SFO777 The First Class Travel Blog

The First Class Travel Blog

From Flyertalk's Most Popular Trip Reporter

Exploring Colorado to California

Exploring Colorado to California
via spectacular Utah
May 2016

Last weekend, Mrs. SFO777 and I bid a adieu to Denver and headed to our new home in Orange County, California.   Since it was Memorial Weekend and the moving van wouldn't arrive until this past Wednesday, we decided to take a three day drive thru Colorado, Utah, Arizona and Nevada before getting to California.   The packers finished late Friday afternoon, we headed  out for dinner and then to SFO777Jr's place to say good-bye and watch the Cavs finish off the Raptors.  Then to the my local go-to SPG "mattress run" hotel, the Sheraton DTC.   Pleasant suburban Sheraton with a great weekend rate of $99 including club floor.  

After breakfast, we headed back to our old Cherry Hills Village home to finish cleaning and packing up our cars before heading out on the road, a 5+ hour drive today to Moab, Utah.

 

A confused GPS system thinks we are off of I-70.

Some great names for towns in Colorado.

Yes, a 75 MPH speed limit!

Another great town name... Rifle.

And a pit stop at Parachute, Colorado.

 

Gotta love an 80 MPH speed limit! 

A little over 5 hours after we left Denver, we exited I-70 for Moab.

And our home for the night, the new and very nice Fairfield Inn and Suites Moab.   No deals here this weekend as I booked what was apparently the last room in Moab this weekend.

Nice view from our suite.

The main lobby area where breakfast is served 

 

For dinner, we were fortunate to discover and get a late table at an absolutely delightful local restaurant, Desert Bistro.   

Our ahi starter was spectacular.  

An amazing meal in a totally unexpected location. 

While Mrs. SFO777 decided to sleep in, I headed out just after 6am to Arches National Park, just a mile up the road from our hotel.   I had absolutely no idea what to expect as this was just a stop on the way to California.  But OMG, what a spectacular experience, especially early in the morning before the crowds. 

I had no idea where I was going but decided to hike a trail to one of the Landscape Arch.   I was virtually alone the entire hike amidst awe inspiring scenery.

 

Just after 7:30a, I started heading back to the hotel and Mrs. SFO.   I was the only car leaving the park on the entire 20 mile drive.  But there was a constant stream of inbound traffic.  If you can get up early, I would recommend arriving by 6am for the most peaceful experience. 

 

I got back to our hotel just after 8am to find Mrs. SFO just waking up.  Good thing I remembered the coffee.   I headed downstairs for breakfast while she got ready for day two on the road.

Serve yourself frittata, better than any AA breakfast I've had recently.

We hit the road just before 10am.   The right lane is the line to enter Arches National Park.  LOL.  So glad I went early.

And back on I-70 with more spectacular scenery on the drive west across Utah.

Not a lot of healthy food choices along the way.  Somewhere in western Utah, we stopped for lunch.   Mrs. SFO777 chose McDonald's after the Burger King looked too dirty.

Impressive drink dispenser that serves the drink of your choice without any attitude.

Yeah, a Quarter Pounder Deluxe is a real healthy choice.  LOL.  I opted for the healthier sounding Artisan Chicken sandwich.

OK, this is not good.

I'm thinking that maybe Burger wasn't that bad an idea in the first place.

Back on the road again.  I think we'll pass on the $27 room and go right to Las Vegas.

The largest distribution center I've ever seen.  And this pic shows only half of it.

We arrived in Las Vegas at around 4:30p local time.

Where lawyers are apparently the biggest billboard advertisers. 

With two cars filled with lots of personal "stuff", we decided to stay off the strip and headed for the Marriott Springhill Suites North Las Vegas, $109 a night including breakfast and free parking.   Comfy and quiet room.

After we relaxed a bit, it was off to dinner and a movie.  Our gourmet tour of chain restaurants continued at nearby Outback. 

And then a movie.

Before heading back for a good night's rest.  In the morning, yet another "gourmet" Marriott breakfast in the lobby.  

 

While Mrs. SFO777 got ready to leave, I decided to get our cars washed, which from a timing standpoint was probably not the best idea.

As a result, we left an hour later than we should have.  It was after all Memorial Day and I'd forgotten that we wouldn't be the only cars of the road from Las Vegas to LA. 

Must be an awful lot of injuries in this town...

About 10 minutes outside of town, it started.   Bumper to bumper traffic to the California border with one woman deciding that it might be faster just to walk home.

Nearly 90 minutes to go 30 miles.  OK, this is not going to be pleasant.  

Another 90 minutes later, we exited for lunch and a pit stop in Baker.  

The only problem was that thousands of others had the same idea.  Traffic was so bad that we had to park across the street from the gas station/food court.

Lines, lines everywhere.

But the longest line was for the women's restroom.   There were at least 100 women in a line which snaked the entire width of the food court and then some.  I told Mrs. SFO that she should use the men's room and using the new transgender excuse.   She declined and said that she could hold it.  LOL. 

Traffic in "town" was so bad that it took another 30 minutes just to leave town.  

Where the temps were already over 100F.

Back on I-15 as the interesting billboards continued.

We finally found comfort a few exits down the road, with one guy deciding not to wait in the restroom line.

Now 102F, which was hot but not nearly as bad as a few days later when temps hit 116F.

Getting closer... and more slow crawling traffic.

And finally, 8 hours later... an Orange County toll road where traffic rolls at 75MPH.

Except for this last leg, a fun and interesting three day road trip from Denver.