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Yet another trip report incl. Zion, Bryce, Mon. Val. & L.V.

Yet another trip report incl. Zion, Bryce, Mon. Val. & L.V.

Jul 7th, 2003, 10:04 AM
  #1  
Eva
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 191
Yet another trip report incl. Zion, Bryce, Mon. Val. & L.V.

Flew into LV on the 22nd, picked up the Thrifty rental (more about that later) and headed to the LV Hilton for the night (it was midnight for us). We got lost a few times on the way from the airport because our car had no way of turning on the interior light! The hotel was fine but seemed really out of the way. Room was decent but we were only there to sleep.

Got up the next morning and headed to Zion (losing an hour along the way). We had res. at the Zion Lodge but got there early and headed to the Riverside Walk. What a nice hike. We headed up the river for about a mile and a half and loved every second of it! Took the shuttle back stopping at the Weeping Rock Trail--what a great (short!) hike to see a tropical setting in the middle of Zion. The water was misting us as we stood under the overhang--loved it.

The lodge room was alright, certainly spacious. The food and the service in the dining room left a lot to be desired. I know, one does not go to the national parks for the cuisine! We got up early the next morning and hiked to the 3 Emerald Pools. Started at 8 a.m. and pretty much had the place to ourselves. The upper pool was deserted but for one couple and their baby so it was a great way to appreciate the setting. After that we hiked the trail up to Scout's Lookout, opting out of that last half mile to Angel's Landing. As much as I wanted to try it, the thought of my 11 year old watching me fall overboard, or the other way around, kept us from continuing. We loved the hike though. Good workout, tons of friendly people along the way etc.

Checked out of the lodge that afternoon and into the Desert Pearl Inn. What a nice place. The front desk was a little anal, making us wait until exactly 3 p.m. to check in (we got there at 2:55). Great room beautiful grounds and the pool was refreshing. Dinner at Flanigans in Springdale. Biggest salad I have ever been served. It was tasty but my husband and daughter did not enjoy their food very much.

Left for Bryce the next morning. To be cont...
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Jul 7th, 2003, 10:27 AM
  #2  
Eva
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Me again.

We loved Bryce. Stayed at a cabin that was a 2 minute walk to the rim halfway between Sunrise and Sunset Points. We hiked the Peekaboo Loop Trail over to the Navajo up as far as Wall St.(the rest of the trail was closed for repairs) and then out via the Queens Garden Trail. Had a tasty dinner in the Lodge dining room and slept soundly until the critter that was in our room woke us up. The next few hours were up and down trying to escort the little guy out of the cabin. The chipmunks & squirrels there are relentless. Everytime we sat on the porch they came begging!

We did a horseback ride thenext day from Ruby's. We opted to stay on the rim rather than going into the canyon (I was not into the ride down). The ride was nice--one and a half hours fro $25 a piece. That afternoon we hiked the Tower Bridge Trail. It was really hot. A decent hike but my husband and daughter were getting a little tired of hiking. Another nice dinner and up the next a.m. for a beautiful sunrise before heading on to Capitol Reef.

On the way to Cap. Reef, we stopped at Escalente Petrified Forest State Park. What a nice little stop. We hiked up the trail and saw some great pieces of petrified wood. Got to Cap Reef just after 1p.m. and did the Grand Wash hike. The sun was directly overhead and it was about 100 degrees. Not a good day for my daughter who would have strangled me if she could have mustered up any strength at all. The mutiny had begun! My troops were no longer interested in any hikes regardless of the beautiful views that might be in store. I could no longer cajole or exert any influence over them. All they wanted to do was go swimming! And thus we headed to our hotel in Torrey--called Wonderland Inn. The pool did the trick in changing their mood however mine became nasty after the management shut off the water as I prepared to take my shower and then left it off for over an hour! Had a great dinner that night at the Capitol Reef Cafe. I highly recommend this place. There are cabins there as well.

To be continued for those of you who are still awake...
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Jul 7th, 2003, 10:41 AM
  #3  
Eva
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We only had the one night in Cap. Reef, I really wish we had more time there. I know I could have convinced them to take just one more hike but alas we fled after checking out the fine petroglyphs along the route through the park.

We took our time heading to Monument Valley stopping at Natural Bridges along the way. What a gem of a place, I am so glad we stopped. We went to the overlooks for 2 of the bridges and hiked to a viewpoint to some Anasazi ruins and down to the third bridge. There we met a guy who had hiked to all 3 bridges and was in need of assistance. We gave him some energy bars and a ride back to the visitor center. It ws an incredibly hot day and although he still had water he was 70 years old and the heat had taken its toll. Interesting guy!

Continued to MV down the Mocqui Dugway, what a hair raising drive. The Valley of the Gods was beautiful. Stayed at Gouldings in MV. My daughter bought quite a bit of jewelry for herself and for friends before hitting the pool. They had it pretty much to themselves. Dinner at Gouldings was not as bad as some here have described it.

