The long ride home
Very early this morning we crawled out of bed and poured into the car for the start of our very long ride home. Today would take us from Utah through Colorado and into Omaha NE. It wasn't my best day at all. During the morning ride I ended up having an anxiety attack. The worst part of having anxiety is you never truly know when these situations will occur (at least not for me). Sometimes its brought on by something happening right then and there, sometimes its built up over time, and sometimes it happens for no real reason. Luckily with the help of a rest area sink I could splash myself with water, walk around a bit and try to calm down. After that I ended up falling asleep and I was out cold. I woke up when we were entering the Denver area. Sadly we didn't have any time but it would have been nice to stop and see family who live in the area.
Our next longer stop was in Kearney NE. Quite a few years ago we were driving from Boston to Colorado and we happened upon an amazing donuts shop! Delight Donuts is still there today but we found out that they close at noon. Needless to say my parents were disappointed they couldn't try the amazing donuts a 2nd time. We did go next door for some shopping at the Stagecoach. Here we found t-shirts, wooden gift sets, and several other goodies.
Pulling into Omaha NE we were in search of our hotel for the night. We had a reservation for the Home2Suites by Hilton Omaha West. We booked 2 rooms one being pet friendly. Wewere given 311 and 313 which were king bed studio's. The hotel was very clean, the rooms were of good size, and the rooms offered the usually amenites. The hotel is in a convenient area. There are lots of restaurants and shopping nearby.
For dinner we decided to order from the nearby Cheeseburger in Paradise. The restaurant staff was friendly, efficient, and very accommodating to my allergies. The food was fresh, hot, and flavorful.
The next morning we got up really early for our drive to Ohio. We had pre-booked a hotel in Ohio for the night before finally making it to Boston. We all had an amazing, exhausting, unique, challenging 2 week vacation but we also recognized we were ready to be home and out of the car. Why not just drive straight home?! I hopped on my phone, cancelled our hotel reservation, and settled in for the long drive. It was really nice to be home so early. We slept in a bit, go unpacked, and went to get groceries for the week. We enjoyed Sunday night in before back to reality on Monday morning.
It's now February 2017 and I've been reliving these memories as I write our story. I truly wish to go back and do this same itinerary. There is just something about the Southwest and those incredible rock formations that call to me. I usually find peace in the oceans (especially in the British Virgin Islands) but hiking in these serene settings is truly relaxing.
Moab UT and Dead Horse State Park
This review took place in October 2016.
I woke up to a big breakfast thanks to my father! Can't go wrong with Eggs, toast, bacon, and fruit especially when you don't have to make it! We all hopped in the car and made our way to Dead Horse State Park. We stopped at the visitor center first for a chat with the park guides and some souvenirs. Last year Greg, Fred and I hiked one of the trails but this year Fred got to relax in comfort with my parents. While they drove to the viewpoints Greg and I hiked our way up to Dead Horse Point.
We met Fred and my parents at Dead Horse Point where we walked around together for photographs. The area is great for families. There are restaurants, seating area, and beautiful views.
Before heading back to our AirBnb we drove up and down and back up the main road in Moab trying to decide on lunch!! 4 people with varying tastes and allergies can't always decide easily apparently. We finally opted for food from Fiesta Mexicana. The food was hot, fresh, and pretty tasty.
That night we hung in and had the insane task of organizing all of our stuff and all of our new purchases and pack up the car for the ride home. Luckily we had a very big Chevy Suburban!!!
Moab UT and Arches National Park
This review is from October 2016.
Breakfast time so let's try a new place.....or not. We ventured into Sweet Cravings Restaurant. Unfortunately there is not one thing on their menu that was or could be dairy free. I wish I was kidding but I'm not. Two people in the restaurant confirmed this. Greg and I opted for some black coffee's and sat outside in the gorgeous sunshine with Fred while my parents dined inside. Their experience wasn't much better. They both ordered biscuits and gravy and the biscuits were hard as rocks and the gravy tasted like uncooked flour.
Once they were done we drove up the way to Peace Tree Cafe where I enjoyed breakfast last year. I ordered my warm quinoa bowl with coconut milk, maple syrup, and blueberries. Greg also ordered their green monster juice. Both were perfect to go items and a delicious and not overly filling breakfast.
Today we were exploring Arches National Park which was a little for my parents and a little for us. My parents got to experience the park at the viewpoints and we got to have them watch Fred as we went off on short hikes. We got to drive through the entire park together and then my parents dropped us off to hike at a few areas. We hiked Park Ave, Double Arch, Sand Arch, and Broken Arch. Unfortunately a few roads weren't passable due to flooding and other hikes would have taken us a longer time than we wanted to make them wait. This park is truly one of my happy places.
