Thanks to all the local folks who answered our questions. Your advice was absolutely wonderful!
We drove from Las Vegas to Bryce via Cedar City and Cedar Breaks. we did not stop at Kolob, although I wish we had. We found routes 148 and 143 to be very beautiful and stopped several times along the way to get out and take pictures. This is a route that even flat-landers like us can enjoy.
The visitor center at Cedar Breaks was closed so we did not go wandering off into the woods in search of trails for which we had no maps. However, there are a couple of overlooks along 148 that give a breathtaking view into the canyon. There was snow on the ground which made the views even more spectacular. I understand that portions of 148 and 143 close in the winter. If they are open this is a "must see" in my book.
We stayed at the new Best Western in Bryce. It is a nice modern clean facility and is exactly what one would expect of a Best Western. The breakfast was excellent. We had heard horror stories about the hotel at Ruby's and elected to stay at the new Best Western. We did not go in to the hotel at Ruby's and can not comment on it, but the Best Western is fine.
I have been taking pictures a long time. Bryce Canyon was the first place where my 18mm wide angle lens was not wide enough. We took more pictures at Bryce than we have in any other single day of photography. That includes several long days of birding in Florida. I was blown away. Once i sort through the 30 GIGS of pictures we took this trip, I will post a few of the best.
We took the chicken-heart trails and found them delightful. We never made it to Inspiration Point, but we did go all the way to the end to Rainbow Point. Sunrise and Sunset points were spectacular.
We took 89 from Bryce to Zion. My only regret here is that I did not find the turn outs or side roads until I was on top of them and it was too late to stop. My recommendation is to use your GPS and spot the side streets enough in advance that you can turn off and take pictures.
We stayed at the Novel House B & B in Zion. This was an excellent choice. I will write a complete review later.
My wife thought that Zion was more spectacular than Bryce, but I liked Bryce better. We agreed that both were worth the trip.
Highway 9 is almost finished. Allegedly it is supposed to be finished by the end of October. The locals are skeptical.
I will provide detailed reviews as appropriate, but this overview should give you the idea that we had a great trip and that is in no small part as a result of the advice we received from members of this forum.