Brief Trip Review

George KGeorge K Super ModeratorPosts: 9,971 Senior Member
Just returned from a three week trip to the SW, flying to and from Denver where we picked up a rental car. Here's a brief review of places and things in chronological order that some might find interesting.

Great Sand Dunes National Park - Impressive as seen from a hill just outside the entrance, but we could not enter due to the shutdown.

Albuquerque - Sprawl and traffic like a junior L.A. We were visiting family, and the balloon festival was fun, albeit 0-dark early freezing cold fun. I can recommend two restaurants - Los Poblanos and Farm & Table.

Santa Fe - Much nicer and more interesting. We had a nice lunch with Ouzlepro at a brew pub and discovered that we have family members with very similar jobs in the same building, but with different bosses.

Holbrook, AZ - The Petrified Forest and Painted Desert were closed, but we stayed at an art deco/Bauhouse adobe B&B where the owner let us pick up souvenirs from the pile of petrified wood in the garden. The "Little Painted Desert" county park was worth the visit.

Winslow, AZ - We had a very good lunch at the La Posada Hotel and would stay there the next time we are in that area. The town has little else to recommend itself.

Grand Canyon N.P. South Rim - Open thanks to Gov. Jan Brewer. The rim cabin we stayed in was small and basic, but OK. The views and walks are as beautiful as claimed, nicer than the North Rim. My wife enjoyed a mule back rim trail tour

But, in typical Xanterra form, the upkeep and food left a lot to be desired. Even the "fine dining" El Tovar dining room sucked big time; the Bright Angel was truly vile for dinner, OK for breakfast. The best food we had was at the general store's deli.

Monument Valley, AZ/UT - Our second visit there. This time we took a half-day guided tour that takes you to places not available on the self drive tour, and it was well worth it. We even got to experience an added 90 minutes watching the full moon rise while shivering in the cold because the guide's truck ran out of gas in the desert and it took that long for Goulding's to send another driver with a can of gas.

Canyon de Chelly N.M. - It's expensive, but essential to book a jeep tour with a Navaho guide in order to enter the canyon to see the cliff dwelling ruins, petroglyphs and pictoglyphs. Otherwise you are limited to half a dozen rim drive overlook sites with distant views.

Aztec Ruins N.M. - Easily accessible Chacoan culture pueblo that you can enter into as well as walk around and about, with a reconstructed large kiva.

Chaco Canyon N.P. - It's out of the way, not easy to get to but well worth it. Several pueblo ruins including the large Pueblo Bonito, believed to be a ceremonial center for all the outlying Chacoan culture sites. The Ranger guided tours are excellent.

Taos, NM - The Pueblo and the town both were interesting and worth the visit. The town had the only good restaurants we had seen since Winslow, many galleries and good museums. There was an aging hippie/New Age vibe, but not as much as I had feared and certainly not enough to detract from a non-believer's enjoyment. I can recommend the Old Taos Guest House B&B where we stayed, and Byzantium restaurant.

Steamboat Springs, CO - There for four days visiting family, just doing the family visit/tourist thing. But I always enjoy Steamboat for the scenery and off-season calm. In season it is too crowded for our taste.The Mahogany Ridge Brewery and Grill was noisy but had very good food.

My biggest disappointment was that I carried a separate suitcase full of fishing gear and never wet a line due to weather and timing. But next week I'll be fishing for steelhead in Lake Erie tribs, if the streams are not blown out.
Keep your stinkin' government hands off my Medicare.

Replies

  • dryfliedryflie Senior Member Posts: 1,442 Senior Member
    George, thanks for the comments on the GC South vs North rim. We're heading out there shortly (next year) and I've been undecided about which location to visit.
    “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.” - John Kenneth Galbraith
  • ricinusricinus Senior Member Posts: 6,214 Senior Member
    Sounds like a good time( apart from the lack of fishing).. It's nice to know that Ouzelpro is real- who bought lunch??

    Mike
    My new goal in life is to become an Alter Kaker...
  • FishTXFishTX Super Moderator Posts: 8,024 Senior Member
    Glad you enjoyed the trip. Have you pictures to prove you were there?
    "We have to find someone who can not only fly this plane, but who didn't have fish for dinner."

    Crooow:This music would work better with women in bikinis shaking all over the place. I guess that's true of any music really.
  • ouzelproouzelpro Senior Member Posts: 5,361 Senior Member
    Ha! George treated me to lunch. Let that be a warning. Thanks, George!

    I'm glad he visited Chaco Canyon, one of the best sites in the region.
  • Shawn C.Shawn C. Senior Member Posts: 6,962 Senior Member
    dryflie wrote: »
    George, thanks for the comments on the GC South vs North rim. We're heading out there shortly (next year) and I've been undecided about which location to visit.


    Haveing been to both sides (and the South twice), you simply must visit the South Rim if it is a one time visit. No comparison. Look, the north side doesn't suck but you will not get the breathtaking, stunning views that the South Rim offers.

    Nice trip report, George. Sounds like you had a great time.
  • George KGeorge K Super Moderator Posts: 9,971 Senior Member
    Shawn C. wrote: »
    Haveing been to both sides (and the South twice), you simply must visit the South Rim if it is a one time visit. No comparison. Look, the north side doesn't suck but you will not get the breathtaking, stunning views that the South Rim offers.

    Nice trip report, George. Sounds like you had a great time.

    Thanks, we did. The only disappointment was that I was never in the right place at the right time to fish. Family obligations even kept me off the Yampa in downtown Steamboat, where there are some very nice trout.

    I agree, the South rim is the one to go to if you can only visit one. When we went to the North rim it was on a trip that included Arches, Bryce, Canyonlands and Mesa Verde.

    When we were at the North rim it had just opened, and that was in May. Unlike the South rim winter snows are serious there. The place we stayed just outside the park had two or three snow track vehicles. The Lodge in the park had no vacancy, but we had dinner there and enjoyed it. That would be my choice of where to stay. If you go with kids or grandkids let them read "Brighty of the Grand Canyon" first. They'll enjoy seeing the bronze statue at the lodge.
    Keep your stinkin' government hands off my Medicare.

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