Travel: The Grand Canyon

Before moving from Arizona last year, there were a few items I needed to cross off the Arizona state travel list.  One was the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, one was camping {which we did with my daughter’s Girl Scout troop,} and the last one was the Grand Canyon {GC}.  I had been as a kid and I wanted to make sure my daughter got to experience it as well.

My good friend Sara was coming to visit from Ohio, so I asked if she would come with us too since I still wasn’t confident enough to travel alone with my daughter {you can read more about that on Red Tricycle} and she had never been there.  We set off on a Saturday morning in April.  It was about a 4 – 5 hour drive from where we lived in the Phoenix suburbs.

The Grand Canyon

Once we got to there, we were STARVING!  We parked near the El Tovar Hotel, which is the largest and nicest of the Grand Canyon “resorts.”  All lodging at the GC is pretty rustic.  If you want to stay at any of their lodges, you must book well in advance, especially during peak season.  We got into the park for free that day, but it was packed.

We waited not so patiently for a table to open up at the El Tovar Lounge.  Once we had the table though, no one ever came by to talk to us or take our order.

Sara talked to one of the servers who basically said it was really busy and we would be waiting a long, long time.  Two hangry adults and a hangry 9-year-old, we were done.  We started walking along the rim of the canyon where we finally stopped at the Bright Angel Lodge and ate at the Harvey House Café.

I’ve never seen Ella enjoy eating a salad so much.  She thought it was the best meal she had ever had.  After lunch, we got ice cream at the Bright Angel Fountain and we set off along the rim to take some photos and enjoy the view, Clark Griswald style.

Grand Canyon

Ella was bouncing around like she always does, and I was sure she was going to fall the edge of the canyon.  Needless to say, it was a little stressful with her on the parts of the walk where there wasn’t some sort of fence or guardrail.

Grand Canyon

As we were leaving the park, we took a wrong turn and got lost.  We headed down the wrong road for about 20 minutes thinking we could turn around, but we couldn’t.  We ended up getting to see another part of the canyon we normally wouldn’t have seen, which was a good thing.

Cell service is spotty at the GC and reading maps is hard. We finally figured it out, even with the 9 year-old freaking out that we were going to be lost forever, run out of gas, and die without anyone ever coming to look for us.

We stayed at the Best Western Grand Canyon Squire Inn in Tusayan.  It’s about a 20-minute drive from the park.  Hotels around the canyon are really expensive at peak times, so even this Best Western was pricey.  Definitely not deluxe accommodations and the bathroom hadn’t been renovated since around 1989, but it worked for our needs.

We hung out at the bar drinking wine, and they didn’t protest when we brought our own bag of Funyuns, so the place is alright in my book.  Because we didn’t notice the bowling alley or the arcade until we were too tired to stay awake, Ella hung out and played games on my computer.

We woke up for an early morning Easter Sunrise Bus Tour.  The views were beautiful.

Grand Canyon Sunrise

Grand Canyon Sunrise

Grand Canyon

Our final destination on the tour was the mule stables.  The mules are retired after seven years of “working” at the canyon.  We were back at the hotel by 7 a.m. and on the road to Phoenix shortly thereafter.

Grand Canyon Mules

On our way out of town, we hit what we thought was the defunct Flintstones Bedrock City Amusement Park to take some photos.  We later learned it was still open, so you should definitely stop if you’re in the neighborhood.

Grand Canyon

We ate breakfast at the Pine Country Restaurant in Williams, AZ which we were told had amazing pie, but we didn’t try any.

There was still a lot to explore and we probably could’ve used an extra day at the canyon but all in all, we saw what we wanted to see.

Deep thoughts:

Sara – “It’s a pretty hole in the ground.”

Angela – “It’s a pretty hole in the ground that everyone needs to see at least once in their lifetime.”

Ella – “It’s a pretty hole in the ground and I wish we would’ve stayed longer.”

Happy traveling!


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