After five nights of freezing cold in Moab, we are ready for some warmth. Good thing I checked the weather at the Grand Canyon...overnight low of 18 frigid degrees. Our consensus: screw that. The result? Cut two days from our tour of the canyon, spend one expensive night in a hotel room, and move on to warm, sunny Lake Havasu as soon as humanly possible.
Did I mention we spent the night in a hotel room? That's the third night we've spent indoors since our trip began and the first night on a mattress in over three weeks. Totally worth it.
En route to the canyon we drove past part of Monument Valley. Jess and I remember this from our childhood trip through the area 20 years ago - we even stopped at the local Navajo hand-made jewelry stalls along the road for old time's sake.
On our way to the hotel we came VERY close to running out of gas. We went 325 miles on a single tank, about 35 with the gas light on. We learned not to trust the gas gauge, it varies by a quarter tank on steep hills. Kobus' superb driving ability got us 20.5 miles per gallon on that fill up. Considering the V6 is rated 16-18 MPG highway, it's safe to say Blue is running well.
The tour-bus-catering-mega-hotel we stayed at in Tusayan, a few miles outside the park is pictured above. Aside from the mattress, our stay there was a bit of a blur. I remember something about a free upgrade to a suite, and a restaurant full of Japanese tourists.
After checking into the hotel we drove into the park to catch sunset. Having been to Grand Canyon before, and remembering little aside from the hordes of people, we were pleasantly surprised to find the park infrastructure must improved. The addition of wider walking paths along the rim and a shuttle bus service (not to mention it isn't exactly high season) meant we could enjoy more of the views without being mobbed by camera-wielding tourists.
Suicidal, or just uncaffeinated? You be the judge.
Click the above picture for a full panoramic of the sunset.
The next day we awoke from our dreams of cushy pillows and soft mattresses and headed back to the canyon for a few more hours of sightseeing. Hopping aboard the free shuttle we took a trip along the east rim and stopped at a few scenic lookouts along the way.
One of the lookouts offered a rare view of the Colorado river from six miles away and 6,000 feet below us. To put this photo into perspective, the river is roughly 300 feet across and the far side of the canyon is 12 miles away.
The park was performing a controlled burn on the west rim of the canyon, roughly 15 miles away.
After a couple hours of taking pictures and strolling along the edge of the canyon it's time to hit the road. We say goodbye to the US in about a week, so there is much to prepare for!