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Before heading out on the road for this assignment, I was against road trips. I hate driving and I saw no reason to go on one. But after this adventure I have a new take and outlook on road trips. My husband Rodrigo and I left Vegas for 2 weeks to explore the Desert South West. The adventure – the ability to go to many different cities and explore what you want, when you want. I love road tripping now and here’s the best things we found in each city we visited.

image17Phoenix, AZ

Nightlife: Charlie’s Phoenix is the spot to go to in Phoenix. Great drink prices, sexy guys and fun music. They also have an amazing Mexican food truck permanently parked outside. You’ll want to grab a margarita at the bar and a spicy carne asada taco. And who said gay guys don’t eat in public?

Food Hot Spot: We had a special chefs table dinner and wine tasting one night at the Hyatt Gainey Ranch in Scottsdale. The intimate tasting and pairing was limited to 6 guests and we sat right in the kitchen with the chefs as they prepared the food for us and paired the wine and liquor options perfectly with the food pallet. It was out first time doing a chefs table style dinner and we highly recommend it if you get the opportunity. To sit in the kitchen and watch your food being prepared and having the chef pick out the perfect wine to compliment each course was simply divine.

Hotel: The Clarendon Resort & Spa and wow! The front desk staff was very friendly, knowledgeable of the local area and pointed us in the right direction for food and to start our visit. We quickly went upstairs to drop off our bags and the room was more than we could have hoped for… a large living room with complimentary snacks, water and coffee. The bedroom with king bed and soothing music playing welcomed us. The view of the pool and sexy guys was a nice bonus too. Haha.

Adventure: We woke up early for a sunrise hot air balloon adventure with Rainbow Ryders. When we arrived, several other balloons were also setting up and that was an amazing sight. When it was time for our launch, the balloon was laid out, attached to the basket and it was time to fill it with hot air. Our group hopped in to the basket and up up and away we went. Gliding over the tops of cactus and seeing desert wildlife running around was amazing. We ascended up to about 3,000 feet and the views were breathtaking. Then it was “time to climb” as our pilot said. Wait? We are going higher? Oh yeah, up to 6,400 feet above the ground.

After an amazing 3 nights in Phoenix we hit the road for our 1 hour and 45 minutes drive south to Tucson.

 

about0617-1Tucson, AZ

Nightlife: Opened in 1985, Tucson’s gay hot spot is IBT’s Bar + Food. IBT is a restaurant by day, bar and nightclub by night: featuring tasty bites, well-poured drinks and the best drag queens around. Their busiest nights are Friday and Saturday.

Food Hot Spot: Karichimaka Mexican restaurant established in 1949 on Tucson’s south west side is a must try when visiting. One of their house specialties is Cucurucho, a delicious deep fried burrito topped with salsa, sour cream and lettuce.

Hotel: Looking for a true home away from home? The Westin La Paloma was everything you could ever want and more in a hotel and resort. From the moment we drove up to valet, the very welcoming staff, the majestic views of Tucson and the 5 star amenities. We were treated to a 3-room suite, with private yard & hot tub. From the moment we walked in to our suite, we really didn’t even need to leave. But with their large pool area on property and spa we knew we’d explore. Their pool features a water slide that was so addictive; you’d swear we were kids again.

Tucson is a gem in the desert with its diversity, breathtaking parks including the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum, history filled Pima Air & Space museum and the U of A campus. There’s something for all kinds of travelers here. But our time in Tucson was up and we headed out on the road to or next destination, El Paso.

 

about0617-2El Paso, TX

Nightlife: For a small city, El Paso has a pretty good amount of gay clubs and bars. We had one night to explore and that we did. We stared with a drink at Briars at Hyde, a cute little bar with cheap prices. We then stopped by Tool Box for Latin night, grabbed a drink and danced a little. Then it was off to Epic and yes we had an epic time there. Heavy poured cocktails, sexy bartenders and even more delicious go-go boys. If you head to El Paso hit up those 3 bars in that order for the best time.

Food Hot Spot: Chico’s Tacos is an El Paso tradition known for its crunchy rolled taco served in a tomato sauce soup with cheese. It doesn’t sound that appealing at first but once you take your first bite you’ll be craving these tacos.

We only had one night in El Paso before we headed off to New Mexico. We stayed at the HillVue Hotel, which for $65 a night had a great location and decent amenities. Hope we will get to go back soon and explore more. Our next stop was White Sands, New Mexico.

 

about0617-3White Sands, NM

Driving up to this national monument, you don’t see the white sands right away, and think to yourself “are we going the right way?” Then all of a sudden you start to see white on the horizon. The closer you get the more amazing the views. Stop at the welcome center to buy a sled, yes a sled. You can slide down the sand dunes. It’s like snow tubing but on sand and no need for snow gloves. A fun tip for this pit stop: to get an incredible photo that will pop, prepare a black outfit. The black outfit against white sand is perfect. A go pro camera will also be great here, attach the camera to our hat or around your chest for awesome video of sliding down the dunes.

Leaving White Sands, we took the scenic 3 hour drive to Albuquerque.

 

Albuquerque, NM

Nightlife: Effex Nightclub is the place to go. This club is massive, with two levels and 5 different rooms. Each room has different music and drag shows. The bars in each room get busy on Friday and Saturday. The best tip to get a drink fast, head to the attached Side Effex venue. You can quickly get to the bar and return to the dance club room with little stress. The drinks seemed to be tastier and a better pour as well.

Food Hot Spot: There’s a difference between Mexican and New Mexican food. New Mexican tends to be a bit spicier and they’ll always ask if you want it with red or green sauce. We searched for a good mix of both types of food and found El Modelo, the hot spot since 1929. Here they have the tastiest tamales and pozole you’ve ever had. If you go on a weekend, be patient as the lines will be long, but oh so worth it.

Adventure: Want some adventure? Head to Sandia Peak tramway and hiking trails – the second longest Tramway in the world. You will ascend over 10,000 feet above sea level to the peak. Here you’ll get expansive views of the entire city. With many hiking trails at the top and you can even hike the whole way back down (if you have a few hours to spare). In the winter the mountain also has a ski resort.

 

The road trip was a success; we saw many amazing cities, ate at some amazing restaurants and went on incredible adventures. To explore our entire road trip, get more tips and see fun videos visit AbOUTtheGlobe.com. Let us know where we should head to next and tweet us suggestions at @GayTravelGuy.

 

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