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  1. Default Planning a road trip through CO and NM

    We're planning a road trip from California to Glenwood Springs, CO in late August. Since we'll be driving from CA to CO with our bikes on the back of our car, we decided to extend the trip and tour the surrounding CO area and adjacent states, taking in as much as we can. We'll have 2 weeks, with the first 4 days spent driving to Glenwood Springs and staying there for 2 nights.

    There is SO much to see and do and it is very difficult to narrow down our choices. We've pretty much settled on the following itinerary. We intend to ride our bikes in as many places as possible depending on the terrain and traffic. We may add southern Wyoming if there's time, but we don't want to spread our time too thin in places where we may want to spend more time.

    We're considering not relying too heavily on lodging reservations ahead of time, and waiting until we reach each city before making the reservations for the next one; that will allow some flexibility in our schedule if we decide (at the last minute) to spend the night somewhere. I'm not completely comfortable with that though; I like the idea of knowing we'll have a place to stay when we arrive! However, I like the sense of adventure and spontaneity that brings.

    Are we missing any must-see sites between Glenwood Springs and Phoenix (not including them)? Any sites to add to this route that we should not miss? We enjoy historic sites/highways/byways, scenic drives, paved bike paths (low traffic, not too steep or strenuous). Would love to purchase baskets, jewelry, rugs from native artisans in NM.

    Beaver UT (1-night stopover on the way to Glenwood Springs)
    Glenwood Springs, CO (probably 3 nights; includes a bike ride to Aspen, and another along the Glenwood Canyon Trail)
    Vail, CO (drive-though, stop for photos, ride bikes?)
    Rocky Mountain National Park, CO (spend the night if we can)
    Denver, CO (drive-through)
    Colorado Springs (spend a night there, visit sites)
    Walsenburg to Trinidad: Drive the "Highway of Legends"
    Santa Fe Trail to Taos and Santa Fe: Spend 2-3 nights in Taos
    Durango, CO (via Los Alamos, NM; ride the Durango/Silverton train; drive the Million Dollar Highway to Ouray)
    Flagstaff, AZ (via Four Corners Monument; just site-see and drive through)
    .... then home via Phoenix, AZ (where my brother lives)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default one stop

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Since you mention that you are bringing bikes, it seems like Moab, UT would be a natural fit for your trip. The place has a well deserved reputation as being the mountain bike capitol of the US. Its possible you are including that in your trip out to Colorado?

    You also appear to have completely skipped over northern Arizona in your planning. Leaving Durango there are a lot of things that I personally would consider far more interesting than 4 corners, including Mesa Verde, Monument Valley, Walnut Canyon, Petrified Forest, and of course, the Grand Canyon - any of which could easily be included on the trip between Durango and Flagstaff.

  3. Default

    Thank you for your reply. We considered stopping in Moab, but it will mean getting into Glenwood Springs much later and driving longer, or driving faster, than we'd like to. Also, we'll be taking road bikes, not mountain bikes. However, we plan to take in Moab on another trip when we're not on a deadline to meet a group within a day.

    I mentioned the Four Corners Monument only as a "via point" -- we'll drive through it, stop to take a picture, and keep going. Monument Valley and Mesa Verde are already in the plan; sorry I didn't clarify that.
    Last edited by AZBuck; 08-16-2009 at 12:38 PM. Reason: Quote of complete previous post removed

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    777

    Default Lots of options....

    Not only in NM, but in UT, CO and AZ too for Native American arts.

    Acoma ("Sky") pueblo in a loop off I40 halfway between Albuqueque and Gallup is a unique place to visit, and noted for their pottery.

    Any number of ad-hoc stands, including at Four Corners and Monument Valley.

    For high-end stuff (either to purchase or just gawk at), try a trading post.

    We purchased some "art grade" Navajo baskets from Twin Rocks trading post in Bluff, UT (not far from Monument Valley). We found the brothers running this to be helpful, and as far as we know the artists are getting fair deals. Note that these are not cheap, but when you consider how much time goes into the design and construction of baskets like these, or rugs... the artist deserves a fair return for their time.

    Joann Johnson baskets:

    Photos: Twin Rocks Trading Post
    Last edited by CalOldBlue; 08-16-2009 at 04:48 PM. Reason: corrected spelling of Joann's name (no 'e')

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,269

    Default

    I prefer buying native crafts from the little standalone roadside stands on the reservations instead of at formal trading posts. When you buy at a stand, the money generally all goes to the craftsman or his/her family who runs the stand.

  6. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CalOldBlue View Post
    Not only in NM, but in UT, CO and AZ too for Native American arts.

    Acoma ("Sky") pueblo in a loop off I40 halfway between Albuqueque and Gallup is a unique place to visit, and noted for their pottery.

    Any number of ad-hoc stands, including at Four Corners and Monument Valley.

    For high-end stuff (either to purchase or just gawk at), try a trading post.

    We purchased some "art grade" Navajo baskets from Twin Rocks trading post in Bluff, UT (not far from Monument Valley). We found the brothers running this to be helpful, and as far as we know the artists are getting fair deals. Note that these are not cheap, but when you consider how much time goes into the design and construction of baskets like these, or rugs... the artist deserves a fair return for their time.

    Joanne Johnson baskets:

    Photos: Twin Rocks Trading Post
    Wow -- beautiful! I'm not opposed to paying what's fair for an artisan's time and skill. Those are truly beautiful.

  7. Default road trip UPDATE

    OK, we finalized our trip last night, and cut out most of the 2nd week. The original plans included Labor Day weekend in Santa Fe, when lodging prices will go sky high, and we started feeling overwhelmed with all the places to see and go and things to do in such a large area in just under 2 weeks.

    So.... we decided to drive the scenic routes through Colorado, ending with 2 nights in Durango (including the Durango/Silverton train ride), then on to AZ via Monument Valley and Flagstaff to my brother's in Phoenix, then home. We'll save NM and WY for another trip next year(?)

    So, here's the route:
    Beaver, UT (overnight en route to Moab)
    Moab, UT (1 night)
    Glenwood Springs, CO (3 nights) -- main event is a group bike ride on Aug. 31
    Salina, CO
    Durango, CO
    Flagstaff (via hwy 160 to 89 passing by Monument Valley)
    Phoenix to home

    Any suggestions for places to go and eat on any of these short stops?

    Jen

  8. #8

    Default

    Unless you need to be in Glenwood, Aspen would be much more appealing. Better restaraunts, etc. Carbondale has a great Thai place. If your in Aspen check out the Marroon Bells area, on the road to Aspen Highlands. The most photographed scene/mountains in the US. You can drive there after 5:00 or bus during the day. Black Canyon of Gunnisson NP on your way south is awesome. You can see the park in two hours or less. Mesa Verde NP is good. Arches NP in Maob. Take the hike to Delicate Arch. As you can see we like National Parks. Consider buying the annual pass rather than paying for each separately.

  9. Default

    Thanks very much for your suggestions. The trip centers around Glenwood Springs as the official meeting place cycling group's ride. We'll ride along the Rio Grande to Aspen (and back) and also the Glenwood Canyon trail. From GWS, we'll drive through Colorado for a few days via scenic roads, stop in Durango, then head for home via AZ.

    We plan to visit Arches Nat'l Park and as much of Mesa Verde as we'll have time for.

    Thanks again for the additional suggestions. We have plenty of tour books and an endless supply of information at our disposal on the internet. The biggest challenge is selecting the highlights to stop and visit along the way.

  10. #10

    Default

    Your welcome. Just a slight correction. The river between Glenwood and Aspen is Roaring Fork (not the Rio Grande).
    Enjoy your trip.

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