A Road Trip – LA to Chicago Day 1: Grand Canyon, AZ

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I guess I should start by talking about how I got to Chicago. Well, I road tripped with two friends. And. It. Was. Epic! This was the longest road trip I had done sans family which was a pretty big deal. I think this is the appropriate time to tell you that I come from a very traditional conservative Pakistani Muslim family. Unmarried girls don’t usually do this sort of thing. Which may come as a surprise to most of the western world where as soon as you hit 18 you are allowed to do pretty much anything you want and essentially no one can stop you. Well, if I was moving to Chicago, this was the only way I was doing it and I’m so glad I did because it has become a very memorable experience!Road Trip from LA to Chciago - Day 1Okay, now onto the actual road trip part which I will be dividing into three separate posts. We had three days to get to our destination and I had to plan it carefully especially since we were leaving in the winter and going from west to east which meant we would lose hours! (Time zones are such an interesting phenomenon.)

Our itinerary was this: Los Angeles, California > South Rim of Grand Canyon, Arizona > Holbrook, Arizona > Albuquerque, New  Mexico > Amarillo, Texas > Broken Arrow, Oklahoma > Springfield, Missouri > St. Louis, Missouri > Chicago, Illinois.

We took 40 East most of the way which ran close to the historic route 66 and was perfect because we got to see most of the major landmarks that are on the actual route by just coming off the highway for only a couple of miles or less.

So as we drove into Arizona we stopped at a quirky little welcome center. It featured information about the Grand Canyon as well as a little museum.Welcome to the Grand Canyon State Grand Canyon MuseumGrand Canon Museum

Then, to the Grand Canyon we drove! It took us about 20 miles off our route to get there. We drove through the abyss and then some trees (Kaibab National Forest) and some random places (Flintstones Bedrock City) and then more abyss and it did not look like we were headed towards any sort of canyon.Flint Stones Bedrock City Grand Canyon

So what happens is, when you reach the national park, you park the car and you get out there and it eventually just appears in front of you. You see a huge hole or canyon in the ground and it’s just indescribable! So many people who have gone there before always told me that pictures don’t do justice to it. And they were all right, they don’t.

We only had about two hours which was just enough time to see Mather Point. If we had more time, hiking would definitely have been on my list of things to do here.

We packed a picnic lunch for this stop, some southwest chicken wraps (chipotle mayo, chicken, corn, onion, tomato, cucumber, avocado and mozzarella cheese all rolled in a tortilla) egg salad sandwiches, chips and tangerines (which we ate pretty much most of the trip). A picnic on the Grand Canyon? It doesn’t get better than that!Road Trip from LA to Chciago - Day 1

Book now on ViatorGrand Canyon, South RimGrand Canyon, South RimGrand Canyon South RimGrand Canyon

Tip: If anyone is driving in the state of Arizona I have to warn you about their speed limit. If you drive above 90 mph you are considered a criminal. Yes, I got a speeding ticket (this is the first time I am telling anyone outside the people who were in my car that day). In my defense though, as soon as I saw the speed limit sign I slowed down but at that point it was too late. Don’t worry though, I decided to take an online traffic school and not be a criminal. But what’s a road trip without a speeding ticket right?

Okay, so the last stop that we made in Arizona was to the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook. This motel features individual rooms that are in the shape of teepees designed to mimic those of the Plains Indians.Wigwam Motel, Holbrook, Arizona

It was a cool little motel so we just stopped by for a quick photo here and went on our way to Albuquerque, NM.

Continue with part 2 here.





  1. First of all, those are some beautiful pictures! Secondly, you did a great job planning and documenting this trip. I know because I have tried the same (doesn’t even come close) and it’s definitely not easy. I especially enjoyed reading about the picnic at grand canyon. You’re right, what can be better?! Can’t wait for the rest.

  2. It is amazing to see the Grand Canyon pop up after driving through landscape that looks nothing like it. Enjoy the rest of your road trip!

  3. I stumbled upon your blog while looking for some new materials for my articles. Good read!! Love what you have written!

  4. The Grand Canyon is something everyone should see before they die. It’s simply breathtaking!
    Love the kitschy visitor center and hotel. Cheesy stuff like that is what road trips are made of <3

    • tayonthemove Reply

      Yes, Grand Canyon is a must see. I already want to go again and spend more time there!

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