Why have I not been here before? Of all the traveling we have done, somehow this place has eluded me. And here is the silver lining of the PanDamit…my travels are now focused on my home country of the United States. And I have discovered Sensational Sedona.
We had six days to explore Sensational Sedona. We kept very busy, and could easily have stayed longer. So of course we will come back. March is a good time to visit, although it was busy with families due to Arizona spring break. But if I return I’ll come during the quieter off season times, such as October and November or January and February.
Mother Nature’s Masterpiece
At 4000 foot elevation you can see a wide variety of weather in March. And we did. During our six day visit we saw temperatures as low as 28 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 72. And one morning we woke up to three inches of snow…which melted by midday.
We’ve seen a lot of Arizona on previous road trips. I’ve visited the Phoenix and Scottsdale area several times, including all the surrounding communities. I imagined Sedona would be similar with the brown desert colors. Wow was I wrong. Sedona is Mother Nature’s masterpiece. She has created an artists pallet of red, green, orange, buff, gold, gray and blue. She was showing off a bit when she made this place. Sensational Sedona.
We came to hike. And we did. Nearly every day. Yet we hardly touched the surface of the immense number of hikes available in the area. We climbed rocks, traversed valleys, forded streams and stood in awe of the magnificent views all around. There is no place like it that I have ever been…and here it is right in my own back yard. I can’t find enough adjectives to express all that this place makes me feel. Energized, astonished, inspired. It is breathtaking, magnificent, sumptuous. Sensational Sedona.
People come here not just to hike, although that is the most popular activity. But many people come here because they believe Sedona is sacred. And more than sacred, they believe this place has a gravitational pull that creates energy and strength. I may not believe all of this but it’s easy to see how this place can affect people this way…create a spirit, a vision, a passion for the earth. I can’t deny it is magical. Sensational Sedona.
And so we have been baptized to the wonders of Sedona. And we will never be the same. I can’t wait to come back and experience it all again. Sensational Sedona.
Well. Here we still are…that crazy PanDamit just won’t give up. If you had told me a year ago when I wrote last year’s 2020 Travel Awards that I would actually travel LESS in 2021 I would not have believed you. And yet…. But nevertheless, we are presenting to you our Fifth Annual World Travel Awards 2021.
In winter 2021 we did some USA exploring, staying away from most people and out of most restaurants. Our USA travel revolved around activities outdoors in sunny places. In April we got our vaccine and we celebrated that milestone by booking our first international trip in more than a year to Iceland. But as summer waned, variants persisted. We continued to travel in the USA and got our booster shot in October, just in time to spend a month in Mexico.
So there was some travel…most of it in the USA, but all of it wonderful. Making the most of a bad situation we continue to live My Fab Fifties Life with courage and caution. For me and my husband, we refuse to be victims or feel controlled by the virus or those who don’t believe in science. Instead, our life is evolving to be happy in this situation that is beyond our control. Doing our best we had some great adventures this year, as you will see in our Fifth Annual World Travel Awards 2021.
And so, we plan to travel in 2022. But in the meantime, we present our Fifth Annual World Travel Awards 2021. I hope it will inspire you to be brave, be smart, be happy and be safe. Happy New Year!
And the winner is…
We visited three countries, plus nine states in the USA.
Favorite City – Mexico City What a fabulous surprise Mexico City was. Huge but with great transportation, this ancient and beautiful city is colorful and remarkably clean and astonishingly delicious. I now rank it as one of my favorite cities in the world. We didn’t have enough time to see it all, so we are considering another visit in 2022.
Cutest Town – Ogunquit Maine We visited Ogunquit in September spending a week with our friends in their summer home and we had the best time. It’s everything you imagine an Eastern Seaboard village to be with beautiful architecture, nice restaurants and shops and beaches too.
Favorite Island – Maui, Hawaii It’s no secret our love for the island of Maui. Of the hundreds of islands we have been blessed to visit around the world Maui remains at the top of our favorite island list. Although it is expensive and can be incredibly crowded, we try to visit during the shoulder season and always fall in love with it again. Read about our Maui adventures here.
Most Expensive Country – Iceland We spent fourteen fun days in Iceland enjoying it’s jaw dropping scenery, with ten of those days in a camper van. We avoided restaurants most of the time, but groceries are expensive, fuel is expensive and the camper van was expensive. But as you will see in the blog below there is a lot to love about Iceland. Read about our Iceland adventures here.
Least Expensive Country – Mexico We were surprised and delighted about the cost of things in Mexico from restaurants and groceries to transportation and lodging. Even our four day food tour was well worth the money and we can’t wait to visit Mexico again. Read about Mexico here.
Favorite Airbnb – Tucson this year we stayed in the fewest Airbnb’s in our entire Airbnb history. Only five. Usually it’s more like thirty. But most of them were great and our favorite was the beautiful house in East Tuscon. It was comfortable and well laid out in a really nice neighborhood where we could run and really get outdoors, right next to Saguaro National Park.
Favorite Hotel – The Red Tree House B&B Mexico City For many reasons, but mostly due to Covid, we ended up in more hotels than Airbnb’s in 2021, a total of 16. Many of these were for only one or two nights as we were just passing through. But The Red Tree House in Mexico City was hands down our favorite. One of the best, if not the best service hotel I have ever stayed in. Beautiful and with excellent breakfast we are already talking about going back next winter.
Most Unique Accommodations – Camper Van Iceland our second time traveling in a camper van in a foreign country. This vehicle was not laid out as nicely as the one we had in New Zealand, but for ten days it worked out fine. And it gave us lots of flexibility to see all the great sights on the fascinating Ring Road in Iceland.
Best View Accommodations – Puerto Escondido Mexico although we found this very open air Airbnb pretty noisy, you just could not beat the view of the Pacific Ocean and the swaying palm trees. Lovely.
Best Food Tour – Mexico City Eat Like a Local Four days of touring with Eat Like a Local Mx opened our eyes to the hidden treasures of this amazing city. We loved every minute and every bite as well as all the history and culture. We also loved our guides Astrid and Rocio and hope to see them again some day. Read about it here.
Weirdest Food – Iceland Fermented Shark We also enjoyed our food tour in Reykjavik Iceland. Iceland has some delicious food, but also some weird food too, like fermented shark. Not my favorite thing ever…tasted like ammonia.
Best Cooking Class – Casa Jacaranda Mexico City Our full day cooking with Casa Jacaranda in Mexico City was one of the best cooking classes I have ever taken…and I have taken a lot of cooking classes over the years. Learning about the ingredients, cooking in the beautiful home kitchens of Casa Jacaranda and enjoying a meal together at the end was just the perfect way to end our visit to Mexico City.
Most Unique Food Experience – O’O Farm Kula Maui during this long visit to Maui we set out to really find some deeper hidden and authentic treasures of this beautiful island (read about it here) and discovering the O’O Farm was one of the most amazing finds. We will definitely visit there again.
Unexpected Food Trend – Sonoran Dog Tucson this unexpected food trend in Tucson was something I had never heard of, but apparently Sonoran Hot Dogs are well loved by those in the know. We did a Tasty Tuesday all about it.
Best Alcohol Tour – Puerto Escondido Mexico a few years ago I was introduced to Mezcal for the first time. Since then, I have learned a bit more about Tequila in general and Mezcal in particular and while in Puerto Escondido we did our first Mezcal Tour. We learned so much from Puerto Mezcal Tours and highly recommend this tour company if you are in the area. Really fun.
Best Micro brews – This one is a tie: Tucson Arizona, and the Breweries of Kitsap Peninsula. While visiting Tucson last winter we set out to taste test all the local microbreweries. During this time there still was no indoor dining, but finding lots of outdoor dining and drinking opportunities we discovered a wide variety of really good beer in Tucson. Back home in Washington State in the spring and summer we spent 8 weeks visiting 24 local microbreweries of the Kitsap Peninsula…if you live anywhere near the Kitsap Peninsula you really need to check this out.
Best Sunrise – Ogunquit Maine – we loved our week in Ogunquit with dear friends and enjoyed the spectacular sunrises each and every morning. Stunning.
Best Sunset – Puerto Escondido Mexico and Maui Hawaii Sunsets over the Pacific Ocean from these two locations never disappointed and we looked forward each evening to the experience.
Best Beach – Maui it’s no secret how much I love the island of Maui, even though it has changed so much in the forty plus years I have been visiting. This year we spent the majority of our time in West Maui, a change for us from past visits, and discovered so many new and lovely beaches…our favorite, Kahana Secret Beach. Shhhhhhh….don’t tell anyone.
Best Waterfall – Iceland – when you first arrive in Iceland you pull over on the road for every waterfall. Until you realize there are tens of thousands of waterfalls and you just can’t possibly see them all. But during our two weeks in Iceland we had three favorites; Dettifoss, Svartifoss, and Hengifoss
Best Natural Site – Antelope Canyon Utah it’s been years that I have wanted to visit Antelope Canyon. I also have tried to get in on the lottery to visit “The Wave”. Still working on that one. But Antelope Canyon is absolutely stunning and it was a definite bucket list for me. I am so glad we finally made it.
Honorable Mention – Kirkjufell Iceland – it was our lucky day to visit this beautiful site on such a clear and sunny day. Kirkjufell is one of the most photographed places in all of Iceland, and it was just stunning.
Best Wildlife Sighting – Grey Wolf Grand Canyon Arizona – a rare and chance siting of a wild wolf on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon was such a fluke. I just happened to be looking across a field as we were driving and I yelled Stop! I wasn’t exactly sure what it was I was seeing but we got out the long lens and binoculars and while other cars zoomed right past, we enjoyed seeing a Grey Wolf in the wild. Good eyes Laureen!
Best Wildlife Exhibit – Maui Ocean Center Humpbacks of Hawaii 3D Exhibit it had been many years since we had visited the Maui Ocean Center Aquarium, but their brand new 3D film entitled Humpbacks of Hawaii intrigued us and so we went. Boy were we glad we did. The 3D movie is worth the price of admission, while you can also enjoy the other marine life exhibits. If you have ever hoped to swim with whales, well this is the next best thing. So real.
Best Historic Church – Mission San Xavier del Bac, Tucson This historic and beautiful old mission just outside of Tucson Arizona was a beautiful surprise both inside and out and I am so glad we took the time to visit it.
Best Modern Architecture – The Chapel of the Holy Cross Sedona Wow. We could see this church from a couple of miles away and even though we weren’t looking for it we headed that way to get a closer look. This Roman Catholic Church is a stunner built into the red rock of Sedona.
Best Museum – Frida Kahlo Mexico City Outstanding small museum in Mexico City, also known as Casa Azul, is the home where Frida Kahlo was born, lived her entire life, and died. The museum dedicated to this strong woman and her fascinating life was our favorite this year.
Best Outdoor Museum – Arizona Sonora Desert Museum one of the best things we did in Tucson, was driving out of town to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, a beautifully laid out outdoor museum. With interpretive signage for the wide variety of plants, wildlife and birds, we spent several hours enjoying this remarkable place.
Best Garden – Sunnylands Palm Springs, Akureyri Botanical Gardens Iceland visiting botanical gardens is a favorite thing we do everywhere we travel. This year we visited several in Arizona, California and Maui. But these two were are favorites for their distinct beauty, surprising colorful blooms (especially in Iceland) and easy accessibility for the visitor. I highly recommend them both. Sunnylands and Akureyri Botanical Gardens
Best Kitsch – Tombstone, Arizona we don’t often fall for the kitsch, but sometimes it’s fun to do the touristy things. In Arizona we spent a day driving from Tucson to Tubac, Bisbee and Tombstone enjoying some history and shopping as well as the touristy kitsch in Tombstone, home to the OK Corral and Wyatt Earp. We were glad we went. Tombstone
Most Unique Experience – Beer Spa Iceland I never did see this activity in any of the research I did for our visit to Iceland, until I stumbled on a brochure. It wasn’t cheap but it was certainly unique and close to where we were spending several days in Akureyri. Bjorbodin was about an hour’s drive. Drinking beer, soaking in beer and having a wonderful time on a very memorable day.
Best Outdoor Art – Borrego Springs California we spent seven weeks in the Palm Springs California area, and one day while driving around we stumbled onto these incredible outdoor sculptures in Borrego Springs. There are dozens of these…perhaps even hundreds. Some small and some huge and all fascinating and fun to see. Worth a side trip if you are in the area.
Best Interactive Exhibit – Wonders of Iceland & Planetarium although this brand new museum and exhibit is pricey, it is really well done and a perfect introduction to Iceland. We learned a lot about the history, geology and geography of the island nation at this exhibit while in Reykjavik, prior to setting out on our 9 day driving tour.
Honorable Mention Van Gogh Immersive Experience Seattle – this traveling exhibit has been getting rave reviews all of the world. We saw it in Seattle and really enjoyed it. Especially if you have never had the opportunity to visit European museums that house Van Gogh, you might find it entertaining.
Best Hike – Tucson, Sedona, Washington State, Maui, Utah if you follow My Fab Fifties Life regularly you know that we hike one day a week, nearly every week of the year. Hiking is a big part of both our travels and when we are at home in Washington State. This past year we have had so many amazing hiking adventures enjoying new hiking experiences in Tucson and Sedona and Page Arizona as well as Utah. We also revisited our favorites in Maui and Washington State. I can’t choose a favorite. I just can’t! So if you are looking to hike in any of these locations click on the live links above to learn more.
Best Place to Run – Maui as I write this I am snowbound in Washington State and unable to keep up with my running schedule. Boy do I miss running in Maui. It’s hands down my favorite place to run in the entire world. I often run before it even gets light, I always feel safe, and I adore the island breeze.
Best Place to Golf – Maui Nui Maui because we were in Maui for two months again this year, we decided to get a membership to Maui Nui in the Kihei area. It’s such a great place to golf if you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars for some of the fancier courses. We golfed every Monday for eight weeks with our membership and made vast improvements in our game. I can’t wait to go back next fall.
Expensive But Worth It – White Pocket Utah we paid to take a tour to White Pocket in Utah (about two hours from Page Arizona) because getting there requires a four wheel vehicle. Despite the nearly $400 cost, it was worth it…truly one of the most amazing geological sights I have ever seen. The world is strange and wonderful and Arizona and Utah have more than their share of fantastic geological sites!
Best Yoga – Maui Goat Yoga well I saw this on Trip Advisor and without telling my hubs I signed us up. So much fun! For something completely different, spend a morning with the goats in Maui’s Upcountry area of Kula. It was fun. Maui Goat Yoga.
Hottest Day – Puerto Escondido Mexico we love hot weather, and often find ourselves in places without AC, which was the case in Puerto Escondido Mexico where the temperatures daily reached into the upper 90’s Fahrenheit. But we are used to sleeping with open windows and fans and that is what we did in Puerto Escondido.
Coldest Day – Sedona Arizona we knew Sedona could be chilly and we were mostly prepared, although the morning we woke to a blanket of snow we were a little surprised. We still got out and did our hikes and enjoyed the beauty of the low 30’s temperatures and the white snow blanketing the gorgeous red rocks of Sedona
Honorable Mention – Port Orchard Washington unusually cold weather the week after Christmas kept us housebound with 8 inches of snow at our home in Port Orchard Washington.
The Oopsie That Happened Award 2021
Sea Urchin Attack Maui – every year something weird happens that is worth a mention but doesn’t fit into any category. This year it’s the Sea Urchin Attack. When I got caught in a small wave and my foot was dragged across a bed of sea urchins I ended up with 25 sea urchin spines embedded in my foot. And it hurt like hell. Gratefully we learned the remedy is soaking your foot in vinegar for days and days and eventually the spines dissolve. Who knew?
That’s a Wrap
As you can see, despite it all we had some memorable travel experiences in 2021. We no longer carry many expectations for what 2022 will look like. We will just wait and see and be grateful for whatever comes.
I hope you are healthy and safe. I’ll be blogging in the next few weeks about our impressions and experiences in French Polynesia – our 111th country! We will be in French Polynesia for two months! Life goes on – PanDamit be damned!
Thanks for reading this post Fifth Annual World Travel Awards 2021. Thanks for your continued love and support of this blog. We love it when you pin and share our blog posts.
We love the American Southwest and we especially love it in the winter time, when we want to get out of the gray and gloom back in the Pacific Northwest. So we decided to take a week to see some of the amazing sites of these two areas that had eluded us. I’ve spent time in Zion, Bryce, Canyonlands and Sedona, but there is still much to see beyond those amazing places. So here is an easy itinerary with incredible scenery for a sightseeing and winter hiking road trip in Utah and Arizona.
We flew into Las Vegas, arriving after midnight, and headed to a hotel. Since we weren’t looking to do any Las Vegas activities we decided to stay off-strip and booked a comfortable but not fancy room at the Best Western McCarran Hotel.
It was nearly noon by the time we got out of Las Vegas on the first day of our winter hiking road trip in Utah and Arizona. Heading north and east on I-15 we drove about an hour to our first stop, Valley of Fire State Park. I’ve been to Valley of Fire before, in fact a couple times, but I really wanted to spend more time hiking here. Afternoon temperatures in November were 75 Fahrenheit, and the dry air requires hikers to drink lots of water.
This beautiful park feels much more like a National Park than a State Park. Entrance fee for a car is $15. We stopped at the Visitor Center for bathroom break, snacks and a map and then headed off to hike.
We did a 3 mile loop trail called Fire Wave/Seven Wonders, accessible for just about any hiking skill. There is a tiny bit of incline, but nothing too steep. Great views and the landscape is incredible. If you don’t want to do the loop you can do an easy out and back to Fire Wave which is about 1.5 miles round trip. It will give you a nice introduction to the fascinating geology of the area.
Leaving Valley of Fire heading away from Las Vegas towards Utah, you exit the park through a different gate than the one you entered. This drive gives you more remarkable sites to enjoy.
Our nights destination was St George Utah, another hour on I-15. First you pop through Arizona for a hot minute then into Utah. There is a time zone change at the Arizona state line. You might want to pick up alcohol in Arizona, if you are so inclined, before entering Utah.
Arriving in St George we stayed at a simple Clarion Hotel just off the freeway on Mile Drive. Nothing fancy but good enough. Nice breakfast included.
I love waking up in Utah, one of my favorite states. But we had never spent much time in St George. Temperatures today were a comfortable mid sixties. First we headed to the old town, very cute with shops and restaurants. We stopped at the historic winter home of Brigham Young. Here we learned that Young came to St George because it is the warmest place in Utah and he liked it for his health.
Next we visited Pioneer Park, a hill park with wonderful rock formations and city views right in the middle of town. Next we headed to Snow Canyon State Park. Here is another fascinating, huge park with so many wonderful trails. Amazing that it is not a National Park. We did three hikes in Snow Canyon;
Johnson’s Canyon – we had this hike all to ourselves and especially enjoyed the fall colors in the dry river valley below.
2. Petrified Dunes – I loved this the most, like walking over waves of sand turned to hard rock from thousands of years ago.
3. Lava Flow – This hike has lava tubes, but we did not have headlamps so we did not go in, just peeked in a bit.
We were up early for the long drive across Utah with a planned visit to Wire Pass Slot Canyon. Driving across Utah on US 89, you head south on House Rock Valley Road (a dirt road). Follow this road 8 miles to a nice parking lot with rest rooms to begin this easy and amazing hike. BTW the road is bumpy but manageable in most cars, unless its been raining then don’t try it. Weather today was sunny and cool and dry about 55 degrees.
Follow the hike for about a mile along a dry wide riverbed which takes you to the slot canyon. My husband did this hike last spring with some friends and he was astonished to see that the area had recently had a flash flood. In fact the flood deposited debris nearly thirty feet over our head in the slot canyon. You definitely don’t want to be here during a flash flood.
But no flood today and this was truly one of my all-time favorite hikes. Very easy except just two or three times when you need to scramble over some boulders and go down one ladder. All worth it for the beauty of the canyon.
You can actually continue on all the way to the Grand Canyon on this trail (at least fifty miles), but on this day we did it as an out and back, about 6 miles round trip.
Back in the car we continued south down the dirt road towards Hwy 89A. We made a quick stop at the Condor Viewing Platform (no condors on this day) then headed off the dirt road and onto the paved two lane highway east towards Page Arizona. It’s about another hour to Page and the late afternoon light made the Vermilion Cliffs just beautiful. We stopped for a brief photo at the historic Cliff Dwellers Trading Post and another quick walk on the historic Navajo Bridge over the Colorado at Marble Canyou.
As we were entering Page we stopped to visit the famous Horseshoe Bend. Worth the $10 per car entrance fee. You will recognize this view from travel books and calendars. The iconic bend in the beautiful Colorado River is not to be missed – its been on my list for years. Visiting off-season like we did means you won’t need to battle the crowds and tour bus groups.
