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Wonderful trip home...Sun City, Az to Vancouver Island


Apr 24th, 2013, 10:26 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 48
Wonderful trip home...Sun City, Az to Vancouver Island

Hi folks,
Back home safe and sound...had a wonderful trip and enjoyed seeing 'new for us' territories!
We left Sun City at 3 on April 1..Easter Monday and drove to Flagstaff. Desert flowers were beautiful along the way...bright yellows, coral orange,lime and white along with all the different cacti.
Stayed at the Fairfield on S Milton, so away from the RR tracks. Had pizza and awesome pear/gorgonzola salad at Picazzo's..a fav spot for us.
Left by 9 after breakfast (included with room stay)...and picking up a Starbucks to go. Followed Hwy 89 north through varied landscapes...moonscape through a large part of the Navajo Reservation. Took 89A across Navajo Bridge at Marble Canyon, and north west along the scenic route to Utah...picked up yummy cookies at Jacob Lake! As we neared Zion, the colors and rocks left us awestruck...and that tunnel is a miracle! Stayed in a lovely accessible suite room at the Driftwood. Just picked up some salads and ate dinner in our room.
After breakfast the next morning (included), we checked out and headed for the park gates. Even though we had a park pass, we still had to line up to show ID...a 15 minute wait. Of course it was Easter break week too, so lots of families in the park.Spent a bit of time at the info center and then lined up for the park trollies. What a great system! Since my husband is in a wheel chair, he got to the head of the line for the next bus, and when the bus pulled up, everyone was amazed to watch the front of the bus kneel down, a ramp slide out and when my husband wheeled on, it lifted him up to access the bus. All the school kids watched with great interest.We stayed on the bus until the last stop...Temple of Sinawava, then got off and followed the trail almost to the end. Amazing rock colors and formations, and the trail was quite accessible with me pushing when needed.
We went back on the bus to the info center and drove back into Springfield for a quick lunch. We then drove to Bryce...an easy couple of hours, and managed to see all of the view points, getting out to admire and take photos of those incredible hoodoos.
We stayed that night at Ruby's Inn...to be experienced once at least! The accessible room was great, and staff most accommodating. We had dinner there, and breakfast the next morning (not included).Busy place for sure...maybe the new Best Western if you want a quieter stay outside the park.
We then drove the I-15 to Salt Lake City, arriving at 3:30. We stayed at the Shilo Inn and had a large King accessible room there. If you park on the upper level of their parkade, there is a walkway to the hotel which is handy for unpacking...rather than through the lobby and up elevators. Decided on the Shilo because it was 2 blocks from Temple Square, included parking, WiFi and breakfast (full hot)...unlike many of the other downtown hotels. Our room was huge and well outfitted, and the staff were extremely helpful.It was a busy time as it was Easter break, plus' Convention' for the Mormons, so 100,000 came to town for the w/e! We did a quick tour of the temple square, and listened to the Choir practice in the convention centre ...which seats 22,000 people!!!
Had a wonderful pub dinner at Gracie's...a block from the hotel...warm enough to sit out on the patio!
Friday morning was quiet in the hotel, and after a good breakfast ( bacon and eggs and hash browns) we headed back to Temple Square. We looked in most of the buildings, and spent time in both info centers. At noon we listened to a free organ recital in the temple...incredible acoustics.Gardens and water features in the square were lovely.
We headed to Creek Street Mall across the road from Temple Square for lunch out in the sunshine...good selection in the food court.A quick tour of the modern art gallery, and we were ready to call it quits.No matter what your religious beliefs are, you can't help but be impressed with Temple Square.
Dinner was at PFChang's... around the corner from the hotel..we don't have them in Canada...so last fix for a while!
We left the hotel by 10, after another too big breakfast...grabbing a Starbucks to go. Lots of folks on the street heading to the temple, but we took off for Boise. Easy super hwy driving on #84...farm country...cattle and low hills and valleys.
We arrived at the Hilton Garden Inn just off the hwy at 4. Nice new hotel, wonderful staff...warm cookies at reception...and a comfy king accessible room. After a nap we went to Goodwood Barbecue Restaurant, a short walk from the Hilton...excellent ribs, and very attentive staff.
On the way by 10 the next morning (Sunday). Grabbed a Starbucks coffee and muffins as breakfast was not included at the Hilton,extra at the on site cafe, and we were still full from dinner.
Pretty drive along #84 towards Oregon, rolling hills and mountains...but WINDY! Wind warnings flashing on signs, and dust storm Do Not Stop warnings...and tumbleweed flying across the road.Glad the Mazda 5 was pack to the gunnels and had some extra weight!
From Boardman, Or, the hwy follows the Columbia River, and the drive is really scenic.It was raining on and off for the afternoon, and we were happy to check into the Best Western at Hood River about 4ish.I had booked a river view room, and the king accessible room was perfect...well thought out for a wheel chair client. The on sight restaurant had great river views, and excellent food.Breakfast the next morning was included and was ordered off the menu at a sit down table in the restaurant...not the standard buffet in the lobby! Highly recommend this hotel!
Raining the next morning, so just a brief stop to see the Mulnomonah Falls,a scenic drive along the gorge and then on our way to Port Townsend.
We stayed at the Aladdin Motel...basic but clean, with a great location on the water....one of the few accessible rooms available in Pt Townsend. Had fish and chips at the Bayview Restaurant...fair food, great staff and wonderful harbor view.
Spent the next morning exploring the town and boat building center...may have to add a wooden boat kit to our bucket list!
Home on the 2pm ferry from Pt Angeles to Victoria, and then a couple of hours drive up Island.
All in all we had a great trip home...thank you fodorites for all your help and suggestions in making our trip so enjoyable.
Til the next time! Safe and happy travels everyone.
amr67 is offline  
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May 4th, 2013, 12:00 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 2,699
Great trip report.

That's a big convention center if it seats 22,000! Also, you mentioned hearing an organ recital in the Temple. I didn't realize non-Mormons could enter in the Temple.

Hint for the future: If you could, please put a few line spaces into your report and perhaps subheads--maybe by state? It makes it a little easier. Also some people will want to only read about the states they plan to visit.
5alive is online now  
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May 10th, 2013, 10:41 PM
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Thanks for the tip, 5alive...will do next time!
amr67 is offline  
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May 26th, 2013, 07:33 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,231

Glad to read your report. I loved Port Townsend when I visited a few years ago. We also visited Tofino and Victoria driving up the whole way! Vancouver Island is beautiful, you are lucky to live there.

The choir rehearses in the Tabernacle building, not the Temple. The Tabernacle is very architecturally interesting because it is a round building and doesn't have a metal nail in it! The pioneers did have a lot of metal to use in building, so the tabernacle is built with all wooden pegs and wooden joints. It's open to the public.

The Salt Lake Temple is the taller, granite bilding with spires and is for church members only.

The Conference Center is the newer building that seats 22,000 and is where the church members hold twice a year conferences (April and October). Very busy weekends for downtown!

Yes gardens of Temple Square are very beautiful, along with the huge old trees the pioneers planted. At Christmas time, all the trees are lit with gazillions of lights. Very pretty then too.

Come back and visit again 5alive!
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