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Meeting with wife after business trip and touring holiday.

by MF3106 Online Now Mar 22, 2013 at 1:26 AM

I'm finishing a work visit to the USA in Farmington, New Mexico.

My wife and I have decided that she should come over at the end of my trip for a driving / touring holiday for 3 weeks or so.

I have three questions:

1 – What would be the best place for her to on-fly onto in order to meet me. I'd prefer to avoid LAX if I could. Denver, Phoenix, Las Vagas come to mind.

2 – Suggestions for a driving/touring holiday for up to 3 weeks, ending at LA to fly back home.

3 – Our timetable could take in 4th July would it be worth staying for that day?

Thanks

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17 Answers
  • davidjo's Profile Photo

    Re: Meeting with wife after business trip and touring holiday.

    by davidjo Online Now Mar 22, 2013 at 3:22 AM

    I enjoyed Denver as the city is a mile high and you can sit on the steps of the Capitol Building where it is written on the steps and have your photo taken. You can also visit the Denver Mint where you can press your own dollar. The city has a good climate due to its altitude. For Denver attractions please look at the Denver VT page and the link below
    http://www.denver.com/attractions/

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  • davidjo's Profile Photo

    Re: Meeting with wife after business trip and touring holiday.

    by davidjo Online Now Mar 22, 2013 at 3:24 AM

    I attended two 4th of July parties at the Washington Mall where the Beachboys played with special guests. Around a million people attend this but not sure which musicians perform there these days, but if you get the chance to attend a gathering it should be fun

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: Meeting with wife after business trip and touring holiday.

    by goodfish Online Now Mar 22, 2013 at 4:15 AM

    I'm thinking Albuquerque would be the easiest place (shortest drive for you) to pick her up. Take 550 to I 25: a pretty straight shot, and you'd avoid slower mountain driving. We've done this route several times on day trips from Santa Fe to Chaco Canyon - which is not far from Farmington.

    A recommended driving tour would depend on your interests: what do you want to see and do? With the time you have, I think I would limit your tour to the western states - most of our most dramatic scenery is in this area - and there are simply tons of glorious National Parks in this region. One caveat? Accommodations near/in the parks will have largely filled for high season by now, and reservations are a MUST if wishing to visit in June/July - and especially July 4th. However, hotel bookings will be more possible over the holiday weekend in the western cities such as LA, San Diego or San Francisco so that may be a choice if wishing to take in some fireworks/festivals before flying home.

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  • QuigleyM's Profile Photo

    Re: Meeting with wife after business trip and touring holiday.

    by QuigleyM Online Now Mar 22, 2013 at 4:35 AM

    I would definitely say take a trip to the Grand Canyon. It's amazing and truly something to see in your lifetime. I would go to Las Vegas if you've never been before--they might also have a fun 4th of July--though it will be HOT! I would definitely consider driving along the California coast along Route 1--it's gorgeous and there are a few cute little towns along the way. And then you'd end up in LA.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: Meeting with wife after business trip and touring holiday.

    by goodfish Online Now Mar 22, 2013 at 5:00 AM

    Just to note (while we're waiting for a response about your interests): Farmington is fairly close to the fascinating ruins at Mesa Verde. If you can wrangle a day off during your business trip, take a day to drive up to the park?

    http://www.nps.gov/meve/index.htm

    Additionally, you could spend a few days in Santa Fe for your wife to rest up after her long flight and then backtrack up that way. Then head east to Durango, and then take the excellent drive (550 again) over the mountains, through the old mining towns of Silverton and Ouray, to Montrose. Can recommend a some other parks/drives from there but again, only if they're of interest.

    A few days in Santa Fe (our oldest capitol: a fascinating little city with terrific history and culture) or Albuquerque would not only allow her to rest up but to acclimate to the higher altitudes of the western states. Thinner air at 5,000 - 10,000 feet will only add to her jet lag without some time to adjust. The temps will also be more comfortable in the summer months.

