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Smuggs 06-06-2011 10:12 PM

Back from Southwest Splendors
 
Just got back, spent a few days visiting relatives en route. Will do a quick recap and try to answer any questions.

Pre-Night - Embassy Suites Tempe - Was perfectly fine. Staff really great, and the breakfast was fantastic. Arrived late and left at 10am, so did not have much time there. Well worth the $89 AAA rate.

Guides - Fantastic. Tiffany and Chris get 5 Stars from us.

16 total adventurers. 4 of these were junior adventurers between 10-15. Great kids, Great adults.

Sedona- windy as heck. Amara was very nice. Dinner was SW food and breakfast was very good. Ate dinner at cowboy club, cactus fries were awful. Would not order the sampler again, probably would not eat there again. Wish we did Oak Creek Brewery instead.

Grand Canyon - Hotel not as bad as I expected. Breakfasts were horrid. Ate frosted flakes both days, it was safest choice. Guides know it stinks, but Xanterra rules the roost.

Moab - Red Cliff is fantastic. We had the cabins. Did ATV and horseback riding on our own and loved both. River was very high and they expect to have the lawn at Red Cliffs flood this week. Nothing they can do about it, just clean up after. Food here is very good.

Flights - long if you are coming from East Coast.

Ask away!

mcgrawfamily 06-07-2011 10:04 AM

Regarding the wind did you have to wear jackets or was it still warm? We are leaving for this tour on the 17th and figuring out what to bring. Also with the river being high were the rapids more dangerous?

Smuggs 06-07-2011 11:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mcgrawfamily (Post 41388089)
Regarding the wind did you have to wear jackets or was it still warm? We are leaving for this tour on the 17th and figuring out what to bring. Also with the river being high were the rapids more dangerous?

We dressed in layers. I wore a T- shirt, with a long sleeved button down shirt over it, then had a lined windbreaker jacket over that. Some days just windbreaker, some days just a long sleeve shirt.

Nights and very early mornings at the Grand Canyon were down right cold really. Was 23 the one morning, but warmed up nicely as day went on. Had my denim jacket that morning at the watchtower.

The rapids were non-existant due to the high water really. Class 1 easy at most. Had a great time though. I think this trip may get the record for the fastest time down water, we were moving FAST with the current. Was not the least bit dangerous.

sayhello 06-07-2011 11:21 AM

Welcome back! I'm so glad you enjoyed SWS, but I'm totally not surprised, as I think it's one of ABD's best itineraries!

We had Chris when I went in 2008, and I agree he's top notch! I've heard lots of good things about Tiffany, also.

You got to stay in the cabins at Red Cliffs Lodge?? Lucky you! Those are the Deluxe accommodations at what's already a Deluxe resort! I loved the Red Cliffs Lodge, and hope to go back there some day!

We actually had *SNOW* at the Grand Canyon when I went in May of 2008, so the cold temps you're reporting aren't that surprising. Amazing how it warms up so quickly!

Thanks for reporting in. Any photos you're going to share???

Sayhello

Aunt Cawa 06-07-2011 03:15 PM

Welcome back! Glad you had a great trip! When we were at the Grand Canyon it 100 degrees at the rim. :scared1: Glad you had much better weather!

Smuggs 06-07-2011 04:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sayhello (Post 41389104)
Welcome back! I'm so glad you enjoyed SWS, but I'm totally not surprised, as I think it's one of ABD's best itineraries!

We had Chris when I went in 2008, and I agree he's top notch! I've heard lots of good things about Tiffany, also.

You got to stay in the cabins at Red Cliffs Lodge?? Lucky you! Those are the Deluxe accommodations at what's already a Deluxe resort! I loved the Red Cliffs Lodge, and hope to go back there some day!

We actually had *SNOW* at the Grand Canyon when I went in May of 2008, so the cold temps you're reporting aren't that surprising. Amazing how it warms up so quickly!

