Playa del Carmen, Mexico's virtual guidebook written by locals
 

Go Back   www.Playa.info > Trip Reports > Trip Reports: US and Canada
FAQ Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 09-03-2010   #1 (permalink)
life=playa
 
flyingpig11's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Bflo, NY
Posts: 607
Vegas, Sedona, Grand Canyon, Lk Powell, Bryce Canyon, Zion Natl Pk, August 2010

Okay, going to take a test drive of a trip report...... Went to Las Vegas, Northern Arizona and Southern Utah in August 2010. I was with my lovely wife and my two sons, Nate and Charlie. I felt the window of opportunity to take this trip was closing as my eldest is about to venture into "teendom", and I figure we wont see him again until he is twenty.

Charlie is ten. Nate is twelve. They are boys....



We flew into Las Vegas, leaving sunny Buffalo at 3 pm, and arriving at about 8:30. We proceeded right to Thrifty Rental Car and signed out aFord Escape. The rental lady tried to sell me every bit of coverage she could. She did a good job, and almost scared me into additional coverage for several hundreds of dollars.

We proceeded to the MGM Grand, where they didnt have our two queen bed room that I had confirmed hours earlier. The "bad news" was that they were placing us in a suite. Not sure how that was bad, but we rolled with it. It was now about 9:45 Vegas time, or 12:45 where we come from. MY family was tired...They went to bed. I got the lay of the land, checked out the property, and then turned in because....we all woke up at 4:00 am!!!! Took the family stroll through the casino property, including the casino. Interesting..so thought my kids.

We hadn't eaten dinner the night before and found that we had two choices at that hour...McDonalds (which my wife and I haven't eaten in 15 years) or a restaurant , the name of which I cant recall. Anyhoo, we had a nice eggs and chorizo breakfast, which ended up costing like $100. That is one theme of this trip. The $100 dollar meal...

Now almost 7:00 am..time to put on swim trunks and head to the pool before getting on the road. As you all know, you cant go anywhere on a casino property without going through the casino.

I happened to be about three paces ahead of my family, and rounded a bank of slots towards the elevator when I nearly bumped into nice young lady and her two friends. I say she was nice because she winked, waved and asked me to come closer. I was only about ten feet from her, and about eight feet from her "two friends".. A Lady of the Evening at seven in the morning.

In any case, I chuckled, turned and waited for my family to round the slots, much to my new friends disappointment. This was all lost on my wife.

We had some pool time, being like the only people in at 8am, waiting for the lazy river to open, then hanging out a bit before really beginning our journey.



We showered, checked out, and made avery smart move...off to Trader Joe's for trip provisions. Peanut butter,jelly, bread, repeat. Got one of those soft cooler bags for $6, filled it with frozen water bottles from the freezer section, grabbed drinks, fruit, snacks, chocolate, and all sorts of trail mix and nuts good for packing on hikes in the desert.

Decided to bypass Hoover Dam and headed a bit further south before hanging a left from Nevada into Arizona. The strip of road crossing Northern Arizona must be the deadliest roadway in the US. There were literally hundreds or makeshift memorial crosses along the shoulder in each direction. It was really crazy.....

Strange scenery along the roadway also. They are boys ....



Making tremendous headway across Arizona, to Flagstaff, and then to travel down Alt. 89 to our first stopover, Sedona Arizona. 3 miles from our exit...construction....three miles...took two hours....and we were finally free. Hit alt 89 just before dusk. What a gorgeous bit of land that is. Oak Creek Canyon, Slide Rock State park.

To our hotel at dark, Best Western Inn of Sedona, Located outside of the main town, each room opens to a giant shared patio facing the red rocks. Out to a family style mexican restaurant..In need of a margarita to calm the frayed nerves from the construction delays.

Theme number two.. Wake up for sunrise. Why not....my body was already programmed that way from east coast time.

__________________

Last edited by flyingpig11; 09-16-2010 at 11:41 AM..
flyingpig11 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2010   #2 (permalink)
life=playa
 
flyingpig11's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Bflo, NY
Posts: 607
Okay, day two had been the longest travel day on the trip. Now we got down to business on day three. Woke up to the sunrise above, had a lovely continental breakfast and went on our first hike. Airport overlook. It was about .5 miles from the hotel, just across the main highway.



Strange Plants...




Prickly Pear cactus... appropriate as it was our 17th wedding anniversary



Each boy managed to get prickers in their hands that very first hike...

The beginning of the amazing views.....



After lunch, (PBJ sandwiches) we took a Pink Jeep Tour up an area called Broken Arrow, which was a wee bit kitchy but cool. It got us into areas, we would not have covered on two feet. First Stop Submarine Rock, then Chicken Rock ....





