Grand Canyon Road Trip

11:54 AM

The Grand Canyon had been on our list of places to visit for a while, but whenever we had an extended weekend we had elected to visit our families, thus not having the chance to make the ~11 hour drive.

Spencer's foreman, however, decided they all deserved a break (and many were taking off anyways), so he told his crew that they'd get a three day weekend at the end of July.

Our plan was to leave Thursday when Spencer got home, and even though it was a longer day than anticipated, we weren't giving up, and left that evening. Spencer didn't have to try hard to convince me we needed to pick up Chinese food for the road.

We weren't sure how far we could make it. Originally Flagstaff was our goal for the first night, but it soon became apparent we weren't going to make it that far because of having left so late. Instead we aimed for Gallup, NM, but managed to make it to Holbrook, AZ, where we found a KOA to pitch our tent. I drove the last hour or so, as Spencer was about to pass out. It is around 6 hours from Roswell to Holbrook.

The next morning I boiled water on our little gas stove for oatmeal. We bought this for backpacking, and have since used it numerous times as it is quite handy.

From Holbrook we drove to Sedona, AZ where we planned to spend our Friday. It was a gorgeous drive through the town to the trailhead for Devil's Bridge. It was late morning (almost 11:30) when we started, and the Arizona sun was already beating hard on us. I believe it was in the 90s, and we didn't have shade most of the trek. The gobs of sunscreen we smothered ourselves in couldn't do enough help our fair skin.

It was actually a pretty easy hike until the very end which you had to climb stairs. It was almost surprising how many people don't make it to the end, but then again, the majority of people hiking there are tourists who don't hike on a regular basis. If you're planning on making this trip, we don't recommend hiking in the heat of summer.

The bridge was awesome! People took turns walking across while others volunteered to take their picture. I was prepared to fight my strong self-preservation instincts, but it turned out to be hardly frightening to walk across. I could not tell there was a gaping whole underneath where I walked. Others didn't feel the same though, and we got a laugh watching as we ate our PB&J's. We stayed long enough to enjoy, but knew we were pressed for time as there was so much to do in one weekend. We made sure to detour and go to the bottom of the bridge, though, on our way back. Equally as impressive was looking up at it from underneath.

Next on our agenda was hiking Sedona's famous Cathedral Rock. We got to that trailhead, however, in an even hotter part of the day and after debating back and forth, decided we had had enough hiking in one day and would instead explore the town. So after taking a few pictures, went to the Catholic church's Chapel of the Holy Cross. Prior to this, we had never been inside a Catholic church, and were quite impressed with the beautiful architecture. The cross was built in to the red rock hill and convinced us that we needed to visit more churches in the future.

With no particular itinerary set in stone, we elected to make our way to the Grand Canyon area to stay for the night. On the way, we stopped at an overlook and a bridge (can't remember the name, but I think it may have been Midgley). Although two hours apart, we made well enough time that we decided to try our luck and get a peek of the Grand Canyon that evening. Pulling up we were dismayed to see the $30 entrance fee, but were relieved to hear that it would get us in the following day as well (good for one week).

Noticing the sun was setting, we wasted no time in parking and rushing over to the canyon. We were stopped in our tracks at the sight. It was phenomenal! I couldn't shut up commenting on how massive it was! There was no shortage of ooh's and ahh's. I fit right in with the hundreds of asians snapping picture after picture. Pretty sure we were a minority. Watching the sunset from the Grand Canyon's rim topped off the day perfectly.

Although we had eaten an early dinner in Sedona, by the time we were ready to find a campground for the night, we were starving again, so we stopped at Pizza Hut in the town of Grand Canyon. There were hardly any food options in that small town, so they made sure to charge their supply-and-demand premium.

The KOA in Williams (about an hour south) was the closest, but after pulling up and inquiring about a tent site, we discovered they were full. They directed us to one ten minuted further which had plenty of room.

Needless to say we were exhausted and slept like babies in our spacious pop-up tent, queen size air mattress, four pillows, and king size warm sleeping bag. It is hard to beat that comfort, and it is comparable to the comfort of our home bed set up. We don't mind it in the least. Perhaps this spoilage is why we were so mentally unprepared for the discomfort of backpacking the week before.

I had a hike planned for us the next morning, on a trail that descends below the canyon rim. Spencer works hard long hours, so I am usually the one planning out the details of our adventures. Thanks to Google, it usually isn't too difficult.

South Kaibab Trail was the path of choice. Again, we thought we would walk two trails in one day, so we aimed small for the "Ooh Aah Point," which was just under a mile in. The path was all down-hill so we were hardly fazed at that point. After looking out deeper in to the canyon, we were tempted to continue to Cedar Ridge, another half mile down. Knowing we would have to climb up the whole way back, we knew there would not be time afterwards to hike another trail as well as see the rest of the canyon. It was worth it and were content with our adventure.

It was sprinkling as soon as we arrived at the park that morning, and it continued to drizzle on and off during our hike. It was hot, however, so anytime it stopped, we would take off our jackets. Or...I would. Spencer is pretty tough, so he hardly notices the weather.

