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Coast to Coast.
West to East.
Pacific to Atlantic.
Old home to New.
15 days
14 tourist attractions
13 bathroom breaks
12 cities
11 states
10 familiar faces
9 hotels
8 state sign pictures - missed a few!
7 hours - the longest drive
6 Starbucks trips
5 fast-food chains
4 are we there yet? 's
3 hours of One Direction
2 beaches
1 lifelong memory
0 hotels with 'reliable' Wi-Fi

    We are finally here! To be fair, it's been two weeks, but it's been a whirlwind since with signing our lease, unpacking, and getting somewhat settled here in Charlotte while also catching up on work, finishing my hygiene application, and helping Tyler get in the swing of his new role! The original plan was to document along the way, but with the in-and-outs of hotel Wi-Fi causing endless hours spent on two posts alone, I soon realized that was not going to be possible if I still wanted to get out and have fun in the cities we were stopping in! Here's a quick recap of what we did post-Los Angeles and Las Vegas [click the city to see the previous posts on those two fun cities!].

Nevada/Arizona

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    It was so fun to see one of the 7 Man-Made Wonders of America! A 3-inch thick, 4-foot wide sidewalk could be built arounf the earth's equator with the amount of concrete used to build this monstrosity. We took a tour of the power plant on the Nevada side and were able to see and learn about the hard work of generations past.
    One of the things that stood out to both of us the most was when one of the tour guides was describing the manpower that went in to building the dam. The work was constant, 24 hours, no breaks other than lunch, no sick days. If you missed one day of work, that was it, your job went to someone else who wanted to work. His exact words that hit so hard: "nowadays we have union breaks, smoke breaks, sick days, paid vacation, and yet we still complain."
    Before heading to the dam, we stopped at the bridge first and took a walk across the Nevada/Arizona state line while getting a beautiful view of the dam from wayyyy up high. Driving a little farther we found ourselves on top of the dam and headed to the Arizona side for free parking [there is one lot on each state side that is $10 parking and Arizona also has a second lot that is free but is also a farther walk which isn't terrible on a mild day]. Major tip: according to our guide, temperatures can get higher at the dam than they do in Death Valley and they are frequently in the 100's in June-August. If you're brave enough to head there during this time, drink water and do not wear black, they have so many people pass out there every year, don't let it be you!

New Mexico

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my stud of a husband - unfortunately not many of the photos in the caverns turned out due to lighting
    We stayed in New Mexico for two nights: one in Albuquerque, and the other in Carlsbad. We didn't do much exploring in Albuquerque, but we did have dinner with an old friend from high school and her husband.
    The main draw for us to make Carlsbad a stop was the caverns. Large enough to house 14 football stadiums, we traveled down 750' via elevator to see this underground masterpiece! We walked over a mile in what felt like the cave from the Goonies movie! Definitely a must-see if you're ever stopping through! The tickets were $10 a person and the audio was $5 a person but did not have headphones so we ended up sharing it because it was loud enough for both of us to hear. This is in the middle of nowhere so be prepared!
    Other than the caverns, the town didn't have much to offer and we got our hopes up when we saw a McAlister's Deli across from our hotel.. only to find out that it wasn't even open yet! Hotels can also be pretty pricey because they know you have no other options. Overall, I wouldn't consider this a vacation destination, but like I said, if you're passing through then stop to see the caverns!

