So it’s decided. Friday morning we’ll be leaving for our Colorado vacation. Here’s the plan at the moment.
We’ll aim to leave our home (knowing it’s in the capable hands of our house-sitter) around 8 am. We’ll drive our fully loaded Honda CRV thru the neighborhood Starbucks to grab a treat for the road, (which has become a traveling tradition) and head north on Arizona 51, then west on AZ 101 Loop to Interstate 17.
Once on the 17, we’ll be on our way north thru Flagstaff, AZ where we’ll probably grab a tank of gas and a quick bite to eat. Then on thru the somewhat desolate, but often beautiful Hopi and Navajo Nations covering northeastern Arizona, continuing into southeastern Utah, all the way to Arches National Park. It’s about 8 hours from home and promises to be our most scenic stop and detour along that stretch of the trip.
We recently discovered that next weekend is a “fee free” weekend for all national parks, which is good and bad news. Good that we don’t have to pay…bad that it may mean more people than would normally be expected. Hopefully since schools are starting in the southwest, most families will already be home preparing for the new school year.
We were considering going to Monument Valley as well, but we’re learning after all these years of traveling that it’s just not wise to cram too much sightseeing (and picture taking) into one day, so we’ll save MV for another time. It’s only about 5 hours from home and could be done in a long weekend.
After spending a few hours exploring and capturing the beauty of “Arches“, we’ll drive on to Grand Junction, Colorado for the night, where we’ll apparently be crossing paths with President Obama and his family. It wasn’t planned that way. I don’t think they’re expecting us…just coincidence. I hope we don’t have any traffic issues. Do you think he might be staying at the Courtyard Marriott where we’ll be? Of course not. I’m sure he’d choose the Residence Inn instead.
Anyway, if there’s not too much hubbub with the Presidential family in town, we’ll get a good night’s sleep at our favorite hotel chain.
On Saturday we’ll take our time driving the rest of the way (only about 4 hours) to our home base in Steamboat Springs. We probably can’t check in until early afternoon, so we’ll have plenty of time to get there.
I’m looking forward to settling in and getting the lay of the land. We’ll pick up a few groceries, (stop at the Farmer’s Market if we get there early enough), check out what’s around town, maybe post a few pics if we can find web access and relax for the night.
On Sunday we hope that our dear friends Randy & Linda will arrive to join us for a few days. This won’t be the first time that we’ve shared vacation time, but will be the first time without our kids. I take that back. I forgot about the time that we hiked down Havasupai Canyon as couples together. Of course, I was pregnant with Amy at the time, but didn’t know it, so it doesn’t really count as having kids there.
I’m so looking forward to some sweet fellowship, laughing, relaxing, and enjoying the great outdoors and beauty of Colorado with a couple of our favorite people. We might even get in a few games of Nertz so the girls can finally avenge our humiliating loss in the campground at the base of Havasu Falls in 1981 (but that’s a story for another time).
So, before I get too far off track, if any of you have been to Steamboat Springs or nearby and have tips on dining, hiking, shopping, sight-seeing, photo ops, etc., please let me know soon so we can add them to our list. We’re not looking for anything too crazy, just simple and fun.
Be sure to check back for vacation pics next week!