At Cedar Ridge, we braked for lunch and basked in the majesty that is the Grand Canyon. We had a perfect, overlooking view, away from most people, but were still in earshot of a group of environmentalists discussing how terrible humans are for the planet. Also heard was a man of Indian heritage discussing their beliefs and stories, which were met with open ears and minds. We thought to ourselves what a different reaction they would have if he were discussing Christianity instead.

It appeared we made good time heading back up, as we passed nearly everyone we came across. Many carried a single bottle of water and couldn't make it far. We stopped for a few minutes at the top while waiting for the shuttle (the means of transport inside the park).

The rest of the day was spent riding the shuttle from point to point and exploring. Spencer, as anyone who knows him well knows, loves free stuff. He has his eyes trained to see items on the sides of roads, and he frequently comes home from work with sunglasses found in the oil field.

I was separated from him for fifteen minutes at the grand canyon while he went below the railing to explore. After waiting that long, I was afraid he fell over the rim and would become part of the 12-deaths-per-year statistic of the park. I stood up from where he left me and started searching. I was hoping someone would instinctively know to tell me if they saw him fall over the edge. Luckily, he returned minutes after and I scolded him for frightening me. He had to show me why he came back wearing a huge grin though, and presented his loot of fallen, lost articles. Among which were a few pairs of sunglasses, a camera, and an iPhone. He was quite proud and it wasn't the last time he went searching for tourists' missing goods. In case you are curious, the iPhone was in an Asian language and locked, the camera was broken, but he wears those sunglasses with pride.

Just before sunset, we left the park, as we were tired and hungry. Taco Bell filled our bellies that night, before we returned to the KOA. I forgot to mention that for lunch, okay second lunch (first was on the trail), we went back to our car. But after being asked repeatedly by different people searching for a parking spot if we were leaving, decided we had best not give it up and leave the park. Instead, we had the brilliant idea to bring out our trusty stove and boil water for more oatmeal. I dislike how much processed food we eat while we travel, but it is so worth it.

We were satisfied with the time we spent at the canyon, and were ready to head home the next day (with a few stops along the way in mind).

First stop Meteor Crater (about an hour in to our drive home). Please, don't ever stop there! We were greeted with an astronomical entrance fee ($18/person, only to join in on a "guided tour" which consisted of walking a few yards (you can't go in the crater), listening to a lady talk about the crater, and be told not to wander off. During this time, we noticed a biker's vest and commented to each other on how much we liked it. On it were various patches he had collected in his travels, including an alien patch (Roswell, of course), Don't Tread on Me flag, USA flag, and numerous other America-loving patches.
Afterwards, we walked through their gift shop to the Subway on the other side, where we were debating on which sandwich to purchase. During this time, we overheard an employee approach another and inform him of a person in the gift shop who was wearing a vest with "a bunch of offensive patches, including one about Muslims", obviously trying to get him kicked out. Bristled, Spencer turned to me and said we would not be buying anything from here, and went to warn the man.

The employee, who had walked over to see for himself and was standing by, heard this exchange, and only then did he approach the biker and tell him to turn his vest inside out. Spencer stood up for him and what followed was a verbal confrontation. The biker told the gift shop worker that he was leaving anyways. The main patch that the worker brought up as offensive was the one that said "All I needed to know about Islam I learned on 9/11." There was also apparently a patch with a foul word, which only later he used to justify his command. The biker pointed out that he had heard worse today walking through the little museum.

We are loosing our freedom of speech because people are trembling in their boots about the possibility of offending someone. Becoming the nation of thin skin and no courage. Blood boiling, we continued on our way.

An hour later, we stopped at Petrified National Forest. $10 to get in, which was significantly lower than we had become accustomed. It was a neat area, and we were glad we made the stop. Along with tons of petrified wood, we got to see some petroglyphs.

Happily, my car presented no issues during this trip, and we made it home safe and sound. We had a wonderful time together exploring another part of our beautiful country.


Devil's Bridge:
Red rock country

Everyone found Spencer hilarious and pointed him out to their friends/family. "Look at that guy on the edge!"

Cathedral Rock:

Chapel of the Holy Cross:

See the eagle?



Grand Canyon 1st night:

We are at the Grand Canyon!!
I'm your typical tourist.
Selfie game strong.

First picture I took of this marvelous beauty.

Look at all those little people!
He likes to stop my heart.

Grand Canyon Day 2:

South Kaibab Trail

Into the canyon we go.

Lunch in the parking lot.

Another hiker took our picture.

Where we breaked for first lunch.

Nice view.

2nd lunch

The trail we took.

Old mine.


Watching rafters while waiting for my husband's return.


In the thick of it.

Away he goes again.

Meteor Crater:

Just kidding!

Petrified National Forest:


Our ride.

Old indian dwellings

Historic Route 66 

Breakfast at the campground in Holbrook.

Thanks for tuning in! Love you all!

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