Saw a gorgeous sunrise before taking the half day tour from Gouldings. We thought it was great. We got to see a lot and the rental car would not have survived the road (more on the car later).

Hey wake up I have more to write!
Eva is offline  
Jul 7th, 2003, 11:01 AM
  #4  
Eva
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The drive from MV to Page is where the whole car thing happened. Pretty much in the middle of nowhere on a stright flat road (as compared to many of the other white-knuckle drives) we heard a large thump and then some other scary noises. We turned and drove back about a mile where we had seen some folks selling jewelry and food on the side of the rode. Suffice it to say we spent the next 3 hours hanging out with them while we battled Thrifty over how they were going to rectify the car problem. During that time my daughter made 2 new friends/penpals and enjoyed herself more than on the hikes!

The car debacle was solved when we called AAA to get us a tow to Page (1 hour away) and told Thrifty they best have a car there first thing in the a.m. A $240 tow later we were at the Best Western in Page where more swimming ensued (we don't have a pool at home so my daughter takes full advantage whenever possible). The car did not arrive until 9 the next morning causing us to miss the boat tour we had planned so we left a day early for Vegas.

Vegas was interesting. First time there, no plans to return. Basically we had booked the Flamingo for the pools and were pleased with the outcome. The pool was fun for my daughter and the room was nice. After getting aced out of pool chairs by arriving at 10 a.m., on the first morning, I went down at 7 the next two mornings and camped out with 3 chairs while I read the paper and drank coffee.

We saw Mystere which was wonderful and Lord of the Dance which was pretty good. Ate a lovely dinner at a new Asian restaurant in the Flamingo called Pink Ginger (ask for Noo--she's very sweet).Breakfasts at Lindy's (in the Flamingo) where Hasib remembered my husband and daughter the second day. Had dinner at Kahunaville before Mystere, it was fine if not somewhat hokey. Had a nice lunch at Spago at Caesars.

Now it's back to laundry and ironing and figuring out how to stay cool in hot and humid New England.

Thanks to all the advice from everyone and I would be happy to answer any specific questions.

Hey wake up, I'm all done!
Eva is offline  
Jul 7th, 2003, 11:03 AM
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I'm loving your report! Waiting for next installment

Utahtea
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Jul 7th, 2003, 11:41 AM
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Thanks for all the info, much of it will be useful to us on our trip next month.

We are also staying at Flamingo for pools (I could use one now in Boston area). The part I loved about your trip report was the car rental breakdown thing. While it must have been annoying, it seems you all made the best of it and have not posted a thread saying never go the Arizona or Utah since your car broke down there. (Also with the troops revolting, water being turned off).

I am editorializing that if one wants and expects things to be just like home when they travel, then they should stay home. (Actually, my kids complaining and things breaking down would be just like home!)

Glad you had a good trip despite some unforseeable annoyances.
gail is offline  
Jul 7th, 2003, 12:03 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2003
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Hi,
thanks for the report. Althought it was bad fot you, it is interresting to read about a bad car rental experience.

I am heading to MV in a month (yipppeee). How was the jewelry you got there ? I once read a report where the guy was complaining that a necklace broke the next day.

Celine
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Jul 7th, 2003, 12:29 PM
  #8  
Eva
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Gail, yes i was tempted to come back and trash Thrifty. Not so much because the car broke down (although with the roads we had been on, the brakes falling apart would have led to our untimely demise) but because they appeared ill-equipped to handle the sitution. They kept asking me where the nearest city was and if there was a hotel nearby we could stay at. We were 30 miles from both Tuba City and Kayenta (neither of which are "cities" despite the moniker). They did handle it well when my husband brought the car back, reimbursing us for the tow and whittling our bill down to next to nothing. But your right when things are bot perfect it is more like home (except there were no damn carpenter ants like the one walking across my carpet right now!). And yes while it was hot out there is wasn't like this humidity that we returned to. I think I prefer the southwest, maybe it's time to leave Massachusetts and settle down in Sedona...

Celine--you will love MV. Get up early to watch the sun rise. It was already 80 degrees (unlike the frigid Bryce sunrise) and take a ton of pictures. I can't wait to get my film back.

As far as the jewelry goes, i bought a beautiful natural turquoise necklace and matching bracelet (from 2 different vendors) and they are in good shape. My daughter bought the cheaper kinds of things that kids (12 year olds)like. We bought jewelry last year from vendors near the Grand Canyon and the stuff is fine. The people we bought from at the GC were from the MV area and told us we should visit MV on our next trip (which is what we did).

Hope you both have as good a time as we did!
Eva is offline  
Jul 7th, 2003, 11:42 PM
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Eva,

We must have been posting at the same time because I didn't see the post about the car problems till now!

Did you already have boat tour tickets? Did you lose your money too? If you didn't have reservations the night before then the chances were REALLY slim that you could have gotten on an early boat tour. They did have half days that go out later. Sorry you missed this.

