Monday, January 13, 2014

Planes, Trains & Automobiles!!: My Cross Country Vacation- Day 6

Day 6

After a very peaceful night’s sleep, Pete and I woke up early to once again, pack up, grab breakfast and drive off to our next destination; today it was the Grand Canyon. One perk about Holiday Inn Express (or just about every hotel nowadays), breakfast is included in your hotel price. We grabbed a quick breakfast, checked out, packed and began our travels to the Grand Canyon, about an hour’s drive north from Flagstaff.

I've only seen pictures of the Grand Canyon, so I had a slight idea of what I would be seeing, but actually being at the Grand Canyon and being there in the moment is something out of this world. We paid the $25 cash only admission and headed into Grand Canyon Nation Park (had we gone a week earlier, all we would be able to see is a locked up park). Once again we lucked out timing wise, since it was past peak vacation season, we had no trouble with traffic or finding a place to park. Weather wise, it was a cool, little overcast day, perfect for exploring.

Top: Pete learning more about the Grand Canyon
Bottom: Grand Canyon Park Museum Entrance 
We stopped at the Park Museum and Gift Shop to learn more about the formation of the Grand Canyon and of course, pick up a few souvenirs. There was a 25 mile scenic route that we took to explore only a piece of the Canyon but I think we would be able to get the gist of all its glory. Unfortunately for us, we only had about a 2 hour window for the Grand Canyon, so the hiking trails, the donkey rides up the Canyon and white water rafting on the Colorado River were all more additions to our ‘to-do next time’ list.

We stared driving on the 25 mile scenic route first wondering exactly where it was, there were so many trees and campers and… oh! There it is!

NOTE: Once again, my pictures do not do justice of what we saw up close and personal, it’s something you will need to experience yourself.
Grand Canyon!
Doesn't even look real! Amazing!
Watch your step!1 
Me & Pete living on the edge!
Oops! We didn't watch our step!! 
Spectacular! 
Colorado River!! 
The Grand Canyon’s name sums it up, it was Grand. We had no idea where it began and where it ended, it seemed to go on forever and in some cases, it just didn't seem real. The colors were brilliant, the rocks were in perfect layer formation it was quite the scene, (oh! How I wish we could’ve hiked it!). The only downfall of the Grand Canyon was just that… down. There are no fences, no nets, many parts of the area if you fall, nice knowing ya! Of course, I kept going as close as I could, one wrong move and I wouldn't be writing this, but hey, it’s an experience. Some places you could actually walk down like a trial and other places you could get a picture of yourself looking like your about to fall over the edge, when in reality there was a 2 foot gap, at least the pictures looked funny.

The two hours went by quick and next thing we knew, we stopped at the other exit/entrance, grabbed a quick bite or lunch, took another look around the souvenir shop and said ‘good-bye’ to the incredible beauty that is the Grand Canyon.

Back on the road again to Phoenix, we were on Route 64 traveling towards Route 89 when I started to notice signs for “Little Colorado Scenic Overlook”. I stared to coax Pete into stopping to see what it was all about. We turned the left to a picturesque scene of what appeared to be more of the Grand Canyon. We spoke to the lady at the front booth who explained to us that that this was part of Navajo Nation and Colorado Scenic Overview was part of the ‘7 Wonders of the Navajo Nation’ and that we can pay any amount that we preferred. We gave her $10 and she handed us a brochure explaining about the 7 Wonders of Navajo Nation.
Little Colorado Scenic Overlook- part of  the 7 Wonders of Navajo Nation!


Pete exploring Little Colorado! 
Once again, it was great that it was the off season, because besides us and a few other families checking out more Native American Arts & Crafts, we had the whole place to ourselves. This area was just as amazing with a few extra good views of the Colorado River. We got to go exploring around the areas, with the exception of a few gaps, this area didn't feel as dangerous when it came to walking around but still you had to be cautious.

The area was also great if you had a packed lunch and had time to relax and enjoy the view… too bad we didn't, so it was another quick look at more of the arts & crafts and back in the Ford Edge we went to Phoenix.

Views from the Navigator's Seat!! Not too bad! 
Back on the road again on Route 89 to Phoenix, we stopped by yet another gas station/convenience store for a quick lunch, which at this point was getting pretty old, but there weren't too many options on these roads. We made it to Phoenix around 5:30 pm or so, just in time for rush hour…oops…forgot we were in a capital city on the weekday. The plan was to grab a hotel room, relax a bit then find a place to eat, which by this time, you would think we would call ahead and see if rooms were available and avoid what happened before…but why would we do that?  

Since we had such a great experience the first time, we tried a Holiday Inn Express right in the heart of Phoenix, figuring it was a Thursday night, there must be plenty of rooms available. They were completely booked. We then tried calling three other hotels in the area…all booked….seriously? Déjà vu all over again?! Pete started to give me that look again when I told him about getting a hotel back in Farmington. Luckily for me this time, 4th time was a charm, and I was able to snag the last room at SpringHill Suites by Marriott just a few minutes down from the Holiday Inn Express.

By this point, Pete and I just wanted to grab a room and relax. That’s exactly what we did and thanks to the front desk concierge, we were told we could order delivery and have it sent right up to our door. 25 minutes later we had pizza, we had the 7th inning of Game 2 of the World Series (I keep forgetting time changes!), and probably one of the comfiest beds I've ever slept on in my life, (seriously, they feel like sleeping on clouds!). This was probably the best perk of the hotel, especially for me since tomorrow was going to be the start of an interesting day.


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