Lonely Planet Arizona New Mexico & the Grand Canyon Trips 1st Ed.: 1st Edition Paperback – Mar 15 2009
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LONELY PLANET aims to cater for every independent traveller, whatever the destination, whatever the style of travel and whatever the phase of the journey.
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If I'm in an area, say just south of Phoenix, I want to be able to look in a guidebook and find interesting places to visit in that vicinity. This is the way most travel guides are organized, and rightly so. This book will be of little help for that kind of reference.
Sure, this book can be an entertaining read--but it is more suitable for armchair travel and trip planning than take-along reference. Besides, one of the joys of travel is variety--how many people really want to base a tour of the Southwest solely on beers, green chilies, or the margarita? This book even tells you what music to play in your car as you travel Route 66--what happened to spontaneity and travel serendipity?
Still, there are some useful tours: the chapter on the Rim-to-Rim hike through the Grand Canyon makes sense. The "48 Hours in Greater Phoenix" tour is similarly focused. I should also point out some rather courageous coverage of polygamist Mormon sects in southern Utah. These particular chapters succeed because they are more geographically centered than the scattershot theme tours.
If you like the idea of taking a trip based on one theme, buy it, but there are much better guides out there for real reference.
Lonely Planet does a great job with their main travel books, but they really need to rethink the Trips series. Too many authors, lots of suggestions in all directions and not enough information really hinder this book. I highly recommend the AAA Tourbooks that are free to AAA members, in this case the Arizona and New Mexico Tourbook. They are annually updated, comprehensive and packed with valuable information that is missing from the Trips series. One example is a section on the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. In the Trips series it mentions a rough road and a hike. The AAA Tourbook will let you know about camping conditions, restrictions that apply with on the reservation and that you should not photograph the Navajo people, their property or their homes without permission. A gratuity is usually requested and that many roads in the reservation are private property. They also mention notes about steep canyon drives, activities that may be too strenuous for some and other important really useful information. What a difference it makes. You can pick your own trip ideas from a well organized book. The Trips book is seriously lacking.
Starting with the iconic trips which include cruising the Mother Road (Route 66), Gunfighters and Goldminers which covers the area from Prescott, AZ to Bisbee, Saguaro National Park in the Tucson and surrounding areas, Lake Powell on the Colorado River, Four Corners, where you can stand with a foot in Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico are but a few of the exciting trips to take using this expert guide. I like the sidebar that shows the starting and ending points, miles traveled, best time of year to make the trip and the time you should allot to see everything.
In addition, there are sections on food and drink, day trips in the Phoenix vicinity, 48 hours in Las Vegas, Grand Canyon Region trips, Art excursions; in short, everything to make your travels more enjoyable. Tips from local travel experts will highlight places to see and things not to miss.
Also included is a listing of places to eat and sleep in every major location plus websites for further details. Additionally, there are suggestions for linking trips for those having more time.
Having traveled this part of the country, I found the guide superb as well as accurate in meeting expectations for every major tour. The only item I felt could have been touched on was the world famous birders' paradise near Sierra Vista, AZ. This is a major attraction and only a few miles from Tucson, Tombstone and Bisbee. However, it was completely omitted in this otherwise outstanding guide. Perhaps this is because the guide is planned with themed trips rather than exploring all the attractions of a particular area. I felt this might not work as well for some people since they probably don't plan their travels based upon "themes." Still, the authors have done an outstanding job and this is reflected in the details given in the various sections.
It has 58 themed itineraries and 1005 local places to see in Arizona, New Mexico and the Grand Canyon plus trips to Utah, Colorado and Las Vegas.
Some of the Iconic trips include the Four Corners Cruise, Motoring the Mother Road (Rte 66), Rafting the Colorado, A Green Chile Adventure, Gunfighters and Gold Miners, Rim to Rim Canyon Hike, Dam Diving, In Search of Georgia O'Keefe, Billy the Kid Byway, Southwest by Train.
Some of Route trips include the Fantastic Canyon Voyage, Trail of the Ancients, Ice Caves and Wolf Dens on Highway 53, Fiber Arts Trail, High Road and Low Road, Following the Turquoise Trail, Geronimo Trail Scenic Highway.
Food and Drink Lovers tours include: Steak Lovers Arizona, Grapes & Hops in the Desert, Brewpub Crawl, Organic New Mexico, Margarita Marathon, New Mexico's Wine Countries.
Outdoors types will enjoy the tours of Monument Valley, Rim Country, Desert Wanderings, Sedona's Red Rock Adventure, Flagstaff's Northern Playground, Hiking in Grand Canyon, Water Rafting and fishing the Rio Grande, Utah's National Park plus much more.
There are the History and Cultural Tours like Arizona Architecture, Pueblo Life, In the Footsteps of DH Lawrence, A Geology Expedition and more.
There are some offbeat trips listed like Big Skies & Weird Science, Into the Vortex, Polgamy Country, Albuquirky, Out of this World, Cowboy Time.
If you are the city type there is 48 hour trips planned out for what to do in Greater Phoenix, Las Vegas and Santa Fe.
It gives a lot of website addresses for you to go to in each section so you can get familiar ahead of time with what you are going to see. Lots of little tidbits also listed to grab your interest. I love this series and will use it much more than just a regular guidebook.
Lonely Planet makes fantastic guide books, usually with an emphasis on budget accommodations and hanging with the locals. The "Trips" series is a new way to present travel information.
This edition includes Arizona, New Mexico, the Grand Canyon with additional side trips to Utah, Colorado, and Las Vegas. There are 58 itineraries indexed by theme: Iconic, Route, Food and Drink, Outdoors, History and Culture, Offbeat, City, and Day Trips. Lonely Planet favorites are starred to highlight your attention. Local experts are brought in and in this edition include a wine maker, ranger, mining storyteller, and spiritual tour guide.
At about 350 pages, a lot of information is packed into a relatively small book. Not everybody wants to thoroughly research an area, and then plan an itinerary. Take it from someone who knows: it's a lot of work. Trips saves you the trouble by organizing the region into theme based trips. Decide how you want to organize your trip, then let Lonely Planet do the work. My first impression was that this region is best served by skipping all the itineraries save the Outdoors Trips. Why else would anybody go there? But not all travelers are ME, and this guide has something for everyone. There is even a trip that includes getting up close and personal with the somewhat controversial "Polygamy Country".
Each trip has a summary page that highlights how to get there, what to do, eating and accommodation. There may be suggested reading as well. Maps, large and small, keep you from losing your way. There are even suggested music playlists and a Green Index.
My favorite trip? The 5-8 day History and Culture trip called Hualapai & Havasupai Journey. Starting in Boulder City, NV and ending in Williams, AZ this is a trip you would not soon forget. There is a glass bridge cantilevered 4000 feet above the Grand Canyon's west rim with unparalleled views. Hikes, waterfalls, mine shafts, scenery, local tribes, beerpubs. A fantastic way to sample the region.
Lonely Planet has come up with a new way to plan your vacation. Highly recommended.