Leaving the park we drove back into Moab for a late lunch at Eddie McStiffs. Greg and I dined here last year too and so we knew what we could expect. We were greeted and given a table right away on their pet friendly patio. Our waiter was very friendly, funny, and took great care of us. We ordered the Miso Shrimp, Fish & Chips (which were gluten and dairy free), and the cowboy reuben burger. Our order consisted of large portions, fresh ingredients, and perfect seasoning.
To end the day we went back to our AirBnb for a bottle of wine, snacks and some star gazing!
This review is from October 2016.
Early this morning we stripped the beds, wiped down the kitchen, and loaded up the car. We made our way out of town (with one last stop at Jackey Leighs for a bagel) then on to Bryce Canyon National Park. First up was a stop at the Visitors Center for some shopping and restrooms. We decided to drive all the way to Rainbow Point before stopping. Sadly almost all of our stops were fogged in but it was really unique to see the sights at the different elevations, in the fog, and to see the fog clearing. Bryce is definitely another park we would love to come back to and do some hiking.
Heading out of Bryce we drove the short distance to Mossy Cave trail. The waterfall was turned off for the season but it was a pretty and quick hike. Of course we had to take some silly photos of the men holding up the cave before heading back to the car.
Back onto Highway 12 all the way to Moab UT. Highway 12 is one of the most beautiful roads I have ever been on. The road scared me with it's heights and sharp edges, amazed me with it's towering rock formations, and calmed me with it's serene beauty.
We were all pretty hungry when we entered into Moab so before heading to our home away from home we stopped at The Blu Pig. Last year we dined here twice and enjoyed their pet friendly patios, the friendly service, and the delicious food. Since it was a long day we all opted for take out this time. The Hostess took our order and was conscious of my allergies. We ordered wings, brisket, pulled pork, tri-tip, and a variety of sides. The food was just as good as we remembered!
Our AirBnB was very easy to find thanks to the directions and maps we were given. We booked Red Rock Getaway for our stay. The unit is a 3 bedroom 2 bath property with a living room, kitchen, dining area, laundry area, garage, gated back yard, and all the amenities you would need. The property was kept up well, and was very clean. The only things we noticed is that the walls were a bit damaged probably from moving the furniture around. We also noticed that one of the chairs in the living room tips over very easily.
When I received our information about entering the property we were told that there would be 2 keys and a garage door opener on the counter. Unfortunately when we got there only 1 key was on the counter. I messaged them on AirBnb and didn't receive a response. The next morning I called the number we had for the housekeepers and was told that a previous renter accidentally drove away with them. This would have been good to know before we arrived so that we knew the garage wouldn't be an option but also so we didn't panic about the owners thinking we lost them and charging us for the loss.
Kanab UT to Zion National Park
Here we are at Coral Pink Sand National Park. The color of the sand is phenomenal and this was my first time visiting Sand Dunes. We frolicked around a bit climbing up and down the dunes until the skies opened up and decided to soak us! Running back up the dunes to our car wasn't what we were hoping for but it made for an adventure!
Back in Kanab we went for a late lunch at Big Al's Burgers. It's a pleasant surprise when a local restaurant is willing to accommodate my dairy free and gluten free needs! We all ordered burgers, french fries, onion rings, and lots of their delicious fry sauce!!! Our food came up quickly and we were able to eat at their outside picnic tables.
To end the night we stayed in at our AirBnb and just had some light snacks and then packed up to head to Moab the next morning!
In and around Kanab UT
In the afternoon we made our way over to the offices of Dreamland Safari Tours. We had pre-booked the Mystical Slot Canyon Tour. Dreamland Safari Tours does also allow dogs provided that others on the tour approve of the dog coming along. Luckily we had another couple with us who didn't mind Fred joining us. Our guide Brent met us at the office and it was just a short wait until the tour started. Brent drove us up past Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, then off road, and into the slot canyon. Brent was knowledge about the area, very friendly, but also wasn't obtrusive. I appreciated that Brent allowed us to experience the canyon and take photographs at our own pace. All of us thoroughly enjoyed this tour however Dreamland Safari lists this as recommended for all ages and abilities. I kind of disagree with this. My mother is a senior citizen and has knee issues which causes her to walk unsteady. During this tour we had to walk over loose rocks, climb some large rocks, and maneuver under a fallen tree. We were amazed that my mother did go through the entire tour (with the help of my father) but it's something to keep in mind if you have similar concerns.
After the tour we headed back to our AirBnb and make a nice steak dinner and shared our favorite parts of the day with each other.
Santa Fe NM to Kanab UT
This review took place in October 2016.
