We left Laughlin a little on the later side of the morning. It was the first time since the start of the trip that we actually slept in. It helps that hotel curtains cut out most of the light.
We have been using Gas Buddy to plan our gas purchases. It has come in quite handy, especially considering the RV has a 55 gallon tank. We hopped over the bridge to Bullhead City to get gas before starting the next leg of the journey.
We stopped in Kingman for groceries and supplies. When we pulled in to the parking lot at Walmart, it took us about half a second to realize why it was so freaking busy…Christmas Eve! We managed to find a place to park, thankfully!
After filling up on supplies, we hit the road. We had planned on stopping in Williams, AZ for the night at what we hoped was a cute little RV park before the turnoff to the Grand Canyon National Park.
We saw another beautiful sunset on the road, but it was otherwise an uneventful trip.
We arrived at the Canyon Motel and RV Park just after sunset. The park was totally adorable! Very very well signed, the owner was happy and super friendly. We quickly set up the RV and had dinner. Jake bought cider and spiced rum, so it was a very yummy treat for the cold evening.
We noticed that the temperature swings are huge in the area. Low 20’s at night and it was getting up to 60 during the day. Crazy! Due to this, we had to drain all the water out of the RV so the lines wouldn’t freeze at night. This means living without water, which is why we picked a campground with showers and other convenient amenities. I would have loved to stay there another night and just relax, but we really wanted to continue riding the “heat wave” of unseasonably warm weather and visit the Grand Canyon while we could.
So, the next morning we had a quick breakfast, shower, and broke down the RV, jumped on 180/64 north. The drive to the canyon is not what I expected. We sort of left mountains and were presented with elevated plains. It was really flat for a long while, and you wouldn’t even know you were coming up on a supremely huge canyon if you didn’t already know it was there. It made me think of what it must have been like for people a long time ago to be surprised by it when travelling.
On kind of a whim, we stopped off at the airports that are just before the park entrance to look at availability and pricing of helicopter tours of the canyon. It’s something I would love to do, but it’s a little price inhibitive. Then again, how many times to do you go to the Grand Canyon?
Unfortunately (or fortunately!) helicopters were not running because it was Christmas. They did have flights coming in from Vegas but that was it. they did have airplane tours available, so after deciding which of the three time slots they had available, we were booked! The lady said she would much rather do the airplane tours anyway, because you get a better view. And she gave us all window seats. In classic Jake style, he got the seat on the plane with the best leg room. Hehehe!
The flight over the canyon was about 45 minutes long. I have no other words than “wow”. Seriously, it was worth the price. I was worried B wasn’t having a good time, but I realized that he was just as awestruck as we were! We flew over a vast amount of the canyon. The airplane had headphones with informative descriptions and cute music, but I was actually so taken with the view, I couldn’t pay attention.
We got to the park, easily found Trailer Village, and caught the shuttle bus (yes, there is a shuttle bus system) to the Shrine of Ages. The plan was to walk backwards “in time” along the Trail of Time from there to Yavapai Point. If we had time, we would continue on to Mather Point, but either way we would need to catch a shuttle bus back to the campground before it got too dark…and cold!
I can’t wait to post some of the photos I took during that walk! All three of us had our cameras and I got some great panoramas with my phone, have some panoramas ready to stitch from my Leica, and lot more photos! Jake took a few family photos, and although they involved testing fear of heights (don’t worry, it was safe) they turned out amazing.
We got to Yavapai point just a few minutes before sunset, which wasn’t even planned, but it was wonderful that it turned out that way. The canyon colors and view from that area at that time of day are breathtaking.
We caught a shuttle bus, switched to another, and then decided to walk the rest of the short distance rather than catching two more shuttles. We actually made it to our original bus stop about 30 seconds before the bus. Heh.
We have yet to plan our next stop. All we know as of right now is that we’ll head toward Flagstaff tomorrow and I would like to stop at the meteor crater near Winslow, which is on the way to the Petrified Forest.