Friendship and Laughter in Las Vegas Part 1: From L.A. to Vegas #KiaRoadTripLV

Mention a road trip from L.A to Las Vegas and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas quotes immediately come to mind. (I’ll only add quotes from the script when they are appropriate, although they never really are).  That drive is exactly what a group of us decided to do last week. While the drive route may have been the same, I can assure you THIS road trip of ours couldn’t have played out more differently especially since the most adorable 4 year old ever would be accompanying us – here’s looking at you Bucket List Publications. There were definitely a few oddball journalists among us – I’m not naming names- but we all left all our lawyers at home (1st fear & loathing reference, for those who are counting). If I was making our road trip into a movie, Friendship and Laughter in Las Vegas, would have been the most appropriate title. Thanks to Kia for bringing together a really great group for this trip and providing all accommodations, entertainment and Kia Sorento which was the perfect getaway vehicle. We had such a spectacular time!

BucketList Publications Friendship and Laughter in Las Vegas

Friendship and Laughter in Las Vegas

It’s ridiculous how excited I was to visit @kiamotorsusa today! #KiaRoadTripLV

A photo posted by TWITTER: @6Chases (@alicechase) on

Our group gathered at Kia Headquarters for a little tour, talk and lunch before we hit the road. Having the opportunity to visit here was exceptionally exciting for me. I’ve attended several events with Kia over the last two years but all occurred offsite at other fabulous destinations. This was a little like being invited into someone’s home. I got to see where all my favorite Kia celebs work, answer their phones and eat their lunch. A peek behind the curtain, where the magic happens and all that. Super fun for me.

We divided up into our drive groups and were off. Jeff, from Out with the Kids, and Joel, from 3jsand1s, were both amazing drive/ride partners. I seriously could not have asked for better guys to take this trip with. Be sure to follow them – they are really great humans. 

But first, let’s take a selfie….

Clearly the most photogenic group of road-trippers you’ve ever seen #kiaroadtripLV @kiamotorsusa #travel #travelblogger

A photo posted by TWITTER: @6Chases (@alicechase) on

Alice & Eden Kia Road trip LV Friendship and Laughter in Las Vegas

I love this girl! I’ve totally claimed her as my lil sister – we joked that we are getting matching bracelets.

We each had our own agendas along the trip. Some would be doing live video, some stopping at strategic travel locations for photography, others filming video. We decided on a few group stops along the way to keep us all on schedule. Our first group meeting location was a couple of hours along the route at Penny’s Diner.

Kia Roadtrip LV Penny's Diner Friendship and Laughter in Las Vegas

Penny’s Diner

Penny's Diner door CA Friendship and Laughter in Las Vegas

Penny’s Diner  is a classic 1950s-style diner, tastefully decorated with nostalgic memorabilia. They feature standard American cuisine, including hamburgers, meatloaf, old-fashioned sundaes, milkshakes, and malts – all made from scratch. We each ordered a milkshake  or peach cobbler. I ordered vanilla because that is my go-to favorite flavor.

This place was perfect for photos. I was really happy with the ones I captured and could have stayed here for a good portion of the day doing just that. We had more road to take on so we loaded back in for more road trip adventures. Our next stop was in hopes of finding a special craft root beer for Jeff ( “Good people drink good (root) beer- fear & loathing reference).  That’s kind of the greatest thing about a road trip right?? Half the fun is just making quirky stops along the way.  I don’t know if any of us were quite ready for all the quirk we were about to experience.

We had roughly outlined a few items of interest we wanted to stop at along the way. World’s Tallest Thermometer, Seven Magic Mountains, and Alien Fresh Jerky just to name a few. Lucky for us two of these locations were right along the route and practically next door to one another not detracting anytime from our drive. (We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert,….- fear & loathing quote again) 

Alien Fresh Jerky

Alien Fresh Jerky Friendship and Laughter in Las Vegas

I was so very excited to hear this was the location that housed the special root beer Jeff was looking for because just two days before a friend of mine had snapchatted from this location. It seemed like the universe was echoing a need to stop here, as much as anyone can need to stop at an outer-space themed love shack of jerky, I suppose. Blame it on the desert heat if you will but once we stopped I couldn’t help but be fascinated by it all. It really was a sight to behold. I recommend a stop. 

Alice and Joel Alien Fresh Jerky Friendship and Laughter in Las Vegas

A traditional roadside jerky stand with a decidedly Space Alien/UFO twist. Just across from the World’s Largest Thermometer, Alien Fresh Jerky has it all. There’s jerky, T-Shirts, mugs, bumper stickers, refrigerator magnets, strong political opinions and, of course, a place to smash a penny with one of four Alien Fresh Jerky imprints. And, let’s face it, what self-respecting roadside attraction would be complete if one couldn’t smash a penny. More than that, this location held a soda that a friend of mine had been raving about, Cheerwine. I had never seen it before so although I am not a traditional soda drinker I made sure to pick one up and try it.  

Cheerwine Alien Fresh Jerky

As it turns out, Aliens know about all the best stuff : Cheerwine, root beers, dried meats and all. 

World’s Tallest Thermometer

The world’s tallest thermometer is a 134-foot-tall symbol of the record high temperature in the U.S., in nearby Death Valley. The day we visited it was only 108 degrees, a virtual cold front in comparison to the record high temperature in the U. S of 134 degrees Fahrenheit in 1913. If you are looking to add this stop on your trip it sits along the 3 mile stretch of Baker, CA a small town near the Nevada border that calls itself, “Gateway to Death Valley”.

Seven Magic Mountains

Seven Magic Mountains was a pretty memorable stop on our trip to #Vegas #KiaRoadtripLV @owtk @3jsand1s

A photo posted by TWITTER: @6Chases (@alicechase) on

This was one of the BEST stops on our drive and we almost missed it. I had mentioned wanting to see it before we headed out but after reaching the lull that every road trip group encounters we had become indifferent to finding it. Luckily the bright colors of these seven towering formations contrasted enough against the muted tones of the desert to catch Joel’s eye. Once he pointed them out we all caught with a second wind of inspiration to search them out for a few fantastic pictures.  We may have even taken a offroad route to reach them we were so excited!

After offroading in the Kia Sorento

*For those that were wondering, the Kia Sorento handles even rockier roads well.

“Internationally renowned Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone’s Seven Magic Mountains is a large-scale site-specific public art installation located near Jean Dry Lake and Interstate 15, approximately ten miles south of Las Vegas, Nevada. Comprised of seven towers of colorful, stacked boulders standing more than thirty feet high, Seven Magic Mountains is situated within the Ivanpah Valley adjacent to Sheep Mountain and the McCullough, Bird Spring, and Goodsprings ranges of mountains. A creative expression of human presence in the desert, Seven Magic Mountains punctuates the Mojave with a poetic burst of form and color. The exhibition opened May 11, 2016 and will be on view for two years.”

Alice Jeff Joel Seven Magic Mountians Friendship and Laughter in Las Vegas

Within 15 minutes, we would arrive at the beautiful Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas where we  truly were treated like Vegas stars. More on that tomorrow, Part 2 of Friends and Laughter in Las Vegas, but most of it well, you know what they say “What happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas.” 😉

On our drive through the desert we talked a lot about the places we’ve traveled and the people we’ve met along the way. My favorite places always involve stories of meeting interesting people. As it turns out, all journeys can be measured in miles but the best ones can be measured by friendships. I came home with a pocket full of amazing friendships this trip. My heart is full.

“Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run, but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant.”
Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas