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12 Day Midwest Roadtrip - Arizona, Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming I'm actually still mid-trip but figured I'd get started with the TR since there is so much going on.  My wife and I have been talking about doing this trip since we were dating. Now, 16 years later it's a reality. We like getting in a lot of activities not necessarily spending a ton of time at a particular place. It's about covering ground on our road trips.

Day One:

We flew into Phoenix on Southwest. My wife and I both have companion pass which cover our two kids.  We rented an intermediate SUV from Thrifty. The only interesting thing from my flight was that as a CCW holder, I decided to bring my firearm with me on a flight for the first time.  The requirements were a little tricky and the desk agent didn't know the rules as well as I did after the time I spent researching it.  It took some time but it worked out well.

We picked up food at Imperial Market and Deli. The restaurant there is pretty run down and not appetizing so we took our food and ate it at our first activity.

Hole in The Rock - There are shaded picnic tables and a very short hike, more like a walk up to a small mountain with a hole in it. We figured this was a good way to get the hiking juices flowing for the kids. There was a great view from the top and it only took a few minutes to get up.

Then we started making our way up to Sedona.

Montezuma's Castle - This was unplanned, we just saw it on the side of the road.  It's a national park so we bought our America The Beautiful pass here and went in. It's a great way to spend 30 minutes or so seeing these amazing apartment buildings built into the rock that the Indians created hundreds of years ago.  Was interesting to see. 

Then we arrived at Sedona.

Bell Rock - A nice sight to see and parking is free with the ATB pass. We walked up the path a little bit the clouds were getting threatening so didn't get too far. 

Cathedral Rock - Another nice quick hike up a really cool rock mountain (.9 miles round trip)

Sunset over Sedona - We had planned to watch the sunset from Airport Mesa Overlook in Sedona but it got very stormy so we just went to the hotel.

We stayed at a basic family owned motel, Sugar Loaf Lodge.  Nothing fancy but nice and the room had a microwave. We were able to back the SUV right up to the room and unload all of our bags, cooler, etc. It was a great, peaceful night sleep for $70.

I'll continue to add days to the TR tomorrow.

August 05, 2016, 12:28:02 AM
Midwest Roadtrip - Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming Day Two

Because Arizona is three hours behind, we woke up plenty early and got started with our day. 

Devil's Bridge - This was really fun. It's a 1 mile hike up a dirt road and then a .8 mile hike up the face of the mountain. Not too strenuous but definitely got us working.  If you have a 4x4 vehicle you can drive the first part.  When you arrive at the bridge you can go out onto it, hundreds of feet up.  It was thrilling!

Slide Rock Park - This is a natural stream over rocks. You can slide down the rock face in the rushing water and then swim at the bottom. There's also a spot where you can jump off the rock about 15 feet into the water.  Obviously stay away if you don't go mixed swimming. But if you do, this was so much fun! The kids went sliding over and over. The wife and I went a couple of times and then swam.  It was kind of crowded which took away from the experience a little but still well worth it!  It's $20 per vehicle to enter.

That was it for Sedona, we started making our way up to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.  The scenery during the drive just kept blowing us away. There was barely any time that the kids played with their Kindles.

Bedrock City - This is a cute roadside stop with a Flintstones theme. It's a good place to stop and rest and they have a tour of a mockup of the town of Bedrock. The tour was $5 pp and my kids had no idea what the Flintstones are so we decided not to spend the $20.  But we got some cute pictures and had a nice break.

We arrived at Grand Canyon National Park and stayed at Yavapai Lodge. We really wanted to stay in the park and this was the cheapest of the options, but not cheap.  It was a basic hotel room but had no microwave. Right across the street is a General Market which was a full grocery store and had a public microwave to use. So we kashered it and warmed up our food there throughout our stay. There was no wifi or cell service in the rooms but the main building and market had wifi so we checked in when we went to warm up food.

Sunset at the Canyon - The most popular spot to watch sunset is at Hopi Point. Because it's popular it gets crowded and unpleasant. So we went a few stops further on the shuttle to Pima Point.  What a beautiful site!

We took the shuttle back to the hotel, had dinner and and went to bed.

August 05, 2016, 09:37:39 AM
Midwest Roadtrip - Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming Day Three

We went back to the general store to kasher and use their microwave again.  I forgot to mention that they actually have quite a bit of kosher food there. They even had sliced bread!  I wouldn't count on the market for meals but you can definitely supplement from there. There's also a Chase bank branch and a Post Office next door.

