Raven Bailey won our Grand 6 Road Trip Sweepstakes in 2015. She and two of her friends had a great time traveling in Arizona and Utah. They even did some extra side trips.
On Raven's trip she updated us with comments like:
Salt Lake City, Utah
Marriott Downtown City Creek in Salt Lake City... staying two nights. The hotel was next to the Convention Center... did you know what event was booked that weekend?...ComicCON!... this made the area very busy and packed with people... "All" kinds of people... in Costumes... "All" kinds of costumes... so when I was dressed in my western wear, they thought it was a costume too;)
We used the "Connect Pass" to eat - Lion House at Temple Square,in Brigham Young's former residence... then we explored the grounds... great history and nice gardens. We window shopped at City Creek shopping center... "Budget Blown!"... found some great soft serve Frozen Yogurt at "Roxberry's Smoothies"... Later we drove to one of my sisters favorite places... an all you can eat salad bar called "Sweet Tomatoes"... they have way more than just salad... stuffed!
Park City, Utah
Capitol Reef National Park
Heading to Capitol Reef, we drove along Utah Lake and Provo on UT-68... and here came a cluster of "Old Model A type Cars"... cool!
We headed into the park from the east on UT-24 after stopping by Mesa Farm Market to get some goat cheese and home made bread... yum!... on the way we picked apples in Fruita, UT... old orchards from the original settlers... now part of CRNP. .. this park is crazy in it's distinct areas... you feel like you are on a different planet... many movie back drops can be seen here.
We arrived in Torrey, UT and checked into the Broken Spur Inn... back to my kind of place... western decor and horse themed. Tonight is the "Fourth Blood Moon" and "Eclipse"... I thought it was at midnight?... nope!... This place has a great Breakfast Buffet... I enjoyed it. Google this place... you are really in the middle of nowhere... good in the sense of "quiet time" or outdoor activities... and stay for more than a night!
State Route 12 is tomorrow, also known as "Highway 12 — A Journey Through Time Scenic Byway", is a state highway designated an All-American Road.
Zion National Park and St. George, Utah
Up early heading to Zion NP and a Horse Ride adventure. We decided to drive through the park from the east on UT-9... best choice ever! Our minds were set to pass though and come back after the ride... this park has two very distinct halves... and after seeing the East side first, we were "Mesmerised!"... being there early, we had that half to ourselves... Headed through the tunnel... got to the west side Visitor Center, the parking lot was full... many people come to this park for all the hiking... we will have to do the next time!
Jacobs Ranch Horse Ride.. we were looking forward to this place.. they are known for not just walking head to tail in a line... we are riders, but this has mountains, valleys and river beds... and we got to do everything even at a "Gallop" ... Ye Ha!!
We headed back to Zion NP West side... took some pictures ... way more people in the park!... Ate at "Pioneer Restaurant" and looked around the town of Springdale, UT just outside the park. Heading off to a pit stop in St. George, UT... after a long hard riding day... one night and off again.
Our stay is at the Crystal Inn Hotel & Suites... the outside is unassuming... then you go inside! Large and spacious! is the theme ... from the Lobby to the hallways, rooms, breakfast area... and the Pool!... be right back...."Splash!"... The front desk person was helpful upon check-in... the Lady at the front desk at check out was very kind and helpful.... nice breakfast and Free Coffee and Cookies everywhere.
Grand Canyon, Grand Canyon Railway, Williams, Arizona, Route 66
Williams, AZ or bust on Rt-66... It was like driving through the Pixar movie "Car's"... Kingman, AZ first (Big Rt 66 Visitor Center, Air Plane Bone Yard, Black Bridge Brewery)... then "Snowcap" Restaurant on the east side of Seligman, AZ... Order Extra Mustard and tell them I sent you... Ha Ha!!... the owner and the girl who helped us were Awesome!!!!!!!
We checked into our hotel "Grand Canyon Railway Hotel" and explored downtown with all it's Neon Signs... live outside country band playing and the best deal on Copenhagen Ever!... off to bed and ready for the Train Ride! to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon NP!
