Monday, August 31

ex Au Pair, 14º mês | NM ☆ CO ☆ SD ☆ ND ☆ MT ☆ WY ☆ ID ☆ UT

8 states, 1 road trip,
6 days, 3 girls from 3 different countries and 3 different continents = 
1000 great memories! *-*
Carola - Italy (Europe); Me - Brazil (South America); Nicole - South Africa (Africa)
Ever since I found out I would have another week off from work during my Summer, I started inviting my Brazilian friends to join me on a road trip to the West states I hadn't been to yet. It was a bit hard to convence the Au Pairs who are used to go to California, Vegas... on their week vacation that going to these not so famous states could also be fun... I got a lot of maybes and so many no's that I was about to give up when finally, I met Carola, an Au Pair from Italy who was by herself visiting Boston on the day I was there, also on my own during Memorial day weekend. The coincidence was even bigger when we learned we both live in the same area in NY! That day I mentioned this road trip and for my surprise she got very excited about and asked if she could join me :) Luckily her friend Nicole, an Au Pair from South Africa who shared the training week with Carola also asked her host family for the same week vacation, then together, we 3 began our adventure!
We flew to Albuquerque, New Mexico on a Tuesday morning and at around noon we were already renting our car at Hertz.
We split 750$ for a Chevrolet Cruze and there we went to our first stop to have lunch at Twisters, or Los Pollos Hermanos if you have watched the TV show Breaking BadYet part of the "Breaking Bad tour" 15 minutes away from this restaurant, you can see the Crossroads Motel also shown in this series. Just like the famous Octopus Car Wash which is also in downtown.
Then, we drove to Sandia Peak Tramway and paid 20$ for the cable car to take us up high to over 10,000'!
From there we stopped at a grocery store, Smith's, to get some snacks for the car and drove a couple hours to a town called Farmington where we spent the first night at a simple motel.
In the very early Wednesday morning, we drove an hour towards a place we 3 were very excited about, The Four Corners Monument. A meeting of 4 states: Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah! Yes, I was standing in all of them at the same time :)
After, we drove to an amazing national park - Mesa Verde in Colorado.
It protects the largest Ancestral Puebloan archeological preserve in the US.
It is so hard to believe people actually used to live in there and how extremely intelligent they were to build such detailed structures without technology. I was very fascinated!
Because we didn't know it takes you close to an hour driving up the mountain to get to see the cliffs and then another one to get down, we had to cut out some places for that day from our itinerary heading straight to Denver, where we got at a perfect time to have dinner with 3 of my Brazilian friends who are Au Pairs in CO, Helen, Stephanie and Letícia, the girl I visited in NY last June :)
After eating, the girls took us for a walk around downtown so we could buy some souvenirs and take a nice picture on the famous Larimer street, I'm so happy I met them that night... thanks girls and I'm looking forward to see you all soon again!
We slept at a hotel in Denver and Thursday at 6am we were already on the road. Our next stop was at noon at a place I had always dreamed of visiting, Mount Rushmore Monument located in South Dakota. There's no much to do there besides finding a good spot for your picture with the 4 Presidents of America, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. I love their souvenir store, I found little flags of all the states and got a NY one! The food was good there too, we had lunch before continue driving.
Because I want to say I've been to all 50 states, I couldn't forget North Dakota since I was so close... we drove 3 hours (with no traffic at all!) to the Bowman-Haley Lake and then we had pizza for dinner at Windy's.
After dinner, we spent 4 more hours on the road driving through the state of Montana to get to Billings, where we rested till the next morning. 
Friday, again in the early morning, we drove 2 more hours while appreciating the beautiful and high mountains of MT when we finally got to the gorgeous Yellowstone Park, in Wyoming, the place we were most excited to see of all. It is very unique and I was completely enchanted to what I was seeing... just incredible!
That was my favorite night because we spent it in a tent! Again in Montana, at Yellowstone Under Canvas our night was like camping, a fun experience that I totally recommend!
Saturday at around 11am, we crossed the board to another state, Idaho. Before getting in Idaho Falls, we stopped to see the Upper Mesa Falls, where we had a picnic brunch listening to the strong sound of the water.

Our afternoon was in the car driving to our final destination, Salt Lake City in Utah.
We got there basically at night time and went out for dinner. 
Sunday, our last day, we visited the famous Salt Lake Mormon Temple again, there're so many stores around it but they were all closed.
We also went to the actual lake which is very salty!
After our late lunch, we drove for the last time to the gas station and then to the airport to return the car and fly back home...
Here are my expenses with this trip if you're wondering how much money you need for a cool road trip like this ;)
Car 250 + Gas 70 + Hotels 140 + Food 120 + Entrances 40 + Souvenir 80 = Total $700 + flights.
Having Carola and Nicole for that trip was great, even though we three are very different, we got along... But nobody else can replace the company of my two super special best friends, Andressa and Leticia *-* Just like New York can't be replaced in my heart for any state else... This month we had fun on Coney Island and finally Dessa took Lê and I to visit the Fort Lee park for a picture with the George Washington bridge! #luvUgirls
Who also travelled this month was my other best friend Alice, remember her? She was my neighbor during our both 2nd Au Pair years but last year she moved to Ohio back to where she spent her 1st year and got married with Aaron. They both came to visit Mike and I in Pennsylvania and on a Saturday, we visited Philadelphia :)
A place Mike and I went for the 1st time in Philly was the Eastern State Penitentiary, the first American prison... the tour we took is very creepy and I was wondering how scary it can look like on Halloween because they turn that place into a haunted house! =0
It was so nice to have you at our house for that weekend and congrats on your 1st year anniversary... Lika, see you next month :*
Another friend I love visiting every month, is Deborah, also friends from the old Au Pair life, Deh and Matt celebrated their 2nd anniversary already and Antonio, now 5mo, can sit down! ^^
I won't get tired of saying he's such an adorable baby boy, always very happy with cute smiles all around!!!
Some - not so little people anymore - that have always a smile for me, are my ex host kids... I visited them right after they got back from their amazing vacay: to London and Paris! #fancy
My current family also went on vacation, and I went with them for half of it!
On Cape Cod, there we were making brigadeiros and Delilah learned that "licking the spoon from the pan's left over" is THE BEST =P
These are some cute pictures of August month of my baby twin girls who just turned 1 year old !!! =) Happy-Happy Birthday Liv and Noa (= 
Now Liv and Noa don't need baby bottles anymore.... they eat everything, including birthday cakes! Liv is basically walking and Noa is basically talking. How wonderful it was to get to see them growing in front of my eyes for the past year. I feel like I'm just so lucky to have been put in their lives S2
Last but not least, Mike and I also had something to celebrate...
His project in PA is DONE! Next month, we'll be back to NY for real!