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Trip Report: NM, CO, UT, AZ

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We just returned from a great vacation in the Southwest. We were there from Sept. 11-25. It was a road trip. I got alot of information from this site. I read all the posts but never asked any questions, but I found all the information I needed. Thanks to everyone.

Saturday, Sept. 11
We drove to Santa Fe from Tulsa and did some shopping (DH likes to look for fossils) and had an early dinner at Coyote Rooftop Cantina. The food was OK. It was very crowded because Fiesta was going on that weekend. We drove to Espanola and stayed at the Best Western Okhay Casino. We didn't gamble, but the place was pretty nice for the price. They even offered you a second night for only $49. But we had other plans.

Sunday, Sept. 12:
Drove to Mesa Verde in the morning. In the afternoon we went to the museum, Spruce Tree House, and did the Mesa Top Loop. It was very interesting, even DH who doesn't really like Indian ruins thought these were great. We then checked into the Far View Lodge. OK accommodations, great views. Had dinner at the Metate Room, which was the best meal of the trip.

Monday, Sept. 13:
In the morning we took the Cliff Palace Tour. Definitely worth the $2.75 price. On the way out of the park we checked out the Far View Sites and some of the lookouts. Then we were on out way to Moab. On the way there we stopped at Wilson Arch (the first of many arches we were to see) and climbed up to the opening. We checked into the Best Western Canyonlands Inn, which was our home for the next 3 nights. DH found a great Rock & Fossil Shop up the street 4 blocks from the hotel and spent some time looking around there.

Have to go now, but will give another insallment later.

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    Tip report continued.

    Tuesday, Sept. 14
    We spent most of the day at Arches National Park. We started by hiking in Devils Garden, from Landscape Arch to Double O Arch. I saw someone else said not to miss Navaho and Partition Arch. They were right. We really liked Partition Arch. We also stopped at the lookouts, Balanced Rock, out to the North and South Windows with Turret Arch, and The Double Arch. Along with eating a picnic lunch it was the middle of the afternoon. We decided to leave the park and take the drive on Highway 128. What a beautiful drive, not to be missed. Since DH was tired we only made it to the Delicated Arch viewpoint later in the day. I guess we'll have to return to hike out there next time.

    Wednesday, Sept. 15
    Today we went to Canyonlands National Park, Island in the Sky District. We hiked Upheaval Dome and the Grand View Point Overlook. When we arrived at the Grand View Point, we were the only ones there. Just as we started to leave about 30 people arrived. We arrived back at the trailhead just in time to take in the Ranger Program on Geology. Very interesting.
    We stopped at the overlooks. The Green River Overlook is gorgeous. The short walk to Mesa Arch was worth it. We now knew why my husband had been so tired. He caught a bad cold.

    Thursday and Friday, Sept 16-17
    On the way out of Moab we made a side trip down Highway 279, saw the petroglyphs, the dinasaur tracks and did a little fossil hunting out past where the paved road ends. The man it the Rock Shop said it was a good place to look. These rest of these two days were spent hunting for fossils in Utah.

    Saturday, Sept. 18
    We planned to get to Bryce Canyon in the late afternoon and spend 2 nights, but we heard a storm was coming in later that day, and the next day it was supposed to rain. So we decided to head straight to Bryce and see what we could do before the rain. We managed to hike down the Queen's Garden Trail and back up the Wall Street part of the Navaho Loop. It was fantastic to get down into the hoodoos.
    We grabbed a picnic lunch and then decided to drive out to the viewpoints. They have a shuttle that you can take, but it only runs a few times a day and lasts for 3 1/2 hours, and you need to make reservations. When we checked the only one with availability was leaving at 4:30. Since it was only 1:30 we decided to drive it ourselves, which turned out to be a good idea since it was raining by the time that shuttle was due back. There was some contruction at one point where you have to wait for a pilot car to take you through. Not much of a delay at all.
    By the time we stopped at the viewpoint and took pictures it was about 5:00. We went to check in at the lodge. We told them we only wanted to stay 1 night instead of the 2 nights we had reserved. They said that was great and we didn't have to pay for the second night because they were overbooked and needed the cabin. I liked the cabin. It was rustic, had a fireplace, and was close to the rim. They only problem was the dark clouds rolled in and it started to rain before sunset. So we didn't get to see the beautiful sunset we had heard about. It rained all night, so we didn't get to see the bright stars. In the morning it was drizzling and foggy. So we didn't get to see the sunrise either. With all this my husband liked Bryce Canyon the best, so now we have a reason to go back.

    Sunday, Sept. 19
    We took off for Zion today, but we had no reservation. We took Highway 89 to Highway 9. This is a great entrance into the park, with all the swithcbacks and the tunnel. We were lucky to get a room at the Desert Pearl for that night. Which was great since we had reservations there for the next 2 nights, so we were set for 3 nights. We checked out the visitors center and went to the museum and took in a ranger program. We had a pizza at the Zion Pizz and Noodle Company. Like everyone else has said, it was good and I would recommend it. We sat in the beer garden. Also a reminder, they do not accept credit cards.

    More to come later.

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