Thanks for reporting in. Any photos you're going to share???

Sayhello

Am not the best photographer, but will post some once I go through them and try to write more details as well.

Yes, we were in the cabins along the river. They were really nice! Sitting out on the deck at night with all the stars was wonderful. The resort was fully booked so they upgraded us, was a nice surprise.

sayhello 06-07-2011 04:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Smuggs (Post 41392780)
Am not the best photographer, but will post some once I go through them and try to write more details as well.

Yes, we were in the cabins along the river. They were really nice! Sitting out on the deck at night with all the stars was wonderful. The resort was fully booked so they upgraded us, was a nice surprise.

I am *so* jealous!!!! :)

Sayhello

dismiss 06-07-2011 06:58 PM

I am So excited! I Love reading other peoples trip reports.
We leave in just under 2 months for SWS. August 6:cool1:

Glad to hear you had a great time.

Re the Embassy Suites- Do they have a free shuttle to the airport, or do you have to arrange your own transport?

Thanks for the info:)

Bobo912 06-07-2011 07:07 PM

Smuggs, so glad to hear you had a great trip. We're leaving in 27 days and I've done nothing to get ready. What kind of shoes did you wear for hikes and the ATV ride? I'm thinking about bringing my well-worn running shoes, since I assume they are going to be really dirty and maybe ready for the garbage afterwards. And probably Keens for the rafting trip and maybe the ATV (we plan to do that too!). I like Keens but not for long walks - they're just not that comfortable. How long was the shuttle ride from the airport to the Embassy Suites? I'm totally anal about being late, so I'm sure we'll get to the airport too early.

Smuggs 06-07-2011 09:02 PM

The Embassy Suite Tempe shuttle was about a 10 min ride. We pre-arranged the return for 10am. Everyone else arrived shortly after us and we were on the road by noon. Was still full from the great breakfast at the hotel, so we didn't buy any lunch. Was glad I packed granola bars and cheese crackers in my backpack. Even if your not hungry, get a sandwich to go and take it on the bus for later.

Shoes- I wore New Balance Off Road Runners for everything but river rafting. They did get wet ATV'ing though. So I wore them in the shower and washed them off, red dust all came out. Set them outside to dry on the deck with the innersoles removed and they dried within hours. It is unbelievably dry air out there, bring lots of chapstick and body butter!

Just wore regular water shoes for rafting.

mcgrawfamily 06-08-2011 08:32 AM

Thanks for the info on layers. Now figuring out what to pack. It looks like Sedona is now in the high 80's and low 60's with 30's at night in the Canyon. Did you wear shorts with your layers given teh temp once it warmed up? We plan on bringing jeans for the Canyon part of the trip at night but were hoping to get away with shorts and a jacket for the daytime. Packing for three so appreciate your help on these silly questions.

tufbuf 06-08-2011 11:34 AM

When we did SWS last June, more than half of the group jumped and swam in the river, some almost the entire length. That might be a consideration for those who may want to do it. The temp was peaking in the 100s then so it cooled most of us.

Smuggs 06-10-2011 11:16 PM

Sorry for the delay, It is so hard to get thing in order at work after being away!

Yes, we wore hiking shorts, and just shed layers during the day. Usually we only needed 2 layers (shirt and windbreaker)

We took WAYYY too many clothes. Pack your bag and them take half out! We would wear something on a non-dusty day or just in the evening then re-wear it on a day we knew we would get red dusted. I took 2 shirts for each day and it was too many.

Bobo912 06-12-2011 12:06 PM

Smuggs, did you book the ATV tour in advance or after you arrived at Red Cliffs Lodge? I'm a little concerned since we're traveling on a holiday week about activities being booked up.

Smuggs 06-12-2011 12:15 PM

Our guides asked us a few days earlier what we all were planning to do in Moab and sent a sheet around with the descriptions and pricing. They took care of it for us.


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