Day 1 – Orlando to Phoenix Airport and onto Flagstaff
Our flight arrived on time in Phoenix and we took the bus shuttle to the car rental Center. It was very easy to do, the airport was very organized, and baggage was delivered very fast at baggage claim. Overall, it is a very nice airport.
The money we thought we were saving by going with Advantage Car Rental was for naught because the rate was for a regular full size 4 cylinder car which just wouldn’t do very good with the high altitudes the agent told us. So we had to get bumped up to a Camry. This car works fine in the high altitudes. Advantage also added lots of additional fees which probably wouldn’t have been charged with the other rental companies. I guess all those “hidden” taxes really bumped up the price. We wouldn’t recommend this car rental company for the price was far more than what was advertised.
Glad we brought the GPS with us, plus there was one in the car. We had no problem getting out of the airport and onto Hwy 19 towards Flagstaff . There was a lot of traffic at 3:00 p.m., and it probably would have been really bad if we had gotten there any later. We loved looking at all the cactus on the side of the highway! It’s truly amazing.
Our first stop was Sunset Point which is a rest area and a scenic point to take pictures.
Then we went to Montezuma Castle which is before Sedona and right off Rt. 19. We arrived ½ hour before closing so we had to rush over to see the site very quickly. It’s amazing how the ancient people (the Sinagua’s) built their homes on the side of the mountains and lived in the cut outs using ladders to get up to the dwellings. All that is left is fragments of the dwellings but it is easy to see how they lived there. The visitor Center is very nice and explains the life of the people in detail. The gate closes at 5:00 p.m. sharp so we had about a half hour there and we didn’t have to pay the admission. It’s worth a stop there as it is truly amazing!
We got to Flagstaff (took about 3 1/2 hours) and checked into the Best Western on Rt 66. The hotel is nice and very convenient. There are many hotels to choose from in this area. For dinner we went to Salsa Bravo. We highly recommend this restaurant!! The food is fabulous. They also had a salsa bar where you go and get your own salsa for the fresh chips. The Pineapple Habanera was our favorite. I believe it was featured once on the Food Network Channel although we didn’t see it there. We were told by a friend that it was a good place to eat and it really was. It was also only 1 mile from the hotel.
Day 2 Arizona – Flagstaff to Page
This morning we drove to the Meteor Crater in Meteor City Arizona . Wow, this is a huge Crater in the earth where a Meteor fell from the sky, way back when. It really is HUGE and is definitely a site to see when visiting Arizona . It was so unbelievable windy there that it was kind of hard to take pictures of it. The visitor Center is very nice and explains information on craters, etc.
Our next stop was Winslow Arizona (actually it was a coffee stop) where Robert stood on the corner- - Hahaha “standing on a corner in Winslow AZ” like the song says. Cute photo shot of Robert!!
It was so fun to watch the tumbleweeds along our journey!! Robert caught one…
The Petrified Forrest was next on our agenda. We entered from the South side of the area from Holbrook on Rt. 40 and took the 28 mile drive north which put us back out on Rt 40. There was a nice visitor center (there is one at each end) and a place to actually wander through the petrified logs and touch them. There is an area here called the “painted desert” and it is just breathtaking. Somehow we ended up going through the Navajo and Hopi Indian Reservations to get to our next and final stop of the day which was Page Arizona . Wow what a trip this was! It actually took us 4 ½ hours to get there from the Petrified Forrest. We really should have taken the freeway with which we came but decided to venture out and maybe see more of the terrain. It was quite interesting and very strange; there were times when it was just so eerie and strange. The whole huge area is the Native American Indian reservation and while the scenery was so fabulous it was also kind of weird. So many of the dwellings we passed were abandoned and most of the ones we did see were so junky it was just disgusting to see. It reminded me of places in Mexico but maybe even worse. Anyway, there were miles and miles of road without seeing a single vehicle. Luckily we found one grocery store and a convenience store along the way which was a relief!! Anyway, we won’t ever take that route again.
