Well, it’s been much (MUCH) too long since my last entry. While away, I have planned a vacation, taken a vacation, and am planning another.
Let’s briefly recap the vacation (Zion National Park, Grand Canyon-South Rim, and Sedona, Arizona (Enchantment Resort)) and discuss how it compared to expectations. For this, I am going to use the three stages of a vacation that I outlined in an earlier blog– planning, living, and reliving–over the course of the next several blogs.
Planning the vacation: While I generally enjoy the vacation planning process, more than most and perhaps more than I should, this particular trip was somewhat tedious to plan, in comparison to others. In part, I was in charge of coordinating the travels of two tripmates, both coming from different locations from me and each other. Additionally, this vacation was planned less than two months in advance which resulted in some limitations as I was not able to get into all of my first choices for lodging.
The trip itinerary was to fly to Las Vegas, Nevada, meet the other two members of the traveling party, and drive nearly three hours to Zion (stopping for groceries in Hurricane, UT, on the way). Three nights in Zion, drive nearly 5 hours to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon lodging area, and two nights at GCNP. A two hour plus drive to Sedona, two more nights, and then the 2 hour drive to Phoenix for the flight home. That was the basic plan, eight days and seven nights, and google maps was and is an excellent, invaluable tool, for mapping out the drive, including the anticipated times and possible side-trips along the way.
As for the lodging, my first choice for Zion was the Zion Lodge in the national park. On my previous two visits, I stayed in charming Springdale, Utah, immediately outside the western gate of Zion National Park, in the Cliffrose Lodge. On this occasion, being quite off-peak, I was able to secure a reservation at Zion Lodge, and I was especially excited to do so. The Cliffrose remains on my recommended list, but I prefer to stay inside national parks, when possible. It enhances the experience in so many ways.
At the Grand Canyon, my first choice was the El Tovar, the historic Grand Canyon lodge built in 1905, and located on property on the South Rim. The South Rim is blessed with a lot of traveler attention, year round, and I was much too late in planning to get a room here. My second choice was the Kachina Lodge, immediately next door to the El Tovar, and sporting internet photos abound that evoke images of a cross between an old Howard Johnson’s motel and a college dormitory built in the 1960’s. In other words, not very inspiring!
Finally, in Sedona, I read pages and pages of Trip Advisor postings and travel guides before I settled on the Enchantment Resort. They had a nice website, a spa, seemed luxurious, and, the clincher, were running an “internet special”- I booked the room. This reservation was the one I made last, as there were an abundance of choices, and it did not seem likely that we could possibly get shut out of something desirable.
The only other non-lodging reservations I made were for a guided Grand Canyon hike (Just Roughin’ It was the vendor) and for dinner at the fancy (schmancy) restaurant at the El Tovar, both for the Sunday in the middle of the trip.
How did it turn out? Next time…