Southwest Road Trip Itinerary help

Old Mar 23rd, 2012, 06:28 AM
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Am a big fan of Monument Valley - and you can also see some Cliffs Dwellings in the Navajo National Monument - which is about a half an hour (to the West) before you reach Kayenta, AZ - the southern entrance to the Monument Valley. They also have a nice visitor center at the Navajo National Monument - and it's a short hike to look across the valley at the Cliff Dwellings.

Also - at the Burger King in Kayenta - there is a tribute to the Wind Talkers - the Navajo who heroically served in WWII and helped the Marines with their artillery spotting/communications - by talking in their native tongue - which was hard to break. They were sworn to secrecy for decades and it's such a shame as only lately have we come to truly appreciate their contribution. Nicholas Cage starred in this movie about them:

When we were driving toward Monument Valley - from the other direction (from Taos through Chamu in beautiful Northern New Mexico - and then through 4 Corners) - we were listening to the Navajo language station on the car radio - and my niece got a big kick when suddenly - the words "parking lot" came over the airwaves. Seems there was not a definition for "parking lot" in their native tongue.

Personally - I would bag spending any time in Phoenix, bag lunch/spending time in Williams, spend more time that day along the Rim of the Grand Canyon (take the shuttle bus west and stop at various lookout points - and maybe enjoy the sunset?), and then get up early the next morning, and head East and catch the sunrise at one of the points along the rim. You then have a good jump start to continue on to the Navajo National Monument - and after an hour or two there - head on to Monument Valley, where you definitely want to catch the sunset and sunrise.

BTW - if you haven't seen the IMAX film (by the southern entrance to the Grand Canyon) - I would definitely stop for that on your way in.

And hey - I love to drive and see the countryside - and if your longest drive is five hours - piece of cake.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2012, 06:56 AM
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Only spend 1 night in Sedona on the way to GC. After Monument Valley head to Moab-Arches for at least 1 day/night.
If you still have the time at the end you could go back to Sedona if you missed something you really wanted to see.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2012, 07:59 AM
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I think you also have to match your interests with those of the people responding.

I have little interest in history, etc. My main interests lie in photography. Scenery, waterfalls and wildlife (some places have very little of some and more of the other).

So I'll bypass petroglyphs and watch a waterfall waiting for a ranbow to form. I won't spend all day with a scope hoping to see a wolf five miles away but I'll drive up and down a mountain road hoping to see a bear.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2012, 08:38 AM
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FYI -- Code Talkers - not Wind Talkers.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2012, 02:49 PM
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I am not "into history" at all. If you haven't been to Mesa Verde it's hard to imagine what exactly it is. We spent 1.5 days there and should have spent 2.5. We really only saw half of it. I didn't know there would be so many houses/ruins to see. Some of the ranger-led tours are actually pretty adventurous. I haven't been to Canyon De Chelly, but I certainly want to see that now too.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2012, 03:48 PM
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Yes DNM: Code Talkers is probably more accurate but the movie was named Wind Talkers.
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Old Mar 24th, 2012, 07:57 AM
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Thanks again! my interests are like yours, Myer. And the Hubby likes the long drives, listening to music, . Myer, Your pictures are amazing, thanks for sharing!

I think what we are going to do is reverse the route, skip Tuscon, and do a one way car rental. This way we get everything in, save time, etc. It is more expensive to do that, but, not by much and I think its worth it. This is the plan:

Day 1 - Arrive in Albuquerque, pick up rental car at airport
Drive to Santa Fe - 1 hour
Day & night in Santa Fe

Day 2 – Santa Fe to Durango, CO – 4 hours
Night Durango

Day 3 – Durango, CO to Moab, UT – 3 hours
See what we can when we get there
Dead Horse Point state park
Fisher Towers
Night in Moab

Day 4 - Moab - Arches all day
night in Moab

Day 5 - early day in Canyonlands
Moab to Monument Valley – 3 hours
Stop at Four Corners option – adds 2 hours
Night in Monument Valley

Day 6 - Monument Valley day
Head to Page, AZ 3 hours
In Page, need 3 hours to do Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon
Night in Page

Day 7 – Page to Grand Canyon 3 hours
Explore GC
Night in GC

Day 8 – GC to Sedona 2 hours
Pit stop in Williams, AZ (might skip this)
day in Sedona
night in Sedona

Day 9 - Sedona to Pheonix
day in Sedona
Sedona to Pheonix 2 hours
night in Pheonix

Day 10 - drop off car at Phoenix airport
Fly to Cabo!

