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With an iPhone in hand, Jenny Grace, Smith travel specialist and a member of our cross-country road-tripping crew, couldn’t peel her gaze away from the terrain of the American Southwest. From the Chihuahuan to the Sonoran Deserts, spanning Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, here’s what she captured on the sand-swept road…

Road trip dispatch #4 | Texas

When I used to think desert, the first places that came to mind didn’t include any arid stretch of the US. My brain went immediately to the Sahara and the Arabian, then the Gobi and Atacama. However, what I’ve discovered after driving for four days between Texas and California is that America is rich with golden sands, ogle-worthy crags and expansive views, like the scenery above in Texas.

Road trip dispatch #4 | New Mexico

The sights in New Mexico were otherworldly. In addition to the sun-scorched rocks that towered beside the highway, it wasn’t uncommon to see funnels of dust, called ‘dust devils,’ kicked up in the distance over open stretches of land.

Road trip dispatch #4: the American desert

We were excited to spot our first cactus in Austin, Texas and all posed for a photo op next to the lone succulent. Little did we know that three days later, once we hit Arizona (pictured here), there would be cacti as far as the eye could see.

Road trip dispatch #4: Scottsdale

In one of the happiest accidents of the trip, we pulled up to the Desert Botanical Garden near Scottsdale, Arizona just 30 minutes before the park closed, which meant we got to watch the sun set over 15-foot cacti, prickly pear patches and the red buttes of Papago Park. It was an experience I’ll never forget.


* Lead photo by Cindy McDaniel at the Desert Botanical Garden

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