A Roadtrip through the Desert in a Mustang Convertible…

…is essentially an American rite-of-passage (and a great way to see the Southwest).

The boys. The boys.

On my little journey out west after Chris’s work conference in Phoenix, his friend had the idea to get from Phoenix to California via a mustang convertible, drop-top the whole time. So Chris and his two buddies and I spent 7 hours blasting classic rock-n-roll, flying through the desert in a sizzlin’ 105+ degrees. The whole setting felt like we could have been in any decade since the 50’s, and this experience now ranks as one of my favorite things about being American.

We saw some super remote areas and we rode really close to the Mexican border. We brought a TON of water because even though we were going fast which made it feel like a cool ~90 degrees during the day, we were totally dehydrated, frying in the heat (sunscreen is also a must). I wore a swimsuit for most of the time through Arizona because it was that hot.

Had to happen. Had to happen.

I left my hair down to go wild for the first hour, and it felt really cool. And then I was over that because my hairline hurt from being pulled in different directions and I felt like turning my face in different directions (I could only really look right to have my hair not fly in my face). My hair after we made our first stop was unbelievable.

Our skin also felt weirdly smooth yet dirty because all the dust and dirt in the air was plastered on our skin, especially for Chris and I in the back seat (note: tall couple in the backseat of a mustang is a tight squeeze). At one point we were going through a particularly dusty desert area and we were getting hit with mini rocks and had to duck together. Glam.

We made a few stops, one at a sweet desert art shop where one of the guys bought an excellent bald eagle wood carving, and then again at a gas station outside of Yuma where I bought sour cream ’n onion crickets that we all had to eat for desert roadtrip solidarity.

While one may think a Mustang road trip is best suited for two people given the tiny back seat, was a pretty hilarious time with a crew of four, so I wouldn’t let that stop you. The back seat is a little more extreme but with proper mental preparation and stretch breaks anything is possible.

The whole trip was pretty much a high point in life, besides my one low point in life when we were on a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair, the warm smell of colitas rising up through the air. We were in the mountains in California, about 90 miles from our final destination in Encinitas California. IT. WAS. SO. COLD.

We watched the temperature with shock as it rapidly dropped every five seconds as we zoomed into the mountains. Within ten minutes, it went from an almost-chilly-when-you’re-in-a-drop-top-going-100-mph (~72 degrees) to I’m-actually-going-to-get-hypothermia-and-need-a-massage-from-shivering-so-much (~50 degrees). I think the lowest temperature was officially 52, but that backseat windchill had to be 33. In a dress.

So my big lesson learned is that even though it’s super hot in the desert during the day, in the mountains at night it is not warm and next time I will have sleeves and pants very accessible.

Anyways, we victoriously rolled into Encintas California around 9:30pm after a long and amazing journey. I couldn’t be more stoked to be in one of my favorite places in the world, and finally by the ocean again after being away for too long. We all enjoyed some incredible Mexican food, a California beer, and a killer night’s sleep.

The road trip is an essential must for all Americans. And here’s what I think are the Essentials for Desert Road Trip:

  • Hair ties
  • Sunscreen
  • Tons of water
  • Swimsuit
  • Really warm coat on hand
  • Cash to buy random things on side of road (although places we stopped took card)
  • Classic rock playlist to saved to your phone
  • Gas station stop for crickets

And Nice-to-have’s

  • Leg room