Before you get on the train, they have a Cowboy Shoot Out Show... then later those same Cowboys Rob the Train!... they have free drinks and snacks there and back... singing entertainers and photo options... it is something to enjoy... since I had never been to the "Grand Canyon", taking the train, sightseeing, walking and more was good .....I was Tired! by dinner...
There is so much to see and do at the Grand Canyon NP, if you want to do it all in a day... they have a great free shuttle system so you do not have to walk/hike the whole trail.
Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area
"So, we arrive at the Red Canyon Lodge property... to be greeted by a herd of Elk... who seemed just as shocked as we were... someone would be driving on that road at 2:00 am... and Mule Deer that seemed entertained to watch us unload the vehicle in pitch darkness in a forest setting... "Good Night to all... "
We could not see our settings in detail... this is what we awoke to ... ".it's a hard knock life... " Red Canyon Lodge Staff (Julianne Peterson was my main interaction and she is awesome!, Ben and everyone else get a big thank you)
You can do so many activities in the [Flaming Gorge] area, fishing, boating, hunting, camping, Horse back rides, hiking and much more!... we chose the relax, enjoy nature and relieve some stress.
Click on images to enlarge
Bryce Canyon National Park
"We had a great day at Bryce NP......it is a one road 20 mile park......so we went all the way to the end and took pictures as we returned... a whole bunch of sites packed into a small park!... "Hoodoo's / Bulbous Pillars / Sunrise point / Sunset point and more... after we enjoyed the Western Show at "Ebenezer's Barn & Grill"... they treated us great... you have two choice, Dinner and a Show or you can pay $10.00 for just the show and drink. That is my hat in the foreground."
Monument Valley and Moab, Utah
Navajo Reservation, Kayenta, AZ, Monument Valley (you have seen this place in all kinds of movies and T.V. shows)... "Run Forrest Run!!"... this is the place he stopped running in the movie.
We checked into Best Western Plus Canyon Lands Inn in Moab, UT. This is the best room to have as our final one... Big Suite!... have I mentioned this yet?... every hotel on the trip, the rooms got bigger and the fridge's got bigger too!!! we walked around town ... got some frozen yogurt... and met a very nice older couple running the leather & western store in Moab... off to bed, tomorrow is going to be the most physical hiking day of the whole trip... Arches NP!
The hotel offers a great breakfast buffet... also, it has been updated and is right in the middle of everything you would want to walk to... Arches NP is about 6 miles north of Moab, UT and The northern part of Canyondlands NP is another 30 miles from there... very easy access... when you get to Arches entrance and Visitor Center, you see the road into the Park, straight up the side of the mountain... Wow!... looks worse that it really is.
Arches is set up naturally with different sections... like a amusement park... to hike all the available views and iconic sites, you would need to be there at first light and pack lunch & dinner... .we tried to hike to "Delicate Arch" 8 miles round trip, but no go... so we cheated and went around the corner to the closer access point... Shhhh! no one else needs to know ;) In the picture, those are not ants... those are people by the Arch!
We spent most of our time in the "Windows" Section - North & South Windows, the Double Arch, Parade of Elephants
What time is the Dinner Cruse?... 5:30 to 6 eat all you can BBQ, Roast, Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Beans, Rolls, Desert and fountain drinks... fill your plates and stuff it in!... the food was good ... we were full again!
Luckily the boat ride was calm and leisurely... "Canyonlands by Night & Day"... we got a history tour and a geological guide to all the surrounding formations... as night fell they had set up huge spot lights with a narrated recording... it was a nice way to end our trip.
Moab is one of those outdoor enthusiast spots where you can spend your whole vacation!
That wraps it up... now 1600 miles back home through New Mexico and the Apache reservation, I-40 in Texas and Oklahoma ...
Thank you again to everyone who helped with this Adventure and everyone we met along the way.
Raven, Autumn and Candi