Here we go with this year's trip report. This will be typed "as we travel", usually with a day or two delay (depending on Internet access and the time to do it, of course).
DAY 0: PREPARATION
The day before one leaves on vacation is usually a busy one. One needs to pack suitcases, pack the vehicle, try not to forget anything on the packing list inadvertently, talk to the neighbors and the person caring for the house in your absence, and get some SLEEP. The latter is especially important when you live where we do -- just south of a major metropolitan area known for its horrendous traffic, and just south of a very hot desert land. You want to sleep so that you can prepare for departure in the early, early morning hours.
DAY 1: SAN DIEGO COUNTY to RICHFIELD, UT - 602 miles
Hubby and I were out within 10 minutes of the projected departure time, delayed only to take the time to take care of a last minute thought. The first part of the journey went smoothly, allowing us to traverse Riverside and San Bernardino areas without major traffic snarls, and to cross the desert when it was still fairly cool. We stopped for breakfast at North Las Vegas -- disappointing.
Once we got through these areas, we knew we could start taking our time. Our first little sightseeing stop was at Cedar Pocket exit in the Virgin River Gorge area of Arizona's I-15. There is a BLM site in there called Virgin River Gorge Recreation Area. There are places for day-use, like picnic areas, and for camping. The day use area was pretty enough, but to get into the Gorge itself, one needed to hike 2+ miles. We declined that at this time, took a few pictures, and moved on.
Our favorite ride of the day is between St George UT and the intersection of I-70. You climb up in elevation, everything starts to be green, and the temperature is cooler. We knew we'd pull into Richfield long before check-in time, so we chose a likely looking rest area near Cedar City, pulled in, opened the windows, and promptly took a nap. The breeze was blowing through the windows and felt great! We didn't want to overstay at this one, so we moved up to the rest area near Beaver and repeated the nap. It made us so refreshed and ready for the road again.
In Richfield, we pulled into the same motel we've stayed at on quite a few occasions: Quality Inn. They have a lovely "newer" pool that's been enclosed -- the water was comfortable! Didn't try the hot tub but it looked good. The room served our needs.
Dinner was down at the Frontier Village Restaurant, since JB's no longer existed (and a steakhouse with reviews stating it was overpriced, taking its place). Our food was delicious, price was okay, there was a LOT of food.