- If we feel up to the drive, we will skip Durango and keep driving to Moab which will give us more time there (it is a 7 hour drive if we do it straight)
- Same for Page, if we are up to the drive, we'll skip the night there and spend it elsewhere, most likely Sedona

While browsing, hubby came across the Grand Canyon Skywalk, which of coarse, is on the other side of the canyon! It looks like about a 4 hour drive from the South Rim, where we will be staying, plus doubling back to continue on to Sedona. Any thought on this?
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Old Mar 24th, 2012, 09:19 AM
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I would suggest a few small changes and additions.

Dead Horse Point is right next to Canyonlands. So I would group them together. They are both west of Moab.

Fisher Towers requires a hike (even around the bottom) and it's east of Moab (on Rt 128).

I would only include Fisher Towers if you've been able to go to Delicate Arch (first choice would be for sunset but second choice would be whenever you can), Balanced Rock, the Windows section and the arches there, Landscape Arch and the Fiery Furnace ranger-led hike.

Fisher Towers (around the bottom) is really neat and you "might" see some climbers way up, but there's no end to neat places. Getting a really good feel for Arches is the first priority.

= = = = =
I didn't want to confuse matters but while in Page there's another very short, easy to get to sight.

The Best Dam View.
Just above Page on the way to the bridge there's Scenic View Road. It's a loop meeting Rt 89 in two places. Near the north end is a small parking lot and some rock steps down to a viewpoint. You have a direct view of the Glen Canyon Dam. If you find Horseshoe Bend on a map (also right off Rt 89) this is about 10 minutes north.

I've read that the whole purpose for Page was to house workers during the dam construction. I believe the electricity produced here services the whole area.

While there's a charge for Antelope Canyon, both Horseshoe Bend and The Best Dam View are free.

= = = =
There are several sunset locations here. Many people head up to the airport. I did that as well and it doesn't compare to the sunset at the Crescent Moon Picnic area with Cathedral Rock turning bright orange and Oak Creek right in front of you. I don't know if it still is, but this was the view on the Sedona promos.

In my opinion, the most scenic, short hike is Boynton Canyon Vist. Not to be confused with the full (and in my opinion boring) Boynton Canyon Hike. Right near the start of the full hike there's a spur that goes off to the Vista. Fifteen minutes in each direction and about a half hour there looking at the view. This is one of Sedona's famous Vortex sights (if you haven't already done so do a search for "Sedona Vortex"). This is in Sedona West.

Also very scenic is walking around the Bell Rock area. You can do as much as you want here. Spectacular scenery.

Another very scenic place is Broken Arrow. This either requires a longer hike or a Pink Jeep tour. I did the hike. If you have back trouble or are easily terrorized you may want the hike over the Pink Jeep but many people take the jeep tour and they all survive it.

I haven't been to the GC skywalk. It's not the type of thing I would do. It might be worth the effort. Maybe others will give you their opinion.
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Old Mar 24th, 2012, 12:06 PM
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On your way from Page to Sedona, turn west at Cameron and go to the Grand Canyon NP then out to Williams. The skywalk is one of those places that takes a long time to get to and most of the folks who have visited have felt disappointed. They do not let you take pictures from it and charge for everything and it is really in a side canyon.

Just before the turn into Grand Canyon is Cameron Trading Post where there is a decent, not too expensive motel as well as the trading post.
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Old Mar 24th, 2012, 02:45 PM
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Awesome, thank you!!! SO excited!!!! Can't wait to go!!!!
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