vacation series: desert life to vegas glamour

August 26, 2014

written by
Bri Martinez

Hsuan, an adventurous 300FeetOut designer, inexplicably loves driving south during the hot summer season. Catching the tail of 2014’s summer, Hsuan recently embarked on a weeklong road trip with her favorite travel buddy, Tai, who was visiting from Taiwan.

As usual, they loosely planned their route before departure, with the intent of hitting as many noteworthy destinations as possible. All in all, they traversed five states in one short week.

Hsuan’s fantasy dream home is a remote cabin in the middle of the desert. Thanks to Airbnb, she found herself smack dab in the middle of her fantasy – the boonies. In eight hours, they were disconnected from city life – chilling on their cabin’s front porch, eating breakfast with gigantic ants, showering outdoors, counting countless stars and catching the supermoon in the night sky.

Hsuan and Tai’s dream home: Midcentury Prefab Homesteader Cabin in Joshua Tree, CA

A big fan of natural phenomena, Hsuan’s excitement peaked while visiting Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon in Page, Arizona; Arches National Park in Moab, Utah. Not to mention the multitude of rock formations they saw throughout their drive.

Panoramic view of Horseshoe Bend, AZ
Left: Antelope Canyon in Page, AZ; Upper right: Double Arches at Arches National Park, UT;
Lower right: Hsuan having fun with rocks at Arches National Park, UT

After being surrounded by million year old rock formations, Hsuan and Tai hit the fast forward button a few years and landed in Old Town Albuquerque, officially founded in 1706. Wandering these New Mexico streets in wonder brought them to face-to-face with museums, shops, galleries, restaurants and some very nice people. Immersed in this living piece of history, Hsuan’s designer self reveled in the vivid colors, textures, Adobe architecture and hand-painted signage.

Top & lower left: Colors & texture in Old Town Albuquerque. Lower right: Architecture made of Adobe bricks in Santa Fe.
Hand-painted & wood carved signs found in Old Town Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

Route 66, a destination for people who love road tripping and getting their kicks, was born in the 1920s to address the increasing number of automobiles on the road. Becoming hip in the 60s, it couldn’t keep up with the traffic demands of the 80s and fell from grace. Thankfully, part of Route 66 is now preserved as a historical site. The old cars, motels, and signs still existing on Route 66 made Hsuan feel she was visiting a living museum.

Top: Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, AZ. Bottoms: Signs found in Seligman, AZ
“Rusty Bolt,” gift shop along Historical Route 66, Seligman, AZ

Las Vegas, the city that never sleeps, needs tons of neon to light up its fun nights.

Left: La Concha Visitor Center. Right: The Neon Museum sign at Las Vegas, NV

Founded in 1996, the Neon Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to collecting, preserving, studying and exhibiting iconic Las Vegas signs. The visitor centered is housed inside the former La Concha Motel lobby, designed and completed by Paul Revere Williams in the 1960s. The Neon Museum’s logo emulates the motel’s iconic Googie architecture design. This Vegas glamour from the past satisfied Hsuan and Tai’s neon envy.

Inside The Neon Museum, know as the Bonyard

Although 300FeetOut’s San Francisco studio isn’t rocking a fancy neon sign, Hsuan managed to find one during the Neon Museum tour.


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