In the party entertainment industry, things tend to slow down in the summer, so that's when we take vacation. It used to be that everything quiets down in South Florida from June - September. That window of time has shrunk to July - August. But our trip coincided with Burning Man, so we took a road trip from August 18 - September 9. We are so blessed to have an Event Manager, Marina, who can hold down the fort and maintain business as usual while we are away. Although, I'm pretty sure that she may jump off a cliff if we take vacation in September again.
I'm not a fan of vacationing in the summer, mostly because of the heat, but we were blessed with very mild temperatures as we traveled across the country. We hit the road at 5:54am on August 18, and slowly made our way up Florida, across the pan handle and into Louisiana. Luckily, the flooding there from earlier in the week had receded, making the drive easier, but we could still see the raised waterline on the trees along the highway from the water, evidence that the flooding was intense. We made it into the Dallas area where we visited with some of Al's friends from back in the days when he used to live there, then the very long drive west across Texas. Texas may be big, the world is small. As fortune may have it, we ended up in Amarillo the same night as Al's cousins, who were making their way from Los Angeles to their new home in Boston. Thanks to the creepiness of social media, we discovered that we were staying at hotels a block away from each other, so we met for coffee in the morning before we continued west and them east.
But the whole scenery changed and we felt the electric in the air when we crossed into New Mexico. We stayed the night in Santa Fe before heading on to Utah. I could go on and on about Utah. If New Mexico is the Land of Enchantment, Utah is the Land of Mystery, Magic and Monolithic Structures. I've never seen anything so extraordinary! Amongst the parks we visited were Arches, Natural Bridges and Zion, with trips into Arizona to visit Lower Antelope Canyon and the Northern Rim of the Grand Canyon.
11 days into the trip, and there was still more to see and do! Our journey continued on Black Rock City in Northern Nevada for the 30th annual Burning Man event. I cannot even begin to explain the phenomenon that is Burning Man. It is surreal, beautiful, challenging, and will change you forever if you let it. You realize things about yourself that you forgot, things you never knew, and the lies that you have told yourself that no longer hold any value. You also re-define "clean", because you are constantly covered in dust! You conserve, and your heart expands when others share of themselves and their resources. It's a community unlike any other, and it is the responsibility of each Burner to participate and bring the Burning Man philosophies into the default world.
After all of this, it was with sweet abandon that we arrived in Vegas! Most people go there to party, but Al had a 3 day job scheduled there, and I decompressed and went to the spa! After dragging me to the desert with minimal showers, Al set us up in a suite in The Palms. We could fit 5 people in that shower, and there were 3 shower heads! HEAVEN!!! It definitely helped ease our way back into reality.
I flew home on September 9th to a full schedule of events, and Al continued on to Anaheim to work another job. Talk about mixing business with pleasure! He then made the long drive home alone, finally arrive at our front door on September 17th, only to fly out the next day to San Francisco.
I'm not sure I would do Burning Man again... maybe. But I would definitely do another road trip! We live in a beautiful country that is so easily accessible. My list of MUST SEE places has grown, and there are plenty of MUST SEE AGAIN places on my list as well.