Charlie hanging off a rock ledge...



If we were properly educated, the stalk/flower of an agave plant. Grow one stalk in twenty five year life span, when the stalk grows, it grows up to three inches a day. This stalk was about eight feet high. about 200 hundred seed pods and the plant will be lucky to reproduce one new plant.. Desert living is tough.



On the tour, there are a total of four jeeps. In our jeep, which is last, I see a big scorpion up ahead. Everyone gets really excited and we start snapping photos, including the tour guide excitedly....



well... a rubber, upside down scorpion laid down by another guide for the benefit of his group. pretty funny actually.

After the tour, took a nice swim to refresh Charlie and headed off for the best meal of our trip....Elote Cafe. Fine mexican food. If you have less than five people, you have to get there at five, or wait...We chose the early bird special...

The elote appetizer is a take off of mexican street fare, corn on the cob. ADDICTING. Sweet like candy, smoky, lime cilantro, chili, cojita cheese...

[

My carnitas..



Nate's Mole Poblano...



Gretchens Carne Asada, with a big hunk of blue cheese.



Charlie had short rib tacos...

Desert..fresh blackberry ice cream, from berries harvested from the national forest that day.... best ice cream i have ever had. look at the color.



After dinner we took a drive up Shnebly Hill road, to a park, hopped out and took a hike/walk to digest at sunset...

Found this great tree



the red rocks at sunset



A little friend, a rattler right between Gretchen's feet...



Sundown at hotel patio...



Time for sleep...

Last edited by flyingpig11; 09-16-2010 at 11:39 AM..
flyingpig11 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2010   #3 (permalink)
aņejo
 
Luv2Dance's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 26,301
I'm loving your trip report! Beautiful family and I'm digging the food pics too. I know it is early when after reading about you bumping into the ladies of the evening, I immediately thought you wrote "Hooters Dam" rather than Hoover Dam. Whoops!

I like the heart shaped cactus.....prickly love....ha....

Luv2Dance is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2010   #4 (permalink)
toe in water
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 43
OMG, those food pic's are too much. The other ones are really good and the Sedona area is awesome, but the Mexican restaurant food looks so darn good. Did you just stumble onto this place? I haven't had breakfast or lunch yet so I am salivating my brains out right now.
Looking forward to more!
rainee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2010   #5 (permalink)
life=playa
 
flyingpig11's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Bflo, NY
Posts: 607
Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by rainee View Post
OMG, those food pic's are too much. The other ones are really good and the Sedona area is awesome, but the Mexican restaurant food looks so darn good. Did you just stumble onto this place? I haven't had breakfast or lunch yet so I am salivating my brains out right now.
Looking forward to more!
found the restaurant on Tripadvisor...(also each hotel). We really didnt take too many more food pics as the food at most places was average, and we took care of our own breakfast and lunch.... Although ILOVE food, and have cooked in several restaurants when younger, this trip was location, location, location.....
flyingpig11 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-06-2010   #6 (permalink)
life=playa
 
flyingpig11's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Bflo, NY
Posts: 607
Day Four - Unintentional Road Trip, then off to a Big Hole in the Ground

Woke up for sunrise, and wanted to get a good hike in away from town before heading to our next destination. Hotel staff told us about Boynton Canyon, right next to Enchantment Resort, right off the main road. Hopped in the car and started driving south.....15 minutes later, no signs to lead to either Enchantment or Boynton Canyon, but instead, a sign for the Town of Jerome, about 40 minutes down the road. Had heard about this little town nestled in the hills and a ghost town nearby. ROADTRIP....

Jerome is a strange and funky little town. It was a Sunday morning and very little was open, but you could tell the vibe was offbeat. Drove about town, checked out the nicest hotel, a converted hospital, now called the Asylum, then to the ghost town, which also advertised an active gold mine like South of the Border does, but with smaller signs...

Well, the gold mine had been active...in 1918. The little store in the ghost town looked pretty neat...and had lots of little tourist trinkets for sale, none of which were from northern Arizona. Oh well .. a picture of the store...



On our way back through Jerome, we stopped at this house that had the following items out front, right on the roadway, right off a cliff.









We made our way back to Sedona, where we found Enchantment Resort ...picture of Charlie with a raven..


then to Boynton Canyon... What a nice place this is, only 10 minutes out of town, but very removed and quiet... Hiked the Boynton Canyon Trail to the top, not very far,a s we had to get back, swim/shower and head to our next stop.



Charlie getting in trouble again...