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  • riorich55's Profile Photo

    Re: Meeting with wife after business trip and touring holiday.

    by riorich55 Online Now Mar 22, 2013 at 6:42 AM

    I agree with Goodfish that Albuquerque would be your best bet. Your wife shouldn't have any problem connecting out of LAX to Albuquerque (I'm assuming that's where she is arriving from Australia).

    A couple of other suggestions and ideas. For sure visit the Grand Canyon as you will be fairly close. We enjoyed Zion National Park on a trip we took to Las Vegas about 10 years ago. I would also stop by and see Yosemite National Park on your way back toward California. Stick to more of a Northern Route heading back to California. It will start getting warmer in June and early July.

    You will run into more crowds that time of year as schools start their summer vacations by the first of June. Be sure to take in San Francisco and allow a couple of days for that. My favorite U.S. city outside of my hometown of Chicago. You will have rental drop off charges in a rental car if you are renting it in one place and dropping it off in another. Be sure you check those prices before you make reservations.

    In San Francisco you do not need a car unless you stay outside of San Francisco itself. Parking is very expensive and you wouldn't want to drive on some of the hills. Also San Francisco has great public transportation. If you head in that direction and drop off a car in San Francisco you might want to consider taking the train between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Although if you spend anytime in Los Angeles you will need a car as it is not easy to get around that city without one.

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  • glabah's Profile Photo

    Re: Meeting with wife after business trip and touring holiday.

    by glabah Online Now Mar 22, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    I have flown into Farmington before as that was actually my cheapest option for where I needed to be, so you might want to at least check the price of flights going there. Usually it is expensive, but once in a while apparently not.

    There are a lot of Native American ruins in that area, including Chaco Canyon, and even Farmington itself has a few.

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  • travelgourmet's Profile Photo

    Re: Meeting with wife after business trip and touring holiday.

    by travelgourmet Online Now Mar 23, 2013 at 1:41 AM

    G'day Mate! Meet in Albuquerque, as already mentioned. 3 weeks and you can get a lot in and still have relaxed driving. I would head for Santa Fe: Santa Fe Travel Guide
    Then head west to Flagstaff for overnight as this would be a 6 hour drive: Flagstaff Travel Guide
    In the morning go to the Grand Canyon via US-89 N and then AZ-64 W that will give you a drive along the rim from Desert View to the Visitors Center: Grand Canyon National Park Travel Guide
    Next would be over to Las Vegas via the new bridge overlook of Hoover Dam and Lake Mead and then into Las Vegas:
    Las Vegas Travel Guide
    Now after 3 weeks, spending as long as you like in each area sightseeing off the beaten paths and the must do things, time to head to Los Angeles and LAX. Whatever you do, enjoy the western USA. Trust I wasn't an earbasher. :-)

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: Meeting with wife after business trip and touring holiday.

    by goodfish Online Now Mar 23, 2013 at 5:40 AM

    Lot of good ideas from the folks here!!!

    So I'll give you a nice National Park Tour - picking up from where I left off.....

    .....spend a few days in Santa Fe for your wife to rest up after her long flight and then backtrack up that way. Then head east to Durango, and then take the excellent drive (550 again) over the mountains, through the old mining towns of Silverton and Ouray, to Montrose (we have flown in and out of here, BTW). See some of Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP and stay the night.

    The shoot up to Grand Junction (we've flown in and out of here, BTW) and head west (I 70 to 128) to Moab, Utah, taking a short drive through Colorado National Monument along the way. Stay in Moab a couple of days to see Arches NP and the Island in the Sky unit of Canyonlands NP.

    Then head north on 191 to I 70 again and then south on 24 to Torrey and Capitol Reef NP.  Stop at Goblin St. Park along the way. Stay 1 night and take in the scenic drives/overlooks/easy hikes in and around the park.

