Part 1: http://www.fodors.com/community/united-states/part-1-napa-san-fran-yosemite-las-vegas-sedona-grand-canyon-bryce-canyon.cfm
May 3, 2010- Monday: Moab, Utah
We woke up around 7am, got ourselves ready, went to get breakfast at Ruby’s they had an O.K. breakfast buffet, we ate, and packed the car then left for Bryce Canyon NP again, so we can hit the 2 view points we missed the day before! It was gorgeous! We enjoyed the views. It was cold, but the wind was not blowing like the day before, it was really bad then! Phheww.. We headed out to Moab. Not much to see out there, and at one point our last service point was in Salina, so we stopped and had Subway, and off we went. There were only like 4 places to choose from. We enjoyed very nice scenery from Salina to Moab and we stopped several times to enjoy the scenery! No cell service most of the way until you reach part of Moab area. We arrived in Moab around 2.30pm. We stayed at the Best Western Greenwell Inn. Very nice room. They had a nice Keurig, very clean, and we also had a nice fridge! Also free wi-fi! We napped, and went out around 5pm and headed to Carrana’s (something like that) Italian for Dinner. It was a very cozy restaurant, we enjoyed our Brushetta, Salad, Calzone, and Spaghetti with Meatball. Then off to Arches we went! The Visitor Center was closed, so we just kept going. For one there was no one at the front, and we entered for free so to say. We stopped at several view points, and got out to check out Pine Arch and Tunnel Arch. We hiked a little, and then around 8pm headed back out to our hotel to sleep.
May 4, 2010- Tuesday: Moab, Utah
We slept in today. We had no idea what to eat since we were getting tired of the same thing, so we headed to Burger King this time, I wanted a Croissant with ham and egg and cheese.. We got some fruit at the local grocery store, so I was stocked up again on goodies. We then went off to Arches. This time there was someone there to collect the entrance fee, again with had our pass. They usually did ask us for our ID with the Card. We headed out to check out the Delicate Arch, but didn’t make it all the way up to it. I was really sore that day, my calfs were on fire. We then drove around some more, and then headed out to then head to Canyonlands. There is really not much out there, and nothing to eat, so don’t go hungry! We stopped at the Visitor Center, then started to check out the lookout points. We took a hike to check out Upheaval Dome, my legs were feeling a little better. There was a nice Ranger out there explaining the dome, etc. We then headed back it was the most congested area we saw in the park! We then checked out the other view points, we got out at most and took pics. Coming from the Grand Canyon a few days earlier I guess by this time we wanted to see something different than Canyons! But it was gorgeous, and we had a great time!
We then headed out of the park after several hours, and headed back into Moab. We stopped near the bridge at the Colorado River, and just took that road and drove up the Colorado. We enjoyed that scenery a LOT! Marc wanted to do the ATV tours.. or Rafting, but being pregnant put a burden on his plans. We drove all the way until the road sort of ended.. there were a lot of rock climbers along that road. We also stopped to check out some Dinosaur Tracks.. but didn’t see a thing.. On our way back we stopped to check out some Indian Petroglyphs! Very cool stuff!! Marc wanted to keep following the Colorado, so we went across the street to check out the other side as well… We started to get hungry, and went to our hotel where we went to Zax for dinner, it was at walking distance. Marc loved their pizza (he’s a huge pizza lover), they had an awesome salad bar, and I had a great steak sandwich and salad. Then check out some shops and off to the hotel to rest!
May 5, 2010- Wednesday: Salt Lake City, Utah
This was mom’s birthday! Last year (and about 3 years in a row before) we would be in the Caribbean to celebrate it with her, but this year we were on a trip in the US! At this point though we had enough of LAND, and wished we were on a Caribbean Island, on a nice beach.. LOL!