Grand Canyon Visitor Center - Spent some time looking at the exhibits and taking in the film.

Then we took the shuttle over to the Kaibob Hiking Trail and hiked down to the first stop in the canyon, "Ooh Ah Point".  It is a pretty easy hike on the way down and tough on the way up. Not strenuous at all except that you are going uphill for a mile or so.  If it weren't for the kids I probably would have gone on to the next landing but it was still worth it. The views are insane and change from every viewpoint. Being in the canyon was a different view and experience.

Then we hit Yaki Point and Mather Point and then stopped at the Geology Museum which was very cool.  Walking westbound from the museum for 10 minutes was a whole new view and well worth it.

That was it for the day. Back to the General Store for food and the hotel for sleep.

August 07, 2016, 02:07:09 AM
Midwest Roadtrip - Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming Day Four

We drove out of the canyon village and stopped at a couple of more points on our way out.

Navajo Point - Not to be missed. You can clearly see the Colorado River and its impact on the canyon.

On our way out of the park we got blocked by a big elk meandering along the street. Was exciting for the kids and we got great pictures. 

We started making our way up toward Page, AZ. The drive, like all of them were beyond description, we stopped a few times to marvel at the views.  We would constantly be saying "Whoah!" As we turned a bend and saw a new sight. 

Lower Antelope Canyon - This was a real treat. We booked a few months in advance with the tour company Dixie Ellis. It was $20 pp plus $8 pp to the Navajo for the privilege of entering their land (it's the least we can do). We arrived about 45 minutes early and they ended up adding us to a previous group so we didn't wait long.  But it was really busy so we did have to wait a few minutes at the entrance to the canyon.

This experience is indescribable but I'll try. You got down about two stories of stairs and then walk through a slot canyon. It's not wide and you always can see the sky above but it's a combination of a canyon and a tunnel almost. So you feel pretty enclosed.  The structures and the colors were breathtaking. We kept saying "Wow" at every turn.  It was not at all physically challenging and it was well worth the money.

Horseshoe Bend - Just a couple miles away from Antelope Canyon is this horseshoe shaped curve in the Colorado river. You view it from above and the colors and textures are simply breathtaking. I couldn't believe it was real. This was my favorite thing to see so far.  I don't remember seeing something so absolutely beautiful in North America to this point.  It's a short, simple walk to and front the parking lot, about a half mile each way.  As always though, being water and sunscreen, etc. it was hot!

Swimming in Lake Powell - This was just a few miles north of Horseshoe Bend and a delicious respite from the heat and hiking. Again, if you don't go mixed swimming, skip this spot, but if you do, definitely take a dip.  Most places with access to the water charge for parking but we found a spot that didn't.   

Take a gravel road on right side just before the dam as you leave Page to access a big parking at the end of it (it is the second parking on the way about 5 min drive from main road). You can then hike down through the rocks to a small beach and take a swim in the lake.

The rocks that you climb down are really cool formations. My kids decided to not swim and just climb around which was great for them. I went swimming and the water was great. My wife stayed on the rocks and just took pictures of everyone.

(those are my kids on top, to give you an idea of the scale)

Old Paria - We ended up skipping this by accident but it was in our itinerary and is supposed to be amazing. It's a quick dirt road drive with amazing views right off the main road when driving up 89A.

We made our way up to St. George to Utah to spend the night there.  On our way we passed through a town, Kenab, that had serious flooding from an earlier storm.  Everyone was out putting sandbags out to save whatever they could. We saw police officers carrying people out of their homes. We contemplated stopping to help but figured we'd end up just being in the way and continued on.

St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm - This was an indoor activity that we had planned on case it rained. We didn't end up needing to do it but I kind of regret skipping it. It's a location where they actually discovered dinosaur bones and you can get up close and handle them and learn how they discovered them. 

Red Lion Hotel in St. George.  A beautiful drive-up room and an indoor pool in the adjacent building. The kids and wife went swimming in the pool and I fell asleep poolside.  That was a long day but amazing memories.

August 07, 2016, 02:52:32 AM
12 Day Midwest Roadtrip - Arizona, Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming Day Five

Glitter Mountain - my wife found on Pinterest a hidden gem (pardon the expression) of a place where one can bring their own hammer and chisel and can break away gypsum from the mountain.  It's a little bit of an adventure to get to buy a lot of fun.  DW found this hand drawn map online to help find how to get there. 