Early in the morning we left Sedona and made our way to our first stop of the day. We had previously been to the Grand Canyon South Rim but this would be the first for my parents. We found a parking spot easily and made our way to the visitor center area. My mother was unfortunately having a bad day with her knees but luckily there are several shaded areas for resting on the way up to the south rim. The 5 of us finally made our way to the Rim and we spent a couple of hours at different view points. Pets area allowed on trails above the Rim but I would love to go back and be able to go hiking in the canyon sometime.
When you are heading into the Grand Canyon South Rim and traffic starts to build up at the gates make sure you look around and see which gates are open. Apparently no one noticed the gate on the right hand side was open. We were able to by pass all of the traffic and sail right on through. Instead of heading back into the parking area we turned onto Desert View Rd to continue on to Kanab UT. Desert View Rd also offers multiple pull offs for beautiful and different views of the canyon.
Heading further north we were able to drive through Page AZ. In Page we got to take some peeks at Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Dam.
We have stayed in an Airbnb once before and we thought we'd give it a try on this trip. We booked a house in Kanab UT for 3 nights. Stewart's Point offered 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a great location, all the amenities you would need, and was very clean. Some areas of the house are a bit dated and there were some cracks in the wall but the home is very comfortable. I don't know if it's an Airbnb issue or an owner issue but I really wish all of the rules of the house were posted online. When we got to the house there was a booklet of rules. The rules weren't outrageous however it was a little shocking to arrive to that.
Leaving Moab in the very early morning we made our way into Colorado. Our first stop was lunch with Greg's grandparents. We picked up Five Guys (gluten free, dairy free, and soy free for me) and enjoyed a couple of hours in their backyard.
After a while we headed north and made our way to Greg's parents house which was our home away from home for the next few nights. His parents made us feel so welcome! We had our own room, bathroom, supply of wine, and a variety of foods I could eat. Fred thoroughly enjoyed running freely through their large house and naturally become the boss of them too. Fred also loved being able to chase the rabbits out of their yard which my in-laws also loved to see him do lol.
The next day I woke up with a terrible head cold! I should have known it was coming. I had a sore throat the day before and that's always the first sign. Next comes the stuffy nose, then the cough, then the chest congestion! Time to push on! We all pushed up our sleeves and started getting our crafting on! My nephews birthday party was How to Train Your Dragon themed. We made viking hats, shields, and more! This activity was fun but afterwards we were all looking forward to a nice glass of wine!
That evening we headed south to my brother and sister in laws house. It's so amazing every time we get together with our nephews! The only sad part was our niece being unable to come over. Naturally we gave our nephew his birthday present early lol so lots of playing ensued! Including me being locked up in jail by the birthday boy! I was let out of jail occasionally but the cops would chase me and lock me back up.
On our last full day we made our way back to the grandparents house for lunch and family time! At this point I am deathly ill and between blowing my nose and washing my hands I have unhappy skin! After lunch we headed back up to his parents house, grabbed some souvenirs for the boys that we forgot the day before and made our way back down south. After hanging with the kids for a while it was time for us to go and pack for the way home.
After we were done packing I did some research and due to my cold and the probability that Greg would catch my cold we altered our route home. Unfortunately, this ended up being a mistake but we did get home sooner than planned which all in all was good. The next morning we said thank you for everything, hopped in the car, and made our way east to Massachusetts.
The next day we made our way through Kansas. The day after through Ohio. The third and final day we made it home. We unpacked the car, realized we were both sick at this point and headed off to bed to get some rest before the work week started!
To finish day 7 we brought in our luggage, marveled at our view and then headed back into Moab for some dinner. We decided to try some BBQ at the Blu Pig. The Blu Pig has 2 pet friendly patios, amazing staff, and delicious food. For my full dinner review visit here.
Later that night Greg and Fred cuddled inside while I opted for some star gazing and photographs. My stubborn husband lol didn't want to believe that we would get cold at night so he didn't light the stove. Needless to say we were freezing! Poor little Fred was under the covers and curled up against us. If you are camping at Moab Under Canvas and it's going to be 50 degrees at night go ahead and light the fire.
This morning we definitely had a cold start and breakfast being a little late actually was a good thing. We got to let the sun warm us up a bit before heading out. For breakfast we enjoyed a burrito for Greg and Quinoa with coconut milk and brown sugar for me. Quinoa has become one of my favorite breakfast items thanks to this trip!
