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Road Trip from Albuquerqe to Santa fe, grand Canyon and all else in between....


Jun 14th, 2008, 10:47 AM
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Road Trip from Albuquerqe to Santa fe, grand Canyon and all else in between....

Hi There

My husband and I (in our early 50ís) are in the stages of planning a road trip from Albuquerque and doing a loop with a visit to the Grand Canyon in between. Being from Ontario, Canada, but close to the US border, we're flying from Syracuse to Albuquerque and renting a car there...leaving Sept 22 and returning October 3. (12 days)

This is one itinerary for 11 days that someone else has recommended for us that I started planning our trip with - that is just booking hotel rooms ahead.(we have an extra day to fit in somewhere) Does her itinerary sound ok? I've added in brackets what hotels I've already booked...not sure if we can just "wing it" for some days as we go along. Have no idea what to expect with these hotels or with our road trip - Will we feel rushed or exhausted? LOL Don't want to miss anything.

Here's the suggested itinerary

Day 1: Arrive ABQ. If there's time visit Old Town and a museum.
(booked Suburban Extended Stay - got the room for 47.00)

Day 2: Take Sandia Peak tramway. A great way to see the area and ABQ. drive Turquoise Trail (nm14), stop in Madrid and to Santa Fe
(booked 2 days in Santa Fe thru Hotwire - Villas de Santa Fe - 119.00 per night)

Day 3: Santa Fe all day, maybe visit Bandelier NM.

Day 4: Take nm84 to Chama. Drive to Pagosa Springs with its hot pools, then drive to Durango. Enjoy Durango.
(haven't booked in Durango - would it be necessary? or should we even stay there)

Day 5: Drive from Durango to Mesa Verde NP. Stop in Mancos at the bakery for your picnic supplies

Visit Mesa Verde NP and drive to Cortez for the night.
(haven't booked here either)

Day 6: Drive from Cortez to 4 State Corners for a short visit, then drive to Kayenta.Visit to Monument Valley, see the Mittens and drive to Page for the night.
(booked 2 nights in Page - Hotwire -Holiday Inn Express)

Day 7: Stay Page. Visit Glen Canyon Dam (as huge as Hoover Dam), visit to Antelope Slotcanyon, Horseshoebend overlook and Lake Powell.

Day 8: Drive from Page to Cameron for food and shopping.Enter GCNP by its east entrance, first stop Desert View. Take your time for east rim and stay GC Village or if booked stay Tusayan.
(booked 1 night in Tusayan - Holiday Inn Express - do we need 2 nights for the Grand Canyon Park?)

Day 9: Visit GC village, drive to Williams, I40 to Flagstaff and to Gallup for the night.
(haven't booked)

Day 10: Drive from Gallup via nm53 visiting El Morro and El Malpais NM's. Then drive to Acoma Pueplo (Sky City) for a visit (at least 3 hours) and drive to ABQ.

...BUT there's an extra day to fit in somewhere
(we did book our last night in Albuquerque but it will be on our 12th day - Hotwire - Hyatt airport hotel)

Does this all make sense? Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated!

Bellastella is offline  
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Jun 14th, 2008, 12:25 PM
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This sounds like a great trip. One suggestion is that if you are only spending one day in santa fe, don't try to cram Bandalier in on the same day.
jayne1973 is offline  
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Jun 14th, 2008, 03:44 PM
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I agree with jayne1973; Bandelier is interesting and fun, but if you only have one day in Santa Fe, spend it there. You'll see cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde NP.

You'll just miss the start of the Balloon Fiesta, but I see that balloons are launching from many of the local elementary schools the morning of October 3rd, so maybe you'll get to see a few.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
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Jun 14th, 2008, 04:18 PM
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I do know about the Balloon Fiesta -so I booked our night back ahead because I was told it would be difficult to get a room in Albuquerque during that time. Would be nice if we could see a bit of it! We have our own Hot Air Balloon Festival here but I'm sure it doesn't compare!
Do you think I should book rooms in Durango and Cortex and Gallup or would it be no problem to do a walk in? Don't want to be too committed at having to be at a certain place at a certain time for the entire road trip. Thanks!
Bellastella is offline  
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Jun 14th, 2008, 11:27 PM
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Try to see if you can get lodging in Mesa Verde at Far View. I'd add a the extra night at either Mesa Verde or Grand Canyon.