Texas

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    The greatest state. Ever. Period. Let's just put it this way: I didn't even care to drive the 7 hours through West Texas to get from Carlsbad to Fort Worth - I was just THAT excited to be in Texas! For those of you that don't know, both Tyler and I have strong ties to the state; it's where my grandparents were born and raised, where my grandpa played high school football with Tom Landry, where dad was born and raised and most of his family lives, it's where Tyler's dad was raised and went to college, where Tyler's mom went to college, and where Tyler's parents met. Texas is also where Tyler got his name [all three boys are named after cities in Texas], although with his comedic antics, I think Tarzan, Texas should have at least been an option for his name.. Karen? Doug?
    Enough family history.. after making the 'dreaded' West Texas drive [95% driven by me, pat. on. the. back.], we were treated to an amazing home-cooked meal by Tyler's grandma complete with homemade cherry pie for dessert. We got to spend time with family that evening but unfortunately, the morning after we arrived, Tyler's grandma and cousins left on a vacation that had been planned for a while and we completely forgot to get a picture with all of us before they left! With the day to ourselves, I did laundry and relaxed a little before we headed to Railhead BBQ [a favorite] followed by walking around the Fort Worth Stockyards. As we were getting ready to leave the Stockyards, it was time for the Cattle Drive! For some reason I have a weird obsession with cattle so this was extremely exciting for me.
    Before leaving Texas, we had to get some Joe T's in! If you're ever in the Dallas/Fort Worth area - Joe T Garcia's is a must! We had the pleasure of going with my cousin and his lovely girlfriend! It was so fun to spend time with them and really get to know them! On our way out of town the next day, we made a detour to Houston to have lunch with Tyler's cousin Ben and then headed to New Orleans!
    In my opinion, this was too little time to spend in Texas, especially with as much family as we both have all over the state!

Louisiana

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    We did not have a lot of time in New Orleans to really see all that we would have liked to, but we did hit some major points. Our first stop that morning was the famous Cafe Du Monde, aka Cafe Du-licious. The Cafe Au Lait and Beignets were to die for - powdered sugar was everywhere! If you're planning to make this a stop, be sure you have cash on you as they are cash only [but you won't need more than $15 if it's just two of you]!
    After getting ourselves into a sugar coma, we played tourists and walked all around the French Quarter including Peters Street [win], Royal Street, and Bourbon Street [before all the crazies came out]. The architecture is so beautiful in this area! We of course stopped and got some Gumbo and Poboys for lunch before heading to Alabama for the night!

Alabama

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    Alabama was also a quick in-and-out pit-stop on our journey, but there were a few things I wanted to see in Montgomery before heading to Hilton Head! Lucky for Tyler, all of the places I wanted to see were less than a mile apart and, even luckier, because it was Sunday none of them were open so I couldn't beg to go in for tours. We stopped to see the bus stop where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, Martin Luther King Jr.'s church, and the parsonage where he and his family lived while in Montgomery. We also stopped to see the first White House of the Confederacy [simply because of the history and beauty of this old southern home].

South Carolina

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    Somehow we managed to get so lucky that Tyler's first week of work lined up with team meetings in Hilton Head [score!]. We stayed at the Sonesta Resort right on the beach with a beautiful pool area and a turtle pond that I was obsessed with [sorry if you got all of my 100 turtle Snapchats..]! I have never been to HHI so I don't know much about the island or hot spots to stay in, but we were just fine at Sonesta! I particularly liked the drive in to the resort through the trees.
    Tyler had meetings and lunches and dinners to attend while we were there so, poor me, I laid by the pool and on the beach by myself ordering room service and take-out a majority of the time. On our last night there, spouses were invited to dinner out in Harbor Town by the famous lighthouse. We ate at CQ's and it was the most amazing meal ever. We arrived early enough for the tasting menu option which was an amazing value for the perfect portions [coming from a lady - my husband might not have been fulfilled]. For dessert I ordered the bread pudding and wasn't expecting that it was going to be chocolate AND strawberry flavored.. you can't even imagine.
    Harbor Town was fun to walk around after dinner but most of the shops were already closed. We ended up sitting outside at a bar/grill to listen to a local artist sing and play guitar, but even that ended and closed up at 9pm - not necessarily a big "night life" scene but a great place for families, retirees, and relaxing.

    Overall, our trip was amazing and memorable - and surprisingly we didn't really get that tired of each other! We are so grateful for the time we had to see parts of the country we normally wouldn't, visit with friends and family, and spending time with each other, all while s l o w l y and gradually getting adjusted to East Coast time!
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Comments

07/17/2015 1:37am

Wow! You had homemade cherry pie? Tyler's grandma gave you a great treat. It is my favorite dish. Thanks for the beautiful photos.

Reply
09/20/2015 10:21am

These memories are great and full of pleasure which will never forget whole life. Coast to coast visit is really surprising and interesting and inspiring for those who never visit any coast in their whole life.

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I have been to this place when I was a little girl and my memories of the place is very faint. Thank you very much for me reminding me about my one of my favorite places.

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