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Trip Report 15 day AZ/CO trip

Bcs so many on this forum helped with my planning of this trip, I wanted to give a summary of how it went. We had a fabulous time.

Days 1&2: We flew from the east coast to Phoenix and picked up our rental SUV from Enterprise at the airport. I had booked and canceled car rentals a few times, getting ever better rates. I lucked on a great price - a 15 day, one way rental SUV for $648 inclusive! We drove right to Sedona. How beautiful. We had never been there before. Stayed at Orchards Inn - lovely room with fabulous views and walking distance to everything. Took the Pink Jeep Broken Arrow tour. Highly recommend it.

Days 3&4: Drove from Sedona to Grand Canyon through Oak Creek Canyon - beautiful - and the loop rd through Sunset Crater and Wupatki. Entered GC from East entrance. It was late so went straight to hotel, Thunderbird Lodge. We were pleasantly surprised with the room. It had been recently redone and had a wonderful view of the Canyon. However, as most have said, the parking situation is ridiculous. There is no designated parking for hotel guests we had to keep circling waiting for someone to pull out. We wound up lugging our stuff quite a distance. This was early May so I can't begin to imagine how bad it must be during the summer. We ate 2 dinners and 1 brkfst in Bright Angel. Service was good, food was fine and very reasonable. We drove the Desert View Rd, stopping at the overlooks. We had been to GC 2x previously, even did the mule ride many yrs ago. I think no matter how often you see it, it is still jaw droppingly awesome:

Days 5&6: We drove to Chinle to "do" Canyon de Chelley. Chinle is a very grim place but our room at the Holiday Inn was lovely. It seems to be a newer facility. The room was huge with a slider overlooking a beautifully landscaped pool. This may have the only green grass in the town! Canyon de Chelley was great. We took a jeep tour, which was really a wide pick up type truck bed with seats. We got it from the Thunderbird Lodge. i would recommend open air tours for C de Ch bcs you go along the stream bed at the bottom and are always looking up. Navajo guide did a good job. Food is a challenge in Chinle. We ate at the Junction next to the Best Western. We had beef and lamb stews. They were actually pretty good and cheap. They came with a humungous hunk of fry bread - not our thing. Remember, you cannot buy alcohol anywhere on the entire Navajo reservation. The 2nd night, we had "dinner" at Subway!

Day 7: We went to Monument Valley - absolutely spectacular. The rock formations are amazing. We stayed at The View - gorgeous new hotel with beautiful views and wonderful original native artwork in the rooms and all over the facility. We took another jeep tour which was supposed to be group but we were the only 2 people on it! Guide was very knowledgeable. You can drive this dirt rd yourself but it is very rutty and dusty. I wouldn't do that to a rental car or my own either. We ate at Gouldings because they have a salad bar. It was OK but I wish we had tried the restaurant at our hotel. It looked much cheerier and had better views.

Day 8: From MV, we drove through 4 Corners to Cortez, CO. It had been over 20 yrs since we went through 4 Corners. Glad to see they have done something with the monument. In Cortez, we stayed at the Baymont Inn. Won't do that again. The is a Holiday Inn Express next door but didn't book it bcs it's not 100% nonsmoking and we cannot abide the smell of cigarette smoke. One reviewer said that the whole place reeked. Didn't appear to be many other choices. Had dinner at Nero's, an Italian place that was very good.

Day 9: Spent the whole day at Mesa Verde. See my other post with that title. Stayed in Durango at the Comfort Suites that nt. Huge, lovely suite. Ate at Ken and Sue's. You should too!

Day 10: Drove part of the "Million Dollar Highway" through Silverton to Ouray. I think this is one of the most spectacular mt rds in the country. Stopped to wlak around Silverton, a cute old western town. Had lunch at Handlebar's - way overpriced and not enjoyable food. Unfortunately, it was cloudy so we missed a lot of the scenery. The drive from Silverton to Ouray was clearer and awesome. Stayed at the Black bear Manor, a lovely B&B with absolutely fabulous brkfst. Had dinner at the Outlaw which was OK.

Day 11: After Ouray, we had planned to stay in Montrose and see the Black Canyon of the Gunnison but it was snowing and couldn't see much so we skipped it and went on to Gunnison. We did drive up to Telluride which is really pretty and has lots of western character. Very upscale place. We are skiers and wanted to check out the area. Stayed at a great Holiday Inn Express in Gunnison and ate at Garlic Mike's which was good. It was another snowy day so we couldn't see much on the drive.

Day 11: Checked out Crested Butte ski area after we left the hotel and decided to go to aspen. Bcs the mt passes were closed, we had to backtrack through Montrose. Actually, the drive from Grand Junction east in I-70 is very scenic. Stayed at the Limelight Lodge in Aspen, a superb hotel. It snowed hard in Aspen the whole time we were there so again couldn't see much. They are reopening the ski area for Mem Day weekend! Had dinner at the Hickory House, good ribs.

Day 12 & 13: Headed to Breckenridge. It snowed heavily along I-70 and was a whiteout blizzard over Vail Pass. This was just a couple of days ago! Snowed all day and night and most of next day in Breck, Stayed at the Marriott which is a condo facility. Lovely unit. Bcs this is off season, there are many 2 for 1 coupons for restaurants in the local paper. Ate at Hearthstones which is excellent fine dining and affordable with the coupon. Had brkfst at Butterhorn in Frisco. Really good. Best croissant I ever had a nd couldn't resist the cupcakes in the case on my way out! Next nt had pizza at Eric's. Great homemade crust.

Day 14: Finally cleared and we could see the mts. Drove up to Keystone and A-Basin, then headed to the airport where we stayed at Staybridge Suites overnt before our flight home. Stopped at Happy Cooker for brkfst in Georgetown on the way. Great place. Drove through Idaho Springs up to Blackhawk just bcs we had never been there before. Not gamblers so it's not for us but at least we saw it. Had dinner at Ted's Montana grill near the airport. A bit pricey with Ok food, nice atmosphere, good service.

Day 15: home!

I don't have time to proof this so hope I haven't made too many mistakes. Be glad to answer any questions.

Thanks everyone for all your advice. You were a big help. isy.

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