2014 Roadtrip: Vail, to Vernal, UT

The ski lifts closed on Sunday, April 20th and we were on our road trip on Wednesday, April 23rd, having socialized and packed. We took the I-70 to Hwy 13 to Hwy 64. 

We saw high desert with nice vistas and sandstone hills. There were tiny purple flowers covering fields. In 3 hours we were in Rangely, CO. Audre loves to travel in spring and to see the wildflowers. We were at 5000’ in elevation and it was about 51° (on April 23rd). We had planned to stay that the Blue Mountain Inn in Rangely because the website made the rooms and the place look great. The place was old, not in the least updated and the king room we saw was uncomfortable, with no seating other than straight-backed chairs (and no room for any other seating). The price (no negotiation possible) was $149 per night plus tax and so on. We both thought that it was awful and not in the least worth the price. So on we went.

In Vernal, UT we were thrilled with the room we had at the Towne Place Suites by Marriott, 1219 West Hwy 40, Vernal, UT 84078, tel. (435) 781-9000. The price for a studio suite was $88 plus tax (the senior rate). Room 207 was small but very well laid out and organized, with good storage. It overlooked a roof with noisy steam-like exhaust pipes (we found out later). Beyond that roof area was a quiet street and on the other side of the street was a pasture (a higher room on the same line would have been better). The suite had a large refrigerator, sink, dishwasher, disposal, stove top, microwave and a coffee maker (that didn’t work well). There was a desk and underneath it, a pull out table. Around the desk were cabinets and cubbies for stuff. There was a sofa and a coffee table of sorts. The sofa could turn for comfortable watching of the flat screen TV. The TV was sitting on a cabinet that had two shelves for clothes. The bathroom was well organized and had the closet it in. The two bedside tables had good drawer space. The wi-fi was good enough to allow us to stream TV.

The heating/air conditioning in the room turned out to be a problem. The thermometer was in the hot kitchen area. We set the thermometer at 72°but it didn't turn off until the room itself got to 66°(we carry a thermometer with us). Regulating the room temperature was someone of a pain. We stayed two nights there. Notwithstanding the temperature regulation problem, we have decided that Towne Place Suites by Marriott is indeed a very good mid-priced extended stay accommodation, just as they describe themselves.

For dinner on our first night, we walked from the hotel to Canton City, 1175 West Hwy 40, Vernal, UT 84078, tel. (435)789-3338. We were surprised and delighted by the food and the service was very good too. There were 4 (or more) Asians working there. We had 3 dishes and there was plenty for lunch the next day. We started with Hot & Sour Soup (large size $4.50). We had one Kung Pao Triple Delight (shrimp, chicken, beef stir fried with diced zucchini, celery, bamboo shoots and water chestnuts with peanuts in spicy sauce) for $11.50. The other dish was Hot Bean Cake (Ma Por Tofu) which was described as chili, garlic, quick sautéed  tofu with black mushrooms in a hot, spicy dark sauce ($7.50). The food came with white rice. We had a (complimentary tea) and (complimentary) donuts for dessert. We thought that the donuts would be like Chinese ones but they were like regular ones. Our first meal in UT on this road trip was very good.

The next morning, instead of having the complimentary breakfast at our hotel we tried to find Naples Country Kitchen and couldn't. The actual address is 1010 South Hwy 40 in Naples, UT, tel. (435) 789-8870. Our Garmin GPS had the wrong address and so did the tourist brochure (1010 East Hwy 40). It was highly recommended so we were disappointed. The next place we tried to find was the Pelican Lake Café at the Lamplighter but we went to the wrong place again. We went to 120 East Main St. in Vernal. We should have gone to the Pelcian Lake Café at 1684 West Hwy 40, Vernal, tel. (435) 789-9550. We decided to stay at the Weston Lamplighter and Dimitri had an omelet that came with hash browns and 2 pancakes. Audre had one pancake. Dimitri had coffee. Dimitri liked the breakfast but we didn’t like the place and we were unhappy that we had gotten so screwed up.  It cost $17.35 plus tip.

After breakfast we dressed in our (winter) biking clothes and off we went to Dinosaur National Monument. We got there just in time for the 11:30 a.m. tour with Ranger Nina to the Quarry (free). It took about an hour and it was fascinating. Ranger Nina was nice, interesting and informative.
A replica of a baby dinosaur found in the quarry of Dinosaur National Monument
Of course the quarry with the dinosaur remains was impressive and the new (2011) quarry building was impressive too. 
The new quarry building completed in 2011
After the tour, we drove to end of the paved Cub Creek Canyon road  that goes to Josie Morris's cabin. The ranger at the information desk of the main facility had recommended this route to us and it was a good recommendation. We took our bikes off of the car and biked the dirt road to the end. It was up and down for about 2 miles. The approximately 5 mile round trip was a perfect distance for our first off-road excursion of the season. There were petroglyphs along this road and we climbed to see some. We visited Josie Morris's cabin where we saw a woodpecker actually pecking. We both remarked that was the first time we ever saw a woodpecker pecking. Then we returned to where we left our car and drove to the Green River camp ground where we had our leftover Chinese food for lunch. It was wonderful.

After we got back to our hotel, we used the Jacuzzi and it was lovely--no screaming children in the afternoon. For dinner that night we went to The Quarry Steakhouse and Brew Pub, 29 S Vernal Ave., Vernal, UT 84078, tel. (435) 789-beer.  Our waitress, Louise, was new in Vernal and very nice. We ordered one 10 oz. rib eye steak and shared it ($24.99). It came with a side salad and rice and very good stir fried vegetable mixture. The steak (rare) was cooked to our order but probably would have been better rarer. All the same, it was good. We also ordered one side salad ($5.99) that was quite large. We had one bottle of Red Rock Malbec ($18.95) because a glass of wine was $6. We took half home. We also ordered one Grandma Karen’s Brownie ($6.99) that came with 3 scoops of vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce and caramel sauce. The brownie was okay. And we ordered one decaf coffee ($1.99). Louise was a fine server and we enjoyed the meal. The cost $63.24 plus tip.

The next morning we had the Towne Place complimentary continental breakfast augmented by the cereal, cheese and bread that is in our Igloo and food bags (3 at this count). It was fine. After breakfast, off we went to Roosevelt, UT which was a distant 28 miles away.