American Southwest trip report

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Jun 17th, 2002, 05:43 PM
  #1
lmsa_mc
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American Southwest trip report

We just returned from a trip to the southwest and thought someone going soon might be interested in a few of our observations. Thanks for all the comments made previously, they really helped make out trip better.

2 middle aged parents and 2 young adult children's itinerary was as follows: Fly into Phoenix from Indianapolis, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Mesa Verde, Durango, Monument Valley, Flagstaff, back to Phoenix.

Entire group's favorite: Sunset from North Window, Arches NP.

Unexpected: How much we liked Flagstaff, especially our college student kids. Beaver St. Brewery in Flagstaff, very enjoyable.

Most thought provoking site: Mesa Verde Climbing down into those ancient sites led to an intense discussion about societal development and "what is primitive?"

Semi-disappointing: Taking the shuttle through Zion. I realize this is saving the environment but somehow it makes you feel as if you should rush through the park.

Beautiful Southwestern moment: Moonrise with Jupiter over the rocks in Monument Valley. The only thing missing was the coyote baying at the moon.

Surprise!: Had reservations at Harrah's in LV for 2 rooms $39 each. Without asking, were upgraded to enormous suites for the same price!

Phoenix: 112 degrees. We did enjoy seeing Randy Johnson strike out 13 batters enroute to beating Detroit 3-1. BankOne Ballpark is great.
 
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Jun 17th, 2002, 06:36 PM
  #2
Dayle
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Hi Imsa! Sounds like you did have a wonderful trip. Great itinerary! Didn't you get out to hike in Zion? It's not just about a shuttle, I'm sure you know. Just like Arches, discoveries on foot at off peak hours are the best!

 
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Jun 18th, 2002, 05:38 AM
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lmsa_mc
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Yes, we did do some walking and picnicking in Zion and it is beautiful. Especially enjoyed the Narrows and the drive out the eastern side through the tunnel.

Also enjoyed a rim walk of the Grand Canyon at sunrise. Did not have time to go down in the Canyon but it was very peaceful early in the morning.
 
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Jun 18th, 2002, 08:05 AM
  #4
Utahtea
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We've been going to Zion for the last 27 years. The traffic and parking in the park the last couple of years was really getting bad.

If you had to fight for a parking spot in the canyon you might think differently about the shuttles. I'm sure many people never did get a spot to park and had to miss some areas of the park.

What we really love about the shuttle system is the information we've learned from the shuttle bus drivers. We are still learning things. One time we didn't get off the shuttle when we planned just to listen to all the things the driver was talking about.

Another reason we like the shuttle system is we could do the Emeral Pools hike and instead of going back the way we came, we could go to the Grotto Parking area and just catch the next shuttle. We didn't do that in prior years because our vehicle would be at the Emeral Pool trail head.

What I'm looking forward to doing is taking our bikes to Zion. I would never risk riding my bike with cars on that road, but I'm looking forward to doing that the next time we go.

You can always go to Zion in the winter months if you want to drive your own vehicle into the canyon.

Utahtea
 
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Jun 18th, 2002, 08:56 AM
  #5
Lenore
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Interesting trip report...I like your format and may adopt it for my next one! Regarding the Zion shuttle system, I think it's great and should be a model for many other overcrowded parks. We kept hopping on and off and hiking in between the stops. We never felt rushed at all. Anyway, it sounds like a great trip and some good old fashioned quality time with your kids.
 
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Jun 18th, 2002, 09:37 AM
  #6
jen
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Just read your report. I was at Gouldings in Monument Valley the night of 6/12 and said the exact same thing about needing a coyote howling at the moon! My husband tried to capture the moon/Jupiter rising on film, we'll see how it worked.
 
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Jun 18th, 2002, 02:05 PM
  #7
RB
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Glad you had such a good trip. Bet you're already planning your next visit- we've loved our time out West. I'm going to add another "thumbs up" for the Zion shuttle. When we went with our in-laws in May 2001, they remarked how wonderful it was to get on and off the shuttle as they explored the park. The shuttle drivers are great; we got a preview of the (then) coming Olympics from one driver, who was already signed on to drive in Salt Lake City. Glad you and your family had a fun, safe trip.
 
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Jun 18th, 2002, 03:46 PM
  #8
Barbara
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Imsa, I also passed through Flagstaff recently and, like you, was surprised at what a nice little town it is. I'm now looking into its university (Northern Arizona) for my son. We know several alumni who have nothing but good things to say about it.
 
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Jun 18th, 2002, 06:37 PM
  #9
lmsa_mc
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Forgot to add, I aquired a new minor obsession with modern Navajo culture having spent some time looking around the huge reservation (the size of West Virginia). I read Tony Hillerman mysteries during the whole vacation and have been reading up on Navajo property rights since I got back. It's so different from anything we've experienced before; so dependent on water, which is so scarce. I would really reccommend reading Tony Hillerman if you're driving through the Four Corners area.
 
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