Posted at 1:02 pm by taryngirl, on December 1, 2022
Our next stop around the loop was the Mud Volcano area. This was a small trail, and this entire area had a sulphur smell.
View from the parking lot towards Dragon’s Mouth Spring.:
Dragon’s Mouth Spring:
This whole area was so interesting! So many different things all in one area! You can see the Yellowstone River here.
While we were on this trail….this spectacular event happened! Walking on the trail around this area, and you could hear a rumbling coming. A bunch of bison came running! There was no time to even react or move out of the way. Kind of scary with nowhere to go. Standing still was the best option at this point.
After leaving the Mud Volcano area, we continued on to the Upper and Lower Falls.
This is just part of Hayden Valley. This is typically an area where you can see a lot of wildlife.
View of the Upper Falls:
This view was just unbelievable! The changes in terrain, they types and amount of trees…it was all just amazing! You could see hoof prints in the sides of this. I was looking the entire time for mountain goats but sadly did not see any.
View of the Lower Falls:
We really wanted to get to Grand Prismatic, but we were starting to get tired. We decided to continue on and just make a couple of stops before returning to our hotel. Here you can see the road closure due to the flood. This was going north at Norris:
We stopped at the Norris Geyser Basin to explore a little bit.
Here you can see the boardwalk that goes throughout the different geysers.
Overall, our day was great! There was so much exploring, and so much more yet to come.
Up next…Old Faithful! We couldn’t resist stopping on the way home to the hotel and dinner.
Posted at 2:06 pm by taryngirl, on November 1, 2022
Two weeks prior to us leaving for this trip, Yellowstone National park experienced devastating flooding and was actually completely closed for a little bit. We were unsure what was going to happen for our time there, but figured there was enough all around that we could do just in case the park was totally closed. The trip was still on! The north entrance near Gardiner was heavily affected and that is where we were to spend some of our trip. We scrambled to secure different accommodations in other areas of the park, and rearrange our touring plans. Once the park did reopen, they instituted a license plate entrance system. Plates ending in odd numbers could enter on odd days and even on even. This split our group up but it ended up working out just fine.
We arrived at our lodging late the night of the 24th after leaving Jackson Hole. The drive was about an hour to get to Headwaters Lodge Flagg Ranch, which is located near the southern entrance to Yellowstone. It was dark and we couldn’t see a thing…but we eventually found our cabin through some trial and error!
Fun fact…the heat was not automatically turned on in our room, and we woke up in the morning with the temp around 46 degrees! The room was perfect for what we needed. There was no television or mini fridge. I loved the location and would definitely stay here again! Here are the girls on our cute little porch in the morning before we headed out to the park. It was COLD! High 30s I think in the morning??
We left around 7:30 a.m. Our plan for this day was to enter at the south entrance and go counter clockwise around the lower loop as far as we could get before reaching our physical limit. The lower loop was 96 miles. We were using the GyPSy Guide app for this park as well.
We couldn’t resist pulling over to catch some amazing views…and we weren’t even through the gates yet!
When we got to the entrance, they did have staff out checking license plates. There was no traffic back up for us to get in.
Our first real stop was West Thumb Geyser Basin. This area bordered Yellowstone Lake and the views were simply breathtaking! There were so many different geysers and springs.
(As a note, just recently someone died here. They found a foot floating in a shoe and that was all that was left of the body. So please take these signs seriously!)
It was COLD this morning! There were some slick spots on the boardwalk while walking around.
There were so many little “pools!” I tried to take a photo of the name in front so I would remember.
After leaving West Thumb, we continued our drive around the lower loop towards Lake Village and Fishing Bridge.
We finally spotted our first wildlife in the park!
This is one of my favorite pics from the whole trip!
We made a small pit stop, as suggested by our Gypsy app.
We saw some really neat looking ducks! The currents were pretty strong and they were just bobbing along like nothing was happening!