We've been there and done that with car breakdowns in the middle of nowhere in Utah. We were exactly 30 miles from Kanab when it happened one time. We know this because we were right next to the road sign...LOL

Utahtea
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Jul 8th, 2003, 06:34 AM
  #10  
Eva
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Utahtea, fortunately we did not lose any money. The plan had been to arrive in Page around 3 (we got there at 7p.m.) and then firm up the boat plans. Originally we had figured on doing a half day tour to Rainbow Bridge in the morning and if that was booked choosing either a sunset cruise or something similar. Once everything got out of whack, we made a hasty departure from Page after not really seeing any of it. A friend yesterday said that Lake Powell was one of the best parts of their trip west a few years ago so now I am really annoyed we left early.

While I was disappointed in not seeing the lake, I figure it gives us anothere reason to head west! Plus I feel the added bonus of seeing the Natural Bridges without having planned for it takes some of the sting out of missing something we had planned on seeing.

By the way, during our trip I quoted you a couple of times when discussing destinations, roads, driving times etc. and my husband (who does none of the vacation planning) said "Who is Utahtea?" LOL
Eva is offline  
Jul 8th, 2003, 07:35 AM
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Eva,

So did I make it onto your husband's good list or his bad list?

That's why my ears have been itching...LOL!

Utahtea

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Jul 9th, 2003, 01:31 AM
  #12  
 
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In my house my kids think Utahtea is "my imaginary friend on the internet"
Eva - my husband also does no vacation planning - he is used to one-stop travel shopping for work with his in-house travel people and travel agent. I believe he thinks family vacations happen the same way!
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Jul 9th, 2003, 06:56 AM
  #13  
 
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Gail -- thanks for all the info. What was the name of the cabin you stayed in in Bryce? Thanks.
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Jul 9th, 2003, 07:53 AM
  #14  
Eva
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It was me who stayed in a cabin in Bryce. They are part of the Bryce Canyon Lodge facilities. They are generally booked far in advance but if you call, sometimes you can get in due to a cancellation. I highly recommend the cabins as they put you so near the rim and all of the viewpoints and hiking trails.

The national park lodges in that area are run by Xanterra and if you go to their website you will find the number. Sometimes it pays to call on a daily basis if you are really interested in getting reservations there.

Utahtea---Have no fear, my husband was much appreciative of all of the info I had received from you, especially regarding the Mocqui Dugway. We were mentally prepared for the drive and so there were no surprises!
Eva is offline  
Jul 9th, 2003, 08:16 AM
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Gail,

You imaginary >-) friend on the internet....thats so funny!


Eva,

I'm glad I could be of help.

My DH is not into planning either but I am! He just likes to get in the vehicle and drive. Sometimes he never looks at a map. I am the navigator.

Utahtea

utahtea is offline  
Jul 9th, 2003, 11:33 AM
  #16  
 
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Thanks Eva. The Lodge is booked during our visit, but I'll try calling them to see if there have been any cancellations. We looked at the Xanterra website last night and there is some availability in Grand Canyon (where we're also going) -- actually at two of the locations in Grand Canyon. I was wondering if there are reviews of them -- or are the differences negligible? Thanks.
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Jul 9th, 2003, 03:15 PM
  #17  
 
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Please tell me a little more about driving in MV, we will be there soon with a rental.

Is it better with a 4wd or can we take the rental somewhat into the park without messing it up?

Thanks!
maryann is offline  
Jul 9th, 2003, 03:23 PM
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Maryann,

You can see some of Monument Valley from Hwy 163. The road into the park is a very straight graded gravel road that we take our motorhome on with no problems.

Once you get to the visitor center then they have this big dip you have to get by to get farther into the park. The dirt road after the dip isn't bad, but I think they purposely keep that dip there so people will pay for the tours. You might consider a tour because they can go places that you can't go without a guide. You can still see a lot from the Visitor center if you don't have time for a tour.

Utahtea
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Jul 9th, 2003, 07:46 PM
  #19  
Eva
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I honestly think that the tour is a really good idea within MV. You get to visit the "back country" on several tours--we took the one from Gouldings but kept crossing paths with a couple other groups.

I thought the roads were a bit rough for a rental (glad we did not take ours---see above) but a guy we met up with thought it was a waste to pay for the tour and wished he had driven himself around. Either way the buttes and mesas are visible for miles (esp. on 163) but with a guide you get closer and get more context in regard to the history of the place. Yes, they talk a bit too much about the unreal history, (Hollywood movies shot in the area) but you can appreciate why directors and producers chose the locale, it is utterly gorgeous.

Scope it out and decide what best fits your time frame and budget. We felt the half-day tour at $32 per person was well worth it.
Enjoy your trip!
Eva is offline  
Jul 9th, 2003, 08:53 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: May 2003
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Thank you for all the interesting posts - I can hardly wait for September to roll around for our trip to this area from Australia.

I've been thinking, it may be nice to camp out occasionally. Does anyone know if tent and mattresses could be hired somewhere? A national hire service with a website?

How much is petrol there now? (Gas) Has it come down?

Thanks, Carrabella
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