    Head west out of Torrey on Hwy 12 to 63 and south in Bryce Canyon National Park. Hwy 12 is an American Scenic Byway: beautiful drive!!!!

    http://www.scenicbyway12.com

    See Bryce, stay overnight (try Ruby's Inn) and then backtrack out on 63 to 89 and south through Kanab to 89 A, continuing south to 67 and then into the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. TRY to stay the night (BOOK NOW). If you can't find a room there, try the Inn at Jacob Lake:

    http://www.jacoblake.com

    Backtrack north on 67 and 89A to 89 and then west on 9 to Zion National Park. Stay the night in Springdale. Don't worry about the backtracking as it's a pretty enough road to see both directions. :O)

    From Zion, shoot over to I 15 and down to Las Vegas. I'm not a Vegas fan but you might want to spend a night there.

    And from here you could go to San Francisco, and then take the coastal route to LA. I'd love to send you too Yosemite National Park along the way but it's going to be packed (ALL the parks will be busy but that one is especially so) and there's a time element. I'll have other members take over for a suggested route from Vegas OR you could catch a flight from Vegas to SF, spend a couple days there (no car needed) and then rent a car to take the drive down to LA.

    If you decide to take in all the parks suggested, buy the America The Beautiful annual park pass at the first park you visit as it'll be a great cost saving for you. One pass covers both of you:

    http://www.nps.gov/findapark/passes.htm

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  • GracesTrips's Profile Photo

    Re: Meeting with wife after business trip and touring holiday.

    by GracesTrips Online Now Mar 23, 2013 at 9:27 AM

    In my experience, buying a round trip ticket is much more cost effective than buying two one-way tickets because of the different travel routes. If that is not a concern then your wife should fly into New Mexico because I think the Mexican food there is amazingly good and she should experience that. LAX is not as bad as it sounds. Since I live in the Los Angeles area, I often fly in and out of LAX. Just know what terminal you need to be at in advance and if you are picking her up, you should park the car and meet her at the baggage claim. Planning out a long road trip will be great fun. There is a lot to see and do in this part of the US. The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California has an amazing 4th of July show that might be worth considering. You should buy tickets in advance, it usually sells out.

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  • riorich55's Profile Photo

    Re: Meeting with wife after business trip and touring holiday.

    by riorich55 Online Now Mar 23, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    Don't buy tickets for a 4th of July fireworks show when there are so many for FREE.

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  • travelgourmet's Profile Photo

    Re: Meeting with wife after business trip and touring holiday.

    by travelgourmet Online Now Mar 23, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    LOL. Yeah, 20 minutes of sparkle for free, but over 2 hours of hassling to get a good spot and then an hour to get back in a car and leave. Rose Bowl is something else and as VTer Graces Trips says; " The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California has an amazing 4th of July show that might be worth considering. You should buy tickets in advance, it usually sells out." Key words are "sells out." Maybe, it is just a tab better than the FREE ones. :-)
    As for Bryce Canyon as VTer goodfish says; " See Bryce, stay overnight (try Ruby's Inn) and then backtrack out on 63 to 89 and south through Kanab to 89 A, continuing south to 67 and then into the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. TRY to stay the night (BOOK NOW)." I have a review of Ruby's Inn and it is very popular at the entrance to Bryce Canyon. See review on property: BEST WESTERN RUBY'S INN: "CHOICE LOCATION NEAR ENTRANCE TO BRYCE CANYON" - Bryce Canyon National Park Hotel Tip by travelgourmet
    See my VT review for Cowboys Buffet & Steak House part of Ruby' Inn at Bryce Canyon: Cowboy's Buffet & Steak Room: "RUBY'S INN" - Bryce Canyon National Park Restaurant Tip by travelgourmet
    Video my VT video of one of the horseshoe-shaped amphitheaters at Bryce Canyon: "HIGHLIGHTS & VIDEO OF BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK" - Bryce Canyon National Park Video by travelgourmet

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: Meeting with wife after business trip and touring holiday.

    by goodfish Online Now Mar 23, 2013 at 2:04 PM

    I see Larry and I are in agreement on Ruby's. :O)
    We actually stayed at the park lodge but I'm guessing that's already booked up so Ruby's is the next best bet: very popular with visitors to Bryce.

    But just to emphasize again, it's important that you make attempts to book accommodations at or near ANY of the national parks you are interested in visiting ASAP: it's rather late in the game for this summer.