utahtea is offline  
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Jun 17th, 2008, 08:34 AM
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Nice Itinerary. Booking marking. I wonder whether will this be something doable during Spring Break weather wise?
baby108 is offline  
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Jun 17th, 2008, 09:49 AM
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have you mapped this out? just curious about mileage and hours of driving, i'd like to do something similar next year. thanks!
kak113 is offline  
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Jun 17th, 2008, 01:24 PM
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Unless you have a desperate desire to visit Williams I would go straight to Flagstaff from GC - the route is much nicer than straight down to Williams - take the 180 off the 64.
Gallup has hundreds of motels it seemed to us - pick up a voucher book and see what deals are available - even the "better" chain motels offer huge discounts with the vouchers.
You may be trying to do too much on Day 10 - El Morro took us quite some time - and it is quite a way from Gallup, and I think Acoma will also take a chunk of time.
You could add a night near Monument Valley - so you can enjoy it at sunset or sunrise, and visit the Valley of the Gods - the quieter smaller nicer version of MV, or add one to Santa Fe (I know, I don't like it there) and visit Taos or even just add a chill out day somewhere.
You are in for a treat - enjoy!
hetismij is offline  
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Jul 29th, 2008, 10:48 AM
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Hi,I'm going to some of the places you mention in late August. I'll try to come back to this and give you an update.
For the extra day one place you might like is Sedona, Arizona. I love it there. There's a highway from Flagstaff over a mountain that takes you there. If you do go there be sure to ask someone how to get to the church in the mountain. It's beautiful. On your way over the mountain there's a rest stop. There are Indians selling jewelry there. As for Williams, AZ the reason I liked it there is because it is off of Route 66 which is a road traveled during my childhood...memorable, nostalgic. Also, in Williams is a train ride to the Grand Canyon you might be interested in. Have fun!
DebTS is offline  
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Jul 29th, 2008, 11:17 AM
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I just did this trip last October. Don't waste time on train ride at Williams or even staying there. Stay at hotel in GCNP. Take mule ride if possible (book ahead). Try to get to Sedona, and no later then 2PM, take jeep tour afternoon or early morning next day, watch sunset that evening, stay the night. Mesa Verde needs only a morning or afternoon, same for Durango (I'd skip Durango, though, because so many better places to see!). Stop in Taos while passing up that way for meal, Pueblo. Take tour at Monument Valley (early or before sunset). Have fun!
win2ski is offline  
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Jul 29th, 2008, 01:43 PM
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Sorry, win2ski, I have to disagree with you.

Mesa Verde NP is an amazing place with a variety of different ruins. A morning or afternoon would not do it justice. Each of the 3 main ruins are unique and quite worth seeing. Timing the tour tickets would involve way more than just a half day.

I also disagree with passing up Durango. It is a lovely little town.

If you want a beautiful B&B in Durango, stay at Apple Orchard Inn. Excellent inn and breakfast. General Palmer, The Strater are also nice places. There are typical motels there too.



I would get picnic supplies in Durango at Guido's Italian Market on Main and 12th. Top quality and way more of a selection that at the Absolute Bakery in Mancos [it is good for breakfast].

In Cortez, the Holiday Inn Express, Best Western or the Comfort Inn are your nicest choices.

Hope this helps,
DebitNM is offline  
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Aug 25th, 2008, 10:04 AM
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When in Page, if you are fit and
a camera buff, be sure to go
to the Antelope Slot Canyon lower
one--with a guide if possible, as it
has the best sandstone color by far.
The upper is flat and easy for the
tour companies to push people through
in a hurry, but the sandstone is
quite dark in comparison. The lower
does require help at various points
as the canyon drops some 50 to 75 feet and there are only a few stairs, and
one will need help going from one level to another below. Then at the
end 300 feet later, you will walk up some 75 steps and about half a mile
back to your car. You have to go to the lower canyon on your own, but
it is close to the highway. You should be able to get info on the web. Then you pay the fee direct
to the indian people at this site.
Don't let the tour companies tell you that the upper is just as good--I have been in both--and both
are fun, but you will get really
great photos, without many folks
wandering into your scene, at the lower. Take a tripod too, as some
shots will require a time exposure.
aholliday is offline  
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Aug 25th, 2008, 10:07 AM
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A question for Hetismij--where does
one get the discount book you refer
to for discounts at Gallup hotels
motels? Thanks
aholliday is offline  
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Aug 25th, 2008, 02:38 PM
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You can pick up a discount book at any gas station or truck stop; most fast food restaurants have them as well.

Lee Ann
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