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Colorado here we come! UPDATE : )

Hello fellow travelers!

Our daughter will be studying at the University of Colorado!
She was thrilled when the notice of admission finally arrived, a few months ago, and we hugged and shed some happy tears!

So... This August we'll be packing our car and moving her to her new home in Boulder, Colorado.
We’ll be driving from Southern California (Los Angeles area) through Nevada, Utah and half-way through Colorado... All new territory to us, HELP!

I’d like to get your input as to where we could stop along the way.
We enjoy nature and beautiful scenery; mountains, lakes, waterfalls, etc.

Jill from Boulder, Colorado, has graciously suggested one of the National Parks in Utah, but I'm having a difficult time deciding where we should spend our night(s).

We’ve not decided if we should take two or three days to get to our destination.

I’ve been looking at Google maps, and I'm considered staying in Richfield (Utah), which appears to be the half way point for us.
Your thoughts?

We’ve not driven this route ( I-15 N to I-70 E) before, and we don’t want to drive at night.

Any helpful tips we should be aware of prior to taking this trek?

Thanks a bunch!

Priscilla

Posted by
43 posts

If you have not been to Mesa Verde, make it one of your stops. It's possible to leave LA, head to Flagstaff, and then drive to western Colorado (you might want to drop into the Grand Canyon or Lake Powell)...but I am not sure there is a more moving place in the US than the Pueblo ruins at Mesa Verde, having seen them both before major fires and now that the forests on the plateau have been ravaged.

Posted by
43 posts

My husband wanted to recommend Antelope, in the Lake Powell/Page area. You will find it on many lists of the most beautiful places in the world but have to book your tour well in advance. We took our sons to Mesa Verde on a road trip from grandparents' house in LA, making stops in Las Vegas (relatives), Zion, the north rim of the Grand Canyon, a boat rental and camping for three days on Lake Powell, Monument Valley, many native American ruins on the way to Mesa Verde. The only thing that disappointed us was a stop at Four Corners on the ride back. We returned to the western NM/CO area a few years ago....loved Chaco Canyon, though it might be a bit out of your way to Colorado, and Bandelerro near Santa Fe, on a trip from Albuquerque to Denver. We spent a nice evening in Durango, where all the locals were rafting in the early evening....looked like fun; took the steam train to Silverton which was also fun. Spent a night in Telluride, at a hotel above the town (cable cars are free transportation in the community so made it fun to ride them down to the town and then return to mountaintop hotel, the Inn at Lost Creek and in the morning took a few more scenic cable car rides including one back into town to get food from the farmer's market for our trip into Denver. Finally, as a Bruin and a Cardinal, can we wish your young Buffalo a wonderful time at Colorado.

Posted by
43 posts

One last note. We did both of our trips with tents...the first one was camping every day, the second we camped one night and stayed at a hotel the next. The tent let us stay in some spectacular places at night, including Mesa Verde and Chaco Canyon, while the hotels gave us a chance to clean up and have a good meal and enjoy some great resort/tourist destinations in the state.

Posted by
24 posts

Welcome! I not only live in Colorful Colorado, I graduated from CU Boulder. You’re speaking my language! You won’t have any issues on 1-15 or 1-70; they are well-traveled and safe.

I would stop in Zions National Park, outside of St. George, UT. - right on your way. This national park has stunning scenery and a story to tell of our country’s first inhabitants. In Colorado, try Glenwood Springs and go for a swim in its natural Hot Springs Pool- truly unique and open to the public. From there, you can detour south on Highway 82 and visit Aspen (AKA Glitter Gulch-you’ll see why :) ) The Maroon Bells-Snowmass wilderness is nearby, where you must take a bus into the area every day during the summer, due to its popularity. But, the views and the magnificence of the surroundings are worth it! Very close to Boulder, look at Rocky Mountain National Park and nearby Estes Park for a fun day trip- they are close by and cool in August! PM me if I can help with any questions and I hope you enjoy your trip.

Posted by
914 posts

A few practical things:
Take lip balm.
Drink water.
Take a hat.

Have fun!

Posted by
2018 posts

Congratulations to your daughter! To add to what Rachel says-- Drink water....lots of water and use major SPF sunscreen frequently!! Air is thin, altitude is significant and sun is hot! CU is situated in an absolutely beautiful setting and I just bet you will all love Boulder. My grandson will also be attending CU beginning in the Fall; my daughter and one of my sons are graduates. You won't be too far from Rocky Mountain Natl' Park so if you have time before or after dropping her off, do try to get up there for a visit. It's spectacular. Don't forget there will be a Parents Weekend (I think they still do that?!?) if you don't get to see everything you'd like to see during the first visit.

Posted by
4701 posts

Wow! I almost didn’t post my questions and now I’m so glad I did!

Thanks for all the good wishes and for all your great suggestions!

So many beautiful places, and so little time...

We’ll definitely look into these amazing places as we plan our route.

I have a ton of questions for you all!

I’ll ask a few now:

  1. Will she need snow boots in the winter? Where’s a good place to buy
    them in Boulder?

  2. Will she need snow tires for her car?

  3. Where can we buy a comfy bed without breaking the bank?

Happy Father’s Day to all you fathers out there!