Called her to wish her Happy Birthday, packed, checked out, and headed out, we stopped at Starbucks, and I got me some joghurt and fresh fruit again at the grocery store. We filled up the car, and off we went to Salt Lake City. This was about a 5 hour drive. We didn’t have to take the same route back, so that was nice. We were stuck on a 2 lane road though, and it was pretty amusing with the 18 wheeling road ragers. We came across some small towns, where the speed limit would drop to 35, and you usually had a cop waiting… As we started approaching Salt Lake City, we came across most of the population of Utah I am sure, reminded me of Atlanta! Lots of stores, houses, cars, etc. We arrived around 1pm, and went to check in, we were staying at the Fairfield Inn-Marriott near the airport. It was a very nice, clean hotel, more business oriented. We had free wi-fi, and a nice microwave and fridge. We rested for a minute, then wanted to eat something for lunch. The GPS had a few places, but we decided to try the Perkins at the hotel itself.. I haven’t been to a Perkins in YEARS, since we were in Florida on our way from Miami to Orlando back in 1997!! So we stopped by, and I had a great tuna melt and salad, and Marc had a Reuben. He was in heaven, food was pretty decent, and great service and so convenient.
We then headed back to room, short rest, then off to explore Salt Lake City. It was pretty chilly, cloud came and went. We headed to a State Park nearby, but it was hard to check out the Salt Lake. Then downtown we circled around, and found some parking a few blocks from the Mormon Temple. We stopped by, but felt a little weirded out by girls continuously asking us questions and wanting to help. Very nice of them, but at that point I was just too tired, and we just left. We did walk around some, they had very nice grounds! We then headed to the car, and off to the hotel. Don’t remember what we did for dinner. We also did laundry here, we were out of socks, and some other things, so we washed a full load! Then off to bed…
May 6, 2010- Thursday: Salt Lake City, Utah
We woke up late so we missed our continental breakfast! So off to Perkins. I had some pancakes with strawberry and extra fruit, and I think Marc had the same.
We went off to Antelope Island. The weather was still iffy, but later we got some beautiful blue skies! We had to pay here, since it’s a State Park, I think it was $9. We stopped at the Visitor Center, and then headed out with the car.. We saw some cute foxes, and bisons, and also some weird birds! Marc pretty much wanted to see the Salt Lake.. and thought he could go float in it.. well, then he says, maybe it was the Dead Sea I meant.. ggrrr…. Only reason we were in Salt Lake City is so that he can see the Salt Lake!!!! Then he said, nah, this is cool too.. but with the small shrimp in the water and temp, he said, no need to get into the water! We just drove around some more, then stopped to touch the Salt Lake.. and off to the City we went. We stopped at Bajio Mexican Grill, it’s more upscale Mexican than a normal place, and was pretty good. It’s about the same thing as a Willy’s or Moe’s, just with “fresher” stuff… We just drove around some more, then went back to hotel to rest. Later we went back out just driving, and headed to Red Lobster for dinner. I had seen an Olive Garden also, but wanted Lobster.. it was decent.. Marc didn’t eat much, he was still full from lunch and snacking. On our way back we drove around some neighborhoods, and got to pass by Westminster College wherever that was! They had some cute shopping establishments in that area. We did stop at a Whole Foods for a minute as well, then off to our hotel. We had to finish packing since we had an early flight to catch next day! We cleaned out our rental car, and vacuumed it. We were going to run it through the car wash, but I told Marc it’s OK, we cleaned the windows, and we vacuumed!
May 7, 2010- Friday: Rapid City, South Dakota
We woke up before 6am, were pretty much done packing just toiletries and headed downstairs for the breakfast. We checked out, then headed downtown to the Hilton where we were going to drop off the car. We didn’t choose the airport, since it added an extra $200+ so at the Hilton we dropped our baby off.. We did enjoy that car for 2 weeks! It was great with fuel, glad we didn’t get anything bigger, it was a Kia Optima. We took a shuttle ($8 pp) to the airport, and off we went. We checked in pretty fast, then had to walk to International Terminal since they had no lines. We had to wait almost 2 hours, yes, we were early. We got freaked out by some of the propeller airplanes, but luckily we ended up on a Delta Connection CRJ jet! It was a little uncomfy, those airplanes used to have bigger seats I remember from a trip to Mexico a few years ago, but they have 4 seats in each row now! We had enough space for our carry-ons, they wanted to check my bag, but I said I had snacks in it, so they let me carry it on. The flight was about 1 hour and we then landed in Rapid City! Not much out there! It was COLD also and snowing some. We headed to Hertz to pick up our rental. They gave us a Mustang.. mind you in Florida it would have been cool, but NOT when snowing… I drove around the airport, and said no thank you, so went back in and got a Pathfinder. HOTWIRE messed up the reservation and told them I wanted a 2-door!!! I thought I was getting a mid-size SUV, so I got screwed up somehow. It was $10 a day to get the Pathfinder, I said, fine by me! So off we went, MUCH better! I could not see out of the back rear side with the Mustang and felt uncomfortable. Again, we rented one in Florida one time and with the cap down, it was a blast.. not when snowing..