Once we got to Page we checked into our hotel which was the Best Western Lake Powell and we received an upgrade to a very comfortable 2 room suite! We walked across the street to the Glen Canyon Steak House and had dinner.
Day 3 & 4 – Page to Williams, Arizona - November 21 & 22, 2010
We went to the Glen Canyon Dam this morning. The Glen Canyon Dam is the second largest dam on the Colorado River at Page, Arizona . The dam's main purpose includes generating electrical power, storing water for the arid southwestern United States , and providing water recreation opportunities.
Later in the morning we went on a tour of Antelope Canyon . It had rained during the night and it also drizzled in the morning so we thought perhaps our tour would be cancelled, but it wasn’t. It was fabulous! The pictures I posted are from inside the canyon.
After our Antelope Canyon tour we headed to Williams, AZ. Traveling on Rt 89 we experienced a sand storm, snow, hail and rain!! Yes, that was really strange. It’s still snowing in Williams as I write this. We went to the town (really cute little town!) and ordered a pizza.
The next day we took the Grand Canyon Express train to the Grand Canyon.
Day 6 – Phoenix Nov 24, 2010
We left Lake Havasau after walking around the little town and of course the London bridge. We were in a major traffic jam on the way to Phoenix so the trip took a lot longer than expected. On the way out of Lake Havasau we stopped at the Parker Dam. It’s a lot smaller then most, but it is the deepest one in Arizona . We stopped along the way to get a drink at Fox’s (floating bar in Parker) but it was closed.
Tonight we drove to Tempe to get a hot dog at Ted’s (only other one outside of Buffalo ). It was my first time going to one. It really was fantastic too. They grill them right there for you and serve them up numerous ways.
Day 5 – Lake Havasau City, Arizona – Nov 23, 2010
On our way to Lake Havasau , our first stop was at the Grand Canyon Caverns on Rt 66. This is a “dry” cavern, which was different from other caverns that I had gone to in the past. There were not many stalactites and stalagmites that one would see in the other caverns. Our tour guide was very good and shared some enlightening stories about the cavern. There is even a room set up in the cavern that you can rent at $700 a night.
Our next stop was the Rt 66 Museum in Kingman. This was very interesting to learn about the road Rt 66 and how so many travelers traveled the road in the great depression to go to California to start a better life. The sad story about how only 8% actually relocated to California because most were “turned away” from California . The Grapes of Wrath depicts the story and I know I must have read it growing up but now I realize what an important story this was. The road starts in Illinois and ends in California . The museum was great!
The next stop was the Mohave Museum . This museum was nice too. It is located right down the street in Kingman. The museum featured portraits of all the presidents and their wives.
Traveling on Rt 66 was like any other road except you could see all the vacant properties which one day were very prosperous and now sit vacant. Like the land time forgot, kind of sad.
We arrived in Lake Havasau and checked into our hotel named Heat. Super nice hotel, and our balcony looks right at the London Bridge . The décor is very modern. Robert says it smells like the perfume counter at Lord & Taylor. The room has a Jacuzzi tub, feather down comforter, work stations for our laptops; it is a very comfortable hotel!! For dinner we walked across the way and ate at Barley Bros. We had a great steak dinner and tried their brews! Robert tried the ale and I tried the Oatmeal Stout- very good!!
Day 8 – Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale - Nov 26, 2010
Today we went to see Taliesin West which was Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home in Scottsdale Arizona . It’s fantastic! We took the 90 minute tour. There were a lot of people there and every tour booked really fast. I was kind of surprised at how crowded the place was but after taking the tour I see why he draws a crowd with his architecture. There is a school of architecture there where many students of organic design study here. The students can even design a dwelling in the desert. There are tours also that take people out to see them. There is so much to see there and I definitely want to go back to see more of it. It’s fascinating.
We also went to the Desert Botanical Garden where we could get a close look at all the different varieties of cactus and other native desert plants. It was a very nice botanical garden.
Later in the day we met Robert’s cousin and her family at Gordon Biersch Restaurant in Tempe . This town is also where Arizona State University is. The town has lots of shops and eatery’s.