Spring Break Out West

Guess who needed another road trip?  Us of course!  Well, actually Matt had an opportunity to present a paper with a panel from UNT at a history conference in Las Vegas which I convinced him to turn into a road trip to the Grand Canyon too.  Gotta love spring break!

We loved Sedona and the Grand Canyon - beautiful with great hiking.  Las Vegas was more of a been there/done that kind of thing, glad we went but I don't feel the need to go back.  I'd love more time in Arizona though, Matt wants to go back to the Grand Canyon and hike from rim-to-rim - who's in??
Check out our itinerary below and more photos here.

Day 1 - Saturday, March 12th - On the road again...
  • Left home early and headed west, began the trip on a fun note with lunch at Rosa's (my college favorite for fast food) in Amarillo
  • Made a quick stop in Old Town Albuquerque to stretch our legs, explored the markets and art scene and a dinner break on the square
    Day 2 - Sunday, March 13th - Sedona, Arizona
    • Woke up early at our cheapy hotel in Gallup, NM and finished the drive into Sedona
    • Explored the cute/mystical hippy downtown Sedona, including watching monks make beautiful sand mandalas in a local gallery
    • Hiked the steep and beautiful red rock vortex sites at Bell Rock and Cathedral Rock - I'm still not quite sure we felt the metaphysical restorative spiritual vortex power though, good thing we were just there for the pictures
    • Enjoyed our fanciest dinner of the trip (complete with cactus fries!) on the sweet patio at the Barking Frog Grille, then rested at our quaint hotel nearby, The Baby Quail Inn
      Day 3 - Monday, March 14th - Grand Canyon
      • Began the day with an awesome sunrise hike at the Airport Mesa vortex site
      • Took the scenic two-hour drive from Sedona to the Grand Canyon, stopping for breakfast in Flagstaff to plan our day
      • Began the Grand Canyon fun with a stop at the park visitor center, then explored the rim a bit, hiked to Ooh-Ahh Point on the Kaibab Trail (steep but beautiful, watch out for mules)
      • Enjoyed a special meal at the historic El Tovar Lodge, walked the rim until sunset, then rested up in our room in the park at the Maswik Lodge

        Day 4 - Tuesday, March 15th - Grand Canyon
        • Started the day at the classic Bright Angel Lodge (who knew chicken fried steak, grits, and biscuits was a breakfast specialty?)
        • Hiked the nearby Bright Angel Trail into the canyon until it got too icy to continue, then spent the rest of the day taking the park shuttle buses out and hiking the rim trail - including a uranium mine??, historic buildings, and amazing scenic lookouts
          Day 5 - Wednesday, March 16th - Hoover Dam and Las Vegas
          • Woke up early to start the 4.5-hour drive in Vegas (a surprisingly scenic route) and make a quick stop at the Hoover Dam
          • Made it to The Riviera and waited in a crazy line to check in, then headed out to The Strip for dinner, drinks, and casino-exploring - I especially loved the outrageous flower arrangements at the hotels
            Day 6 - Thursday, March 17th - St. Patrick's Day, Las Vegas-style
            • Rested our sore legs by relaxed at the hotel during the day then headed out on the town and gambled a little
            • Met up with our group (Brett, James & Kristy) for another evening out - and especially enjoyed the crazy green-wearing St. Patrick's day crowd
            Day 7 - Friday, March 18th - Presentation Day
            • Matt was up early for his main event, the session at the Southwestern Social Science Association's Transformative Power of the Social Sciences Meeting:
              1. “The Secession Commissioners to Texas, 1860-1861: A Case Study in the Motives for Texas’s Secession,” Matthew K. Hamilton, University of North Texas
              2. “Education of the Former Slaves in Reconstruction Texas,” James A. Hathcock, University of North Texas
              3. “Prison Cloth: Textile Production at State Penitentiaries in the Trans-Mississippi during the Civil War,” Brett J. Derbes, University of North Texas
            •  Hopped in the car by noon and headed east, making it just past Albuquerque
            Day 8 - Saturday, March 18th - Home again...
            • Left before sunup and made it home by 4:00 with minimal stops - unfortunately we ran out of David Sedaris audio books and music we weren't sick of about halfway through the drive!
            • Ended the day in McKinney cooking out with friends (thanks Shandy!) to wrap up a great spring break
            Hope you had a great spring break too!