I longed for freedom and fresh air. It was the morning after Christmas and the clouds danced in between the mountains of California as though they had music we could not hear. “I must see snow today,” I thought at my first sight of the sky. It rained more in the past week than I can remember all year. The mountains sparkled different shades of white in the early morning and the mountains are only a few hours away.
A Few Hours Later…
After hours of post-Christmas window-shopping, I could not head straight home. The hills just above my route glistened in green, shades of dark gray and just the beginning touches of gold. Thoughts turned to actions and I found myself driving up towards the Sierra Nevada’s of California.
Heading through the low hills, vehicles covered in snow occasionally pass in the opposite direction, teasing sweet freshness ahead. I’m not sure how far I’d have to drive to experience more than snow on the side of the highway, but I wasn’t stopping until I got there. Before seeing more outside of California, it was never odd to me how many different types of weather and land we have here. I have a new appreciation for my home.
Cars line the side of the road, and filled the small parking lot. The lowest spot on the trail packed with snow and recently melted road ice still sat in puddles on the pavement. My heart yearned for the tallest peaks, “Soon,” I say to myself. Getting out of my car, the energy for a random snowball fight bubbles to the surface.
The impromptu trip meant I was wearing high-heeled boots, on an icy road. Never one to avoid the possibility of falling in dirt, “Muddy slush stains will be photography memories,” and I turn on my video camera hoping to catch a fall on film. No falling-fail-video this time, though, sorry to disappoint!
Do you think I am a little over-the-moon when it comes to water? A fish in a desert would feel the same. More on how important snow runoff is to California here. However, these peaceful photos are already changed! Just hours after my drive, a storm was scheduled to hit, leaving California with record snowfall. Learn more of the recent weather chaos here. We currently have 161% more snow than average (LATimes.com, 2021), the snowiest December on record (UC Berkley, 2021)!
New Orleans, Lousiana. A city of history, magic, and creativity and one of my most anticipated stops of the trip. “In New Orleans, our service is hospitality. If we don’t host you well, you don’t return and we don’t eat,” a New Orleans Native & Tour Guide tells a group of tourists on a cemetery tour. Join me as I retell two of the most liberating and exciting days of my life where I explore The French Quarter and more in New Orleans!
A Pirate Life For Me
As I step into the tepid evening air in front of the New Orleans Sheraton Hotel, I feel so much moisture. Wall sconces entrancing my brain, making me think of pirate life, taverns, and history. The French Quarter, or “Old Square”, is located on the banks Mississippi River. Welcome to New Orleans, established by the French in 1718. Check out my first reactions in the video below!
Who dared paint a piano? A baby grand, at that? Judgment pierced through my inner musician as I walked through the swirling doors of the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel. Mesmerized, I walked straight to the Steinway masterpiece, luggage still in hand. This piano “BLUE” me away! The closer I got, the more curious I became. To learn more on the history of the piano or how the Blue Dog art was inspired, check Wendy Rodrigue’s article Blue Dog: In The Beginning!
The French Quarter
Both Spanish and French influence is found on every corner in The French Quarter! Some of the Spanish Calle tiles (see photos below), are over a century old! According to history, a special font was used to create the street tiles found in New Orleans. Much of the French influence was lost in the Great Fires of 1788 and 1794 and Spanish-Collonial style took over in it’s place.
One of the most beautiful buildings I saw during my short stay in Lousiana was the historical landmark, the Hotel Monteleone. Steeped in family tradition, this hotel passed through five generations of Monteleone’s to become what it is today! So many distinguished authors stayed at this hotel, it was named “official literary landmark by the Friends of the Library Association. [Two other hotels in] New York are the only other hotels in the United States that share this honor,” (HotelMonteleone.com, 2021).
Need to know more about New Orleans? There is no way I absorbed enough at first glance, either! Check out History of New Orleans as soon as you have a chance for a concise and heartfelt story of The Crescent City and how, against so many odds, the city is thriving today! Join me in my next article as I visit a cemetery at midnight, walk Bourbon street and try Alligator wings! Adventure with me at ThereGoesSaraRose.com!
One week ago I visited an extraordinary Lego® art exhibit in Los Angeles, California. 100 sculptures and over 1 million Lego® bricks blew me away! I visited Nathan Sawaya‘s The Art of the Brick and left nothing short of entranced. Here, the inner-child shines even though these sculptures are nowhere near your typical living-room Lego® creations. Supported with emotional depth, I must encourage you to attend before it leaves! Let me share with you, The Art of the Brick.
