Utah landscape

I can’t believe that the Grand Canyon isn’t near the top of just about everyone’s bucket list. Unless, of course, they’ve been there.

In 2015 I decided it was time to check this one off the list. As I began planning, I decided there are so many other things worth seeing in the southwest, and I came up with a two‐week road trip itinerary. I would fly into Las Vegas and rent a car there, and then do a loop to the major points of interest in northern Arizona, northeastern New Mexico, southwestern Colorado, and southern Utah. My plans evolved somewhat, but eventually I decided to visit these places:

With stops along the way, I also got to see Hoover Dam, Flagstaff, Bandelier National Monument, Natural Bridges National Monument, Monument Valley, Antelope Canyon, Glen Canyon Dam, Red Canyon, and Valley of Fire State Park.

Photo Albums


Part One (577 photos — beginning through Taos)
Part Two (395 photos — Taos to the end, minus Bryce Canyon and Zion)
Bryce Canyon (99 photos)
Zion (184 photos)

Because not everyone will want to go through the thousand‐plus photos above, here is a highlights album:
Highlights (73 photos)

Blog Posts

My Southwest Road Trip (1/16/2015) - Southwest road trip?  Say what?!? Yes, after I did those posts about my Next #1 and Next #2 itineraries, I started thinking about a different Next. The Galapagos Islands. Wait, what am I talking about? What do the Galapagos Islands have to do with a southwest road trip? Well, I’m seriously thinking about Galapagos, but more…
Hoping for a good night’s sleep (1/17/2015) - I love the idea of rolling into some new town at the end of a day of driving around sightseeing, and finding some quaint, charming inn or some cheesy, retro motor lodge or a unique, classic, old hotel and deciding spontaneously where to spend the night. But I also love the idea of having a more…
More sleeping (1/23/2015) - I have reversed myself and decided to go ahead and book my lodging for the days I was going to play it by ear. There is something kind of thrilling about the spontaneity of not deciding where to stay until I get there, but weighing that against not having anywhere decent to stay, or being more…
A Change of Scenery (2/1/2015) - I have no idea why I didn’t consider this up front, but I realized yesterday that I could easily add Bryce Canyon National Park to my itinerary by skipping the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. So I posted a query on Facebook: with a choice between these two alternatives, which should I do. And more…
A day at the Grand Canyon (2/4/2015) - My flight lands in Las Vegas at 10:35 a.m. Assuming an hour to get my luggage and my car and get out of the airport, I hope I can get to Hoover Dam by 12:30. They have guided tours, but depending on the crowds and the timing, I may skip the tour and just stop more…
Flagstaff and Sedona (2/10/2015) - Day One is my arrival day; Day Two is my Grand Canyon day. On Day Three I make my way to Sedona, where I spend two nights. If I decide to take a flightseeing tour of the Grand Canyon, I’ll probably do that on the morning of Day Three. There’s one outfit that has helicopter more…
It’s Newer than Mexico (3/17/2015) - Of the five states I’ll be in on my southwest road trip, New Mexico is the one I’ve spent the least time in. I lived in Colorado for two years, I visited Utah on a long road trip from Illinois in the early 1990s, I went to an ACDA convention in Phoenix back in 1991, more…
Southwest Colorado (3/27/2015) - My plan, until the last few days, was to spend three nights in Durango, using it as a base to explore southwestern Colorado. But plans change. I have decided to stay just two nights in Durango and one in Telluride. The drive from Taos to Durango should take a little over four hours, plus time more…
Westward (3/30/2015) - Leaving Telluride, I have two days of westward travel in southern Utah and northern Arizona, ending up at Bryce, with an overnight in Mexican Hat, Utah. For these two days I plan to meander and enjoy scenery. I have a few options on which routes to take, and there are things I will have to more…
Bryce and Zion (4/14/2015) - I have a full day at Bryce Canyon National Park, and probably two half days at Zion. You’d think from reading about these parks that I don’t have nearly enough time, as they are large parks and there’s lots to see in both of them. Bryce The Bryce Canyon Pines, where I’m staying for two more…
Seattle to SeaTac (5/8/2015) - I’m at the Red Roof Inn in SeaTac. I have a clean, modern, generic room, which is better than I might have hoped for. I have a 5 am wake‐up call set for tomorrow morning, and I can either walk or take a shuttle to the airport. I took the light rail down here directly more…