Prior to arriving in Page we had pre-booked a tour to Antelope Canyon with Antelope Canyon Tours. You can no longer tour the canyon on your own, due to ridiculous people who think carving their name on the canyon is their right. So now the Navajo Nation only allows guided tours and you must wear a mask the whole time. All of that was okay with me. Tour cost was $77 per person.
It was a cold morning and the ride to the canyon was in an open air vehicle so I was really glad to have my down jacket. Our group of 7 plus our wonderful guide Sonny arrived at the canyon about 10:30am. Over the next hour Sonny guided us through the stunning canyon, explaining the geology and sacred Navajo beliefs about the canyon. Sonny was also really helpful with photos and pointing out great photo opportunities. It was better than I had imagined and I am so very glad we made the effort to come here.
That evening we had an early dinner at the Bird House – the best fried chicken I’ve ever had.
This was a very long day but really worth it. Again with the Antelope Canyon Tour Company we headed out for a full day, this time not in an open air vehicle, to White Pocket. You can visit White Pocket in the Vermilion Cliff without a guide, but NOT without a high clearance 4WD vehicle. So our group of five traveled more than two hours in a Suburban along a very bumpy, sandy road.
Arriving in White Pocket, its difficult to even describe the sight. This is not a canyon, but rather a remarkable landscape that juts out of the earth, all white and vermilion and swirling like a hurricane. It reminded me of Star Wars, of pillows that my grandma used to have on her couch, and bacon. Seriously one of the most unique sights I have ever seen. A must see to believe. We spent about two hours walking all over this incredible fluke of nature.
Our tour included sandwiches and bottled water all for the price of $180 per person. And then another two hour, bumpy drive back to Page.
We enjoyed dinner at the popular Dam Bar & Grille before collapsing into bed happily reminiscing about this amazing region.
We checked out of our hotel in Page early and proceeded to drive the two hours to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Some of this drive included backtracking along roads we had traveled already, but the scenery in this region, particularly the Vermilion Cliffs never gets old. So stunning.
Right before we entered the National Park we saw a Grey Wolf off in the distance, about 300 yards. We stopped the car and did our best to capture a picture. Seeing a Grey Wolf in the wild is incredibly rare and we were excited and astounded.
We had been to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon several times, but never to the North Rim. The North Rim entrance gate was unmanned, and the lodges and visitor center closed for the season. There were only a handful of cars in the parking lot. It was 42 degrees when we arrived, but through out the day we peeled off clothes as the temperature increased.
We did a short hike out to the Bright Angel Point lookout with fantastic views across the Canyon to the South Rim. We then hiked down into the canyon on the Kaibab Trail, the only trail from this side of the Canyon that goes to the bottom. But today was not a day for us to go to the bottom. Instead we hiked about 1.5 miles, had our picnic on the trail, then turned around and hiked back up. It was steep but not too hard and oh so beautiful.
After our hike we continued our drive another 4 hours back to Las Vegas for the night.
Winter Hiking Road Trip in Utah and Arizona
Even if you aren’t much of a hiker, none of these hikes were very difficult and all of them were so unique and beautiful. The geology of this region never ceases to amaze me, and everyone should see it at least once in their life. Doing this tour in six days gave us plenty of time to enjoy our itinerary without feeling too rushed. If you wanted to spend more time at the Grand Canyon, or visit Zion, Bryce or Moab, you would want to consider adding another week. Most the roads are good, and abundant lodging is available. I highly recommend avoiding this tour in the ridiculously busy summer months. You just won’t be able to enjoy it as much.
Thanks for reading about our winter hiking road trip in Utah and Arizona. We love it when you comment, pin and share our blog posts. Thank you!
It’s been one year today since we arrived in the USA after two months locked down on the island of Cyprus. One freaking crazy year. Even now, after all this time, I sometimes have trouble believing this has all been real. That Pandamit (oops I did it again…Pandemic), really changed absolutely everything, didn’t it?
We hope to travel internationally again soon. However we also know that our international travels of the future will never be as carefree and easy as they were during our four years of the Grand Adventure. But we definitely plan to get back out there.
Meanwhile, 365 days in the USA has given us time to appreciate this beautiful country and all it offers.
Prior to the Pandamit, we had already visited all fifty states. But that doesn’t mean we had seen all the amazing beauty of this nation….not even close. So slow travel in the USA became our new mission. And so far it’s been an amazing journey.
