Southwest Road Trip 2012 Day 1: Las Vegas to Zion

Misadventures-with-Andi-Road-Trip-ReportA 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!

Andi at White Pocket in Utah

Success! Me in White Pocket, Utah (coming later on Day 5)

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.


Virgin River in Nevada (runs through AZ and UT as well)

The drive was pretty uneventful.  I do love the 85-mile per hour speed limit and the gorgeous clouds that permeate the blue skies.


Clouds along I-15 (taken via Instagram)

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!

View from Desert Pearl Inn Springdale

View on the canyons from Desert Pearl Inn in Springdale, Utah. (Shot via Instagram)

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!).

Springdale Zion Shuttle Bus Stop

Zion National Park shuttle bus stop sign in Springdale

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.

About Andi Fisher

I'm a lifestyle blogger focused on travel and food. I love to travel via my stomach eating and seeking out local artisans to feature here. I'm a big supporter of the blogging community and love highlighting travel and food bloggers for you to meet.


  1. Beautiful snaps–but where’s your jumping shot? 😉

  2. Wow what an awesome trip! I’ve done a similar route before. Loved it!!!

  3. Crystal Renee says:

    Great photos! Especially the one in White Pocket, Utah. Have you ever camped out in a tent instead of at a hotel?

  4. I don’t know how I missed this post back on July 9. It was a great read. Very inspiring – especially the way you navigated around awful fast food. You inspire me to become a food snob. It would do our family a world of good. Also, there is something about being on a long stretch of road driving into the sky. I had such an underwhelming experience in Salt Lake at a PRSA conference in 2006. I swore I’d never return to Utah, but you’ve made me reconsider.

    • @Jen, food can be such a challenge on the road (or even when we are busy around town) we all do the best we can to get it right! There is no judgment here!

  5. faten ben oth says:

    looks like a lot of fun! great pic! <3

  6. Awesome! My parents are doing this same exact trip in August. Can’t wait to share this post with them! Amazing pics too.

  7. Christi-TX says:

    My husband & I took a road trip (really it was a move) from Spokane, Wa to Montgomery, Al. Unfortunately it was in January. Besides trying to drive through a “white out” and spending several hours in a roadside bathroom with at least 15 other families we didn’t get to appreciate the state of Utah. We live in the heart of West Texas now so I don’t expect we will be visiting that part of the country in this lifetime

  8. I love the tips and the beautiful pictures of the landscape, this gives me ideas for when I finally get my husband out to the west coast, where most of my family is, he’s never been out that way and there are some great ideas and places to visit in this post. Thank you.

  9. Carlabree Bonesteel says:

    You must camp in Utah!!! So much better than a hotel. I promise!!!

  10. Natalie Ginnow says:

    My husband, myself and our children took our RV for a 6-week tour of our United States. We started in Connecticut, took the northern route all the way to Oregon, down through California, then a more southern route to Florida. Rv’s use a lot of gas, so to save money along the way, we bought groceries, and stored them in our fridge/freezer. We ate 90% of our meals in, or near the RV. We would cook on a fire pit in campgrounds, or on our camp stove. It even has a microwave. The tour was amazing! We went to many of the National Parks and Monuments. The only problem we had was a flat tire. Your trip sounds wonderful. I would like to do shorter trips with more time to explore a particular area. Thats the next goal.

  11. I can”t wait to read about the rest of your trip. My family and I are planning a road trip this summer…WI to AZ, and this had greatly increased my excitement! Thank you for all the gorgeous pictures and travel tips.

    • @Debbi, that will be a great trip! My hubby and I are actually re-doing part of this trip in 2 weeks, I can’t wait to see what it is like in the winter!

  12. Lisa Burke Cook says:

    Sounds like a amazing trip with beautiful photo’s to share I believe Mr. Misadventures did well in planning this trip!

  13. Ashley Tucker says:

    This looks like it was a wonderful trip! Love the pictures

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