So I’ve been posting a lot of these entries about our honeymoon trip out of order. I’m choosing to talk about my favorite places and I’m doing those I feel most inspired to write about at the time I sit down at the computer. But I figured to keep things in perspective, I’d post our itinerary. We came up with this plan sometime during the fall of 2012 because we knew we needed to start making reservations since summer is the high season for travel out west. We wanted to make sure we could get campsites at our desired locations and we knew some of these places did not offer a whole lot of options if you didn’t make it into the only place nearest the attraction.
I have to admit that at first I was really opposed to planning the trip out to this level of detail. I’m the type of person who likes to throw myself at a destination and then just play everything by ear. I imagined if we planned things out too much, we’d have no fun, feeling as though we had to go from one place to the next. While there was an element of having to leave a place before it was fully explored (Bryce!) for the next, I think our plan ended up working great because it kept us on the mission. We saw every place we wanted to see, even if only briefly, and we did have some time to improvise a little (which brought us to the Very Large Array)! So all and all, the trip was really satisfying. And I’m so grateful to Crow who is an excellent trip planner. Crow chose some simply marvelous guided tours for us at Carlsbad Caverns and Mesa Verde. He picked some great, unique places to stay overnight, most notably Los Poblanos in Albuquerque, the cabins at Zion, and the national park campground at Arches. I can barely take credit for the trip planning except to add my own personal must-sees.
So here it is…
7/14/2013 – Arrive in Albuquerque.
Arriving in Albuquerque early in the day, we ended up checking out the town since we couldn’t check into our hotel yet. We actually did some errand-type things… Crow got his iPad set up to work on his wireless service and I got to go to Lush to use a gift certificate a friend gave me for my bachelorette party. Whee!
We checked into the Los Poblanos and got to enjoy some local brews that awaited us in the refrigerator! Another great Crow decision: Instead of the honeymoon package, he selected the local brew package for our stay! Beer is better than champagne any day!
7/15/2013 – Petroglyphs National Monument
This was not originally in our plans, but we had some time to kill before we could pick up our RV . It was really cool and I’m glad we did it. Oddly, my memory of that day is filled with big gray clouds. It was kind of a chilly day with little sun.
7/16/2013 – Gila Cliff Dwellings
7/17/2013 – Las Cruces
This is the town in which Crow’s grandparents lived and Crow spent many-a-summer there with his mom. So it was mostly a walk down Memory Lane for Crow which was nice for me to see the places he roamed as a child (I have taken him down similar walks down Memory Lane, subjecting him multiple times to Hiram College). I really had fun. It was a neat little down with lots of shops. Very, very southwestern in look and feel. We shopped some (I bought some beautiful jewelry, some clothes, and book by a local writer that I’m still reading because I’m too busy). We ate at La Posta, a Mexican restaurant that Crow’s family used go to. It was delicious!
Failure of note: The state park we were supposed to stay at the previous night did not apparently exist. Well, the state park existed, but it looked deserted and we could not find the campground. We ended up staying at a local KOA.
7/18/2013 – Guadalupe National Park, Carlsbad Caverns
We spent the night in the Guadalupe campground which was really just a parking lot with big spaces for RVs. We were the only one there. It was kind of spooky. Heard some strange noises and thought we heard scratching on the door or the RV shaking. It was rainy all night and all the next morning. We decided not to attempt to climb Guadalupe Peak. Which was really disappointing to me as this was a state highpoint I’ve wanted to do for some time. We ended up going to Carlsbad Caverns a day early, though, which turned out to be really awesome.
At Carlsbad that day, we did the Kings Palace tour, all the self-guided tours, and we returned in the evening to watch the bats leave the cave. We stayed at a campground in White’s City. Which really isn’t a city at all but a collection of buildings that contain an pathetically small grocery story, a huge souvenir shop, and a really depressed looking family restaurant. (We went into the restaurant, looked around at the sad buffet, and decided to eat what we had in the camper with our own beer.)
7/19/2013 – Carlsbad Caverns.
Slaughter Canyon Tour!
7/20/2013 – Roswell, NM
International UFO Museum, cruising around town, additional consumption of New Mexican food.
7/21/2013 – Very Large Array, Kelly Ghost Town
Both of these were spontaneous decisions, especially Kelly which we passed on the way to the VLA and decided we should go check it out.
We had lunch at the Socorro Springs Brewing Company (which we kept calling Skaro–the home planet of Daleks–because the names sounded so close). We stopped at La Cumbre Brewery in Albuquerque on the way up to Santa Fe. Had a nice chat with fellow beer enthusiasts at the bar.
7/22/2013 – Santa Fe, NM
We only spent the afternoon here. Checked out the old town, I bought more jewelry, had a legendary lunch at The Shed. Damn, that was some good eattin’.
On the way to Mesa Verde, we stopped in Durango, CO for a late dinner and a beer at Steamworks Brewing Company.
7/23/2013 – Mesa Verde National Park, Four Corners Monument
We took a guided tour through Mesa Verde to see one of the many cliff dwellings. We then walked to an additional cliff dwelling and hiked a trail to some petroglyphs.
Four Corners Monument was always something I wanted to see… Who doesn’t want to step on four states at once? Apparently a lot of people do as we had to wait in line to get our picture taken there. I won’t even go into my disappointment at the $6 entry fee per person and the fact that the monument is rimmed by Native American vendor booths. Um. And I did buy another piece of jewelry so their tactic worked.
7/24/2013 – Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
It was like being on an alien planet. One might even think of Mars owing to all that radiant orange sand. I owe this place its own blog entry with lots of pictures. We ended up taking a Jeep tour. We were early so we got the whole Jeep to ourselves.
7/25/2013 – Arches National Park, Dead Horse Point
We mountain biked the Intrepid Trail System at Dead Horse Point on this day. Enjoyed Moab’s fine eating establishments in the evening.
7/26/2013 – Arches National Park
We took the park by storm and hiked all over the place!
7/27/2013 – 1/2 day at Arches National Park and taking care of laundry and grocery shopping in Moab, rest of the day driving to Bryce.
7/28/2013 – Bryce Canyon National Park
Hiking and avoiding thunderstorms.
7/29/2013 – Zion National Park
Hiked to Observation Point.
7/30/2013 – Zion National Park
Walked part of the Narrows, then departed for The Grand Canyon.
7/31/2013 – Grand Canyon National Park
Hiked Bright Angel Trail to the Bright Angel Campground and Phantom Ranch.
8/1/2013 – Grand Canyon National Park
Hiked back out of the Canyon.
8/2/2013 – Las Vegas
Stayed at the Luxor (my choice). We saw Kathy Griffin.
8/3/2013 – Las Vegas
We saw David Copperfield. That was so AWESOME.
8/4/2013 – Returned home at the crack of dawn.