engagement story / cisco, UT

by Kaylah Stroup

Things were pretty quiet on the blog front last week. I actually think that may have been the longest I didn’t blog in the history of The Dainty Squid. Jeff and I took a short vacation, I did a poor job planning content then immediately came home and got a gnarly cold. So, if you don’t follow me on Instagram you may have missed the big news. Uh, THAT happened. (Check out the announcement + ca-yoot photo here!) Needless to say, It’s been a whirlwind week!

Let’s throw it back three years. Jeff and I had been dating two and a half months when we decided to take our first trip together. We flew into Denver, Colorado, rented a car and drove around six states including Colorado, Utah, Nevada, California, Arizona, and New Mexico. We spent two nights in a hotel, one night in a wigwam, and the other three in the car. In the six days we were on the road we racked up a whopping 3,204 miles. It was the most incredible trip of my life at the time. We had so much fun and really bonded that week. It’s a massive piece of our relationship.

Each year since we’ve taken a similar trip – flying into the cheapest city out West and just driving! It’s something we’re both wildly passionate about and something we talk about endlessly. We flew into Los Angeles back in April of this year for our “4th annual road trip” but as always, as soon as landing in Cleveland, one of us was mumbling about wanting to go back. I figured our big trips for the year were done, that maybe we’d take a small trip somewhere before the end of the year but certainly wasn’t expecting to be heading out on the road again like that any time soon.

Then one day, all of a sudden, we were planning a second trip. A bit shorter than our previous ones but it didn’t matter to me. I was just excited to get out again, and explore somewhere new. For this trip we flew into Denver, Colorado and promptly made our way into Utah where we’re wandered around kind of aimlessly for two full days. Utah is just… a hidden treasure. Truly one of the most underrated states but more on that another day! I have lots of posts from this trip coming in the next few weeks, promise!

On that very first trip in 2014 our first stop was a little old ghost town in Cisco, Utah. We had landed in Denver in the evening, grabbed our rental, and started heading toward Utah immediately. We stopped at a rest area, caught some z’s and started driving again slightly before sunrise. Once we got moving again I opened the Roadside America app and found that there was a ghost town coming up. The timing would get us there right at sunrise. Well, Cisco ended up being the most incredible start to our trip. I wrote this post about it, where I rambled on about how special of a stop and trip it was to me.

Since we flew into Denver this time, and we were heading into Utah, Cisco was once again on our map. I was super stoked to revisit, re-shoot, and just revel in this place that I had built up in my mind so much since the last time I was there. After eating the best BBQ of my life, we arrived in our beloved ghost town right at sunset. The timing could not have been more perfect. I was a little bit stressed we’d get there after dark but considering what was about to happen next, I’m sure Jeff was even more stressed.

The second he put the car in park, I dashed out of the car and started running toward a building I want to shoot. When we’re short on time Jeff and I usually head our seperate ways to get the shots we want instead of wandering around together. After a few minutes he joins me and asks if I want to get a shot of the two of us together. On the plane I had the brilliant idea that we’d take a nice photo together in each ghost town we visited on the trip since Utah is just littered with them and they were going to be our main stops. So, I thought nothing of it. I was just glad he remembered because I was so excited it hadn’t crossed my mind to slow down a second for a photo together.

cisco, utah, ghost town rainbow cloud

Sidenote here – Look at that cloud! IT IS GOSH DARN RAINBOW. That cloud was in the sky as we were about to pull into Cisco. We both freaked out. Neither of us had ever seen anything like that. It’s apparently called cloud iridescence. Little did I know that fifteen minutes later I’d be getting proposed to. How’s that for some cheesy rom-com material?!

I take direction as he tries to line me up for the shot, he runs over to join me, and immediately kisses me. I’m thinking “Oh, Okay? This isn’t really the shot I had in mind but cool.” Then before I know it he’s on one knee and I’m ugly crying. I don’t remember anything that he said, I just remember looking at the ring and nodding my head ethusiastically. It was such a blur. I was shaking like a leaf and just wanted to hug him forever, it felt like the only way I could stand up. Then he’s like “By the way, I got that on video!” and I sob some more.


As much as I’m into super non-traditional wedding stuff, something that was really important to me was that Jeff ask my dad’s permission. I was a bit worried that he didn’t have the chance because my dad was actually in the hospital the week before we left on this trip. Jeff revealed that he had taken a half day off work and visited my dad in the hospital to ask. This made me cry so hard I nearly threw up. Y’all I was already a cry baby but this last week I’ve been a wreck. I didn’t think it’d effect me this much!

So yeah, the man of my dreams asked me to marry him at one of our favorite spots in the entire world. It’s definitely not everyone’s picture of a romantic location but there isn’t anywhere that could be more ~us~. I am so happy and so damn excited to have a lifetime of adventures with this sweet man. It’s been just over a week and I basically haven’t stopped crying or looking at the shiny new addition to my ring finger yet. Life is good.

PS. You’ll have to excuse any typos or sentences that are just plain out of order. It’s hard to type when you can’t tell the dang story without crying.

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