March 16, 2021 4 min read

“Last year, we drove over 10,000 miles driving cross-country from California to Florida and back.”

We have been doing a lot moreroad trips in the United States and exploring the great outdoors with our dogs. Crystal has a corgi (Kuma) and Candy has an English Springer Spaniel (Zooey) and they really enjoy the road trips too. This past year, the four of us hit the road mainly on the West Coast. 

One place we discovered through chatting with our neighbors isMammoth Lakes. It’s very close toYosemite National Park, but Mammoth doesn’t get all the fame like Yosemite does. Since Mammoth Lakes is in the mountains, the temperatures were mild even in the middle of the summer. This was much welcomed especially since we were with our dogs. Waking up early for the sunrise was well worth it and we also witnessed the most spectacular sunset here. 

Last year, we drove over 10,000 miles driving cross-country fromCalifornia to Florida  and back. We always wanted to do a cross-country road trip like this and it was the perfect time to do it during a pandemic since we weren’t able to fly anywhere (or not recommended to). Plus, we were able to take my dog, Kuma, so she got to experience all of my adventures with us. Some of our favorite dog-friendly locations we stopped by on our road trips wereSaguaro National Park,Grand Canyon National Park andSanta Barbara.

Here is the itinerary –
DAY 1: Los Angeles > Sedona, 479 miles, 7 hours
DAY 2: Sedona > Torrey, 421 miles, 8 hours
DAY 3: Explore Capitol Reef National Park
DAY 4: Torrey > Moab, 155 miles, 2.5 hours
DAY 5: Explore Arches National Park
DAY 6: Moab > Denver, 357 miles, 6 hours
DAY 7: Denver > Beatrice, 515 miles, 7.5 hours
DAY 8: Visit Homestead National Historical Park and the family farm
DAY 9: Beatrice > Kansas City, 183 miles, 3 hours
DAY 10: Kansas City > Nashville, 555 miles, 8 hours
DAY 11: Explore Nashville
DAY 12: Nashville > Tampa, 704 miles, 10.5 hours

If you are interested to follow this itinerary, do check out theirprep listsbefore going!

Before the pandemic, what is your favourite travel destination?

Crystal: I have a few favorite locations, but my top two areIceland andBali. What I loved about Iceland the most was how remote it was. You can drive for hours in some places without seeing anyone and it was nice to get away from all that noise you hear in everyday life. It’s also a very special place for me because this is where I saw theNorthern Lights for the very first time and I got to experience it twice! It was such an incredible moment and it had always been on my bucket list, so I almost wanted to cry when I first saw the magical light show in the sky. I loved this country so much that I went back twice, which I hardly ever do (besides Japan since my family lives there). This was also the only country where I explored the entire country and did a7-day road trip.

Bali is also one of my favorite locations because I was going through a rough time in my life andBali helped me start to heal. I met some incredible people here and I fell in love with their culture. After being surrounded by their practices and learning more about Balinese Hinduism, I wanted to take some of this newfound wisdom back home with me. I really found some kind of spiritual connection with this place. I also challenged myself to do one of the hardest hikes of my life climbingMount Batur. It was a struggle for sure, but the end result was absolutely amazing. I never thought I’d catch a sunrise on top of the mountains above the clouds, but I did it!

Candy: My favorite locations have changed over the years and when I was younger I preferred larger cities over the smaller ones. Growing up inJapan, I didn’t live far from Tokyo and always felt lucky to be able to hop on a train and experience the fast paced big city within an hour from home. I looked forward to the enormous billboards, bright city lights, and maneuvering through the crowds. It made me feel alive and excited to be amongst others when walking, shopping, or even running up and down escalators to catch the next train. When I was living in Hong Kong, I had this same feeling and really enjoyed my time living in the Central part of Hong Kong.

As much as I love the big cities, lately I am more keen on exploringsmaller citiesand towns. I feel like I have more time to relax and fully appreciate the culture and the history of the area. When it’s smaller, I am not rushed to visit every must-see spot and I tend to have more opportunities to talk to the locals.

About Travel Pockets

We’re sisters who grew up as military brats and spent the first half of our lives in Japan. Crystal is the eldest and Candy is the second oldest in our family of four siblings. The majority of our family resides in Japan, but we ventured out and have spent the second half of our lives mainly in the United States.

We both love traveling, and at a young age, our parents often took us to new destinations to explore. Our father purchased one of those huge video cameras back in the late eighties and ever since, we have been documenting our adventures. Eventually, we decided to share our travel experiences with the rest of the world and launched Travel Pockets.

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