Posted at 7:57 pm by taryngirl, on October 21, 2022
9/24-26/22–Saturday, Sunday, Monday
My cousin, and traveling partner, has a place in Anna Maria Island. A few months ago she asked me if I’d like to go down with her for a girl’s trip. YES, OF COURSE! I love this area. The beach is perfect with white sand and shells, and usually very calm, clear water.
HOWEVER! Right before we were getting ready to go, a “tropical system” was developing. As our husbands were sending us off, one was all…”have a great adventure!” While the other was all…”you guys are nuts!” Haha!
We usually fly from Lehigh Valley Airport on Allegiant. It’s a super small airport, and way better than Philly! It’s less crowded, usually reasonably priced and the flight is quick. I have the Allegiant credit card, so besides priority boarding, I get one free drink of any kind. They have these new, cute little mixers!
At this point the Tropical Storm/Hurricane was supposed to be centered somewhere around Tampa on Wednesday, which is just north of our location.
Our other cousin that lives in Bradenton picked us up from the airport and drove us to the condo. We had to take stock of the grocery situation and hit the store. Already there were signs for limits on water, and it was practically sold out, as well as toilet paper.
We got Publix subs to have for dinner. (If you haven’t had one, I highly recommend!) We did want to check for water somewhere else, and luckily the CVS on the island had some! Here’s a gorgeous sky while crossing the bridge.
This evening was pretty uneventful. We did see that Jim Cantore was going to be in Clearwater Beach which slightly panicked us since we were just south of there.
Our plan for Sunday was a beach day! And it was perfect to say the least…
It truly was the perfect beach day. We stayed until just before dinner time. The beach was actually pretty full of people considering a hurricane was on the way. We didn’t see anyone on the island really preparing their homes or businesses yet.
We went home and showered and headed out to meet our other cousin for dinner at a new-to-us restaurant called Old Hamburg Schnitzelhaus.
This place was SUPER CUTE inside! It was like we were sitting in someone’s kitchen.
Here’s a peek at the menu along with some specials:
I couldn’t pass this goodie up!
There were so many good things on the menu, that I really couldn’t decide…
I finally decided on the Beef Stroganoff! It was DELICIOUS!
Someone else ordered the Italian Schnitzel:
And someone else ordered one of the specials:
There was also a side of the warm German potato salad. It was good!
None of us were still hungry, but we saw a waitress carrying this past our table to another family and couldn’t resist ordering our own. This is the Apfelstrudel and it was AMAZING!
We all really enjoyed this restaurant, and I would definitely eat there again!
Monday we woke up and wanted to have one more beach day before we left. We still had perfect weather!
As we were getting ready to leave, the clouds were rolling in. They were not even from the hurricane yet though! This was just a normal Florida afternoon rainstorm on the way.
The beach was noticeably less crowded. Preparations were underway now on the island. We saw several businesses boarding up with the same supplies that they used for Hurricane Irma. We also saw people getting their sandbags to put at their houses.
Once we were back, we showered, ate dinner, packed up and got ready to head to Orlando. I had booked Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort with my DVC points on Saturday when we arrived. We decided leaving Monday would be better to try and avoid a ton of traffic fleeing Tampa on Tuesday.
Posted at 6:21 pm by taryngirl, on September 28, 2022
We woke up early in the morning to check out of our hotel and begin our trek to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It was almost a 5 hour drive to get there. Our plan was to check out the town and then hit a covered wagon dinner before checking into our next lodging.
The drive was so beautiful! It still amazes me all of the different landscapes, just in one section of our country. We were at a stop light when I looked to the left and spotted these bird nests on the side of this small mountain!
The entire trip so far we had been searching for any kind of different wild life. WE FINALLY SPOTTED SOMETHING! I had to google to see exactly what animal it was. It was a Pronghorn. We learned that this is the fastest land animal in the western hemisphere! It’s the second fastest animal falling just behind the cheetah. This was the first of many we would see over the next several days.
I had to include this. We had been driving for a few hours and Devon realllllly had to use the restroom. There was NOTHING in sight for miles and miles. We pulled up to a construction stop light (where traffic was only one lane for awhile), and this fella was sitting right next to us. Heck to the N-O would I go in this. But Devon did. And, she proclaimed it the cleanest portapotty she had ever been in! HAHAHAHA!
