Monday, May 28, 2018

Read Fam Road Trip : Dan 3 Arizona and the Grand Canyon

 Today was the day of all days. The best day of the roadtrip. The day when the sights get a little more interesting and the temperatures get a little cooler. The day our boys get to see the most beautiful place on earth.

Let's start from the beginning. Our campground in Cedar Crest, New Mexico had a strictly enforced quiet hours from 10pm - 7am. The 10pm part was easy as all of us were in bed at 8pm. However, our kids who are usually up at 6:15 CST, were up at 5:15 am Mountain Time and so they watched videos in the van for nearly 2 hours while Dan and I tried to sleep and then quietly pack up our camp site. I told Liam to shut up in a horrible hissing voice and I think he will be in therapy if nothing else than for that one moment. I apologized later at the Starbucks in Albuquerque and he forgave me but the damage is done. 

So, at precisely 7:13am, we pulled out of Turquoise Trail and headed west! We saw hot air balloons in Albuquerque, lots of dessert and Trading Posts and then Dan surprised us with one of his favorite spots. Just off I-40, on the New Mexico-Arizona border, there are some shops with epic cliffs to climb. 

The boys loved it and we even let Indie off-leash for a bit and she climbed with us, too. We stayed there for nearly an hour, climbing up and down and trying to see how high we could get. 

We continued on, with time to spare, so we stopped at every cheesy Route 66 spot we could find. Fake dinosaurs, the Wigwam Hotel, an old theater, the Holbrook train station. It was all so gloriously decayed, abandoned and endearing. 

We continued on to Flagstaff, one of my favorite towns. I love this quirky little town. It reminds me of Banff, Alberta and Portland, Oregon. The people are weird and the scenery is beautiful. We meandered the busy streets, feeling very much like we were one mile closer to the sun. We were short of breath and sunburned when we finally headed north for the Grand Canyon. 

The South Rim is only about 75-90 minutes north of Flagstaff. We rolled the windows down and sang along to terrible pop music, the wind in our hair. We arrived at the Grand Canyon around 5pm. Now, it must be known that the only other time that Dan or I have been to the Grand Canyon was mid-week in January. It snowed on the drive up and we were two of 3 people who camped there that night (that I know of). One busload of tourists came in at sunset, another at sunrise. We wandered the village, alone. We shopped at the gift shop, alone. The cafes were closed. The trail was scarcely populated. But today? Oh, my friends. Today was NY City on New Years Eve. Today was downtown Nashville at CMA Fest. The Grand Canyon on the Memorial Weekend is buzzing with activity! Cars are parked on the streets because lots are full. It's mayhem but it's honestly not as bad as I suspected it might be. So, we dined at a restaurant first. Full bellies = happy Reads. I haven't shared this yet but I have set a goal to run Indie, our dog, 3 miles per day, every day on this trip. Today, I waited until we got to 8000 feet altitude, at 6pm, after dinner, with a deadline to see the sunset. But, you know. Whatever. I ran as fast as I could, my heart pumping out of my chest, dragging my poor dog behind me. But, I did it. 

I met up with my crew and we walked to the Bright Angel Trailhead. Liam was too tired to really emote anything and Ronan asked, more than once, "Mama, where are we?" and we all cracked up. Photos were taken, prayers were prayed. We soaked it in until it got cold and dim. Then, we walked our babies back to the van and looked at each other and smiled. 

Honestly, one of the best days of our lives. 

Read Fam Road Trip :

Day 1 OKC

Day 2 New Mexico

Day 3 The Grand Canyon

Day 4 California

Day 5 Pismo Beach and San Francisco

Day 6 Pacific Coast Highway and Oregon 

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