Colorado River 2022:
Day 1 - Grand Canyon


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Colorado River 2022: [Day 1 - Grand Canyon] [Day 2 - Grand Canyon West] [Day 3 - Marble Canyon] [Day 4 - Redwall Cavern] [Day 5 - Little Colorado] [Day 6 - Big Rapids] [Day 7 - Deer Creek] [Day 8 - Matkatamiba Canyon] [Day 9 - Lava Falls] [Day 10 - Las Vegas] [Day 11 - Heading Home]

Thursday, June 23, 2022: After spending the night at Jill and Jared's house, we loaded up our van with our luggage and the four of us headed to the Indianapolis airport.
We had booked first class tickets to Phoenix so that we would minimize our risk of COVID exposure right before our river trip. We enjoyed water and juice during boarding ...
... and Bloody Marys after takeoff.
We were disappointed to learn that the first class breakfasts we had preselected hadn't been loaded on the plane, so it's a good thing we ate at McDonald's prior to boarding. We did get some snacks, plus the promise of $20 food vouchers if we stood in line at customer service in Phoenix, which we did not have time to do.
Debbie watched the highlights of both "Encanto" and "Crazy Rich Asians" (as usual) on the flight, and read some of the stories in "There's This River..." about the Colorado River.
At 9:00 AM, we were descending into Phoenix, ...
... and exactly one hour later, we had our rental minivan loaded and ready to go.
First stop: Del Taco, our mandatory fast food stop whenever we are in Del Taco country.
We were so happy to finally bring Jill to Sunset Point Rest Area so she could see for herself the incorrect signs that warn against poisonous snakes. ("Just don't eat 'em!")
This rest area is one of our favorites because of its location and its scenery. We tried and failed again to reproduce any previous photo taken of Debbie in this location. Someday, we'll get both the direction and the pose right.
Jill and Jared started their own tradition of being photographed here.
Pretty flowers on the trees.
We drove through Coconino National Forest, ...
... and along Red Rock Scenic Byway. There's a faster route to the Grand Canyon, but we were being tour guides for Jill and Jared and this side trip is a must-see.
About 15 minutes from Sedona, the scenery really starts to dazzle.
Ooooooh.
Ahhhhhh. We stopped at several scenic viewpoints.
It was shortly after 12:30 PM when we entered Sedona.
Pretty.
What's this? Rain? Yes, the very storm clouds that had made the sky such a cool combination of colors at the viewpoints were finally starting to get us.
After several trips to Arizona the previous year, we finally got our first Arizona historical marker to add to our collection.
At Oak Creek Vista, Jill took a picture of the scenery.
Debbie took a picture of Jill taking a picture of the scenery.
Tom took a picture of Debbie taking a picture of Jill taking a picture of the scenery.
Jared took a picture of Tom taking a picture of Debbie taking a picture of Jill taking a picture of the scenery.
We were happy to find a geological marker disk at the overlook.
It was after 2:00 PM when we arrived at our very favorite Del Taco - the one in Flagstaff on 89. We got an order of donut bites and churros. Jill posed for the photo that Debbie sent her brother, because she always sends him a photo from this parking lot.
Less than an hour later, we were in Cameron. We overshot the turn to the Grand Canyon so we could cross the bridge over the Little Colorado ...
... and see if it had water in it because of the rains that were passing through. For the first time that we can recall, it actually did!
We headed toward Grand Canyon, following the Little Colorado Gorge to our right, knowing that we'd be seeing it up close a few days later.
Welcome to Grand Canyon National Park! This was Jared's first visit ever and Jill's first visit to the Rim since she was seven years old.
With limited time, we decided to skip Desert View Watchtower and start at Navajo Point.
Wow, this place is magnificent.
We looked down at the river where we would be living for the next week.
At Lipan Point, we recreated a picture of Jill taken here in 1998.
The view here is great too, ...
... especially of Hance Rapid below.
Next up was Moran Point to duplicate a photo of Debbie with her mother in 1964.
At Grandview Point, Jill Facetimed with her kids to show them the Grand Canyon.
We tried to reproduce a photo of Debbie taken here in 1994, ...
... and one of Tom and his girls taken in 1998.
Jill and Jared had their own photos to take.
As we were leaving Grandview Point, we spotted the distinctive (yet always unique) look of an Escape campervan. Each one is decorated differently so they're fun to see.
It was nearly 5:00 PM when we stopped at Duck on a Rock Viewpoint.
We had to reproduce another picture of Jill taken in 1998.
Our final stop was Mather Point and the visitor center. It's a bit of a hike from the huge parking lot to the rim. Squirrel!
It's a bit more of a hike from the rim along the walkway to actually get to Mather Point, with lots of interesting things to see on the way. Here's the view toward the east, ...
... and the view to the north.
If you zoom waaaaaaaaay in, you can see the buildings at Phantom Ranch.
There's Mather Point in the distance. Let's go there.
Our very first Stephen Tyng Mather plaque is at the entrance. For years, we thought this was the only one until we spotted one last year, and now we've looked for them all over the country.
Here's Mather Point.
Off to the side is where we took the girls for their first look at the canyon in 1998.
Here's the view down on the east side, where we spotted many, many hats that had flown off of heads.
Here's the view to the northwest.
Pretty bush on the walk back to the visitor center parking lot.
Our next stop was the village store. There was another Escape campervan parked there.
We hit the food-and-beverage side ...
... while Jill and Jared went to the merchandise-and-souvenirs side.
We came out with a little of both: candy, jerky, bananas, bottles of Grand Canyon Distilling's Rum and Prickly Pear Vodka, plus a Grand Canyon map fleece blanket.
We were thrilled to see a Thor Sequence in the same color as the one we owned last year. Our last trip to Grand Canyon Village had been in it. We still miss The Ocho.
As part of our Grand Canyon Village tour, we drove past El Tovar, ...
... Hopi House, ...
... and the train station and mule corral before heading out of the park.
We got McDonald's for dinner in Tusayan instead of going to the restaurant with Tom's favorite business name ever.
We had enjoyed perfect weather on the South Rim and continued to do so, but we spotted rain showers on the horizon.
As the sun went down, we got near the turnoff to follow Route 66, ...
... and it was 8:00 PM when we arrived at Historic Route 66 Motel, our stop for the night.
Our room was clean and comfortable, ...
... and with our van right out front and Jill & Jared right next door, it couldn't have been more convenient.

Day 2 >


Colorado River 2022: [Day 1 - Grand Canyon] [Day 2 - Grand Canyon West] [Day 3 - Marble Canyon] [Day 4 - Redwall Cavern] [Day 5 - Little Colorado] [Day 6 - Big Rapids] [Day 7 - Deer Creek] [Day 8 - Matkatamiba Canyon] [Day 9 - Lava Falls] [Day 10 - Las Vegas] [Day 11 - Heading Home]

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