Utah / Arizona Trip Wrap-up and Lessons Learned

This post is going to be a little shorter than the others.  It will be a summary of our final day of vacation followed by some of my thoughts about the overall trip as a whole.   I feel as though I learned some lessons and will make adjustments on future trips.

We awoke Friday morning 6/17/16 in Williams, Arizona.   Since we arrived in the dark the night before, we had hadn’t really had time to survey the town.  In daylight, we determined that we were still in green, semi-mountainous territory similar to Flagstaff.  Williams is another one of those nostalgic towns along Rt. 66 where the streets were lines with shops, hotels and restaurants.

Since our Motel 6 didn’t offer breakfast, I jumped on my smartphone and hit the trusty TripAdvisor App.  The reviews were pretty strong for a place called Pine Country Restaurant.    It was only 2 blocks away so we walked to the restaurant.  This was exactly what we needed; great coffee, homemade food, pleasant staff and tons of local color.

We started off splitting one of their homemade cinnamon rolls (not pictured.) Decadent is the only adjective that comes to mind.  A massive mound of sweet goodness that is best slit 4 or 5 ways.  I had the chorizo / egg and hash brown breakfast while my wife had the sausage gravy plate.  The kids all had French Toast.  We went away so full, we were able to skip lunch and be quite satisfied till later that night.

We walked off breakfast for the next hour perusing the many shops along RT. 66.  Below is a sampling of the wares being sold by many of the shops.

We said goodbye to Williams and made the 2:45 drive to Boulder City, NV and our last hotel stay.   It was clear we dropped down out of the mountains and settled into the pure heat of the Nevada desert. We arrived at our hotel around 1pm.   The Hoover Dam Lodge is a very nice, fresh place right off the highway.  They said our room wasn’t quite ready but should be in an hour.   We spent the next 90 minutes baking in the 100 degree heat touring Hoover Dam.   This is an architectural marvel that everyone should see at least once in your life.   I wouldn’t recommend seeing it during the summer months, we were suffocating in the oven like heat and 7% humidity.

They still didn’t have our room ready at 2:30pm.  They now said it wouldn’t be ready till 4pm.  The check-in process was very slow but the rooms were quite nice.   Our room had a great view of Lake Mead.  This swimming pool had to be 55 degrees, the coldest non-lake water I have ever swam.

We returned our rental van the next morning and made our flight out of Las Vegas back to Columbus without any incident.

It’s now been 3 weeks since we returned from our trip.   We’ve had plenty of time to talk about our trip, look at photos once again and watch all the video I took.   Below are some bullet point thoughts (good / bad) about our trip.

  • I’m glad we all took lots of pictures with our phones.  Some angles and views were better than others and collectively, we took many great photos.
  • I need to practice more with our Nikon D-5300 camera.  I am teaching myself photography and I realized I’m not going to be Ansel Adams after one vacation.
  • We should have spent more time in Zion NP and Moab, UT.
  • I loved everything we saw in Arizona but I would eliminate that part of our trip and save it for a future vacation.   Since we didn’t see Saguaro National Park, we will need to come back to Arizona again anyway.
  • Not going to Arizona and spending more time in Utah would have allowed us to not change hotels so many times.   I have heard some mild complaints about the pace of our trip.

Thanks for taking the time to read about my adventures.  Hopefully this helps you or someone you know to plan a similar trip in the future.  I don’t regret one Dollar I spent or one minute planning this trip for my wife, kids or friends.   Until next time, “Don’t talk about it..Make it happen.”



2 thoughts on “Utah / Arizona Trip Wrap-up and Lessons Learned

  1. I had no idea what I was doing when I first started teaching myself photography. I am still learning. My advice is find a good photography book. Learn how shutter speed works with aperture and iso to make the image work. What happens when you change the aperture? It took picking up a manual film camera to really learn it.


    1. Thanks for the advice. I started with reading the manual for my camera cover-to-cover. Now it takes practice. That’s what I really need more of is time to practice.


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