We headed to our hotel, they checked us in early, and off to a short rest. We stayed at the Howard Johnson. We had a nice room, and being the cheapest room by far at $60 this was a steal. Microwave, big room, fridge..We then headed to Sanford’s for Lunch! Yummy place! I had some recommendations for lunch, but Marc had wanted to try this place out and it had LOTS of character!! We got so much food, and enjoyed it all.. Then off to hotel, and then get ready to head to Mt. Rushmore. It was very cold and windy, and snow on and off, so we got there in less than 30 min.. it was nice and empty.. we had to pay $10 to get in for an annual pass.. We walked around some, obviously visitor center was closed, so we couldn’t check that out. Took some photo’s, saw some amazing mountain goats, and then off to the hotel we went. For the life of me I can’t remember what we did for dinner! Off to bed we were..
May 8, 2010- Saturday: Rapid City, South Dakota
We woke up early enough to just barely get breakfast We ate, then headed back out to Mt. Rushmore. We went to the Visitor Center and Museum area, watched 2 movies, and walked around some more. Took some more pics that came out better than the day before! It was very nice to see it all.. then off we went. We stopped in Keystone where we stopped at Teddy’s Deli. At this point I really wanted a hot dog, and my luck, they had it! It was really good as well. Right behind us a tour bus came in and flooded the place. We walked around some, then explored a little on side roads. Marc wanted to check out the mines, and I was freaking out, so we didn’t. Now that I am pregnant I am very cautious, and I guess lame at times.
We wanted to check out the Reptile Gardens, and Bear Country. First up was Bear Country. We drove in, but drove on the side to go where the cubs were. I did not want to drive through the park with a rental car, but wanted to get tickers to see the babies. Well, when we parked we got approached by this pissed off lady that said we bypassed the entrance bla bla, and we need to go back and get tickets. Well at $15 per person we didn’t want to pay that just to see the babies, since they don’t have separate tickets! So we told her this is really awkward and left. Like I said, I did not want to DRIVE through the park… Then we decided we don’t like snakes either, and just kept driving passed the Reptile Gardens. We then stopped at the Dinosaur Park, which was more for kids, but we got some nice views of Rapid City. After that we went to hotel, and off to the South Dakota Museum of Air and Space. Really enjoyed it. We wanted to check out the Museum of Geology, but it closed early!!! So we missed it…and also the Journey museum. Summer hours are not in effect yet. We went back to hotel to rest, then off to Olive Garden. I had tons of salad, and shrimp alfredo, Marc had the stuffed chicken. I wanted to try the Firehouse place, but was craving salad and shrimp! After this we drove around some, stopped at the Berlin Wall Memorial, walked some in the park there, and then off to the hotel.
May 9, 2010- Sunday: Rapid City, South Dakota, St. Paul, MN, Atlanta, Georgia
I was awoken about 11.48pm by puking noise, I know, gross, too much info, but Marc had gotten food poisoning!!! OMG!! Hour after hour.. I only got about 2 hours of sleep up to this point.. poor thing got it really bad… around 7am I asked him if he wanted some toast and tea, and me to go to pharmacy, and he says, there is no way I am flying today. I freaked out… after 16 days, I just wanted to go home!!!! I had him call his mom, and she said she wouldn’t miss the flight either… so I went to pharmacy and got every imaginable med he would need… He was pissed about it.. and I ended up packing up, checking us out, grabbing a quick breakfast downstairs, getting him ready, packing all the meds in my carryon/bag, put gas in the car, drop off the car, check us in, you name it! It was hard on me, but I managed to do it all. We checked in at Rapid City, then had to wait about 1 hour before our flight left. He was sleeping on the floor at one point. Right before that my apple sauce was taken away by security.. even though it went through in Salt Lake.. ugh.. I ended up buying snacks 4x what I’d pay at the store, but it was needed. Got some vitamin water also for Marc, then off we went. He was uncomfy during the flight, but did good. We had asked for a seat next to the bathroom, but it was not needed thank goodness. We landed in St. Paul/MN around 2pm, it was luckily only an hour flight. We waited for about 1.5 hours in MN. Marc was not hungry, but I picked up some amazing chicken on ciabatta at a French Café! Out of this world!!!! I also had some all natural smoothie and a nice salad.. I made sure Marc had enough vitamin water/Gatorade/sprite.. Then off we went to our flight back to Atlanta. That was about 2.5 hours.. we arrived in Atlanta around 7.30pm. My in-laws were at the airport to greet us, and off home we went. The kitties were very happy to see us, we have 3. One poofed his tail at me, then they all came purring and wanted attention. Marc was back in bed, and we both went to bed early we were exhausted. I had called in on Monday to keep an eye on Marc, and he had the week off, so he had no worries. I had an OB appt that afternoon and went alone, and ended up making him some chicken soup. It was great to get some home cooked meals again we so missed them!
