This article is a collaboration between my partner and I.
Since moving into a studio, I have missed the freedom of taking off randomly, getting to know a different city or state and overall not being tied down to a routine or a location. I love the idea of trivializing travel, so it was only natural to have a random trip at the end of the week.
My partner watches The Bucket List Family on a weekly basis and caught the traveling bug as well. Unfortunately, we are not yet at the level where we can afford a 5 star trip to international locals or have companies pay for our travels (one day!). Our goal was to spend a few days going out of state to break the work week and avoid living for the weekend.
We decided to leave Northern California on Thursday afternoon for Salt Lake City, Utah as soon as we were done with work. Roughly 800 miles each way, if one counts exits and driving around sightseeing. Inspired by an acquaintance who travels the world with a folding bike, my partner and we took our bikes with us: a borrowed Brompton folding bike for my partner in the back seat, and my ZycleFix Prime mounted on the rack in the rear.
Driving through California, Nevada, and Utah on I-80 was always one of my favorites - and it was nice to share the wonders of the world with my partner. She clocked in a lot more international travel than I did, but only been to a handful of states. It was her first time in Utah and each stop on the way to the Salt Flats exposed us to all kinds of people, different from the type of individuals we typically see inside the Silicon Valley tech bubble. We saw people with different lives, habits, hobbies, and worldviews, which to be perfectly honest, was refreshing.
Throughout the trip, we made it a point not to make any plans and go with the flow – be it our driving pace, entertainment or food options, or cities we decided to stay the night in. Traveling that way removed the stress associated with finding the perfect location and planning a fun trip. Don’t like the town we stopped at? Let’s keep driving. Enjoy a specific city? Let’s spend the night there. Having issues at a hotel? Back on the road we go.
We found a hotel while driving on the I-80 and settled there for the night. Unfortunately the place did not have a strong enough WiFi, which led us to drive to the next town over for coffee and internet to work remotely. We ended up spending 6 hours in the coffee shop making sure that we kept ourselves well caffeinated and the servers well tipped. After a somewhat productive day, we decided to explore the city’s downtown and save the Salt Flats drive for the daytime.
Our Super 8 Motel in Wendover cost us around $70 for the night and was more comfortable than expected. We ended up passing out as soon as we got to the room, exhausted from the day. We tried to stay at cheaper hotels/motels, while avoiding shady looking places. We would most often pick the 2nd or 3rd cheapest option. We never stayed in one place for more than a night and lucked out every time we got ourselves a room. Every room we slept in was clean and we even managed to squeeze in a daily workout before the start of each day.
Keeping a healthy diet on the other hand was a whole other challenge. Between cafes, restaurants and late night cravings, we failed at maintaining proper eating habits and saving on food. We spent around $300 on food alone. Eating is definitely one area for improvement, especially as we decide to travel more. Dieting is hard and dieting on the road is even harder.
On Saturday, we finally headed to Utah and stopped at a rest stop by the Salt Flats. The view was marvelous and cold for an October day. We left the Salt Flats for a mall, City Creek Center, in Salt Lake City where we had another amazingly delicious and unhealthy lunch. To feel better about our life choices, we used our bikes to get some cardio and discover the city on two-wheels. We biked through Memory Grove Park, crashed a wedding, and biked almost to the Capitol. Almost. Due to Salt Lake’s incredible, deadly hills. Next time, SLC, next time we shall conquer you.
After a day of biking and testing each other’s patience, we decided to go for a date night and talk through our attempts at making life on the road work. Traveling solo is a very different experience than traveling with a partner. We chatted over Brazilian BBQ, another unhealthy choice, and agreed that we needed to include time alone as part of our travel routine and constantly check in with each other.
We headed to the hotel and decided to leave back for California after breakfast on Sunday. Oh, and on the topic of car, the subject of staying in the Prius or camping came up a few times. We even prepared our tents in that event but the cold weather and the thought of a hot shower took priority… Oh well, hotel Prius will get more use some other time.
In one day, we drove from Utah back to Northern California. We have different memories of the road back. For her, it was long and slow. For me as a driver, it passed within a blink of an eye. Overall, our trip to Utah was a success and we learned a lot:
- Nothing can replace the freedom associated with the absence of a plan. When there’s no agenda or times to be at specific places - you’re never late, never in a hurry, and you’ve always seen more than you planned for. It allowed us to be surprised and delighted by places we encountered without imposing our pace on said locations.
- Taking time for oneself is a necessity when traveling with someone else. Time alone does not always mean actually being alone. It can be whatever works for you as a couple. For us, it’s spending time on our devices while sitting next to each other.
- Approaching each location with an open mind. You are not always going to get to travel to exotic places like the Bahamas, but the opportunity to fall in love with a place or its people is always there.