Saturday, April 25, 2009

Looking for ideas on stops and sights, traveling east to west

What can you recommend? I am especially interested in Catholic churches, history, and sights.

I got this from my son John's friend. Thanks Tony!

It is definitely worth going north and hitting Utah.  There’s a reason they call it God’s country.  I spent 5 months out there and went on a trip every weekend.  Here is a list of the best places I went:

Zion National Park, UT – you drive into the park in the valley and climb up the cliffs.  Great scenery, hiking, and camping.

Brice Canyon , UT – you arrive in this park above the canyons.  Really cool looking.  I would have liked it even more if there wasn't 2 ½ feet of snow when I was there.

Moab, UT – Crazy rock formations, cool hiking.  I went there three times.  Get gas before trying to cross UT on your way to or from Moab.  That’s where we (John’s fault) ran out of gas in the middle of the desert. 

Slide Rock State Park, UT – great place to camp near Moab.  Also really cool mountain biking.  You camp in the middle of rock formations or on top of them.  It is rolling hills of stone (slide rock).  You can bike all over the place if you like physical exertion.

The Painted Dessert and Petrified Forest, AZ – these are close to each other.  The first is cool to drive through.  It is just crazy looking desert right out of a painting.  The petrified forest is not a forest (I was confused/disappointed at first).  It is a desert with a lot of rocks that used to be trees.  It is amazing how many rock/trees you can look at before you get bored.  There is also an Adobe house built out of rock/trees.  It didn’t have a door so you wouldn’t go inside so you have to climb in the window. 

Sedona, AZ – really cool yuppie/hippie town in AZ.  Cool Indian cliff village near the town that you can tour.  I think they were Hopi Indians.

Farmington, NM – Really cool pine tree (?) desert.  Don’t get drunk and wonder off.  You’ll never find the car.  Probably just cool because I went there with John and we had a fun camping trip.

Death Valley, NV – Really cool salt flats, 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and my Dad almost died.  The last part was only cool because he didn’t.  Do not drink Tequila after hiking three miles straight out into the dessert.  Wait until you get back to the hotel alive and drink a whole liter before going to diner in Vegas.  We did both.

Las Vegas, NV – duh.  The greatest city to visit in the world.  I heard Gomorrah was pretty sweet, but never got a chance to visit.  You can stay entertained without gambling a dollar or going to a single strip club for about a week.  There is something really cool to see at every casino on the strip.  Also, you can get free eats if you play lots of black jack and get a players card.  We only had to lose $300 one morning to get a sweat avocado cheeseburger breakfast.  We also got lots of free Jack Daniels while sitting at the blackjack table for those 30 minutes.  That took the sting out of “paying” $300 for breakfast.

Salt Lake City – the temple, town square, and conference center are all really cool.  The conference center has a park on the roof complete with a stream and a water fall that goes over the side of the building.  The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is amazing if you get a chance to see them.

Provo – Lots of young Mormons.  Only reason to go there would be to see more mountains and BYU.  It gets an honorable mention because I lived there.  I never spent a weekend there.  Lots of good Mexican food and a really good Brazilian restaurant.

Grand Canyon (North Face) – Don’t go there in the winter, it’s closed and buried in snow.  It is also a bad mistake to make because it is a really long drive around the canyon to the South Face.  We drove all night to get the North Face and had to press on.  Oops.

Grand Canyon (South Face) – the most amazing views you will ever see.  You won’t believe it’s real.  They have coyotes, so don’t leave your food out.  We didn’t have anything left the next morning.

Get a National Parks pass.  It will pay for itself when you go to Brice Canyon and Zion National Park.  All the other national parks will be free admission after that.  There is even more to see in Wyoming and Idaho but it was too cold to venture that far north when I lived out there.

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