Just look at THIS! I could not get enough of the landscape!
We were starting to get closer!
We made it into town about 2:00 p.m. We had reservations at a covered wagon cookout at 6 p.m. So we had a little bit of time to check out the super cute town.
We loved all of the little shops!
At 5:45 p.m., we made our way to Bar T 5 Covered Wagon Cookout. It was very easy to find, and just outside of town. They guided us as we pulled into the parking lot so that they could fit everyone.
We checked in at the ticket office and they assigned us a wagon which would then also correlate to our table number once at the cookout.
Everyone was directed to this seating area to wait for the pre-show.
I’m not sure why, but I don’t have any pictures of the lady who was doing the story telling! So we sat here and she told the history of Bar T 5. It was very interesting!
She then introduced all of the horse teams with their drivers and sent us free to find ours.
Our horses names were Maverick and Goose. Here you can see our caravan heading to the cookout site:
Here’s a look behind us:
Here you can see the tables where we would sit to eat and watch the show:
The food serving area:
The food was good, not outstanding, but not terrible. You could go up for as much as you wanted of anything. After dinner, they performed a little show for us.
It was entertaining and fun! Here is my daughter with some of the entertainers:
Here are our horses!
After the show, we all went back to our wagons to return to our cars. From Bar T 5, we started our trek to our next lodging just outside of Yellowstone National Park.
Overall, Jackson is a super cute town. The Bar T 5 was a fun family experience!
Posted at 1:02 pm by taryngirl, on September 21, 2022
Continuing on our journey, we checked out of our house in the morning, and started the more than 4 hour drive to Park City, UT. Along the way, we stopped at Bridal Veil Falls near Provo.
We were checking into the Sheraton Park City. Once we made it to town, we were starving. We had reservations at Olympic Park at 2:00 p.m. for some adventure activities, so found something right next to our hotel since we only had one hour. Fuego Bistro and Pizzeria was amazing!
Everything here was SO GOOD! Everyone wanted to come back for another meal to try something else. The service was good, and the location was perfect for us.
After eating, we drove directly to Utah Olympic Park. We had bought the 3.5 hour Summer Gold Pass Session that included unlimited use of the Alpine Slide, Extreme Tubing, Extreme Zip, Freestyle Zip, Discovery Course, Canyon Course, Drop Tower, Airbag Jumps, and Scenic Chairlifts. This was $85 per person. There are different packages you can purchase, and if you don’t want to purchase anything, you can still go inside and look at the museum and walk around the grounds.
I personally did not purchase a package, but I did go inside to look at the museum.
I also sat and watched some ski jumping.
The first stop for activities was the Alpine Slide. We were told that gets the longest line. Unfortunately it wasn’t within view of where I was, so I have no pics of it!
Next they tried some extreme tubing. There were 3 different levels for this as you can see in the picture.
This was way scarier and steeper than it looks! It was also super fast. One flip of the tube and I just imagined limbs breaking. Ha!
Next they went to the zip lines. This was SO FUNNY! You had to weigh 100 pounds to ride this. Kinsey was 99 pounds. She trickled down the zip because she was so light! The adults coming down were much faster. You can see Devon coming down first. They were released at the same time.
From here, Kinsey really wanted to do the Discovery Ropes Course. A very nice man in a golf cart drove us up the huge hill to the other side of the grounds.
This ended up being harder than they expected, and everyone got a very good workout!
They also tried some Airbag Jumps.
Overall, it was a really fun time and a nice break from driving in the car and just sightseeing. We headed back to actually check into our hotel and figure out dinner plans. We knew we wanted to eat somewhere right on the main strip of town. We ended up at Tekila Mexican Grill & Cantina.
The service was a little bit strange, but the food was good. I also had a mango margarita!
After dinner we shopped a little bit before heading back to the hotel.