Posted by
2018 posts

I'll attempt some answers to your latest questions: I'd say yes to the snow boots but check with her re "will she wear them"! My grandkids (one to CU in the fall, as I said and my granddaughter (Sr. in HS living 8 miles from Boulder in Superior) wear boots with good soles that lace up and are warm throughout the winter months and into our usually slushy Springs). Of course, these must be "stylish"! I will ask them where they shop but DSW (Flatirons Mall) and Nordstrom Rack (Boulder) are places to start. There is a nice Mall at 29th St in Boulder and another, Flatirons Mall, about 10 miles east on Hwy 36 (towards Denver). 2) I do not have snow tires for my cars but I have 2 4 wheel drives-a jeep and a suburu outback. That's usually enough to keep me on the road. The kids drive similar cars-a small(er) Toyota truck and a 4Runner. Oh, and the bed question-I'm sorry I can't answer that one with any personal knowledge but will ask them if they have any recommendations!

Posted by
4701 posts

Andi,

Congratulations to your grandson!

Thanks for all the information regarding the various malls.

We actually didn't consider her having a car there, but then my DH thought it would be a good idea for her to have it.
She's a very responsible and careful driver, but has no experience driving in Colorado weather conditions, so of course, I worry.

In terms of snow boots... She has a pair of waterproof hiking boots that she got before going to Edinburgh for her study abroad semester (January- May, 2016). She also bought a pair of waterproof boots there but they're not snow boots.
I'm sure she'll figure it out when the time comes. Thanks again for answering all my questions!

Posted by
5262 posts

A great three-day drive would be:

Day 1: I-15 to St. George, Utah and then SR 9 to Springdale, right outside Zion National Park. Take the shuttle in and out of Zion Canyon if there's time, otherwise next morning.

Day 2: Early canyon shuttle if you didn't get it last night. Then SR 9 through the tunnels to US 89 north, then SR 12 east past Bryce Canyon. Check out the view, that's all you'll likely have time for, and continue on SR 12 north along "Hell's Backbone" to Torrey. That drive is one of the most scenic in North America. From Torrey, east on SR 24 through Capitol Reef National Park (some nice short hikes there if time allows), then 24 turns north to connect with I-70. You could spend the night in Green River (great museum about Powell's early expeditions through the Grand Canyon), or press on to Grand Junction.

Day 3: Colorado National Monument, just west of Grand Junction, has a very scenic canyon rim drive that parallels (roughly) I-70, if time allows. Then I-70 all the way across the mountains to Denver outskirts. The freeway route to Boulder takes you right through Denver, there might be a more direct and scenic route from I-70 but I don't know the area well enough.

That's a lot of driving, the second day mostly on 2-lane highways. Most of the way it will be very hot and dry, and the parks will be crowded. Chances are you and your daughter will find other routes, certainly faster ones, in the years to come. Congratulations to her and best wishes!

Posted by
8650 posts

If your daughter has never driven on snow or icy roads, you may want to explore if the driving schools there offer a 'winter conditions' course.

Posted by
14930 posts

I was just going to suggest a route similar to Dick's. Here are the adjustments I would make, mostly because in August the big national parks, especially Zion (my absolute favorite place on earth) will be very crowded and everywhere will be hot. So my plan is basically to spend those hot days driving in the car and admiring the scenery. Use the early mornings and late afternoons for hikes.

But first, as I try to work this out, more questions spring to mind. Are you then driving with your DH back to LA? Or are you going to leave the car with DD and fly home? How comfortable will your fully packed car be for passengers? How many hours can you drive before you've had it for the day? When in August? The Perseid meteor shower this year peaks on Aug 11-12. If you can, be in Utah on those nights for the clearest skies and least light pollution.

Okay, now back to the actual trip.
You start with a boring drive on I-10/I-15 until you get through Vegas, after that the road starts to become scenic, and will wow you by the time you get to the Arizona border - weird but there's that little northwest corner of the state that you cross to get to Utah which is a beautiful drive. So don't speed through it - especially since the AZ state troopers like to give out tickets. Depending how long you want to drive that day, you could spend the night in Springdale (just outside Zion NP) or before you get there, in St. George or one of the small towns in-between, like Hurricane. You'll almost certainly need to make reservations for Springdale, maybe for the other towns too. I would not bother going into Zion on the shuttle - it will be crowded and IMHO there's plenty to enjoy without it. You can drive through Zion (the road the shuttle takes into the valley will be closed to cars), through the amazing tunnel and then stop for photos and/or a hike before leaving through the eastern entrance to the park. BTW it may be worthwhile to buy a National Parks pass (now called America the Beautiful).

Then continue on to Bryce (Rt 89/Rt 12). You will see on a map that it is much faster to drive on I-15 and I-70, but you will miss Bryce and Capitol Reef and the road will be much much less scenic. In Bryce there's an 18-mile loop drive with scenic overlooks. If you are there early in the morning or late in the afternoon, you could do that. The rest of the day may be too crowded to find parking at many of the stops, or the shuttle bus may be an option, depending on how often it runs, how much time you have and how crowded it is. While Zion is my favorite, Bryce's scenery is more dramatic.

