The Great American Roadtrip

We needed a break from building Casita II, our custom tiny house, but also wanted to keep a low budget, so we jumped at the opportunity to deliver a car to Albuquerque and turn the adventure into a themed photoshoot.

There is something about loading up the car and hitting the freeway that is quintessentially American. Maybe it’s the break in the monotony of the daily routine or the allure of being able to choose your path, but exploring roads and places unknown is always an adventure.


Our former landlords and dear friends also have a property in New Mexico that they spend about half of their time at, but the San Diego residence has a surplus of functioning vehicles. I’m not exactly sure if they asked or if we offered, but we agreed to drive an old, wood-paneled Buick station wagon through the desert to its new home in Albuquerque.

We thought it would be fun to use the car as a centerpiece for an 80’s themed photo shoot, so we acquired some era-appropriate threads and hit the road. Sedona, Arizona seemed like a picturesque backdrop for the shoot with its dramatic cliffs and abundance of trees.

To make the trip more interesting and keep with the theme, we decided not to use any sort of navigation or our cell phones. Instead, we relied on ancient travel technology…a paper map.

Era-appropriate…sort of

After driving through night, we paused for a nap at a rest area in Sedona and woke up to the sunrise and the amazing view seen below.

Sedona, AZ

The shoot

We each had a few different outfits and ideas we wanted to try and capture. These included:

  • The car pulled over as we study the map
  • The car’s hood up, as if broken down (dry ice was used for dramatic appeal)
  • Hitchhiking!

These are the results

I think I know a shortcut…


Are we lost?


If we follow this road…


Okay, I have no idea where we are!


AND the car overheated!


I can fix it


I definitely can’t fix it



Tiny House Research

We needed a place for a night, so we took the opportunity to stay in a tiny house. The charming home, procured from AirBnb, was on a gorgeous, peaceful farm.

Tiny House on AirBnb

We had actually never spent a night in a tiny house prior to making the decision to build our own, but this experience solidified the idea and we are now even more excited to complete our own build!

Although obviously small, the layout was really well-done and the two of us cooked, did laundry, showered and more, without ever feeling like we were in each other’s way. I especially loved the tree branch that was incorporated into the build as a railing for the very clever storage stairs.

Tiny interior

Roadside attractions

No road trip would be complete without making unplanned stops at unique and often bizarre places built specifically to cater to travelers. We can never resist such places, especially when they are abandoned and I-40 from Arizona to New Mexico has some great ones.

We passed at least three abandoned places that included several tepees which seemed to have served as Native American souvenir shops. Why they are no longer in business was not clear.

Abandoned Trading Post?


What was sold here?

One of the best we have seen is the abandoned Fort Courage, which is modeled after the popular TV show,  F TroopThe grounds consist of the fort itself, a few homes, a gas station, and a pancake house.






We especially loved the striking, interior architecture of the pancake house, which was not at all apparent from the outside.



The area was vandalized and probably looted, but remnants of what seemed like a once thriving restaurant lingered. There were coffee pots and cups strewn about, menus with prices and daily specials still intact, and a letter warning would-be thieves to stay away. The only thing we took were pictures.


New Experiences

Yet another aspect of an exciting trip is the opportunity to try new things that you’ve either never heard of or lack in your hometown. We found something that not only satisfied these requirements, but would have been worth the trip on its merit alone.

Enter Meowwolf in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

I highly doubt I could accurately summarize the experience, but here it goes. Meowwolf is a funky amalgamation of a multi-sensory museum, stereoscopic art show, and a psychedelic spiritual journey that the child in me as well as the adult, completely loved. We were not only permitted to take video and photo, but encouraged to touch things as well. I’ll let the photos say the rest.


There were so many things packed into a four day weekend it was hard to capture them all here, but we urge you to disconnect and take a few days wandering. You may be surprised at what you discover about your journey or about yourself.


We would love to hear about your road trip or see your photos or video! Leave us a comment if you want to get in touch.


¡Hasta la próxima!



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