Posted at 10:42 am by taryngirl, on September 20, 2022
I was fortunate to be chosen to attend a training in California with some other travel agents from our agency. The mandatory parts were one day in Disneyland and one day in Disney’s California Adventure. My bestie Chrissy and I decided to extend our trip and visit Universal Hollywood and sightsee around the Los Angeles area. We flew in a few days early to do this.
We had an evening flight from Philadelphia that connected in Nashville. We ended up delayed and delayed and didn’t arrive to Los Angeles until about 11:30 p.m. local time (2 hours later than we were supposed to). We rented a car from Budget, and upon arrival, they didn’t have the car I already paid for, but instead offered me a mini van or pick up truck… That unfortunately was not going to work for me! So they offered us a huge SUV for $25 more per day.
Los Angeles was just coming off of a heat wave and had the first day of rain in weeks. We were lucky enough to drive in it on the 405! It took about 30-45 minutes to get from the airport to our hotel.
We were booked for two nights at the Best Western Plus Media Center Inn & Suites in Burbank. We made our way there, and checked in around 1:00 a.m.?? It was soooooo quiet. We had to park two levels below the hotel and take an elevator up to our room. We got to the room…the keys did not work. We lugged everything back to the lobby and he gave us two new keys. We got back up to the room…the keys did not work. I told Chrissy to stay there and I’ll go down. I’m waiting for the elevator and the door opens. THE MAN IS THERE! He scared the crap out of me. He told me he saw us on the cameras and that they keys didn’t work. So he came up to investigate. He couldn’t get it to work either, so he went down to get keys for a new room. We were so tired and just exhausted. He was very apologetic!
We were very happy with the location of the hotel. It was very close to Universal, Warner Brothers Studio, LA sights, and the major highways. They served a complimentary breakfast that included waffles, sausage, eggs, cereal, yogurt and a bunch more. It was good! The front desk staff was nice and I appreciated offstreet parking. I would stay here again. Need a hotel booked? I can also book that for you!
We weren’t really sure what order we were going to do things in because it was supposed to rain all day Saturday. We didn’t really want to do Universal or sight see in the rain. Once we woke up, we could see the rain was stopping and decided to make this our Universal day. We decided to drive and park there so that we could do something after if we wanted to (vs. taking an Uber). We got moving and got to the parking lot around 9:30 a.m. The park opened at 9:00 a.m. Parking was $30 for regular parking.
Once parked in the parking garage we headed toward the park. To get there, we had to walk through City Walk. This City Walk was much different than the one in Orlando! Some of the shops and restaurants were the same, but the layout was not the same. It seemed smaller and more closed in. Shops were one after the other, connected along a walkway.
This is where we entered:
You can see here how narrow the path was.
They also had a Voo Doo Doughnut shop. It was empty! No line at all. Much different from the Orlando one where the line often queues up outside the shop.
This part was cool! It was kind of enclosed with this very unique roof.
We actually spent some time in this giant candy store, because this is where I got souvenirs for my kids!
(These were cereal box sized!)
This entire display was made of jelly beans!
We didn’t eat at any restaurants here, but we did check out the various shops. It was a good variety!
Posted at 10:59 am by taryngirl, on August 16, 2022
For our Arches National Park day, we rented a house in Moab through Arches Vacation Rentals. With 3 families, it was a much cheaper option than getting three hotel rooms for two nights. Since it was a regular house rental, we had a full kitchen and plenty of room for the kids to run around. The name of this property was Desert View.
A quick review of the house itself…
The grand total cost for this house (5/6 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms) for two nights was $1359.88. The view and location of this house could not be beat. It was about a 5-10 minute drive into the actual town of Moab, and about 15-20 minutes to the Arches National Park entrance. There was so much space in the house for all of us. The only thing that I was disappointed with was how the kitchen was stocked. There was definitely not enough of anything for the number of people the house holds…silverware, cups, etc. Also, to actually cook a meal…pots, pans, etc. We used the grill and that was fine. I did do a load of laundry here, and it was nice to be able to do that.
