!

 

After the drive to Bryce, we needed a place to crash, but once again, we were thwarted by the kickoff to summer travel season: Every campsite we tried was full. Luckily, we had our home on wheels, and after talking to some super-jealous park rangers who showed up to check it out, we we headed to the highly recommended Dixie National Forest. Beautiful!

 

 

Nothing out there but us and our steak dinner, complete with G and Ts.

One funny aside: Over the past few days, we’ve actually seen quite a few other Jucy vans, a surprise given how recently the company came to the US from New Zealand (2012). Anyway, we all wind up saying hello to each other by flashing our lights and honking. Hilarious!

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Jess and Bob’s Excellent Adventure Part II

Our art director and her husband are hitting the road in a souped-up campervan for a full-on Wild West adventure! Sleeping in the desert. Crazy road food. The works. Follow them here for the best of what they’re doing, seeing, and eating en route.

 

 

Day two:

After a restful night in the Valley of Fire, we woke up to lizards on our car—serious desert road trip cred—and took off early for the 120-mile drive to Zion. The only problem with hitting one of our most amazing national parks? Everyone else wants in on the amazingness, too. Especially over a sunny summer weekend. So we got as far as the Visitor’s Center, saw the crowds and decided to swing back later in the week. So we’ll post a few Zion shots now—because our drive through was epic!!!—then post a second installment from the park a little bit…down the road. And no problem that the Zion campsites were full, too: We had the van! So  after stopping by a great hippie grocery store, we chatted up a few locals and learned about a Bureau of Land Management (aka BLM) spot where we could camp for free, and where the view was priceless! Who needs camp sites?!

 

 

 

 

 

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Jess and Bob’s Excellent Adventure

Our art director and her husband are hitting the road in a souped-up campervan for a full-on Wild West adventure! Sleeping in the desert. Crazy road food. The works! Follow them here for the best of what they’re doing, seeing, and eating en route.

 

 

Welcome to our summer road trip! I’m Jess, Every Day with Rachael Ray’s art director, and joining me is my husband Bob Martus, a photographer. Road trips have always been a big part of our relationship, from the first one we took over Memorial Day weekend five years ago to our two-month Canadian honeymoon in 2012. This time, we’re headed out west in something a bit fancier than our trusty Subaru: a Jucy rental van with a bed and a kitchen! Desert, here we come!

 


Day one: After a long flight from NYC to Vegas and a 15-minute cab ride from the airport, we picked up our new home on wheels and checked out the digs: folding chairs, linens, cookware…we’re set! Next stop, a grocery store to load up on supplies! After that, Hoover Dam, Lake Meade and on to the Valley of Fire!


Loved our first night camping in the van. On the evening’s menu? Pasta and salad with of course some gin and tonics!

Not bad when you can wake up to the mountains out your window!!

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