A lot of my offline friends have been interested in how Mr. Misadventures and I organized our 10-day Southwest road trip, plus I owe you guys posts on what I was up to. So I am combining the information as a way to kill two birds with one stone.
There are couple of things that you should know first off. To begin with, this trip was entirely planned by Mr. Misadventures. Taking photos of the landscape in the parks throughout Arizona and Utah was something he really wanted to do. It is not something I really wanted to do as I prefer cooler climates, beautiful architecture and amazing food. But marriage is a partnership and we are not clones so there are things that my hubby enjoys and as a good wife I go along for the ride and make the best of it! I guess the bottom line is the trip was a big success and I had nothing to do with it!
Second, the method in which Mr. Misadventures and I travel might seem a little unconventional. We view first-time trips as a trial run. It is a scouting mission to see which places we like, don’t like and want to return to. We don’t like crowds and often don’t go to the atractionsthat we are supposed to go and do the things that we are supposed to see. Having said that, I am sure I can pass on tips and tricks of the spots we visited by sharing our experiences of what went right and what didn’t.
Lastly, we are kind of food snobs and don’t eat fast food (unless we are really, really desperate) so our food and meal selections may be entirely different from what others would choose, but I will do my best to mention food options as I go through the days. I will tell you what we did and what is available in the spots we visited.
Whew, so now that I got that out of the way, let’s get started!
On Day 1 we flew from Oakland to Las Vegas in the morning. We picked up our rental car, an SUV so that we could hold our suitcases, camera equipment and food/water supplies. Since we knew our food options would be limited we headed to the Whole Foods in Vegas to pick up groceries. We bought a large quantity of water and coconut water as we were heading into high temperatures and we would be hiking.
In addition we picked up canned goods such as olives, artichoke hearts, etc that we could use to picnic on and that would not need refrigeration. We also bought some fruits and vegetables knowing we would eat them the first few days on the road. We brought an electric kettle from home so we picked up things like instant miso and oatmeal to go along with our tea bags and Starbucks Via packets. And of course wine (cheaper to buy it in a store than in restaurants – if we found any). We grabbed a quick lunch from their salad bar and headed on the road.
For the next three hours and 169 miles we drove through parts of Nevada, Arizona and Utah stopping from time to time to check out some of the small parks along the Virgin River. It was pretty dry (at least in the Nevada part) and our stops were fairly brief.
The drive was pretty uneventful. I do love the 85-mile per hour speed limit and the gorgeous clouds that permeate the blue skies.
Our final destination for the day was Springdale, Utah at the foot of Zion National Park. It is an adorable little town that reminds me of Sedona. It is clean, highly organized and a great launching point for whatever activities you may have planned in the national park. Every single hotel, motel, inn and bed & breakfast I saw in Springdale looked extremely well maintained and there are plenty of options for every price range.
Our home-away-from-home for the next two nights would be the Desert Pearl Inn. The rooms were rustic luxury and well-appointed, it had the feel of log cabin and we had a mini-kitchen and very large bathroom. Each room has a terrace which is great to sit out on while enjoying a glass as the evening cools. If you should ever find yourself wanting to stay here, make sure you request a room with a canyon view rather than one of the pool. The pool is gorgeous, but there is nothing like the canyons!
There is a large variety of restaurants that would appeal to nearly anyone ranging from barbeque places to Mexican and Thai. There are fast food options as well as fine dining too. The town also has a decent sized grocery store, art galleries and a movie theater (although it was showing a film that was two months old!).
Since you cannot drive your vehicle into the main part of Zion, only to the Visitor’s Center, Museum and the roads around the park (not through), there is a shuttle bus system that gets you in and out of the park. There are stops all along Zion Park Blvd. so if you are staying at any hotel on this road (which most of them are) then there will be a stop not to far where you can catch a shuttle.
After dinner that included a margarita we walked back to our hotel and prepared our things for the next day. We were going to start early so we prepped in the evening when we were more awake.
More road trip stories to come, Day 2 we head into Zion.