Zion National Park - Another National Treasure. Enough has already been written about how amazing this park is.  I'll just tell you what we did that was kid-friendly.  We really wanted to face our fears and hike up to Angels Landing but the weather looking threatening and we didn't want to get caught up there in a storm.  So we took the shuttle to the last stop, Temple of Sinawava and walked the Riverside Trail. Just as you enter the trail there's a turn to the left to walk along the actual riverbank, that was a lot more fun.  After that we took the shuttle to The Grotto and walked from there to the Emerald Pool Trail. The end of the Lower Trail was really cool, DW and I wanted to continue but the kids got kvetchy so we headed back to the car and left.

On our way out of the park we saw a huge herd of Bison which was a real treat!

The drive to Bryce was absolutely stunning.  Again, my kids didn't even touch their kindles. 

Bryce Canyon - Another sight that can not be explained or photographed. Simply breathtaking. We stopped at the visitor center to watch the video and get an intro to what we'll see.  Then we went to Sunrise Point and Inspiration Point. At Inspiration Point there was a short little hike down into the canyon that puts you right up against the formations.  The whole experience is impossible to explain, it's just so amazing.

It was time to start making our way up toward Yellowstone. We decided to spend shabbos in Salt Lake City on the way, but that's a pretty long drive. So we headed out and spent the night in Beaver, UT. It was a Comfort Inn and Suites that I booked with Choice Points. And my Gold status got us the family suite which was roomy and comfortable.

August 10, 2016, 02:05:44 AM
12 Day Midwest Roadtrip - Arizona, Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming Day Six - Erev Shabbos

We woke up in Beaver, UT and made our way up to Salt Lake City.  We stopped off at Kosher TO Go, a family run business under the hashgacha of the local Chabad. They charge an absolute fortune so we brought our own shabbos food but wanted fresh challah so we ordered from her and picked it up along with a bottle of grape juice on Friday. 

Then we stopped at the Chabad house to get a yarmulke because one of my sons lost his along the way and didn't want to wear a baseball cap all shabbos.  It was a beautiful building but the rabbi wasn't the friendliest in the world. I put $5 in his pushka anyway for the yarmulke.

Olympic Park - This was the site that hosted the Winter Olympics in 2002.  There is a lot to see especially if Olympians are training there as they often do, even in the summer.   There are a lot of touristy rides that are super expensive so we skipped them but still and a great time. Standing next to the bobsled track and watching it zoom past you is an awesome experience.  The museum is interesting too, lots of interesting olympics artifacts. Well worth the visit and time.

The local grocery store chain is Smith's. We went into the one closest to the place we were staying and they had all of the usual kosher stuff you'd find in any grocery store. They did have the cutest little kosher section with mostly useless stuff but it was the thought that counts.  Although if I had known about it, I would have bought the grape juice there instead of paying almost double at Kosher To Go. Oh well, it's nice to support a small, family-owned business.

For shabbos we rented an AirBNB using the plentiful gift cards we had saved up from the Amex offer.

August 10, 2016, 02:33:27 AM
Re: Paypal $10 bonus after $75 purchase (targeted?) I was not eligible. Thanks for sharing OP!
September 14, 2016, 03:30:25 PM
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October 07, 2016, 09:49:42 AM
Re: Public letter I have a question that has been bothering me.  I respect the primacy of torah and halachic observance.  Obviously observances and standards vary  between communities, but there are some core halachic concepts that are indisputable.  I get that.  The question is what is the community's responsibility to people that don't fit into the halachic box?  What do we do with someone who believes in Halacha and Torah Misinai but isn't attracted to people of the opposite gender or who suffers from the various gender dysphoria issues?  Is there room to reject the sin but accept the sinner?  Obviously nobody can say that halachically the actions are acceptable but is there a mechanism to make the people suffering from these issues not feel like outcasts?  I'm not entirely sure what the answer looks like but I'm interested in your take. 
October 07, 2016, 01:09:56 PM
Re: Hat Tip Leaderboard
My money is on mileagejunkie.

Still feel this way or are you starting to swing toward davidmal?

October 07, 2016, 03:12:11 PM
$20 off $20 at Shutterfly for free at MyCokeRewards$20_to_shop_at_Shutterfly/54231

Login and redeem for 0 points.  Code will come in your email immediately.

One code per account.

November 04, 2016, 02:52:13 PM
Re: Where have you been banned from? Masterthread!
What I did isn't fraud. As far is I know.