Off to the Grand Canyon...... We were supposed to be staying in the Yavapai Lodge, about 500 feet off rim, but called just before our departure and got a cancellation in the motel style lodging right next to El Tovar, the main historic lodge, directly on the rim. We stayed for 2 nights, saw some amazing sunrises and sunsets, did some really nice walking on the rim trails, and two nice hikes down into the canyon a ways (Hermits Rest Trail and Bright Angel Trail). This park is truly magnificent and massive. In fact, it is so massive that it was kind of hard to get your arms around it at all....

Went to an incredible night ranger talk about mountain lions. The ranger was amazing and her passion totally showed. We learned a ton about mountain lions... can hop 18 feet upward and 45 feet forward. Although ultimate killing machines, they rarely attack people, 100 attacks in 100 years, 16 fatalities and we are venturing into their territory. Much more likely to be kicked or butted by an elk or mule deer than attacked by a mountain lion at Grand Canyon. Number one animal attack injury to Grand Canyon guests is by squirrel. Which is really no great shock, as I have never seen so many people video tape squirrels in my life.





Sunset...



Sunset, with storm at the North Rim...





off to bed.....not a bad day...

Last edited by flyingpig11; 09-06-2010 at 09:31 AM..
flyingpig11 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-06-2010   #7 (permalink)
life=playa
 
flyingpig11's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Bflo, NY
Posts: 607
Days five and Six - Grand Canyon, a few more shots, then to Page Arizona

So, only 1% of the people that go to the Grand Canyon, go below the rim. THat is a shame as I think you really get more of a feel for it if you do hike down, even a bit....

Sunrise :



Went to Hermits Rest for Junior Ranger Hike:





A rest spot built for weary travallers and designed by a female architect at the turn of last century:







Visited the Mules along the way



This storm came and got us, a torrential downpour, but it felt great after hiking two miles down the trail and then back up.



Sunset





Next Day, El Tovar at Sunrise, then Bright Angel Trail, the most popular trail down into the canyon, and then off to our next destination:














Last edited by flyingpig11; 09-06-2010 at 11:34 AM..
flyingpig11 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2010   #8 (permalink)
life=playa
 
sharkbait's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 693
What great timing for this Trip Report, we just returned from GC and Sedona last night. Pink Jeep Tour for us as well. Wish I would have known about Jerome, we spent the rest of the afternoon at Red Rock State Park which after everything else we had seen was pretty much underwhelming.

Grand Canyon being hard to get your arms around????? Yeah buddy!!!! I was in total awe, pictures and describing it can not even come close to doing it justice. Surreal even. We thought the National Park Service did a great job, we too went to the Mountain Lion talk. Seems like it is a labor of love for the Rangers that work there.

Oak Creek Canyon is definitely some place I would like to get back to though it was crazy busy even to just drive through during the Holiday Weekend.

Looking forward to seeing the rest of your trip and what we missed. Long Weekend isn't enough time, wish we could have stayed longer.
sharkbait is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2010   #9 (permalink)
life=playa
 
flyingpig11's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Bflo, NY
Posts: 607
Hope you had an excellent trip. This part of the country is just incredible. The landscape is so different every place we visited. Hell, it was different around every turn!!!

As for the Mountain lion talk, I hope the ranger you heard was a diminutive blond woman with a GIGANTIC personality. If so, she was so impressive in her presentation and her passion. She just had an amazing way about her.

Last edited by flyingpig11; 09-07-2010 at 09:41 AM..
flyingpig11 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2010   #10 (permalink)
life=playa
 
sharkbait's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 693
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingpig11 View Post
Hope you had an excellent trip. This part of the country is just incredible. The landscape is so different every place we visited. Hell, it was different around every turn!!!
It was an outstanding trip!!!! We go somewhere we've never been every Labor Day Weekend that's under a 4 hour flight for our "Bucket List". I'm now thinkin, screw the Bucket List and just head here every year. Or I could just pull up your Trip Report for my fix.

One thing this flat lander learned was elevation means everything in this area. Landed in Phoenix @ 9:30pm to 102F. Drove 2 1/2 hours to Flagstaff and woke up the next morning to 50F. With all of those elevation changes came new and exciting things to see. Even the ride back to Phoenix from Sedona was spectacular.

All you peeps thinking of doing this trip- DO IT!!!! All you peeps living in this area-YOU LUCKY DOGS!!!!
sharkbait is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2010   #11 (permalink)
life=playa
 
flyingpig11's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Bflo, NY
Posts: 607
Next Stop - Page, Az., a 40 year old town...