Next stop - Capitol Reef, as Dick recommends, taking SR 12. This park may be a lot less crowded and thus a better place to spend a few hours and take a hike. One hike takes you past some great views and Indian petroglyphs.

At this point, you are probably running out of time (any chance you could add another day or two?), so SR 24 to I-70 to Grand Junction, with a stop at Colorado NM for a couple hours and some beautiful views, if you have time. But if you have the time take a detour to Moab on US 191. Optional, but recommended, spend several hours driving through Arches NP (some beautiful hikes of varying lengths). One of the most scenic drives I've ever done was between Moab and Colorado NP (albeit in the opposite direction) in the early morning on SR 128 along the Colorado River.

From Grand Junction to Boulder, you can drive straight through to Boulder via Denver on the interstate (that's what they call the freeways once you're out of California ) or you can add 2-3 hours driving time and detour north from I-70 to SR 131/US-40 and drive through Rocky Mountain NP, entering the west entrance, then arriving in Boulder from the north on US 36.

Posted by
14930 posts

I doubt you can do everything I've listed. Just like going to Italy, you'll have to make some hard choices . . . or add more days.

If you are driving back to LA, how many days do you have for that?

Final thought. If DD has a car, she will be able to explore all the wonders of Colorado and southern Wyoming and even northern New Mexico if she has any free time. She may never want to return to SoCal though.

Posted by
43 posts

Just a reminder that you may head back to pick your daughter up next summer as her freshman year ends, so the journeys you don't take this time, you might do as you drive home from Boulder. So one more plug to get to Mesa Verde on one of your trips because it is truly one of America's sacred places.

Posted by
4701 posts

Thanks Dick, Chani, Joe and Lindann!

There are indeed so many amazing places along the way but we'll have to figure out our time frame.

I have a question for Dick and Chani:
I know that the I-15 and I-70 are multi-lane freeways. How is the drive on the 2- lane highways ( SR 12; SR 89; and SR 24) ?
I know that taking detours on these highways will reward us with fabulous scenery, but it will also add time to our journey.

I'm having such a difficult time deciding how long we'll be able to drive each day. I'm not a fan of driving long distances and I get tired sitting in a car, even if someone else is doing the driving.
We'll have to play around with Google Maps in order to get a better idea of where to go and where to stop.

I doubt you can do everything I've listed. Just like going to Italy, you'll have to make some hard choices . . . or add more days.

Unfortunately, we can't add more days... Work obligations.

I only have one week, and I want to spend a few days in Boulder helping my daughter get settled, before flying back home.

Oh, Chani... You may be right! The University of Colorado was her first choice, not only because they offer a great graduate program, but also because of the beautiful scenery! She visited the university last year, and knew this was where she wanted to be.

Do you have accommodation recommendations for St. George, Springfield, Green River, and/or Grand Junction?

Lindann,
Thanks for the reminder that there will be other opportunities to visit the places we don't get to this time around.

Posted by
181 posts

We drove all of these roads in the RV, but then we had the luxury of time. Southern Utah is stunning. Here are a few places for you to get more information to help with your decisions. There are some videos on Utah 12, but don't have time to watch one to recommend.

https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/byways

https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/byways/byways/2020

https://www.visitutah.com/things-to-do/road-trips/must-do/all-american-road/

https://www.visitutah.com/articles/the-all-american-road-scenic-byway-12/

I have one other comment here. We are both sensitive to changes in altitude. It can make both of us tire much more easily. I never drink caffeine, Denis has to cut his in half because he gets headaches at higher altitudes. We're also more thirsty, so we always have more water handy. If you drive I-70 across Colorado, you will cross the continental divide at the Eisenhower Tunnel, which is in excess of 11,000 feet in altitude. Just so ya know!

Have a good trip.

Posted by
284 posts

It sounds like you're pretty set on driving, but here's another idea. I live in Minnesota and, when my son started college on the east coast, we all flew there. We checked as many suitcases as we could (at the time, we could each check two suitcases for free - so six cases total), mostly filled with his belongings. We shipped a couple of boxes with things like linens as well (these arrived before we did). When we arrived on the east coast, we rented a car and did some sightseeing for a few days before delivering him to the campus. I'm not sure this cost much more than paying for gas and nights on the road. So just a thought!

From Boulder, you can take some day trips into the mountains, or perhaps spend a couple days near Rocky Mountain National Park, outside of Estes Park. So beautiful!

As for buying things like snow boots - I would let her buy things as she finds that she needs them. A lot of kids go without boots (even here in Minnesota! I know, I know - it's crazy - but there it is!) I grew up in Denver and she'll have several months of fall weather before needing any winter gear (although sometimes we got a "freak" storm in September). Also, the snow often melts quickly, since it often warms up after only a day or two. (This is quite different than here in Minnesota.) If you do want to buy some things once you arrive in Colorado, you will find pretty much all the same stores in the Boulder/Denver area that you would find in your area.

Have a great trip. Her being in Boulder will be a great excuse for you to enjoy the Colorado mountains over the next four years.

Posted by
5262 posts

The non-freeways I mentioned are all paved two-lane highways with speed limits up to 55 on straight stretches, but many not-straight stretches. What will slow you down are the RVs ahead of you in the summer season. I seem to remember some passing lanes but also some long stretches with curves and steep grades. Not a problem for a car in light traffic but could slow you down in the real world.