To get into the park, you needed to have a Personal Vehicle Timed Entry. We ordered this in early May as soon as we were able to. The cost was only $2.00, and you needed this to get through the gate. We chose 7:00-8:00 a.m. entry so we could get in early and beat some of the crowds.
If you read my previous post, you will know that we used the GyPSyGuide app.
We also used it in this park and it was amazing. He told us so many facts throughout the park, and places we definitely should or should not stop.
On this map, we entered at the very bottom near the Visitor Center.
Our first stop was Park Avenue Trail lookout:
Many of the stops had trails you could walk on. We did not walk on every trail. We did more of a “lookout” around the landscape.
At the next lookout, we could see a few different landmarks.
The Three Gossips, Sheep Rock, Tower of Babel, and The Organ :
The GyPSyGuide app provided so many additional details throughout this park. About the landscape, rock formations, animals, etc. etc. 100% worth the cost!
This park was amazing to me! The different formations all throughout were just beautiful.
This was one of my favorite parts…the Windows.
This was another favorite for me! It was a short walk to see the Double Arch up close.
You can see how massive this is based upon the size of the people underneath it!
Sand Dune was a favorite for the kids.
This whole area was full of sand! It was kind of like being on a beach with no ocean, and with huge rock formations all around you. We spent a good bit of time here.
It was about this time that some of us were getting very hot and tired, and some others wanted to take an actual hike. So we split into two groups. The girls and I headed to the grocery store to get some snacks, and then home to shower and take a nap while we waited for everyone else.
The others did a hike on the Primitive Trail in Devils Garden and then after that a few continued on to do another hike to Delicate Arch.
We only had one day in this park. It was plenty of time if you are just doing the lookout points and some of the smaller hikes. If you want to do more hiking, I would add a second day here.
I LOVED THIS PARK! I loved all of the parks we visited on this trip. Each one offered something completely different!
Posted at 10:19 am by taryngirl, on August 6, 2022
When first researching this trip, this was a “must do” on my list. The photos looked absolutely amazing, and I just wanted to see it for myself! For this “excursion,” you had to book a tour with a company. It is located on a Navajo Reservation and there were a bunch of rules that had to be followed. They stressed the importance of making sure you were there on time because the tour would leave without you, make sure you were in correct time zone, wear a mask, etc. I really wanted the morning tour because of the sunlight and heat factor, but they were completely sold out. The 2:00 p.m. was the only one left. The cost was $90 plus tax per person.
What exactly is Antelope Canyon? There are actually two different tours–Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon. We toured Upper. The Canyon is a slot canyon, which has been formed by flash floods passing through. The area experiences a monsoon season, and the rainwater causes erosion, and smooths the walls of the canyon. Our tour guide, Sonny, told us that the rainwater comes from dozens of miles away.
We woke up and got on the road about 10 a.m. The drive from the Grand Canyon to Antelope Canyon was about two and a half hours, and of course, the scenery was amazing!
We were supposed to be there to check in a half hour ahead of our tour time, and masks were mandatory inside the building and while on the tour. We checked in and were assigned a color.
Right at 2:00 p.m., the tour guides started shouting out their colors and we were grouped accordingly. We boarded these open air trucks for an approximately 20 minute drive–10 minutes on regular roads, and 10 minutes off road through the sand.
We were matched up with three other groups of people.
The ride was WINDY!
It was HOT! And once we hit the sand, it felt even hotter.
As we were pulling up to the canyon, we could see other tour groups that were just getting ready to leave. These were with a different company. So each company must be given certain time slots to have access to the canyon.
Once out of our truck, we headed to the entrance of the slot canyon. Everything here is ground level, unlike the Lower Antelope Canyon tour where you have to climb up and down ladders within the canyon. It’s also one way “traffic” through the canyon post Covid.
This was the first photo I took once partially inside.
It was at this point that the tour guide took my phone and put it on the correct settings to capture the light correctly. Ha! He also took several of the next photos for me, because he knew exactly at what angle to hold the camera, etc.
This one is called The Bear. You can see it bright in the middle there. It’s just the way the sunlight shines down from above throughout the corridor!
