For many newlyweds, a honeymoon provides a welcome chance to revel in each other’s company without anyone else around, whether that means lazing on a remote beach or exploring a romantic city à deux. But when it came to planning their post-nuptial getaway, Covington residents Suzy (co-owner of Handzy Shop + Studio and Gumdrop) and Will Hinnefeld took a decidedly different approach. Two days after their intimate September 2019 ceremony and reception, the duo set off on a three-week road trip across the United States that took them not only to national parks, where they enjoyed time alone together but to urban areas to visit family and friends, as well. The idea might seem unconventional to some, but for Suzy and Will, it made perfect sense.
“When we were talking about our honeymoon, [taking a road trip] was our first idea, really,” Suzy says. In 2016, the adventurous couple, who met through mutual friends while rock climbing, bought a low-mileage Chevrolet Astro with the intention to turn it into a camper van they could take on weekend trips to places such as Red River Gorge. But their vision didn’t end there. “We thought it would be so fun to take it on a huge road trip,” Suzy says. “I’d never driven across the country, and I thought that would be such an American experience to drive to California and back.” The ability to visit friends and family who couldn’t attend their wedding added even more incentive.
With their decision made, Suzy and Will planned a trip that would take them from Covington to California and back. On the outbound leg of the loop, the couple stopped in Chicago, Salt Lake City, Boulder, and Berkeley, meeting up with friends and family for a mix of restaurant and homemade meals, and an occasional stay, along the way. “We had little dinner parties…so we kind of brought the party with us,” Suzy says. In Berkeley, the pair treated friends to a picnic complete with fish tacos and other dishes they prepared themselves using their camp stove and the kitchen of a cousin with whom they stayed.
While in Boulder, the couple set aside time to climb the Flat-irons, where they got caught in a sudden storm. “Will was already at the top, and I was just trying to get there so we could figure out how to get down,“ Suzy says. “As I was climbing, hail was hitting my helmet, and I screamed up at him, ‘Happy honeymoon!’” A subsequent stop in Lake Tahoe, where they stayed at a lakeside campground, proved much more relaxing.
In California, the couple also spent several days with friends in the Bay Area, then headed to Palm Springs, where they celebrated Suzy’s 30th birthday with a hotel stay and, as she describes it, “a fancy dinner.” The journey home began with a drive down California’s coast and included stops in Arches National Park and Moab, both in Utah; the Grand Canyon, where they went on a day hike; and Denver and Kansas City.
Although theirs went smoothly, Suzy says a road trip might not be the ideal honeymoon for every couple. “A bunch of people asked us, Are you sure that’s what you want to do for your honeymoon? You’re going to be in the car a lot—there could be drama!” she recalls. “But we love traveling together and getting into adventures, so we knew it would be fine, and it was.” In fact, Suzy says, some of the couple’s best memories were made in their van. “I get so wrapped up in the day-to-day that we don’t really just chat about nothing [in our normal daily lives], so it was really fun, just hanging out and chatting about nothing for hours as we drove across the country.”