All in all it was an amazing trip! We drove over 3500 miles, flew over 2500, touched down in 7 States, and crossed 4 times zones! If we would change anything I would say, skip Salt Lake City, and maybe start up the opposite direction. We knew the weather was going to be chilly/cold, but were happy with what we got. We didn’t want to go too late, since I am in my 3rd trimester now. The maternity belt did help me I am sure get through all of it and all the walking we did… we did over 15 miles of walking/hiking, which is great for us, since we don’t on a normal basis. I would have also spend 2 more days in California instead, gorgeous state! The most disappointing park to Marc was Arches. I enjoyed most of them, but at the end like I said wanted to see beaches! We enjoyed them all, they each had something different to offer.. Napa/Sonoma was amazing, San Francisco was out of this world, Golden Gate Bridge was amazing to see personally, Yosemite was gorgeous with its waterfalls (and the tallest in the US) and the Giant Sequoias, Muir Woods was amazing with the Redwoods, we got to see the Hoover Dam again, the Grand Canyon was Grand, Sedona was gorgeous, Las Vegas was fancy and fabulous as always, Bryce Canyon was spectacular with the “hoodoos”, Moab was amazing with the nice warm weather and what it had to offer, Salt Lake City home of the Salt Lake and Rapid City home of Mt. Rushmore!
The hotels were all great and most let us check in early, except the cottage in Yosemite. Our most expensive was the cottage B&B in Yosemite, followed by Bellagio and the cheapest was Rapid City! The best hotel experience was Bellagio in Vegas, followed by the Cottage in Yosemite. Don’t have a worst hotel experience.. the others were all about the same..
We liked dealing with Avis a LOT better than Hertz, and Marc said never again with Hertz OR Hotwire.. Each state was unique! We were so happy we got to do this trip! Of course we blew the budget.. it is just hard not to.. Can’t wait to print out my photo’s and add to the album! Our next vacation is going to be AFTER baby in Dec/Jan, we will be heading to the Caribbean for 2 weeks! We would like to now, LOL! But we need to get the nursery and house ready! But who knows..
Thank you all for your input and help!
Day 1: Napa: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=171936&id=592044172&l=1cc7eff6a1
Day 2: Muir Woods-San Fran: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=171940&id=592044172&l=800ee74644
Day 3-4: Yosemite: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=171985&id=592044172&l=86e904a121
Day 5-6: Las Vegas: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=171988&id=592044172&l=dee11f3af8
Day 7: Hoover Dam-Sedona, AZ: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=172158&id=592044172&l=b11920078a
Day 8: Grand Canyon, AZ: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=172161&id=592044172&l=e245099964
Day 9: Bryce Canyon, Utah: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=172162&id=592044172&l=f55e98fc9d
Day 10-11: Moab, Utah: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=172165&id=592044172&l=d50b594526
Day 12-13: Salt lake City, Utah: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=172176&id=592044172&l=4ede115bf9
Day 14-15-16: Rapid City, South Dakota (Mt. Rushmore): http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=172230&id=592044172&l=2840da23f5
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Part 2- Moab-Salt Lake City-Rapid City-Summary
Part 1: http://www.fodors.com/community/united-states/part-1-napa-san-fran-yosemite-las-vegas-sedona-grand-canyon-bryce-canyon.cfm