I took well over 200 photos of this entire experience. I’ve narrowed it down to my favorites and will include them below.
It really was AMAZING! Besides looking straight ahead, you had to look up, and behind you, and everywhere! The walk through was short, but our guide stopped every so many feet so we could get pictures and he could tell us more about the canyon. He took as many photos as we wanted. He was great with my girls, and used their phones to take pics too.
Right at the exit of the canyon, we saw this little guy.
To get back to the trucks, we had to hike up and over the top of the canyon. This is a change post-Covid.
This is the exit of the canyon.
Our guide told us they had to construct this walkway in order to keep the tours open, and “traffic” walking through the canyon going one direction.
Thank goodness it was covered, because it was HOT!
You can’t tell, but this is exactly where we had just walked through the canyon! It’s under the ground there.
This is the view looking up at the walkway from the parking area.
If you have mobility issues, this probably isn’t the best tour for you just based upon the exit. It’s about a 10-15 minute walk back to the trucks, but it’s on a slight grade, and large parts of it were not covered so you were fully exposed to the sun and heat. There was one person who they did escort out through the front and didn’t make her walk up and over, but that is definitely not the norm and is not guaranteed.
Overall, WE LOVED THIS DAY! It was the highlight of the entire trip for one of my daughters. It was so magnificent to see and I would highly recommend this tour if you are anywhere in the area.
We woke up bright and early on this day and hit the ground running. Our goal was to tour the Southern Rim starting at Mather Point and head all the way to Bright Angel Lodge. You can see on this map, the location of Yavapai Lodge where we were staying, and the Visitor Center/Mather Point where we were starting.
Here are some photos of the area around the Visitor Center:
They had tons of bikes to rent here!
The Visitor Center:
I can honestly say, I have seen pictures of the Grand Canyon, and had an image in my head, but nothing really prepares you for the real thing! That first look once getting to the edge is AMAZING!
If you look closely in this one, you can see a condor sitting on the rock!
I walked around to the next lookout so I could get closer.
I took so many photos, and just choosing a small sampling to share here.
There were so many amazing spots to look out over the canyon.
I did have my good camera with me, so was able to zoom in to some things further down into the base of the canyon.
It was starting to get really hot. We made it to Verkamp’s Visitor Center and ate our packed lunch. It was at this point that some decided to continue on to the Bright Angel Trail to go down into the canyon some. The girls and I did not. We hopped on the shuttle bus to head back to the market to shop, and then to rest in the room until dinner time.
While on the shuttle bus, we did see some deer and elk.
After a nice rest in the room, we got ready for dinner. We were heading into the closest town of Tusayan, which was about 7 miles away. We Cook Pizza and Pasta was where we ended up. It was pretty crowded, but it didn’t take long to get our food.
It was all really good and we were happy with our choice! After dinner, we went back to Mather Point to watch the sunset.
Next up was a Star Party! We just happened to be here during the time period for this special event.
I was super excited for this. When we were in Hawaii, the telescopes were my favorite part! After the special guest speaker, we were able to look through 50 different telescopes to see different stars, galaxies, satellites, etc. IT WAS AMAZING! As it got later into the night, you could clearly see the Milky Way.
This photo was taken with my phone and the best I could get of the stars!
Next up is our tour of Antelope Canyon! And definitely a highlight of our whole entire trip.
I am so sorry this has taken me so long to get started! We went straight from our trip out west, to a week at the beach!
My first post is going to be all about June 19th…the first day of our trip. When we first got this trip in our heads, it was very overwhelming. “Out west” could include so many different National Parks, as well as various other stops along the way. I knew for sure some of what I definitely wanted to do. Here’s our first full day recap:
June 19th: Flew into Phoenix, AZ, rented a car, and drove to Yavapai Lodge located on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. I also want to mention a vital piece of our entire vacation…the GyPSy Guide. It’s a paid app that includes interesting and informative commentary that plays automatically as you drive. There are different areas where these tours are available. I purchased the Grand Canyon National Park South Rim and the Yellowstone/Grand Teton combo. I honestly don’t know how people tour without this! It was amazing!