So we left the grand Canyon through theeast entrance, weaving our way in and out of the various different vistas and trail heads... ZAs we were just departing the park, a coyote jogged, slowly, in front of our ca. Alas, the camera was not ready and we missed the photo op.

On the way from the east entrance of GCNP to Page, you travel through the Navajo Indian Reservation, which I understand to be the largest in the lower 48. All along the roadway, pottery and jewelry and other items are bing sold. My wife, who has a handmade jewelry business, was looking for local turqoise, and gifts for our pet watchers....so we stopped, and we stopped, and we stopped and we stopped... At some point, alot of it really started to look the same. The prices were pretty comparable. There were some gems here and there, and she certainly didnt come home empty.

Half way we stopped for a navajo taco at the Cameron Trading Post(?). Huge and tasty. The fry bread with honey was pretty good too.

Then we went to Page, where we would bed down for two nights at teh Days Inn.

Page is at teh southern base of Lake Powell, a man made lake with the Colorado River backed up due to teh Glen Canyon Dam. I think it is like 186 miles long and has all sorts of offshoots (slot canyons). We were told that the dam was built 40 years ago becuase too much silt was travelling through the Grand Canyon and then getting caught up in Lake Mead at the Hoover Dam. Strange little town, incredibly beautiful and sureal landscape as far as the lake is concerned, as pictures will show.

Got to teh hotel late afternoon, and it was asimple and clean hotel, with huge, well appointed rooms. It was scortching hot and we decided to just chill by the pool, which was not particularly large. The rest of the guests had the same idea.

Went out for pizza at Canyon King Pizza, which was an old steamship that went up the Colorado. Excellent Caesar Salad, very good pizza as well. Nice icy beers.. Less than $100.00. Hooray.

At dinner on the patio, met a family of four from Michigan, two girls the same age as our boys. The father was decompressing heavily with a giant beer as he had just followed his GPS between Esclalante and Page, Az. If he had done some trip planning, he might have known that he was travelling three hours on a completely unforgiving dirt road, with washouts and boulders and logs the entire way (but it was the shortest route on GPS and made sense on a map). I knew exactly what road he was talking about immediately, thanks to guidance on tripadvisor. I am not advertising this site, but its forums were incredibly useful for planning.

Home for a swim and bed..... big day the next day.... I will post a series of pictures later, but give you a teaser or two right now....






Last edited by flyingpig11; 09-07-2010 at 03:12 PM..
flyingpig11 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2010   #12 (permalink)
aņejo
 
BonnyW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Left Coast...So Cal
Posts: 13,407
Great pictures!
It sounds like you had a wonderful trip together.

I love the Southwest--so many different views and worlds

Now I want to go back and visit
BonnyW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2010   #13 (permalink)
life=playa
 
flyingpig11's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Bflo, NY
Posts: 607
Quote:
Originally Posted by BonnyW View Post
Great pictures!
It sounds like you had a wonderful trip together.

I love the Southwest--so many different views and worlds

Now I want to go back and visit
The trip was so very special. Our boys are growing up so quickly. It was great for my wife and I to spend time with them away from the chaos that is regular life, where we are all pulled in different directions.

You are so, right so many different worlds... six stops, and none were at all like the others....and they were all so close together...

You look like you were in a slot canyon or Glacier in your avatar pic? Where is that?

Last edited by flyingpig11; 09-09-2010 at 07:22 AM..
flyingpig11 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2010   #14 (permalink)
aņejo
 
melliedee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Ohio
Posts: 30,551
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingpig11 View Post


I love this pic, so cute.

It looks like a wonderful vacation. Kids that age will not soon forget someone like your guide talking about the mountain lions. I can remember being so awed by a ranger/guide in Canada discussing the forest (I was 10 at the time; my brother 12) and have never forgotten that vacation with my family.

I really need to visit this part of the world soon.
melliedee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2010   #15 (permalink)
aņejo
 
BonnyW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Left Coast...So Cal
Posts: 13,407
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingpig11 View Post
The trip was so very special. Our boys are growing up so quickly. It was great for my wife and I to spend time with them away from the chaos that is regular life, where we are all pulled in different directions.

You are so, right so many different worlds... six stops, and none were at all like the others....and they were all so close together...

You look like you were in a slot canyon or galcier in your avatar pic? Where is that?
Perhaps another desert that you should visit someday?
The picture was taken in the Mojave National Desert Preserve in California. Click here for more cool photos.
and I was proceeding up the ring trail... here

This cave was not too far away either .

I look forward to more of your trip report! Thanks!

Last edited by BonnyW; 09-08-2010 at 12:28 PM..
BonnyW is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:21 PM.


Powered by: vBulletin
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.