USA – Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah – Part 1 of 2

In September 2017 my Dad and I went on a one week trip to the USA to explore the beautiful scenery that Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah have to offer. I started my blog series in 2016 but due to 2017 being such a busy year for travel I actually forgot to write about this.

2017 USA Road Trip

Our trip started and ended in Las Vegas, Nevada. The reason for us starting the trip here was the frequency of flights offered from our home city of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Non-stop flights can be had on Air Canada Rouge, WestJet for around $300-500 return if booked 45-90 days in advance. The savings can add up even more if you book a hotel and flight package.

We arrived on an evening flight and stayed at the Desert Rose Resort, which went for roughly $130 CDN a night back in 2017, but with a recent renovation has gone up to roughly $300 CDN a night. I can almost guarantee that you’ll get better value staying elsewhere now.

The next day we drove to Page, Arizona where we stayed the night. We had a few stops along the way at some nice slot canyons, but nothing as amazing as what we were going to visit the next day.

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Accommodation in Page was at the Motel 6 for roughly $60 CDN. For dinner we ate at State 48 Tavern, which I highly recommend. We both had burgers and beer.

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On Day 2 we woke up early and drove into the center of town to get picked up by Chief Tsosie Slot Canyon Tours to take us for a half day tour to Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon. When we used them they drove us out in 20 year old pickup trucks with cages in the back, but they have recently upgraded to very nice shuttles that have air conditioning. Either way I highly recommend them!

Antelope Canyon is a two separate slot canyons located near Page, Arizona. Upper Antelope Canyon is known as “The Crack” and Lower Antelope Canyon is known as the “Corkscrew”. The Navajo also refer to Upper Antelope Canyon as “the place where water runs through the rocks”, and Lower Antelope Canyon as “spiral rock arches”. The canyons are formed by the erosion of the Navajo Sandstone due to flash flooding. Rainwater during the monsoon season runs into the slot canyons, picks up speed, and over time erodes away the sandstone, thus deepening the canyons. Flash flooding can occur suddenly and care must be taken; one such incident occurred on October 30th 2006 for 36 hours, and caused the Tribal Park Authorities to close the Lower Antelope Canyon for five months!

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After exploring Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon we explored Horseshoe Bend, which was just a few minutes away. Horseshoe Bend is a horseshoe shaped meander of the Colorado River. The river has an absolutely beautiful blue-green tinge to it.

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After visiting Horseshoe Bend we drove to Flagstaff where we stayed the night at the beautiful Courtyard by Marriott for about $165 CDN a night. At the time it had just opened a week prior and still had the new hotel smell (formaldehyde). For dinner we ate at Flagstaff Brewing Company. The food was okay, but fairly greasy. The beer was very good though!

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On Day 3 we drove to Albuquerque, stopping at the Puye Cliff Dwellings about 1.75 hours north of Albuquerque. I forget where we stayed to be honest. We stopped at Nemesis Brewing Company for dinner and some beers. The food was quite delicious and the beers were extremely delicious; they even had some IPA’s which are my beer of choice.

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Be sure to check back soon for Part 2 of 2 of this USA road trip!

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August 9th 2016 – Melborne and Darwin

Today i slept in a bit, which was wonderful. I feel like I have not been able to catch up on sleep since I started my trip due to the early mornings. I had a lazy morning at the hotel editing photos, writing my blog, and making breakfast (more eggs, ham, and cheese on toast).
I left the hotel at 10:00am and boarded the train into the Central Business District (CBD). When I arrived at Southern Cross Station in the CBD I put my large backpack in a locker for the day for $12. I walked around the lanes and arcades, as well as looked at more historic buildings. I was starting to get hungry at about 1:00pm so I went in search of a place where I could find some Kangaroo to eat. I found a Burger cafe that served a Kangaroo Outback burger. The burger was absolutely delicious, albeit pricey. $15 only gets you a burger without fries.

After I finished my burger I travelled north by tram to a park, which had a beautiful small conservatory, and some old buildings. I then travelled East, through the cricket stadium area, to the Royal Botanical Gardens, which are world renowned. There is a lot of art, and memorials dedicated to the men who served in the wars.

After that I walked through an artsy University area, and an area called South Bank (I think) before heading back to Southern Cross Station. I had two pints of beer and some noodles for dinner before going to get my bag from the locker.

After getting my bag from the locker I boarded a double decker express airport bus to the airport. The bus driver, who looked like he was about 16, was the most herky jerky driver I’ve ever experienced in my life. I was actually quite sick to my stomach by the time I got to the airport.

When I got to the airport I was given the good news that I could check my bag for free, which I ended up doing. The only downside is that I have to wait for my bag in Darwin after disembarking the plane.

My phone battery was dead so I sat down next to someone and plugged my phone into the wall next to her. She was laughing hysterically at a video she was watching so I asked her what she was watching. She said “Orange is the New Black”. We kept on talking television shows, politics etc., and then a bunch of other people joined in the conversation too, so it really helped to pass the time. It was about an hour before the flight now so I cleared security, which was the least busy security I’ve ever seen at an equivalent sized airport. I sat down near the gate and continued talking with the people.

It was time to board the airplane to Darwin at 9:00pm. I was handed a census form when boarding them airplane and was told it would be a $180/day (maximum of $1800) fine if I didn’t fill it out, and there would be census staff on the other end to collect the papers. I was told if I did not fill it out and was caught leaving the country without filling it out then I was subject to the $1800 fine. They seemed fairly strict, so I obliged and filled it out. It is a requirement to do the census even if you’re not an Australian citizen and just visiting the country.

The JetStar flight to Darwin was cramped but smooth. On arrival in Darwin I got my checked bag from the baggage carousel, and boarded an airport shuttle bus that delivered me right to the doorsteps of my hotel, called the Poinciana Inn. My room key was waiting for me an a safe in the wall, which I was given the key code for via email earlier on. Off to get about three hours of sleep before my outback adventures!

You may not hear from me for a few days due to the fact I probably won’t have service, but I know I will have service in three days. Check back regularly for the next installment of my great Australian adventure.

If you like the content that I produce and want to donate money towards my travel, or buy me a cup of coffee please feel free to contribute towards it. I really appreciate it.