Our flight was on Southwest Airlines departing at 5:30 a.m. from Philadelphia to Phoenix, connecting in Chicago. We left home around 2:15 a.m. to park and get shuttled to the airport. For this trip, we used Jet Stream Parking. I have used them numerous times in the past because they seem to be the most economical when comparing pricing. They usually offer a coupon which is listed directly on the home page of their website. Our flights were $205 per person on the way out and parking was $155.00.
Our flight went off without a hitch. We had some time during our layover in Chicago so got some breakfast. We then landed in Phoenix with no issues either around 10:00 a.m. Once landing and hitting baggage claim, we made our way outside to the shuttle that takes you to the rental car location. All of the rental car companies are located in one big building. (not connected to the airport)
Our rental car was through Budget. The rental car market is tough right now! If you are planning a trip where you need to rent a car, do it as soon as possible! Prices have gone up, inventory has gone down, and there are even some locations that will not let you pick up at one location and drop off at another. I can also book rental cars for you, so just contact me! Our car was reserved for June 19th pick up in Phoenix until June 28th drop off in Bozeman. The cost was about $1300.00 not including gas! We had no issue picking up the car and getting on the road.
Our drive from Phoenix to the Yavapai Lodge was 3.5 hours. We went through Flagstaff and stopped for groceries there, as it was much cheaper than purchasing from the market in the Grand Canyon National Park. We bought some things for breakfasts and to pack lunches. Granola bars, apples, oranges, bread, turkey, cheese, tortillas, bananas, gallons of water, chips, zip loc bags, paper towels. I had also brought along a Thirty-One Thermal to pack our lunches for the days while we were in the parks. It was perfect because it was collapsible and fit inside our luggage. I strongly encourage you to research your routes prior to going on your own trip out west! I joined some Facebook groups for tips and to read trip reports.
After making a stop for lunch at Culvers, we got back on the road and arrived at Yavapai Lodge around 4:30 p.m. Two other families were meeting us here from Las Vegas. Culvers is a new found love of my girls! We ate there in Florida and were happily surprised to find one in Arizona!
At Flaggstaff, I opened up the GyPSy Guide app, because that’s where the tour began for the Grand Canyon South Rim. We named our tour guide Frank! He told us all kinds of interesting facts about the area during the drive to the Canyon. One of the stops he mentioned was the Chapel of the Holy Dove. We never would have stopped here if he didn’t tell us about it!
This was a super neat stop and completely made me a believer of the GyPSy Guide! It made me look forward to whatever was coming next.
It was at this sign where we realized we did not have the America the Beautiful National Park Pass that we already had paid $80 for… There was no way to get into the park without a pass so we had to buy a new one at the gate…
Yavapai Lodge was the perfect location for touring the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. It’s actually located IN the park just steps away from the market, dining options, and a shuttle bus stop. It’s a very short drive to the Visitor’s Center.
We booked a King Family Room which included a king bed and a set of bunk beds, which the girls preferred so they didn’t have to share a bed.
Overall, I was extremely happy with this lodging! I loved the location, the bed set up, the food options, the market, free shuttle and so much more. The cost for two nights was $505.00 which I thought was fantastic.
The two other families we were traveling with (sister in law and brother in law and their families) arrived a short time after we did. We met up and had some quick champagne. My girls were exhausted and starving, so we went to dinner and the rest of the crew went to see the sunset from Mather Point.
There were two different dining options here. A dining room that had a buffet and a set price and a few a la carte items, or the tavern that had pub type food. You ordered at a counter and then went to your table and they brought it to you. Post-Covid they didn’t have typical waitresses.
We chose the Tavern:
Devon got the Avocado Toast, I got the Tavern All American Burger with the potato salad (WHICH WAS SPICY!), and Kinsey got a plain pizza. We all agreed the food was realllllly good, but it took forever to get it. It was packed!
After dinner, we went home and went to bed so we were ready for our first full day in the canyon!