The Boulder Mountain highway between Bryce and Torrey will be the slowest, because of curves and grades. The tradeoff is the views, of course. You could avoid it by taking 89 north through Panguitch to I-70, missing Bryce and Capitol Reef but still getting Zion. That's a pretty reasonable two-lane highway with passing lanes if you need them.

Southern Utah is inherently hard to cross because the Colorado River has made it impossible except in a few places. The Henry Mountains, east of Capitol Reef, were the last part of the Lower 48 to be explored and mapped.

Posted by
31473 posts

Priscilla,

I just happened to spot this thread, and have a few comments. Regarding the question of whether your daughter will require snow tires, you may be interested in this - https://www.codot.gov/travel/winter-driving/TractionLaw . I don't know what winter conditions are like in Boulder, but from a safety aspect, I would recommend having proper winter tires (look for the snowflake symbol). Tires designed for winter driving use a softer rubber compound, which doesn't harden in colder conditions so grips the road better (however these tires wear faster so best to change them when the weather warms up).

I've been driving in Canadian winters for over 50 years, so have some idea what works and what doesn't. My vehicle is front wheel drive but I use studded ice & snow radials on all four wheels. Here in B.C., it's mandatory to install four winter tires and not acceptable to just put two winter tires on the drive wheels. Drivers who use incorrect tires and are involved in an incident can be fined, especially on specific roads such as the infamous Coquihalla (aka Highway Thru Hell), where proper tires or chains are mandatory. A four-wheel or all-wheel drive vehicle with all season tires is not acceptable, unless the tires have the M+S designation.

Posted by
4701 posts

Donna & Denis,
Thanks so much for all the helpful links! I will make sure to check them out this weekend.
Also thanks for the warning about the altitude around the Eisenhower Tunnel. I don't do well at high altitudes either.
Hmmm... It looks like we'll definitely be going through that tunnel to get to our destination.

Renee,

A lot of kids go without boots (even here in Minnesota! I know, I know - it's crazy - but there it is!)

Unbelievable!!!

The main reason for driving there is to leave the car with our daughter.

She's actually attending one of the graduate programs at CU and will need the car.
I really wish we could fly the car there!

Tom_MN,

Snow tires is an antiquated term.

Ha! This shows you how much I know about tires! Thanks!

Her car needs new tires, so we'll definitely get some "all season radials"!

Dick,
Thanks for answering my questions about the 2-lane highways!

Ken,
Thanks so much for the informative website! I will definitely read it and look into getting the appropriate tires for her car.

Thanks everyone for all your helpful comments! ;-)

Posted by
1277 posts

While in grad school in Boston I taught a couple of southerners how to drive in ice and snow. Hopefully she'll make friends with some nice calm people w with driving tips to share.
Sounds like she has appropriate boots already.
Maybe she needs a couple if pairs of wool blend socks? I can remember one day in Boston buying fresh socks at the drug store because my feet were cold and wet .

Posted by
14930 posts

Ciao Priscilla,

I've always stayed in Springdale when I've visited Zion (maybe 10 times), except for once when I splurged on the Lodge inside the park. The last time (too long ago) was in 2011. A friend and I stayed at the Driftwood Lodge in a double queen room with a balcony. It was pricey but so worth it. I'm going to email you a photo from the balcony.

The roads are all in good condition. My trips were usually in late fall, never in summer, but I can imagine that you could get slowed down by an RV or two. I only drove I-15 north from Springdale a couple of times and my recollection is of lots of semis, lots of stops (it goes through a number of small towns), rarely going as fast as the speed limit, and not very scenic. My other recollections of the drives are the the interstates are not very scenic, but on the SR's, I stopped often at the side of the road to take one more photo of the stunning scenery.

Nearly all my "snow" driving was in California. I had a car with all-wheel drive AWD and 4-wheel ABS (anti-lock brake system). I once got stuck in a heavy snow on I-80, pretty close to Donner Pass. The car never skidded or swerved at all, though most of the time I was either sitting or moving slowly. And once I got snowed in, in Yosemite Valley (wonderful!!). When I could get out, I realized I was driving on black ice - didn't know it until I got out of the car to take a few last photos of El Capitan and barely avoided a nasty spill when I skidded on the ice. Yes, your DD will have to learn to drive in snow; just like she had to learn to drive on Calfornia mega-freeways. If she's smart and careful, I'm sure she'll be fine. It sounds like she's a serious grad student, so she's not a dare-devil teen.

When I first started taking road trips through the West, I packed a lot of music CDs. You can't really listen to the radio because the stations keep changing as you get in/out of their range. Then I discovered audio books. They are the best for long drives. There are thousands and thousands of books on just about every topic you can imagine. Check with your public library. I used to borrow them on CDs. Now I think they are available for download to any MP3 player (smartphone, Apple device, etc), then plug into the car audio system. I'm sure you can find a few that will interest both of you.

As for winter gear, REI has a store in Boulder and a flagship store in Denver. She can get most anything she needs (and a whole lot of stuff she may not really need) in Boulder or order on-line and have it delivered to the Boulder store.

Posted by
31473 posts

Priscilla,

A few other points to mention......