So for today’s blog post I thought I would share A Year in the USA in Pictures – some of my favorite images from our year stuck in the USA. I have no regrets.
Despite it all, it’s been a year of unexpected adventures. We visited Idaho, Colorado and Oregon. Maui was awesome and we enjoyed our time in the Coachella Valley,California and Arizona. Of course our home state of Washington in the summer is a wealth of beauty and adventures. Learning new things, getting healthy,loosing weight, time with family and staying positive have kept us in a good frame of mind. I just absolutely refuse to be a victim in all of this.
People keep asking us what we plan to do next? But, if the Pandamit has taught us anything, it’s don’t make plans! But planning we are, in spite of it all. We will spend 12 days in Iceland in June (fingers crossed). We will return to Maui again in the fall. And we hope to visit Colorado and Arizona again. Mexico is a possibility. We have now been vaccinated and I got my dreaded surgery out of the way, so there does seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel – but that could be a freight train barreling down…cause these days, you never know!
Meanwhile, we are here and that’s just fine – USA you are just fine and we are grateful for all you offer.
I hope you enjoyed our review A Year in the USA in Pictures.
There is a wide variety of activities to enjoy while visiting Tucson Arizona, without ever leaving town. But if you have the time, make your way south for some colorful history and fun. Enjoy Tubac, Bisbee, Tombstone Day Trip from Tucson.
Any of these three destinations could also be an overnight destination, but we left Tucson around 8 am and headed first to Tubac. About an hour and half drive to the tiny historic town, known for its historic presidio (fort in Spanish). The seven dollar entrance fee is well worth it to explore the presidio and learn about its history, which began in 1691 as a small Spanish Mission. The presidio served the Spanish, the Mexicans and even the Apache over the generations. Today it is an Arizona State Park.
Tubac is also a great destination for acquiring lovely Southwest pottery, glass and metal art. We spent about two hours total in Tubac (if shopping, you could easily spend more), including breakfast at the Stables Ranch and Grill, on the grounds of the Tubac Golf Resort. The resort is located on a 400 year old Spanish farm and ranch.
Our Tubac, Bisbee, Tombstone Day Trip from Tucson continued as we drove almost two hours to Bisbee. The two lane road, and eventually a highway wind south nearly to the Mexican border before heading east through endless grass lands with mountain ranges distant. A beautiful drive.
There are three main areas to explore in Bisbee. First are the open pit mines, a giant scar on the earth from the copper and silver mining that ruled this region for decades. Today there is no mining but you can take a tour of the mines. If you don’t want to take a tour you can just stand on the edge of the pit and be amazed at the devastation.
Near by is the former town of Lowell, which has been incorporated into Bisbee. Most of the town of Lowell was swallowed up when the Lavender Pit Mine was expanded, leaving only Erie Street intact. Businesses on Erie Street struggled to survive with few residents left. Today, preservationists keep Erie colorful for tourists, even though only one business remains open. It lives up to it’s name as an eerie mining ghost town.
Old Bisbee, also hit by hard times, still offers a colorful and historic story of small town mining life with several museums and a historic hotel in the middle of town. Built on the side of a mountain, surveying the town requires climbing stairs, but the views are worth it. Quaint and quirky Bisbee is worth two hours, and more if you take the mine tour. Stop for a beer at the Bisbee Brewing Company.
The most famous of these three towns was actually my least favorite, although I am glad we stopped. The historic old town of Tombstone, site of the infamous shootout at the OK Coral, is now a very touristy destination. But much of the old town remains, and local lore draws thousands of visitors to witness the “shootout” re-enactment several times a day at multiple locations.
The OK Corral is a Historical Landmark and the Tombstone Courthouse is a State Historical Park. Stagecoach rides through town are popular, and costumed characters wander about. Souvenir shops and restaurants occupy the remaining old west buildings. We recommend a meal at Big Nose Kate’s with excellent live music and the movie Tombstone on continuously on the big screen.
An hour is enough in Tombstone, unless you plan to do the 45 minute “shootout” show (there is a shorter option too) or plan to do a lot of shopping.
Your Tubac, Bisbee, Tombstone day trip from Tucson ends with a one hour drive back to Tucson; we were back a little after 5:00 PM. A very enjoyable day trip if you have the time when visiting Tucson – a city filled with history, scenery, recreation and more.
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Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.