Only Until January 2022?!
Most of my travel spots you can return to at leisure, but not this one! The Art of the Brick is only at the Los Angeles California Science Museum until January 2, 2022 when it moves to San Francisco. Check here for the most current schedule. Art Exhibits change and are moved (curated) around the world so generations can experience the wonderful collections. However, I “OH MY GOODNESS-” ‘d so many times, I knew I had to share more with you immediately.
California Science Center
A massive faceless, yellow figure made of Legos® greets me from a building-sized poster as I step out of my car into the quiet morning air of Los Angeles. The drive from Hollywood was far too hectic and I was glad to be out of the car. But, we are hours away from the 10:00 AM opening time Google lists for the Center. I can’t quite tear my eyes away from the man, pulling his chest apart to reveal a hollow inside, spilling out more Legos®. Welcome to the California Science Center, where most things are not what they seem.
“So much movement and natural shape starts with the simple form of a cube.” This revelation followed me as I continued around each corner. A surrealistic artist with a fascination for breakout artistry (i.e. Monet), I have to be honest, I assumed I was about to walk into *insert eye roll* yet another pop art exhibit. However, even the recreations of historical pieces brought new life to familiar scenes! Allowing the viewer to experience what was once just viewing a 2D image sent fireworks through my neurodivergent brain. I only wished for a walkthrough of famous scenes next! Check out highlights of my favorite sculptures in my video link below!
PERNiCiEM: The Endangered Species Collection
Pairing with photographer Dean West, thePerniciem Collection sits at the end of Nathan Sawaya’s The Art of the Brick. With talents combined, the best was saved for last. I am delighted as I turn the corner to see the Perniciem scupltures. Each sculpture sits next to a beautiful photograph, at home in their own world. To be honest, the first several photos earned a double-take. I didn’t realize the Lego® version of the animal was in each photo! The biology was so well designed, the cubed creatures seemed real.
Art Making a Difference
I am excited to share, “A percentage of the [PERNiCiEM] proceeds will go to NGOs that are on the ground protecting and preserving the beauty and splendor of our world,” (PerniciemCollection.com). Lego® is even perfecting bricks made from recycled plastics and we appreciate their efforts (Wired.com, 2021)! I’m not a scientist, but I love nature and animals and any attempt to understand how we can do better is vital (Sara “Milbrodt” Rose, 2019).
What To Know Before Visiting
Proof of vaccination or proof of negative test was required before entry into the California Science Museum (one of the several buildings at the Science Center). Fortunately, signs with links and QR codes made finding my information very easy. I did not plan this stop on my trip and if the information was not so easily accessible, this article would not be here today! I did notice several testing tents around Los Angeles and at one on a street corner near the Center, a reminder of COVID-19.
Order your tickets online before you go! Choosing time slots online made my day a breeze and allowed for breaks. I arrived over an hour early so picked my ticket bundle while eating Quiznos across the street. I wanted to try everything but overall, three activities cost me less than attending a movie theater!
Can’t Make It?
If you can’t get to Los Angeles before the exhibit leaves, you may still be in luck! Just up the West Coast, San Francisco is the next stop for The Art of the Brick. You never know, maybe I will see you there! Find the most up-to-date details on where to see the exhibit, here! Until next time, There Goes Sara Rose.
You know about US Highway 66, not because you are deeply invested in highway systems, but because of the yearning for freedom. Though it wouldn’t be completely paved until 1938, US Highway 66, commonly known as Route 66, entered the US Highway System in 1926. Its significance takes many forms. It was the first all-weather highway between Chicago and Los Angeles, two massive economic focal points of the American West. Its development from dirt-road-to-superhighway epitomizes economic development and the remarkable geographical links brought about by a robust national public highway system. Its birth and development came at a time of immense turmoil and economic upheaval, yet it persisted.
As a result, it became the romanticized highway we know today, coming to symbolize the optimism that fell over the American people after WWII. Bridging the Rocky Mountain divide and stretching to the Pacific Ocean, Route 66 represents the free-spirited ideation of a country already firmly built on free-spirited ideation. Pulling on the history of the USA with its free-spirited energy, and embracing what it means for my own adventures, is why I’m going.
