Ryan and Megan's 'Out West' Itinerary(Printer-Friendly
Thursday, May 18, 2006 -
Monday, May 22, 2006
Holy cow! That's about all I
have to say about this upcoming trip. Well, okay, based on the
size of this paragraph, I'm obviously going to say a lot more.
Here's the deal - Megan and I have traveled a lot over the past year,
and a lot of that has involved a lot of driving, particularly with the
Midwest Trip. The thing about that trip is that most of the
driving was unexpected. This time, we have a lot of miles ahead of
us, and that has been planned ahead of time. Barely ahead of time.
For you see, none of this trip was booked until less than a week prior
to our departure date. Southwest Airlines had given us another
free trip anywhere, but that was due to expire at the end of May, so we
were basically "forced" into taking another trip. But the question
was "where??" For a while, the choice was obvious for the two of
us - Albuquerque. We would drive down to Carlsbad Caverns and up
to Four Corners. I guess neither of us realized just how big New
Mexico was, and that our rental car wouldn't be allowed out of the
state. Then the thought of Yellowstone National Park came about,
but we soon realized that most of the facilities would not be open until
Memorial Day weekend - and neither of us were in any hurry to travel
then. Then we thought about Northern California and the Redwoods,
but that would have been too long of a flight for the time we had.
All in all, it came down to where we could make the most of our time
with the fewest tourists and the lowest cost - that was Yellowstone.
Of course, none of our trips would be a true vacation visiting only one
destination, so we expanded our trip from Montana to Arizona.
Unfortunately, that involves driving on the same long highway in both
directions, whereas traditionally our trips have been in a circle so
that we can cover more ground. Even still, the plan is to visit a
whopping 7 states! That adds 5 new states for me and 2 new ones
for Megan. According to Microsoft Streets and Trips, we will be
travelling over 1,700 miles and driving over 32 hours, spending over
$200 in gas (there goes the "free" flight...). That all being
said, I'm a little nervous about this whole thing, just based on how
much ground we will be covering, but I'm sure it'll still be
All times are local to
the particular city. The entire trip is in Mountain Time - 2 hours
behind Eastern Standard Time. If you can't do that math and you
live on the east coast, we've included EST in [brackets]. Note:
All links open in a new window.
Emergency Contact Information:
Phone (Ryan's Cell):
Phone (Megan's Cell):
(will be checked as often as possible)
Flight #1a: Thursday, May 18, 2006 -
Southwest Airlines - Flight
DEPART Baltimore, MD (BWI) at
5:00 PM [5:00 PM]
ARRIVE Denver, CO (DEN)
at 6:50 PM [8:50 PM]
Flight #1b: Thursday, May 18, 2006 -
Southwest Airlines - Flight
1158 (Denver to Salt Lake City)
DEPART Denver, CO (DEN) at
7:20 PM [9:20 PM]
ARRIVE Salt Lake City, UT (SLC)
at 8:40 PM [10:40 PM]
Flight #2: Monday, May 22, 2006 -
Southwest Airlines - Flight
1972 (Salt Lake City to Baltimore)
DEPART Salt Lake City, UT (SLC)
at 1:35 PM [3:35 PM]
ARRIVE Baltimore, MD (BWI)
at 7:45 PM [7:45 PM]
Night, May 18, 2006
Best Western CottonTree Inn
450 W. 4th Street
Rexburg, Idaho 83440
Night, May 19, 2006
350 South Highway 89
Jackson, Wyoming 83001
Night, May 20, 2006
Best Western River Terrace
880 E. Main Street
Green River, Utah 84525
Night, May 21, 2006
Best Western Carriage House Inn
590 E Main Street
Price, Utah 84501
Car Rental: Thursday, May 18 (8:30pm) - Monday, May 22
SLC Airport (In-Terminal)
776 N. Terminal Drive
Salt Lake City, Utah 84122
Oh what will we be doing Saturday?
Well, for one, we will be doing at least 8 hours of driving to get to
our next hotel. But that leaves a lot of time during the day to
catch up on whatever we missed in Yellowstone and Grand Teton.
Depending on when we leave, we should have some time to check out Salt
Lake City on our route South. Other than that, though, we'll just
be driving all the way down to a place called Green River to stay at
another Best Western .
Let's see - we are going from the cold, snowy mountains of northern
Wyoming to the desert canyons of Utah. You tell me what the
weather is going to be! Based on early weather reports, there is a
chance of rain during our first couple days up north, and a good deal of
sun to wrap up our trip in the south. Check out the banners below
for the current conditions.
Note: The numbers in the itinerary correspond to the map at the
Thursday, May 18:
Thursday starts off with work for both of us. But, we do get to
cut out a little early to make our 5:00 flight out to Salt Lake City.
We have a half hour stopover in Denver, but our next flight is on the
same plane (same flight number), so we don't have to do much other than
get better seats once everyone gets off. From there, it's a short,
hour-long flight to the home of the Mormons . Once we get our
rental car, we'll drive about 3.5 hours North to a place called Rexburg,
Idaho , arriving sometime after midnight.
Friday, May 19:
Once we wake up, it'll be another 2.5 hours driving north until we enter
Yellowstone National Park. Since most everything won't be open
until next weekend, it should keep most of the crowds away. After
all, this is one of the most visited parks in the United States.
The only visitor's center that will be open is near the border of
Montana , but I'm sure that we'll be spending more of our time
checking out the waterfalls and geysers  throughout the park.
We've dedicated the entire day on Friday to Yellowstone. Once we
get tired, we'll drive south through Grand Teton  National Park to
our hotel in Jackson Hole  - for once, before midnight.
Saturday, May 20:
Sunday, May 21:
Now this is where things get
interesting. We have a lot of ground to cover and a lot of places
to visit, all crammed into one day. To start, we'll be checking
out Arches National Park , which is about an hour south of our hotel.
From there, we'll see what's going on at Canyonlands National Park 
before heading all the way down to Mexican Hat, practically to the
Arizona border. This is a place called Monument Valley , which
may not sound all that impressive, but if you saw it, you would
recognize it. A lot of movies have been filmed here, including
2001, Forrest Gump, and Indiana Jones. We won't
have much time to stick around, though, because after that it's off the
Four Corners Monument  - the only place in the United States where
four states meet and you can literally be in four places at once.
We just need to be there before it closes at 8pm. From there, it's
another few hours drive northward toward Price for our last night's stay
out west .
Monday, May 22:
Monday is a
day of work for everyone except Megan and I. We'll be spending the
majority of the morning sitting in the car, taking the 2 hour drive
north to Salt Lake City, where, depending on when we leave the hotel, we
should have a couple hours to do whatever we want. We have to be
at the airport  by lunchtime to catch our non-stop flight home.
The good news is that we will be home in time to catch up on all the
sleep we lost! And that ends our trip - well, assuming we don't
fall into a canyon or get mauled by a bear.
Don't have time to read
all my nonsense? I don't blame you. Just check out the map
below to see our guesstimated route.
As before, these are some links where you
"might" be able to track our flight. With all of these sites, be sure to hit refresh (F5) and click "Retry"
as applicable to view the latest
RML Software (http://www.flightview.com/)