Subject: Travel in the Southwest--various impressions
We just returned from a fantastic trip to N. Ariz., S. Utah, and SW Colorado--our first trip ever to the canyon and monument country. What amazing scenery! What big blue skies and gorgeous sunsets and sunrises! We will return! So many Ziners gave us such good advice; we followed their suggestions and know that, without all of their help, our trip would not have been nearly as wonderful. So THANKS to you all! A few impressions:

1) We have found what we think to be the the ultimate U.S. B&B for utter peace quiet and relaxation: This 160-acre homestead, the only dwelling in 360,000 acres of federal land, the Valley of the Gods Bed and Breakfast, in S. Utah not too far from Monument Valley. This wind- and solar-powered stone home, with a 75-ft. porch, has four B&B rooms and is a most hospitable haven, set in the absolute quiet of the 17-mile Valley of the Gods dirt road, surrounded by stunning buttes and mesas. We were lucky to get in for one night; next time would love to stay a week. The world just seems to recede there. The owners serve a superb breakfast on the porch and do dinner with wine or beer twice a week. Claire Dorgan, P.0. Box 310307, Mexican Hat, UT 84531 Cell phone: 970-749-1164

2) We stayed in the National Park lodges at North Rim Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, and Mesa Verde and felt that all were worth it--to be so close to everything. The Zion accommodation was a 2-room suite with big balcony overlooking a stunning view--terrific!

3) The best way to see cliff dwellings, etc. is to go on the full-day Ute Mountain Tribal Park tour with a Ute guide (only way to get in there). One can either ride in his van or follow in your own cars. You see everything up close, with no restrictions (whether that is good or bad, archaelogically speaking, is another point); you can pick up pottery shards, touch the pictographs, climb around at will in the cliff dwellings, go down into any of the kivas, etc.

4) A 4WD vehicle is great if you want to be off by yourself (taking all of the usual precautions--we were lucky because there was only one thunderstorm in the 2 weeks we were there so flooded washes were not a problem) on the dirt roads, some of which really need a high clearance vehicle. One of the most outstanding roads was the Burr Trail with its switchbacks down into the Waterpocket Fold and the Notom Road, starting out of Boulder, UT.

5) Our favorite park was Capitol Reefs NP, an unheralded but utterly magnificent park--great canyon walking with very few people.

6) If you rent a car, be sure to read the contract. It was only after we were BACK IN Arizona, after having our car for nearly two weeks in Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico, that we looked at the contract and found we were to get written permission from Advantage Rental Car Co. to take it out of Arizona (we rented it in Phoenix)! Thank goodness nothing happened in other states! Have any of you had a similar experience?

7) Does the Phoenix airport, the city, the state, really have a 27 percent tax on the total cost of car rentals? That is what we were charged. I feel a bit taken, but could do nothing about it. Anyone have any more info. on this?

8) Don't miss any of the sunrises or sunsets or the stars at night when you are in the Southwest--some of our greatest joys!

Cant wait to go back! Cheers, Pat and Bill in Baltimore