We packed up our day stuff and headed towards Moab to Arches National Park. Arches is is just a short drive back towards Moab and it is absolutely amazing! You can't believe your eyes and the pictures truly don't do it justice. Unfortunately only the parking areas are pet friendly. We would take as many photos we could within the pet friendly areas. At several stops especially at the Lower Delicate Arch Viewpoint and the Sand Dunes Arch Greg and I would split up. I would hike one area while he watched Fred and then vice versus.
After a few hours of driving around and hiking we were getting pretty hungry. We decided to try Eddie McStiff's for lunch on their pet friendly patio. For my lunch review visit here. After lunch we opted for some more sightseeing so we drove to Canyonlands National Park. Canyonlands is about a 40 minute drive from Moab and it's also well worth it. The drive to Canyonlands and Canyonlands itself is beautiful, vast and memorable. Unfortunately it has the same pet policy allowing dogs only in the parking areas. Since we were limited again we didn't spend as much time here as we would have liked.
For dinner we opted to have a little picnic back at our tent. We stopped by the State Liquor Store for some wine (not the best selection), Moonflower Community Coop for some prepared and allergen friendly snacks, and finally at the local grocery store for some cups and utensils.
Later that night we sat out on our deck relaxed and gazed at the stars. Greg definitely lit the stove tonight and we were toasty warm. The fire did eventually go out so the next morning was a bit chilly.
We knew we had a lighter schedule for today so we slept in a little bit. We gathered up our stuff and headed to Dead Horse Point State Park for some pet friendly hiking! The drive to Dead Horse Point State Park is also a beautiful sight and is about 20 minutes from Moab Under Canvas.
We pulled up to the visitor center and purchased our entry pass (The America the Beautiful Pass isn't valid for this park). From there we hiked the East Rim Trail to Dead Horse Point. The trail is easy to moderate although Fred did end up wanting to be in his carrier (we have found he does not like loose rocks for his walking path). For the feint of heart like me there are a few areas where the trail is just steps away from a cliff lol but I did make the round trip trek! You can easily spend several hours on this trail marveling at the amazing view points. The park also gives you wonderful feel of being in nature and realizing there are so many terrific ways to spend your life.
As we made it back to our car both of our stomachs were grumbling with hunger. For lunch we headed for BBQ at the Blu Pig for the 2nd time (the first night we arrived in Moab we went for dinner). We had another delicious lunch on their pet friendly patio and thoroughly enjoyed chatting with our waiter Joe.
On the way back to our camp we stopped at City Market for some snacks for dinner (you will definitely be full after eating a meal at the Blu Pig). I also find that grocery stores can be great for finding local foods as souvenirs for foodies in your life.
Sitting on the deck of our tent at Moab Under Canvas is one of the most relaxing moments of our trip. You are surrounded by beautiful scenery, the comforts of your tent, and wonderful staff. That evening I trekked outside in the dark and cold again for some night time photography. The next morning also provided me with some amazingly cool shots of the sun slightly on the horizon while the stars were still out.
We got a very early start to hopefully make it to the Grand Canyon before it gets too crowded. On the left side of the road we saw Bedrock and we had to turn around and take a few pics with the Flintstones for Porscha! A short time later and we arrived at the Grand Canyon South Rim. Oh I should totally mention that before we went on the trip we decided to purchase The America the Beautiful Pass which gives you access to over 2000 federal recreation areas.
The South Rim path of the Grand Canyon is pet friendly. It was really wonderful to be able to experience the Grand Canyon together. I was completely awe struck by the Grand Canyon and truly felt how small we actually are. During our time there we were able to see the 2015 Celebration of Art gathering. There were several artists set up all along the South Rim path. It was very inspiring to see each of the perspectives. Note: Don't be rude! If you like a piece of art and are interested in the artist ask if pictures are okay before just snapping away.
A short while later and we arrived at the Grand Canyon South Rim. We parked the car and followed along the paved pet friendly path. The views are indescribably beautiful and unimaginably vast! You realize how little we are in comparison and how there is so much more to be seen in the world.
After a few hours wandering around the South Rim we stopped into the gift shop. I don't think I've mentioned this yet but on Fred's carrier he has patches from his travels. In every city and/or state park we visited during this road trip we would pick up a new patch for him.
Next we drove the Desert View Drive and headed north to Moab UT. Once we were away from the Grand Canyon the scenery was a little on the boring side and we knew we had about an 8 hour drive to Moab so we just focused and kept stops to a minimum.
We finally arrived in Moab and drove past the city to our residence for the next couple of days Moab Under Canvas. I had heard finding the campsite was a little difficult but we found it easily. Once you get out of town you first pass a gas station on the right, then a drive way. At 12:33 in the video below you will see a Tee Pee on the right hand sign for Moab Under Canvas. The next paved right is the entrance!
For my full review of Moab Under Canvas visit here.