Dam Impressive (5/9/2015) - Say what you will about how this thing messes with nature and destroys the normal, natural flow of the Colorado River; you can’t see this and not marvel at the extraordinary achievement. But first things first. The flight was uneventful. I usually get an aisle seat, but since it was just 2 hours, I opted more…
Nice Hole (5/10/2015) - My expectations of the Grand Canyon: It’s going to be hot. It’s going to be crowded and I’ll never be able to have a moment’s peace or solitude. I’ve already seen lots of pictures of it, and it’ll just look like the pictures. I won’t bother taking any pictures, because you can’t capture it in more…
Too much for one post (5/11/2015) - I should probably make three separate posts to cover today. But I won’t. If I did, the first post would be what it’s like to see the Grand Canyon from the air. But I don’t have anywhere close to the necessary vocabulary. Just look at the photos, which, by the way, don’t do it justice. more…
A Seattlite in the Sun (5/12/2015) - I stopped at a local grocery store this evening and picked up some fixin’s for dinner instead of eating at a restaurant. I did this because (1) I was too tired to sit in a restaurant and entertain myself while eating dinner; (2) I have been eating a lot of food that isn’t green, and more…
Fun with weather (5/13/2015) - I stopped for lunch yesterday (I was too exhausted to blog last night) in Gallup, New Mexico, which seems like it got stuck in time during the Route 66 era. It was probably 70 degrees in Gallup, and I walked around in a short‐sleeve shirt. A half hour further east, I drove through a lightning more…
Gabby Docents (5/14/2015) - Today was the first day of my trip that I didn’t use my car at all. I just walked around Santa Fe all day. I can definitely see the allure of this city. It has an arty, healthy, hip, funky vibe and even though it’s a small city (about 75,000 people), it has a lot more…
Ladders (5/15/2015) - I climbed some ladders today. Bandelier National Monument, about 50 miles northwest of Santa Fe, was on my list of things to do if you have several days to spend in Santa Fe, but since I only had one day, I didn’t anticipate going there. However, since it wasn’t too far out of the way more…
Pueblo (5/16/2015) - It turns out I didn’t know what a pueblo is. I thought it was a structure. But it is actually a community. In fact, the word “pueblo” comes from Castilian for town or village and has the same Latin root as the English word “people.” I visited Taos Pueblo today and learned a lot about more…
Perspective (5/17/2015) - One of the reasons I love traveling in Europe is because there is stuff to be seen that people built five hundred or a thousand years ago. In the USA, there’s nothing that old. Except there is. It was so nasty this morning, cold and rainy, that I considered not trying to drive the 35 more…
Twisty (5/18/2015) - I left Durango this morning, heading north on US‐550 through Silverton, Ouray, and Ridgway, then southwest and then southeast to Telluride. The drive was spectacular. They had a lot of snow in the mountains yesterday, so it was like driving through a winter wonderland. The road was also twisty as it climbed up and down more…
No Ocean (5/20/2015) - In the last two days I drove from Telluride, Colorado, to Bryce, Utah. I drove through a number of small towns, and the much larger communities of Monticello and Blanding, Utah, and I detoured to Natural Bridges National Monument before stopping for the night in Mexican Hat, Utah. Then I continued south through Monument Valley more…
Everything or Nothing (5/21/2015) - I’ve spent the better part of two weeks exploring some of the most stunning scenery I’ve ever encountered, and today in Bryce Canyon, everything I saw was as beautiful as everything I’ve seen. Which led me to wonder… If everything is beautiful, is anything beautiful? If you asked me what was the highlight of my more…
My Zion (5/22/2015) - I’m not posting any pics of Zion. Well, okay, just one. That’s the view from my balcony at Zion Lodge. Believe me, I’ve taken a lot of pictures since I arrived here this afternoon. But the wifi here at Zion Lodge is dreadfully slow. It took three minutes to upload this one picture! I also more…
Retrospective (5/27/2015) - So yeah, I didn’t blog on days 15 and 16. Here they are in a nutshell: Day 15 I hiked to Angels Landing in Zion National Park. (Except I didn’t go all the way to Angels Landing. I stopped at what is called Scouts Lookout or Scouts Landing. I thought the view from up there more…