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Harry and Judy's RV Trip
No Photos 13th Jun 2011 - Summer 2011
Day 58-Grand Canyon

Long day today-14 hour tour of the Grand Canyon. Left at 7AM, back at 9PM
We were picked up at the resort by Red Rock Tours and along with 9 other people started the tour to the Grand Canyon via scenic route 180 to Valle, AZ. We drove through the largest stand of Ponderosa pine trees in the world then, as we got higher in elevations we went through white trunked aspens. Over a dozen Lamborghinis in all colors passed us on the road (Harry stopped counting after 12, but he thinks maybe 2 dozen). They must have been in some sort of rally. We never did catch them.
About three hours and over 100 miles later we stopped at the National Geographic Visitor Center and saw the IMAX movie about the Grand Canyon, then drove on the Grand Canyon Village on the south rim of the canyon where we had lunch at the El Tovar Hotel, a log, 100 room hotel built in 1905 for the Sante Fe Railroad workers. Harry had sea bass with a great mango/olive/onion salsa (which I hope to replicate when we get home) and I had pork loin with prickly pear BBQ sauce. Very elegant and great views of the canyon. We sat next to the fireplace which felt good. Across the parking lot is a Hopi house we visited and outside Navajos dancers were demonstrating. Beautiful weather, 78 at the rim of the canyon, they say 100 at the base.
Back on the bus we passed the mules that are used to go to the bottom of the canyon to Phantom Ranch via Bright Angel Trail (we passed on that but the mules were interesting, bigger than I thought they’d be). Made a few stops at viewpoints, Yavapai Outlook, Moran Point, Lipan Point where we saw boaters on the Colorado River below that looked like pinheads from where we were. A tour guide had a really powerful telescope and we could see them go over the rapids, looked like they were really having fun. Lots of Junipers and Pinyon pines at this elevation. Stopped at Desert View Outlook where there’s a tower to climb and a view of the Painted Desert to the east. They’re doing construction here and one of the workers was removing a rattlesnake from the base of a tree, lots of excitement around that.
Back on the road to route 64 which goes through the Navajo Nation (25,000 sq. miles of desert) and stopped at Cameron and a Navajo craft area. Saw a woman weaving rugs (it takes her up to a year to make a 9x12), lots of pottery and jewelry, handmade by the Navajo. It’s the only road back to Sedona from here and, of course there’s construction which put us off schedule, but who has a schedule out here?
We then stopped at Wupatki Ruins Nat’l. Monument and saw ruins from over 900 years ago, what was once a 100 room house (they had no doors, they used ladders), an amphitheatre that was used for ceremonies and some sort of a ball court. There was also a blowhole which was probably a cavern in the earth but the Indians thought it was Mother Earth and the way it blew told them something. Never got the story straight on that. All this was in the middle of lava ash beds from Sunset Crater Volcano which was our last stop on the tour.
On the hour plus ride home we watched beautiful sunsets over the mountains, saw some mule deer on the side of the road and the driver put in the movie “Broken Arrow” with Jimmy Stewart that was filmed in Sedona. Pretty interesting to see the same mountain formations in the movie as we see from our condo. Got back after 9 and we were really tired but had a great day and we were both glad we did the tour instead of driving ourselves, we learned and saw a lot more.
Oh, I almost forgot to describe the Grand Canyon. Sorry, it’s indescribable so I won’t even try. They say the human brain can’t comprehend the scope and enormity of it and neither words nor pictures can do it justice. It is however, GRAND!

Next: Day 59-Down Time
Previous: Day 57-Sedona & Jerome, AZ

Diary Movies

The Grand Canyon

Our first view

Wupatki Ruins

Grand Canyon

Navajos Dancing

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