  • Your daughter will probably need some kind of insulated boots for winter. I suspect the snow there is probably "drier", as it is here in the Okanagan, so she may not encounter as much "slush".
  • Other items: gloves / mitts, a scarf and a hat (unless her winter coat has an attached hood).
  • It would be a good idea take the car to a shop and have the anti-freeze rating checked. It should be appropriate for conditions in Boulder.
  • I don't know if it gets cold enough there to warrant a Block Heater (my car is fitted with one).
  • When winter is approaching, I'd recommend buying some windshield washer anti-freeze. Replace the water in the washer reservoir with the anti-freeze. You can buy that at many gas stations, Costco, Wal-Mart, etc., and it's cheap.
  • I'm not sure if this is required for Boulder, but find out what grade of motor oil is in the car. I'd have to confirm this, but I believe my Mechanic uses a 10/40.

That's all I can think of at the moment.

Posted by
288 posts

Snow tires are not an antiquated term we still use them if you are driving in the high country of Colorado frequently. I have 4wd and use all seasons but my wife gets studded tires for her 2wd car, but we live in the mountains. It will snow in Boulder but it generally doesn't last. Depending on her car and how often she wants to drive in the mountains will depend on what she needs for tires. But she will want good tread before winter for sure. If she doesn't "need" to drive on snowy days in town and she isn't going to the mountains frequently she can get away will good all seasons. If she wants to go to the mountains every weekend to ski or something then you might consider snow tires as she could drive in snow then for sure.

Boots in town are optional I would say. I only wear boots if I am going hiking in snow or have to clear my driveway with more than say 6 inches. In town I wear a thick soled light hiker on snowy days, but everyone is different.

Denver is not far from boulder and there is IKEA there. American Furniture Warehouse is another budget basic furniture place that delivers.

Posted by
288 posts

Richfield is halfwayish , we stay there on our trips to California sometimes, but it is a farm town with not much going on tourist wise. Its fine to lay your head but you might push further to moab and spend a couple days there to see the red rock desert with better restaurant and hotel choices. Or stop sooner near ST George/Zion.

Posted by
3493 posts

Colorado snow, at least near Denver and Boulder, is here one day and gone the next. It is not unusual to see people in shorts and flip flops the day after a major blizzard. So it would be nice to have some warmer boots for the blizzardy days, but actual snow boots probably not needed unless heading to the ski country up in the mountains.

Good place for a mattress is Denver Mattress. They have locations all over. They carry their own brands plus most of the major national ones. I bought one of theirs 10 years ago and it is still in perfect shape.

Good all weather tires should do it. Unless many trips up to the ski areas are to be taken, the Denver/Boulder streets clear off quickly in winter.

Posted by
288 posts

You definitely don't need a block heater in Boulder. You do want to take water out of your windshield washer and replace it with antifreeze. She will need a hat, gloves, winter jacket etc..Snow is dry here and most of the time melts out within a couple days unless its in the shade or an unusually cold spell. Not uncommon to get highs in the 60s with sunshine mid winter in Boulder. She wont probably need much in the way of warm clothes until later in October when the nights start getting cold again unless she is heading to the high country before then.

Posted by
2018 posts

" You do want to take water out of your windshield washer and replace it with antifreeze. "

Antifreeze in your windshield washer? I only have something in there made for our icy and cold Colorado winters but I didn't think it might be antifreeze. Doesn't that go where the engine coolant goes? I ask this as someone who takes her car(s) in regularly to be serviced by people who know what they are doing and (ashamedly) I admit I don't really ask questions. Ok, so that's probably a dumb one, but I'd really like to know.

Posted by
4701 posts

You guys are amazing, thanks you so much!

I've received so much helpful information from all of you; some of which I hadn't even considered!

Doric8,
I do hope she meets some nice friends there too!

She already has some wool socks that she took to Edinburgh, where she studied for a semester, during the winter months.
She also has a warm, waterproof, down coat with a hood.

Chani,
The Driftwood Lodge looks like a great place to stay, thanks!
It's a good thing you didn't fall on that ice in Yosemite! We'll definitely have lots of great music to listen to, and I will check our library for audio books that we may enjoy.

Ken,
Thanks for all the great tips! We'll definitely need to find a trustworthy mechanic in Boulder!

Keith,
Thanks for all the your helpful suggestions!

Mark,
We'll definitely check Denver Mattress, thanks!
We're planning to get new tires for her car this summer and I will make sure they are good, "all- weather" type tires.
My daughter doesn't ski but enjoys hiking-- not in the snow though...

Andi,

I actually have the same question...

I suppose there are two different types of "antifreeze" solutions, one for the radiator and one for the windshield washer?

Thanks everyone!

Posted by
31473 posts

I only have time for a quick reply tonight. Regarding the windshield washer anti freeze question, perhaps I should have clarified that a bit better.

I used that term more to describe the function. It's formulated specifically to keep the windshield wash fluid from freezing in cold weather and is different than engine anti freeze.. Regardless of what the label on the bottle says, many people here refer to it by that term.

Posted by
14930 posts

One more thought, Priscilla. Stop in at an AAA office and pick up maps and a book and ask for advice on planning a route. If you are lucky you'll find someone who's driven in Utah a lot and can help you. The maps designate all the scenic routes.

