Beautiful, hip, elevated & wet: Flagstaff. <3


On the road from Las Vegas to Flagstaff, AZ

After spending two nights in Las Vegas and stopping at the Hoover Dam we continued on to beautiful Flagstaff, Arizona. This was both of our first times in Arizona and we had a preconceived that the entire state was desert. We were surprised to find that Flagstaff was cool, mountainous and green. We spent 3 nights at the KOA in Willams, AZ. Our accomadations-although better than staying in a tent during a monsoon-were a big step down from our strip view in Vegas.



Although it was not the worst place we stayed on the trip it was by far the most uncomfortable beds

This Kampground of America location was about 20 minutes west of Flagstaff in the smaller town of Williams. I can’t say that we spent much time in Williams, except to eat at a gross diner and take some awesome pics by their Route 66 sign! One of my biggest regrets was not visiting Bearizona, a self-drive through wildlife park. I visited something similar in Winston, Oregon and I know both Jake and I would have enjoyed it.


Getting Sick

Flagstaff, a town of approximately 66,000 and home to Northern Arizona University, was our base for 5 days and 4 nights. Other than the Dream Center it was our longest time in one place. I had heard about some people experiencing Altitude Sickness while visitin cities, such as Denver, which are at a high altitude. It never occurred to me that Flagstaff was 7,300 feet high. Which is about 7,100 feet higher than I am use to living! I would be talking with Jake and everything was fine and suddenly my head would bob forward and I would feel like I was on the verge of passing out. I was constantly short of breath and would get winded walking short distances. I am a person who takes great pleasure in food, but the entire time we were in Flagstaff and the surrounding areas, the thought of food would make my stomach roll. Jake had some shortness of breath and nausea too.Since I am an RN I had an idea about what was happening to me (especially after good ole Google confirmed my fears!) but I didn’t want to waste time visiting and Emergency Room or leave Flagstaff early so I tried to adapt and stick it out. We limited our activity, took naps, drank a lot of water and tried to practice deep breathing. I never passed out, if I had then we would have visited the hospital. It all worked out for the best, and by the time we reached Boise a few days after leaving Arizona I felt back to my normal self.

Downtown Flagstaff

Our favorite part of Flagstaff was, easily, downtown. The University is located nearby so the area is full of hip cafe’s, bars, organic/whole food shops, restaurants, etc. During the monsoon rainfall one day, we spent a couple hours re-charging at Rendezvous Coffeeshop/Martini Bar. After checking out at the KOA we spent or last night in Flagstaff at the Hotel Monte Vista which is connected to the bar/coffeeshop.


Enjoying some awesome latte’s


Beautiful, Trendy Downtown!


Not too bad for $70/night in downtown!

For budget travelers, there are two hostels in town, but we found the Hotel Monte Vista to be just as affordable. Granted, we did not get a shower or toilet in our room, for $30 less per night compared to other hotels it was worth it!

After dinner one night we found a group performing in the town square. Honestly, I would like to consider myself a cultured person…but this was just weird. I feel bad saying that because I’m sure they all put a lot of time in to it, but I really just didn’t understand or connect with it. It was suppose to be some sort of rendition of a Native American dance but we had to leave after a few minutes because it was so bizarre! There were people rolling on the ground with their stilts on and dancing in circles and climbing things…I didn’t get it. I wish I would have snapped a video but I was just so engrossed in the dance!

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We found one of our most favorite places to eat while in Flagstaff (we loved it so much we came back two nights in a row!). The Lumbaryard Brewing Company use to be a lumbaryard but was converted into a brewery and American/BBQ Restuarant. The food was PHENOMENAL. We had to go back the 2nd night mainly so Jake could get another helping of their mac n’ cheese! Their drinks were well priced, as well as late night appetizers. Plain and simple- GO if you are in the area!


My Sangria next to Jake’s whiskey sour…mine is on the left 😉

We had decided to walk the couple blocks to the Brewery (while it was beautiful and sunny)…and we ended up practically running back to our hotel during a monsoon! I have never been in rain so hard and heavy before! Thankfully I had worn flip-flops because there was a couple inches of standing water just on the sidewalk.


After the walk back. We were seriously soaked and freezing. Jake was kind enough to let me borrow his hat at least!


I wish I would have taken more pictures of Flagstaff because it is so beautiful. We in fact enjoyed it so much that we checked out the hospital (for me) and University (for Jake). I don’t think it’s the right time in our lives to move anywhere but it is a place we would definitely consider! It made a great base for taking day trips to the Grand Canyon and Native Ruins to the south. It’s well worth spending a few days!

Hoover Dam


30 miles from the heart of Las Vegas lies the Hoover Dam. It is situated on Lake Mead, the largest reservoir (per volume) in the United States. When the Reservoir is full, at it’s deepest it can reach up to 1,200 feet deep which is just astonishing! I was surprised to see advertisements for scuba diving lessons on the drive to Hoover Dam but apparently it is a common activity, you can expect to spend $50-$100 for an introductory course at Lake Mead.


The Hoover dam lies on the border of Arizona and Nevada so it was kind of interesting to see two giant clocks on either side of the dam representing the different time zones. The dam itself was so beautiful. It is incredible to think about how man was able to build something so big and so strong (even in the crazy heat! It was at least 105F when we visited!).


Lake Mead


726 feet up!!


The Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge (AKA the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge)


This was before we were dripping in sweat. (TMI? It was July. In the desert.)


Love this monument! There was a big beautiful American flag at the top

We decided to do the Power Plant Tour which was $11 per person. It is not recommended for people which claustrophobia, which I never thought I had…until I took a 70 second elevator ride 530 feet into a big dam. I (being the doom and gloom person my husband knows I can be) thought of all the worst scenarios that could happen. I was waiting for someones pacemaker to stop working (not recommended for the tour), an earthquake to happen or the electricity to suddenly stop (are there even stairs?!). I became really anxious about half way through the tour and was pretty excited when it was over. All in all, it was a nice reprieve from the heat inside the air conditioned building (except deep down where it was fairly warm) and it was interesting to learn the history of the Hoover Dam. It is definitely a must visit if you are in the area.


Not what I expected the inside of the dam to look like!


My Advice:

1. Try to get there early, especially in summer. It is SO HOT!

2. Park on the side with the visitors center. It is a long walk across the dam, especially when done in the middle of the day. Our one water bottle was hot water by the time we got to the other side.

3. You can’t get to Arizona from the Arizona side of the bridge. If there are no parking spots by the visitor center you have to drive across the dam to the Arizona side but to leave you must go back and drive over the Bypass bridge. Learned that the hard way!

4. Bring enough water. 1 is not enough for 2 people. We ended up splurging on $2 12oz water bottles in the store because we did not plan very well.