Why is this trip so pivotal? This is the first time I have left the West Coast, the first time I have traveled on such a road trip, and the first time I have gone so far with the specific goal of collecting and sharing what I can with all of you (translation: Taking more tech supplies than clothes!). This is the moment I set out on my professional path, one I carve out for myself, and I welcome you to come along as, “There Goes Sara Rose”!
How to Road Trip on Route 66
“Historic” vs Interstate
In 1985, Route 66 was removed from the United States Highway System, as its utility had become unnecessary in the wake of the successful Interstate Highway System. After it was decommissioned, numerous organizations worked to preserve significant structures, features, and artifacts of the road. Their work has resulted in the “Historic Route 66” that we know today. This is not to be confused with Interstate 66 (I-66), which is not connected whatsoever to the original Route 66.
The modern version of Route 66 we know today isn’t entirely drivable, as it no longer needs to serve as a functional highway. Instead, the drivable portions serve as monuments to American history. Some of these spots have been turned into historic locations with informational posts, signs, and more! You will see many on my socials and here at ThereGoesSaraRose.com.
Packing Your Clothes
Compression travel bags, such as the Hefty Shrink Pak Travel Bags I used, are an excellent way to pack for a road trip when organized correctly. A packing tip section may sound simple, but these bags and this method saved me hours of frustration:
Keep your clothes CLEAN! You may try to keep dust and dirt out of the car but the windy air will not allow it!
Keep your clothes EASY TO ACCESS! With one bag per day for clothes, you can skip taking the suitcase into your lodgings except when it is time to wash. Traveling with friends? Still consolidate outfits into one bag per day.
Keep your clothes ORGANIZED! Folding and keeping bags flat as possible before compression leaves room for important extras such as swimsuits, extra socks, a windbreaker etc. to help with various weather plans.
You will want to map out a plan regarding when you will clean your clothes and take change and laundry soap; do not assume you will have clothes cleaning services nearby! Having a windbreaker, rain poncho, and/or warm weather gear when traveling in winter is a key part of being prepared for anything.
Route 66 Highlights-Subscribe for More!
The love for nostalgia is evident in the care that has been taken with preserving these pieces of history, a moment in time saved to share a story. Many of the stops have several signs touting a landmark of some type, beaming with pride at passing drivers, enticing them to “taking the next right!”. The unplanned stops became my favorite; the finding-of-the-unexpected just as appealing as a curated museum. A friend and I spent almost an entire 16 days photographing, recording, and taking notes of various parts of the United States, from the Mojave Desert to New Orleans, from Chicago to Las Vegas. Makes sure to subscribe and follow this blog to be the FIRST to get these stories, photos, and more!
Here are a few excellent attractions along Route 66 I missed I planned to return back to, such as:
Delgadillo’s Snow Cap Drive-In
Located in Seligman, Arizona is a historic eatery that was built in 1953 by Juan Delgadillo. It stands out from the crowd quite literally as it was built mostly from scrap lumber. Flamboyant and humorous, featuring menu items like “Dead Chicken” and “Cheeseburger With Cheese”, Delgadillo’s is a delightful stop on Route 66.
A public art installation in Amarillo, Texas, Cadillac Ranch is one of the many quirks of Route 66. Buried in the desert sand are ten graffiti-covered Cadillacs. Visitors to the installation are welcome to contribute to the artistic display with their designs spray-painted onto the Ranch’s vehicles.
The Wigwam Motel
A curious motel in Holbrook, Arizona furnishes guests with the chance to sleep in wigwams for the night instead of traditional motel rooms. While the rooms are shaped like tipis as opposed to the more hut-like wigwam, this kitsch motel is still a great place to lay your head.
Join The Adventure!
The dream of travel, seeing places never seen, and turning that into art, is the whole reason why I write this blog. If that’s something you’re dreaming of too, I hope these posts help inspire you towards taking your own journey. Want to get your kicks on Route 66? Come along with me for the first major leg of my travels in “16 States in 16 Days”! Follow me on social media for updates as they happen and subscribe to my blog for stories on my adventures. Thank you for coming on this journey with me.
P.S. Notes while traveling are key! Purchase Word Vomit: A 90-Day Expression Journal to give yourself space for mindless doodles, inspiring art, and processing unfiltered emotions! This is a great way for you, your friends, or kids to prepare for a blog of your own or just word vomit!