Posted by
4701 posts

Thanks Ken and Joe for clarifying about the “antifreeze”.

It makes perfect sense, now that I think about it.

Chani,
Yes, thanks once again!

I definitely plan to go to my local AAA to get maps, and whatever other information they have for our road trip😊

Posted by
2018 posts

And I thank you for the education! Now I know the differences and don't have to ask my Car Guys!

Posted by
13524 posts

Coming in late here but yes, yes, yes to Dick and Chani's route suggestions! While you may not be able to fit it all in, we've done the Hwy 12 route between Bryce and Capitol Reef multiple times and it's a real stunner, and C.R. is an underrated National Park, IMHO. Moab is GREAT but it'll be a cooker in August, and you may not have time. If you do, the most scenic drive in or out from 70 is on 128: you could go down on 191 and out on 128 to avoid backtracking.

I'll also agree with skipping the shuttle into Zion Canyon as that park will be a zoo during high season as you simply don't have the time; enjoy the drive through some of the rest on 9.

My one concern lodging near any of the parks: those fill early for the summer season so the sooner you get a plan down and onto booking, the better. If you stay in Torrey, see if you can get into Austin's Chuckwagon Lodge: we like that one. :O)

Posted by
5262 posts

Torrey is one of our favorite places to stay in the southwest, a lovely town laid out by the Mormons (of course), lots of trees, few buildings above one story. The best place we know to eat is the Cafe Diablo at the west end on route 24. The Capitol Reef Inn and Cafe has good food and accommodations, relatively low cost, also west of "downtown." The Best Western Capitol Reef Resort, east of town, makes up for lack of character with spectacular views of the red cliffs, and the Sky Ridge B&B, just east of where 12 hits 24, also has great views.

That said, you'll have to figure out your overnight stops based on your whole plan. If you're still considering just two days from LA to Boulder, you really won't have time for much off the interstates. With three days you can make some stops and take some slower roads like we've been describing. If I were driving all the way to the south end of Zion Canyon (i.e. Springdale, Utah), I wouldn't miss the shuttle ride into the canyon and at least a stop or two to look at the cliffs and river.

Moab and Arches and Canyonlands are also great places to visit, but on this trip I can't imagine how you'd have time. Gotta do this trip again and make a week or more of it!

Posted by
4701 posts

Kathy,

Thanks for your driving suggestions and for the lodging recommendation in Torrey, it looks great!

Dick,

Thanks for your additional comments and suggestions about Torrey.

We've decided to take three days to drive to Boulder, so we'll have day two to explore Zion National Park for a bit prior to driving to Bryce and Torrey.

I've been looking at Google map and I like what you've suggested on your first reply for day 2:

Day 2: Early canyon shuttle if you didn't get it last night. Then SR 9 through the tunnels to US 89 north, then SR 12 east past Bryce Canyon. Check out the view, that's all you'll likely have time for, and continue on SR 12 north along "Hell's Backbone" to Torrey. That drive is one of the most scenic in North America. From Torrey, east on SR 24 through Capitol Reef National Park (some nice short hikes there if time allows), then 24 turns north to connect with I-70. You could spend the night in Green River (great museum about Powell's early expeditions through the Grand Canyon), or press on to Grand Junction.

Dick, would you recommend staying in Torrey or Green River? Do you have accommodation recommendations in Green River?

Day 3 would be driving the rest of the way to Boulder.

Chani, I just booked a room with a view of the canyon at Driftwood Lodge in Springdale!
This will be a splurge for us too, but it looks like it's well worth it ; ) Thanks a bunch!
Have a wonderful trip!

Thanks everyone!

Posted by
13524 posts

My 2-cents on Torrey versus Green River? I think the the scenery is better in Torrey, if that matters. Dick mentioned Cafe Diablo? Yes, it's good but changed owners some years ago and we didn't have (for the $$$ price) as up-to-par a meal last time as we'd had the first.

For casual post-hike hanging out, we like Rim Rock Patio (not The Rim Rock RESTAURANT). Limited menu, and the couple of sammies are better than the pizza (too thick a crust for us but other folks like it) but the VIEW from the picnic tables around late afternoon/sunset, when the cliffs turn fiery red and gold, is outstanding and makes up for any shortcomings.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60758-d1078429-Reviews-The_Rim_Rock_Patio-Torrey_Utah.html

http://www.therimrock.net/casual-dining-restaurant.php

Dick mentioned nice views from some of his accommodation recos (Rim Rock Inn - where the restaurants above are located - offers those too, although we haven't stayed there) and I'll admit that there aren't any of those from Austins. We just like it for some amenities that are useful to us on our multi-week hiking trips, like the general store and coin laundry. Clean rooms and nice folks, too, but if you want a view, then look at his suggestions.

Posted by
3493 posts

One more comment about antifreeze.

The stuff you put in your engine coolant is fatal to small furry animals. It should never be used for anything else, not disposed of in anything other than the container it came in at a place set up to handle it. Most auto repair shops will take any you want to dispose of since they have the necessary set up to have it properly disposed of. This should not be a problem for those of us who have professionals change the coolant in our cars as those doing the work take care of it.