Did it now on a  few $

So is it your shita to wear your yarmulke for the mugshot or take it off?  Smile or straight face?

December 19, 2016, 09:19:16 AM
Re: CVS Free 8x10 Photo Thanks!
May 08, 2017, 02:21:04 PM
Re: Apps to limit phone addiction! My wife and I put a basket by the front door and deposited our phones there when we walked in from work until the kids went to sleep. 

We tossed the idea after we found ourselves standing by the basket checking our phones "just for a sec."

May 08, 2017, 05:24:24 PM
Re: Price Mistake - Field & Stream Wilderness Cabin 10 Person Tent - $19.98 (Dicks) Just picked mine up. Thanks OP!
June 08, 2017, 01:19:50 PM
Re: Southwest questions
Never even knew they have a feedback form where you can write about a specific steward

Click on send an email on the left.  I just filled this out yesterday for a FA that was super helpful.   It could help his career and make his day and costs me 3 minutes...

June 19, 2017, 06:43:12 PM
Re: Scott Naturals Flushable Cleansing Cloths, 408 Count-$13.49 or less I liked the post just to give you your hundredth like.
June 27, 2017, 07:44:25 PM
Re: Dan's Next Job? Monetize his fan base. 
July 04, 2017, 07:36:27 PM
Re: iPhone 8
So does anyone think this is the year Apple will actually reveal new features Android hasn't already had for years?

They haven't done that in many years.  What they arguably do is release Android features but better implemented and easier to use.

September 01, 2017, 09:31:26 AM
Re: Houston TX master thread A small group of us are flying in to assist Houston residents.  Does anyone know if the kosher stores/restaurants have reopened at all?
September 01, 2017, 05:33:15 PM
Re: Hurry! Aluminum headphone stand $0.90 I need this for my work headphones at my desk.  Thanks OP!
September 15, 2017, 01:07:31 PM
Re: Massacre in Las Vegas.
How difficult is it to "know about guns" these days? (I was gonna say "how difficult is it for anyone who knows how to read..." but these days with videos of everything on youtube you don't even need that.)

I don't know why everyone is assuming he needed military training for this. It's not like he hit a single head shot from 1000 yards. how difficult is it for anyone with the bare minimum amount of firearm control to fire into a crowd of 20,000 people?

Agreed.  He just sprayed.  He's obviously a collector who knows how to operate guns.

October 03, 2017, 10:30:14 AM
Re: Kleenex Hand Towels, Ultra Soft, Pop-Up Box, 18 boxes of 70 - $31.46+ We ended up getting a case of these and two covers for free the last time around and we love them.  Will never go back to drying our hand with towels that are soggy with other people's germ.   
November 02, 2017, 09:03:20 AM
Re: Hoping to learn why my post was deleted to do better next time Did it violate any of these?

November 16, 2017, 03:37:06 PM
Re: Chase Sapphire Reserve
Do you think it's worth HUCA and asking for a supervisor? Or is that too sticky and they might catch on and Black list me?

Send an SM.  Don't escalate that you are trying to pull one over on them. What are you thinking?

January 26, 2018, 09:49:57 AM
Re: (plug) Tax deductible CC spend Opportunity--support the Israel Olympic dream Wow, that looks great!  It's amazing what you've accomplished so far, keep it going!  I can't imagine the sense of pride an accomplishment you must feel just putting on that jacket.
January 29, 2018, 08:05:17 AM
Re: How many non-Jewish people use this forum?
I take issue with a prominent member finding this as an issue in JS.

So you have an issue with the issue of a member having an issue?

February 05, 2018, 04:54:06 PM
Re: LL Bean changes return policy I've heard some crazy stories about LL Bean returns.  Sad that they ruined it for everyone.
February 09, 2018, 11:05:51 AM
Re: Ask AJ Edelman Anything: DDF Member And Member Of The 2018 Israel Olympic Team! Let's keep this thread positive for AJ. 
February 13, 2018, 10:34:58 AM
Re: Ask AJ Edelman Anything: DDF Member And Member Of The 2018 Israel Olympic Team! Heat 3:  52.35.  His best run!  He took off his helmet and had a kippah.  Incredible representation, AJ!!!!
February 15, 2018, 08:27:24 PM
Re: Replace an iPhone 6s battery? Just bring it to apple and theyíll fix it do $29.  No brainer.

