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Grand Canyon Trip–Day 1–November 18, 2016

Total disclosure here, it’s been a while since I have written much of anything and I’m feeling pretty rusty, so be prepared for some rambling!

I’m pretty excited about contributing to the travel section, it means we actually went somewhere! For this trip alone I had the experiences and I’m not living vicariously, woohoo!!

Friday morning dawned bright and early for me, later for Adam. When he finally woke up it took me about 10 minutes to pack a bag, he took about an hour. Now in fairness to him he does have to decide what gadgets and cords and chargers and such to take and then what will actually fit in his bag and just how much weight will it hold, then readjust 12 times. I’ve learned to just sit and wait, he’ll get done eventually and when we arrive we’ll have everything we need, and then some.

Finally we left the house about 11:30am. It had been a very stressful and long few days at work, apparently we put out “we’re leaving town vibes” that bring everyone and their dog to the office door, so I felt a little uneasy leaving town. I had asked Adam to drive us out on the North Shore Rd and I’m glad I did! Within 10 minutes of being on the road you’re heading out of civilization. It’s a long winding road for about an hour. We passed maybe 10 people, the weather was perfect, the sun was shining, once again I was amazed by how beautiful the desert is and how it changes around every corner. The stress began to melt away and I thought it was the perfect way to start our trip.

We headed to Arizona which meant we were going to pass over the new bridge built downstream from Boulder Dam some years ago. I had seen pictures, I had talked to people who made a special trip after it was built just to see it and drive over it, so I have to admit I was looking for a bit of a ta-da! Nope. You drive up to and onto it without every really knowing you’re on it! The cement sides are tall so you can’t see over and all in all it was very anti climatic! Nice road, very much easier and faster to travel than going over the Dam, but eh.

So we drove onto Kingman AZ. Now from other blogs the family has written I have developed a firm belief that stopping at Walmart is a travel must. It’s not really a vacation without it. So we found a Walmart. We needed some tags and a lock for our suitcase since it would be handled by the travel company more than us and we needed a potty break. Now walking into Walmart I learned something, a desert rat is a desert rat, no matter which desert you are from. The temperature was about 60 degrees which I thought felt great, but most of the people were walking around with jackets, hoodies, scarves and even full blown coats. I got all sweaty just looking at them! The next thing I learned was that although the people looked to be of average height it must have been an illusion, because I have never seen since short toilets in all my life! I know it’s a lot of TMI but my knees haven’t been that close to my nose in some time. How short are these people??

We stopped in at Carls’ Jr for a quick lunch, then gassed up the truck and we were on the road again.

I learned something about being in the middle of nowhere Arizona, you can build your house on any angle, anywhere, out of anything. We saw all kinds of ragtag “buildings” and I do use that word loosely. They were built of stones, trash, the odd board, even license plates.

I also learned that there isn’t a building inspector who cares to travel hundreds of miles to make sure something complies with code, see above.

The next thing we learned was that Arizona roads can be pretty rough. Long stretches of road were full of potholes and whatnot that made it a rough ride. Then you would come upon s bit of road being worked on and it got better for a while. I believe this to be an ongoing issue since about every 50 miles there was a lone piece of road equipment and a porta potty alongside the road.

All these observations made for great giggles and conversation, what better way to pass the time.

A little past Kingman Adam finally began to sing with the radio, that’s always a good sign. Because he is a man and can only do one thing well at a time I knew if he wasn’t singing he was stewing or worrying or trying to resolve an issue or planning out the next work thing, so singing was good! After that I knew all would be well and I continued my observations of our surroundings!

I learned the desert is vast and diverse. I love our little valley, surrounded by the mesa’s and the mountains. I love our red rocks, our lake, our green fields our purple sage. I love the drive to Mesquite as you come off the mesa and see it open up to your view. But these were different views, different desert and I loved it too.

We started to gain some altitude and the rolling hills and the juniper bushes became plentiful. We thought it was quite amazing that these bushes no matter how tall they get looked perfectly pruned and planted in clusters. It always amazes me that you are out in the middle of nowhere with no real easily visible vegetation and yet there are cattle doing quite well thank you. The desert provides the grasses and morning glory and every the sage to grow beef on, it’s quite amazing. Then we travel higher and the junipers fall away and we start to see pine trees, ponderosa pines I believe. They start out a little small and get taller and taller. A desert forest is very unlike a California forest or even a Cedar mountain forest and from Alison tells me it’s very different from the East Coast, but none the less, a beautiful forest.

Finally, after about 4 hours on the road we arrived in Williams Arizona after dark. We were tired, but happy, the trip had been a good one. It was after dark, but this time of year that’s very early. I had purchased a trip package that had us booked at the Grand Canyon Lodge. Kind of a fancy place but not too posh. The lobby was probably the fanciest one I’ve ever been in, huge fireplace at least a 6x4 foot opening and a couple feet off the ground, a whole wall of stone reaching about 14 feet high at least. An amazing huge chandelier that had crystal snowflakes hanging from it, gorgeous woodwork, an enormous decked out Christmas tree, it was pretty nice.

I guess I hadn’t done a ton of homework on this trip because I was unaware that the reason they were so ready with the Christmas décor was that they were running a polar express train out to Santas village twice a night. When I found out about that I felt some what better about all the grownups running around in feety pajamas……..some complete with ears and tails……a little disturbing, but the kids in their pj’s sitting around the lobby writing letters to Santa and being lifted up to the big mailbox to deposit them was pretty darn cute! We should do a polar express with the little ones.

We got all checked in and headed across the drive to the café. It’s a big buffet that’s run by the lodge and our meals there were included in the package. It will accommodate 350 people so it’s big but well laid out, we didn’t feel crowded. The food had pretty good variety and tasted good. I especially enjoyed the chocolate fudge cake with ice cream! That’s a keeper! The had a long train that ran the perimeter of the room too and it was fun to watch. I think we liked it as much as the kids in the room did.

After dinner we decided we were tired and we needed an early start the next day so we headed back to our room. Adam had just taken his shoes off when the fire alarm started wailing! It took us a minute to realize what was happening, it felt a little surreal. So shoes and jackets went back on and we hunted down a stairway and tried to find our way out. Now the way it works is that Adam has always had a kind of magical ability to navigate and get his bearings, he always knows where he’s parked the car, where the stuff I want in the store is, all sorts of good things like that. It failed him big time! He found a stairway but it led us to some unknown maintenance area whose exit signs lied! So while we were supposed to end up in back of the lodge we ended up somewhere at the side of the building where employees were gathered and gave us funny looks. We walked around until we found the front of the place, found a bench and waited for the wailing to stop. It was about 31 degrees and there was a stiff breeze blowing and I don’t own a real coat, so that was a bit exciting. After about 20 minutes we had the all clear and in we went. There was a rumor that a child had pulled the alarm, maybe he thought it was for Santa?

Back in our room Adam wanted me to start this blog post, he was kind of excited about it too. He pulled out his tablet and keyboard to get it set up for me and found that it had frozen up.He got frustrated and proceeded to try and work on it and I forbade it! He was on vacation for pete’s sake, he shouldn’t be working on a stupid computer!!! He did set it aside, although I was not dumb enough to believe that his brain wasn’t working on a solution. Then it was off to bed!

I did have some pictures for you but they got deleted, I’m not the techie one……sorry.