The windshield antifreeze can still be harmful, but much less so in the quantities you will use. In many parts of the US it is almost impossible to find now unless the area does experience snow and sub freezing temperatures for extended times in the winter. I could not find any at all for my mom who lives in south Texas even though winters can get icy there and had to have the local auto parts store special order some. Even then, it was a much less potent formula than what we found in years past. It is still found at nearly every store here in Colorado.

Posted by
4701 posts

Thanks Kathy!

I’m having a difficult time trying to figure out how much time we’ll have once we leave Zion National Park.

I can check distances on Google Maps, but in reality I won’t know how long it will take to drive to Bryce, drive the 18 mile scenic loop mentioned by Chani, then onwards to Torrey.

If we do spend the night in Torrey, then again, won’t know how long it will take to drive the rest of the way to Boulder.

I suppose we’ll toss a coin and choose, or just decide to stay in Torrey so we can watch the beautiful sunset.

Thanks for letting me know about your experience with the food quality at Cafe Diablo.
The Rim Rock Patio looks promising and we’re happy eating simple food, especially if we’ll be rewarded with amazing views!

It looks like the Rim Rock Patio and the
Restaurant are in the same location, right?

Mark,
Thanks for the additional information about the antifreeze.
If it’s fatal and harmful to animals I’m pretty sure it’s also harmful to humans!

BTW, we need a trustworthy mechanic in Boulder. Do you have any recommendations?

Posted by
13524 posts

It looks like the Rim Rock Patio and the Restaurant are in the same
location, right?

Yes, Rim Rock Patio and R.R. Restaurant are two different establishments but they're in the same general location.

Posted by
4701 posts

Hi Kathy, Thanks!

Oops! Last night when I clicked on both of the links you provided, I got confused, because I thought one was for the patio and the other for the restaurant.

Posted by
5262 posts

According to Via Michelin, from Springdale to Torrey, via Bryce and the Boulder Mountain Highway, is 193 miles and would take 5 hours, without stops. Bryce is certainly worth a stop, plus some of the views from the highway beyond. And you might want to take some time in Capitol Reef National Park, just east of Torrey, at the end of that day or on your way to Green River.

Driving onto Green River adds 105 miles, or 2 1/2 hours, beyond Torrey, but you could get there the same day if you press it. There are several chain motels on the east side of Green River, the best is the Best Western River Terrace with rooms overlooking the river and right across the road from the Powell Museum. Its restaurant is as good as anything in town. But you may not have time for the museum because Via Michelin tells me it's 454 miles, 9 hours, from Green River to Boulder. That would be about 559 miles, 11 1/2 hours, from Torrey to Boulder. Without stops. A long third day, all on freeways after Green River, but they're not flat straight roads, you'll be climbing into the mountains, going over a high pass (10,000 feet?), then descending steeply toward Denver.

Since you're committed to Springdale, maybe consider skipping Bryce and the mountain highway, and just stick with US 89 north till it hits I-70. That might get you far enough that second day to reach Grand Junction, which is close enough to Boulder for a reasonable third day. You're going to have to decide how many miles and hours the driver(s) are up for each day. Use the Michelin website and a good map. And, as we're often reminded, "assume you will return."

Posted by
4701 posts

Dick,
Thanks again for all your helpful information!

I think you're right in terms of not having enough time to visit Bryce and/or Torrey, especially since we want to spend a few hours in
Zion National Park.

The driving distances on Via Michellin and Google Maps are so different that I'm truly confused.

I just booked a room overlooking the Green River at the River Terrace Inn! ; ) Their breakfast looks so delicious!
Thanks so much for this recommendation!

Yes, I will assume that we will return!

Now I just need to find a reasonable hotel in Boulder : )

Posted by
31473 posts

"BTW, we need a trustworthy mechanic in Boulder. Do you have any recommendations?"

After your daughter gets settled, she can ask classmates or locals to recommend a good, reliable auto repair shop. If an urgent problem develops before that, the local dealer for that brand of car is one option although they're often more expensive (but hopefully she can call on "the bank of Mom & Dad" if needed ). ;-)

Posted by
4701 posts

Ken,
Thanks for the additional suggestions!

Your comment here made me laugh!

"the bank of Mom & Dad"

BTW, I just received a recommendation for a reliable mechanic from Andi, so we're set!

Posted by
4701 posts

My daughter and I left our home on Friday, August 17, at 5:15AM as we wanted to miss the LA traffic.

On day one we drove on the I-15 and made a couple of pit stops in Victorville, and in Las Vegas. We spent our first night in Springdale, UT, just outside of Zion National Park.
We arrived to Springdale, in the late afternoon, we then took the shuttle bus and visited the beautiful Zion National Park. We were too tired and hot so we didn’t do any hiking but enjoyed the amazing red sandstone cliffs. We spend the night at Driftwood Lodge. Thanks Chani for this recommendation!

The following morning (day 2) we drove on Hwy 9 through the Zion National Park and were completely amazed by the spectacular scenery. We then drove to Bryce Canyon National Park where we also rode on the bus shuttle and visited all the scenic spots; Bryce Point, Inspiration Point, Sunset and Sunrise Points; all truly magnificent!