May 14, 2018, 09:50:12 PM
California Road Trip DW and I took two weeks off from work and are driving a loop from San Francisco down to Tijuana and then back up the east through the national parks.   Iíll start the post with details and update it as we travel. 

Southwest with two Companion Passes

Went straight from the airport to the hotel.

Holiday Inn Express Castro Valley
20k IHG Points

Muir Woods:
Great hike among Redwood trees.  Part of America the Beautiful National Parks Pass.  Gorgeous, easy hike.  Made reservation to park at a particular time.  Came an hour late but it was still honored. 

Muir Beach Overlook:
Nice, quick walk to a beautiful view. 

Baker Beach:
Stopped for a nice beach walk and view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Lunch at Sabra Grill:
Hugely overpriced. Decent taste. Not many other options so we paid the high price. 

Walked from there to the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory.  Was cute to see how they make the cookies but I felt bad for the workers who appeared over work and under appreciated.

Blazing Saddles Bike Rental:
We rented bikes to ride over the Golden Gate Bridge.  One son rode his own, DW and other son road a tandem and I rode an electronic bike. Check google for a 20% off coupon.  We rode over the bridge and then over to Sausalito to catch the ferry back.  The wind was strong on the bridge and thereís a lot of uphill pedaling but everyone had an amazing time. 

Holiday Inn Express and Suites Santa Cruz
40k IHG Points


Santa Cruz Mystery Spot:
Cute Americana roadside attraction.   They give a tour as if there is an area with strange gravitational forces but itís really a series of very cool optical illusions that you see and feel. 

Mavericks Beach:
We drove pretty far out of the way to see the big waves but apparently didnít read that they are only big on the winter.   Was still a nice walk but really a waste of time. 

Pars Kosher Market
We came in for a late lunch and to get Shabbat food.  Lunch was excellent. Pargiot sandwiches, schnitzel, etc.   Shabbat food on the other hand was a terrible waste.  Two frozen chicken nugget stars and two mini hotdogs and rice.   We paid a lot of money and felt so ripped off. 

Computer History Museum:
We bought the groupon and went in as a family. The museum does a great job laying out the evolution from abacus to the first computers to about 10 years ago.  Was weird that it mostly stopped at about 2010.  Iím the geek of the family so everyone else was kind of board but I had a great time.  Was strange to see items from my childhood in a museum display case. 

IHG Staybridge Suites

Shabbat. Hung out in our suite, enjoyed the pool. 

Heading down the PCH.  Stopped along the 17 mile drive.  Was worth the $10/car entry to check out the views.

Bixby Creek Bridge
Great place to stop for pictures of the bridge and the views.   Amazingly gorgeous bridge.   

Partington Cove:
Short hike down a trail to a beautiful view. 

McWay Falls:
Short 10 minute hike to a beautiful waterfall.  Park along the side of the street instead of paying to go into the State Park. 

Limekiln State Park:
Beautiful hiking trails, pretty simple and relaxing.   

Moonstone Beach Park:
Nice walk on the beach, climbing on the rock, view for sunset. 

San Simeon Lodge
Motel on the beach.  Just needed a place to get out of the car, get sleep, and get back into the car. 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

June 19, 2018, 01:31:40 AM
Re: Southwest questions
If I pay for Wi-Fi can I get it on both laptop and phone or just one device?

One device (but you can tether from one to the other).

July 25, 2018, 03:33:12 PM
Re: Travel Agency for small business Use @Chaikel Travel.

January 29, 2019, 11:48:06 AM
Re: Overpay Taxes to Get CC Bonus
I have the AMEX Delta Platinum Card. They just changed it to get 1.5 points per dollar if I make purchases over 5K in one shot.

I was thinking of intentionally overpaying the IRS by 10K or 15K and then getting the refund, in order to get close to the 25K needed to get 10,000 MQM's and achieve status on Delta.

The way I figure it, at 1.5 points per dollar and a 1.87% charge from the cheapest IRS CC processor, I only need to value Delta miles at 1.247 cents a point to break even. I usually get more than that when I redeem miles. And for sure once I factor in the MQM's I'm doing fine.

What worries me is how the IRS will react to an overpayment and then refund that big. Do you think it will raise flags? Get me audited? I'm more worried about getting such a big refund than the initial overpayment.

Does anyone know if there are thresholds that cause them to be flagged? I know there's a 10K threshold for bank transfers that gets their attention. What about this??

Are you sure you want to have the IRS involved in your MS?  Risk/Reward

February 13, 2020, 05:03:37 PM