road trip round up

We are now home from our road trip, still recovering from the jet lag. My poor head and body are thoroughly confused about what time of day it is, when meal times should be, and where on earth the sun is. (We seem to have left it in California.) Who knew that in England it would still be mild enough to wear slippers in the Summer?

Just to round up the last few days of our trip, here's a little list of memorable moments from our last few days of fun in the sun.

Our journey continued from Bryce Canyon to Flagstaff for the night. We found an amazing restaurant called Pato Thai. The food was beautiful and flavourful and insanely filling. I had a salad starter filled with apple and cashew nuts, doused in a mild chilli dressing, followed by Tom Ka - yet more deliciousness that I just couldn't manage to finish.

Right next door to Pato Thai was a kitchen shop called Seasoned Kitchen. The window display wowed us and we vowed to go back there the next morning before driving to Palm Springs. We stayed true to our intentions and went back into downtown Flagstaff in the morning to peruse the local shops. Seasoned Kitchen is a haven for anyone who likes to cook and eat. The shop has a kitchen / cafe at one end, which they use for cooking food for their cafe and to run cookery classes from - such a brilliant concept which I would love to replicate someday.

On our way out of Flagstaff we stopped by an incredible antiques shop where we could happily have spent a small fortune. Thankfully John had only given me $20, so that small fortune did not get spent. Our drive to Palm Springs was going to take all day, so we broke up the journey ever so slightly with a brief visit to Scottsdale in Phoenix. which was like stepping back in time. We finally got to see some giant cacti that we had been sure we would see more of on our journeys through the desert.

{Can you tell I was a little bit enamoured by the greatness of the cacti? They were enormous!}
Scottsdale was scorching hot 50C / 120F so we didn't stay out of the car for too long. After a full day of driving we arrived in Palm Springs, ready for an evening swim - it was like stepping into a hot bath - blissful! We went to Ace Hotel for dinner - another recommendation of Elise's.

On Thursday we drove back to LA for the last two days of our trip. Becky and I went shopping at The Grove outdoor mall, where we discovered the delights of Crate & Barrel and Anthropologie. We spent at least an hour in Anthropologie. I don't think I have ever found a shop that I enjoyed as much as this one. I loved the styling, the grouping and co-ordinating of complimentary colours, the endless varieties of beautifully scented candles, and my conversation with another customer who asked my advice on which scented candle to buy for her neighbour - my favourite kind of game to play. 
{Shooting from the hip, quite literally, in Anthropologie to try and capture a tiny bit of the shop without looking like a complete nutter}

We ate lunch at a little pizza place in the Farmer's market (another treasure trove) before continuing with our shopping. Another amazing aspect to this outdoor mall was that they filled the air with a fragrance - I have no idea how they do this but would love to find out how on earth they made the air outside smell so wonderful!
We returned to the Biltmore for some spa time while the boys screamed their guts out at 6 Flags theme park, then had a rather unsuccessful trip out to find dinner. 

Friday was our last day, and we spent it at Universal Studios. I had no idea simulator rides could be so fun and would cause me to laugh so uncontrollably. We didn't take cameras in with us, as we knew we'd be getting wet on the Jurassic Park ride and at the Water World show. It was a good call in effectively protecting my camera, but I'm a little sad that I didn't get any photos of the day. For our last meal of the road trip we went to Evo Kitchen which was amazing for gluten free pizza and beer, as well as regular delicious pizzas and cocktails. 
We went back to the beautiful Biltmore hotel with very happy tummies, ready for our last sleep in America before heading home to England.