    I can recommend a good hotel in Torrey (for Capitol Reef) and we had a nice room in Tropic (close to Bryce) if you strike out on Ruby's. The North Rim will likely be a challenge but, as mentioned, try the lodge first and then Jacob's Lake Inn - otherwise you'll need to go further.

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  • travelgourmet's Profile Photo

    Re: Meeting with wife after business trip and touring holiday.

    by travelgourmet Online Now Mar 24, 2013 at 5:23 PM

    One more thing about Ruby's Inn. Some of the displays might be strictly tourist foo-foo, but they do have a lot going on, even across the street. LOL I laugh because sometimes the hokey things are the most fun. All the fuss can be seen at: rubysinn.com/old-bryce-town....

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  • Re: Meeting with wife after business trip and touring holiday.

    by MF3106 Online Now Apr 7, 2013 at 12:18 AM

    Thanks everyone for the suggestions and further questions. We have now pretty much locked in the dates of travel which I'll share with you along with out interests.

    Firstly my wife is now coming to Farmington arriving on the 12th June - that way she'll be able to rest up for a couple of days while I'll be working until Friday - so the holiday will really start on Saturday 15th with my wife pretty much refreshed. We've also now got our flights booked out on Wednesday evening of the 3rd July, I know that means we'll miss the 4th July events, but leaving on the Wednesday means we have a couple of days to recover from the flight once we get back to Melbourne, plus I was able to get my wife a premium economy seat using frequent flyer points.
    Now as to some idea of what we would like to do. As I think I said earlier - this will be my wife's first visit to the USA; I've been several times on business. Also we're from Australia so we're used to driving long distances if we need to - but we don't want to make this into a long distance slog dashing between centres and not seeing anything in between. We'll hire a car in Durango and think we’ll drop off in San Francisco on the final day catching a flight down to LAX for the journey home.
    We have a couple of friends in San Francisco who we haven't seen for about 15 years as well as a former exchange student who stayed with us about 10 years ago who lives in Colorado (not sure where) so we might catch up with them if it fits in with our other plans.
    We definitely want to go to the Grand Canyon as well as stay over in Las Vegas (not for the gambling but just for the experience of being somewhere like nowhere else on earth). We'd like to see something of the Rockies and some national parks (my wife has mentioned Yosemite National Park). San Francisco and surrounds sound pretty nice and we’ve heard that a easily drive up the coast from Los Angeles is also worthwhile.
    Appreciate the advice we’ve been given so far – little bit concerned about the comments around the school holiday season – is it likely to be a problem, should we plan on pre-booking everything in advance or just some main centres and take pot luck in between.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: Meeting with wife after business trip and touring holiday.

    by goodfish Online Now Apr 7, 2013 at 4:25 AM

    Yes, pre-booking rooms in or around the National Parks is a MUST, and I'm concerned that you're going to have some difficulties doing that at this late date. We had included some links for accommodations for Bryce in earlier posts, and here's a few more:

    Grand Canyon North Rim:
    grandcanyonlodgenorth.com/lo...

    See the link I'd included for Jacob Lake Inn if the lodge is full.

    Moab:
    http://www.discovermoab.com

    Montrose:
    http://www.visitmontrose.com
    We've stayed at the Black Canyon Motel there: http://blackcanyonmotel.com
    It's still getting good ratings on Trip Advisor.

    Zion NP and area accommodations:
    nps.gov/zion/planyourvisit/l...

    Our hotel in Torrey for Capitol Reef:
    Capitol Reef National Park Hotel Tips by goodfish

    Others in Torrey:
    http://www.torreyutah.gov

    Yosemite lodges and nearby accommodations:
    nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/w...

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  • travelgourmet's Profile Photo

    Re: Meeting with wife after business trip and touring holiday.

    by travelgourmet Online Now Apr 7, 2013 at 3:08 PM

    Being so close to the Grand Canyon, don't miss out on Bryce and Zion National Parks. It is always a good idea to pre-book a hotel room in high tourist destinations. You can then relax and enjoy all your transfer days between hotels and not be worrying about finding a vacancy. Enjoy! :-)

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