Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Northern AZ Road Trip: Part 4

The grand finale!

As promised, the final episode of our road trip takes us to the Grand Canyon Village and Tusayan, Arizona. We couldn't afford the lodges in the Village, which sit right on the rim of the Canyon, so we passed through the village in the middle of the night and headed down about 10 miles to Tusayan to find a hotel. We had initially intended to stay at a local hotel (as opposed to a national chain), but soon discovered that the Red Feather Lodge was in no position to expand its business due to lack of quality accommodations. We pressed on to a Best Western down the street with promises of a nice restaurant that would be open at that time.

I happened to catch the scrolling marquee on "Pizza," ironically enough. This was obviously the next day, but this is neither here nor there at the moment.

We arrived at the Best Western to discover that renovations had the kitchen closed down for the night at their restaurant. They recommended the Grand Hotel across the street for food. We booked a room with the Best Western and ventured next door. We walked in to a not-so-crowded bar and restaurant full of local townies. I swear the record skipped and everything went silent when we walked in...very awkward. We looked at the menu and discovered the least expensive thing on it was about $15, so we about faced and headed out. Tusayan has even less to offer than Page. We found a little pizza place that was "open late," as in they were full of people. Turns out they had been closed for about 20 minutes but no one had locked the door and they were still letting people come in and order pizzas. So we ran to the general store next door, which was closing in 5 minutes, and bought a bottle of wine. We got a pizza and headed back to the hotel to just hang out. The pizza was kinda not great, but we needed something in our stomachs. Had a bottle of wine and explored the hotel, which boasted a game/billiards room. Game room was also closed for renovations.

We decided then to wake up early and go see the sunrise at Desert View. I checked online and discovered that sunrise was scheduled for 7:38am (I think), and the spot was about 20 minutes away. So, it was bed time.

We got a slower start than we meant to, forgetting how long it takes to bundle up against freezing temperatures (in the teens/20's there at 6:30am). We raced back up north and east to Desert View. We didn't really think about the fact that a sunrise starts about 20-30 minutes earlier than its officially scheduled time, so we experienced a good portion of it on the drive, unfortunately. By the time we got to Desert View, the sun had almost completely risen. The trip was not in vain, however. We got a stunning view.

This is the Desert View Watchtower, ordinarily opened for business with a ladder to the top. We were not there during business hours. The white spot behind it is the moon.

The rest of the photos of the Colorado River and the Canyon vista don't look great, but you can see all of them, along with the rest of the photos of our trip, on my Flickr page (Sedona, Page, and Grand Canyon).

After enjoying the views, we headed back to the hotel to get breakfast and shower up. Unfortunately, on the way back, we were attacked by RABID MOUNTAIN LIONS!

Not really. But we scoured the countryside for a glimpse of one. Futile.

The award for strangest moment of the trip goes to our hotel breakfast experience. As I was gathering my fruit, eggs, biscuits, etc. from the buffet, I hear a soft, puzzled voice saying my name. I know it's not Melissa. I look up and it's Minka. She used to work at the Melting Pot awhile back, but moved to Cincinnati out of the blue. She and her boyfriend were traveling around the country for his work (he's a contractor for some kind of construction company I think). They happened to stop in Tusayan, which is in the middle of nowhere, much like Page. Awkward conversation ensued for a little bit, then we all went our separate ways.

After breakfast, we showered up and headed back to the Grand Canyon Village. There were lots of things to see and do there. Unfortunately, there was also a ton of donkey dung everywhere. We walked leisurely around the rim trails (only the ones that didn't involve hiking gear, since neither of us own any) and enjoying the views and the fresh air.

We stopped in a couple shops and historic buildings that had been converted into shops. I bought another gorgeous photo of a cloudy, colorful sunset over the Grand Canyon taken from...if I remember correctly...Maricopa Point?

So there you have it. Our journey was nearing an end. On our way out of dodge, we decided to get a quick shot in front of the Grand Canyon sign. They had a little stand for people to set up timer shots with their cameras. So, we did that. This was the result.

We planned to stop in Flagstaff on the way home, but when we got there it seemed boring. I'm sure there are tons of great things to do, but we didn't have the time or energy to explore too much. We passed trough a part that looked kind of like a poor man's West Annapolis.

Around 7pm, we stopped at an outlet shopping center just north of Phoenix and grabbed some dinner. Did a little shopping. Got some good deals on brand name clothing (I got some Tommy Hilfiger and Nautica clothes, Melissa couldn't find anything).

All in all, it was probably the perfect trip. Only thing that could have improved it was more time and money and a little more knowledge of the area.

Next time, we hope to have all those things.

1 comment:

Julie said...

Seems like you guys had a nice trip! Thanks for typing all that out and including pictures for our viewing pleasure. Miss you both!