Afterwards, I’d considered taking the scenic route, via Hwy12 toward Torrey, but decided against it since it would have taken much longer and we’d stayed in Bryce longer than expected, so we backtracked to Hwy 89 and drove all the way North to I-70.

Driving on Hwy 89 was beautiful but a bit nerve wrecking as we didn’t have cell phone service and the highway was deserted except for a semi truck here and there. Fortunately our car didn’t give us any trouble and we always refilled the gas tank at every opportunity.

Once we got to the I-70, it was a similar experience in terms of no cell phone coverage and also deserted. We made a pit spot at a rest area that was very deserted except for a few trucks.

We arrived to Green River right before sunset, which was amazing, as the sun looked like a great big orange. We stayed at the River Terrace Inn. Thanks Dick for this recommendation! I had reserved a room facing the river but the lock didn’t work, so we ended up in a room with a view of the parking lot. We were so tired that the only thing that mattered was that the room was clean and it had comfortable beds.

On day three, our last day of our road trip, we stopped in Vail, Colorado for lunch. We’d not visited Vail before and my daughter and I enjoyed our short visit very much. Since it was a Sunday, we were rewarded with a Farmer’s Market. Parking was free and we enjoyed a delicious pulled pork sandwich while sitting by the small creek that runs through the town. We then ordered a milkshake for dessert and took on the road.

We hit a ton of traffic a few miles from Vail but the scenery was excellent as we drove through the beautiful verdant Colorado mountains.

We finally arrived to our hotel in Boulder just in time for dinner. We went to bed early once again as we were exhausted.

The following morning, Monday, we slept in, skipped the hotel’s breakfast (which ended at 9AM) Later that day we drove to my daughter’s apartment, signed her lease and received her keys. We unpacked all her stuff and headed to Target for last minute necessities.
We were surprised to see so many empty shelves in the store. We were told that the previous day (Sunday) had been exceptionally crowded. The cashier said; “the crowds were worse than Black Friday!” Hard to imagine as I don’t shop on “Black Friday”

Our car didn’t like all the braking we did while driving downhill, so we took the car into an auto shop recommended by Andi (Thanks Andi!) and they fixed the problem at a reasonable price.

All in all we had a wonderful road trip, we talked, we laughed, we listened to music and sang along, and we greatly enjoyed visiting Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks along the way. Her tiny apartment is cute.
She began her classes today and she sounded a bit stressed but happy when I talked with her this afternoon.

Thank you all for your amazing suggestions and help!

Posted by
31473 posts

Priscilla,

It's great to hear that you had such a wonderful trip! The memories you shared with your daughter on this trip will be something you will both treasure for life.

Now the work begins for your daughter. We're all so fortunate these days to have Facetime and similar resources, so you'll be able to keep in touch on a regular basis.

Posted by
5591 posts

I see Priscila mentioned that they rode "shuttles" in Zion and Bryce. It's been a long time since I was in these parts, but am thinking about visiting again in the next year or two when foreign family members come to visit.

Are these parks now off-limits to individual vehicles (like Yosemite and Denali)? I know overcrowding is a major problem in some national parks (and, well, everywhere, from Cinque Terre to Seattle) but I would be heart-broken to learn that the Utah parks are so crowded now that one can't drive in them. Are they?

Posted by
4701 posts

Ken,

Yes, we made some wonderful memories, and we'll definitely be staying in touch!

David,

According to the Zion National Park website:

The free Zion Canyon Shuttle started on March 10, 2018 and will operate through the end of November. When the shuttle is running no private vehicles are allowed on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. The only access is by free shuttle bus. Free shuttles will leave frequently from the Zion Canyon Visitor Center. There will be shuttle buses arriving at every stop every 7-10 minutes.

We visited the park in the late afternoon and it was not that crowded, however, I'm sure it gets very crowded especially in the summer months when children and teens are out of school and families tend to take vacations.

When we visited Bryce Canyon National Park, we chose to take the free shuttle but I did see some private vehicles on the roads.
However, parking was limited, so I didn't want to deal with that.

The free shuttles come by frequently so it's not a big deal though.
You can get off and enjoy the beautiful scenery at any of the stops and stay as long as you desire.

I presume the crowds thin out in the Fall once all the children return to school ;-)

Enjoy your visit!

Posted by
313 posts

Thank you so much for sharing your trip. We are looking at doing part of that adventure, and your input was very helpful. I hope your daughter enjoys her studies and Colorado!

Posted by
5262 posts

Thanks for the follow up, Priscilla, glad you had a good trip and enjoyed the overnight in Green River. I'm sure your daughter will have great experiences on her own but I hope you and she will make that trip again someday, maybe more than once, with more time for stops and the spectacular Boulder Mountain Highway.

Shuttles have been a seasonal fact of life at Zion for some years now. The only way to drive into the canyon in summer is with a reservation at the lodge. Didn't know they have them now at Bryce, but it makes sense especially as an option.

Posted by
5591 posts

Shuttles have been a seasonal fact of life at Zion for some years now. The only way to drive into the canyon in summer is with a reservation at the lodge. Didn't know they have them now at Bryce, but it makes sense especially as an option.

This makes me so very, very sad. Sigh. Oh well, I suppose all good things must pass, time to move on.
Honestly, Uzbekistan is looking better and better.