Summer Vacation, 2012 – mostly Wyoming

This year, having set aside a little money for travel (beyond the occasional PD in Vegas I may have mentioned before, but we aren’t doing this year; Mandy’s been trying to get her reading endorsement instead, this summer), and not having visited her family & home state since the summer after we got married (four years ago), we’re traveling around Wyoming for about a week and a half. In fact, I’m writing this post from Wyoming (on my iPhone, please pardon any obvious autocorrect errors I may miss), having driven straight through the night to get here this morning. (Mandy is bonding with her mom over Trollhunter on Netflix instant, crowded around her tiny computer screen; I’m opting out (seen it) mostly to avoid making the crowding any worse. I’m not, say, being terrible and staring at my phone during family dinner; the family dinner is tomorrow night!)

So, moving back a step, we started our trip by heading North through Flagstaff, timing it to be able to eat at Pizzicletta for dinner, yesterday. Delicious, and a great story about a great guy, Caleb Schiff, who has realized (brilliantly! profitably!) his dream of making a great Neapolitan Pizzeria. We’ve only been in once before (last summer, on the way home from Vegas/PD), and Caleb recognized us and came out from hand-crafting pizzas to greet us when we came in. An amazing experience. (And the gelato is worth raving about, too.) Notably, we also planned the timing & end of our trip to be sure we’d head back through Flagstaff at a date/time we could enjoy Pizzicletta again; care to join us for dinner 7/22/2012?

After dinner I drove us across Navajo territory, North through Utah past Moab, East across Colorado to Denver, and North to Cheyenne in one long drive. (With brief stops for gas, food, et cetera.) We’ve been hanging out with Mandy’s mom all day, and will do so again tomorrow, then tomorrow night we’ll all head to Mandy’s brother’s place for a family dinner with his SO & daughter. Saturday we’re either heading to Denver to hang with one of Mandy’s college friends, or straight to Laramie to see her friend Jim, who we’ll definitely be spending Sunday with.

Early (early) Monday morning I’ll be driving us to Mt. Rushmore (they say it’s best in morning light), and we hope to spend the day seeing sights like that & Devil’s Tower (and maybe some other things in that general area, depending on time. I’m not sure how time consuming Rushmore will be) before driving all night Monday night to reach Yellowstone before dawn. I think that’s the longest “day” for me, depending on whether I take any naps, either before heading out of Laramie or before getting in to Yellowstone (ie: at a rest stop). Luckily I have extra hours available in pill-form. With any luck, we’ll be able to hike part of Yellowstone’s Grand Canyon and see the dawn over the falls (supposed to be amazing). Then we have two and a half days at Yellowstone (and campsite reservations, of course) where we’ll be pretty aggressively seeing the sites. Since we aren’t actually backpackers or campers, and own no tent or gear, I think that’ll be enough time.

Next we’ll drive South toward Afton, and spend a couple days with Mandy’s dad. I hear he’s taking us fishing, maybe? Very rural. I have the impression it’s like a farm? Maybe I’ll post about it later. I’ve met the man a couple times, but this will be the first time visiting him at home.

Then we’re planning to head back to Arizona by way of SLC (Mandy has never toured Temple Square, which is kinda neat, and maybe we’ll have a nice meal there, too), hoping to reach the South Rim of the Grand Canyon by early morning and make a day hike of … I have it written down somewhere… South Kaibab, maybe? We’re taking plenty of water, but that’s supposed to offer the best views into the canyon on a day hike, and possibly a view of the Colorado if we’re up to long enough a hike. Depends how dead we are after Yellowstone (and all that driving!), really. After the Grand Canyon, the return to Pizzicletta, and just a quick 2-hour drive home!

Yes, we’re missing the opening weekend of Dark Knight Rises, and yes we’ll do a marathon of the trilogy on our own after getting home & recovering.

Also: We bought the America the Beautiful annual pass to all the National Parks, and plan to make use of it. More trips to the Grand Canyon, day trips to any parks we can reach, and next June we’ll probably do a totally different road trip, see some parks neither of us have seen (or maybe heard of) before. Depending on what the price of gas does, maybe another 3k-4k mile journey, next summer?

The pass is good for up to four adults (in one vehicle), so if there’s a park you’d like to visit with us some time in the next year, let us know. Road trips, weekend trips, and day trips are generally pretty fun, if you like adventuring, and adding some people to our trips once in a while seems worth a try, eh? (Especially if you have places you want to see, and/or can contribute toward gas!)

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