The drive to the Grand Canyon was long, but interesting. As we went through Twentynine Palms, we left civilization and headed out through the desert. We passed the salt fields: field upon field of white, the salt is harvested for use on the roads, most likely shipped northwards to other states. As Nate said, ‘it looks like snow again!’, man, these kids miss the snow!
We also passed the Amboy Volcanic Crater. In the midst of the white, is the huge black crater surrounded for some distance by left over black ash, contrasting dramatically with the salt fields. Apparently, it’s a great hike down into the crater, unfortunately we didn’t have time to stop and hike today – yet another thing to save for another time, another trip!
The town of Amboy sits close by, with the paltry population of 20 – as we went through, it was actually hard to imagine there were even 20 people living there; it truly was in the middle of nowhere – absolutely nothing else around and cell phone reception disappeared miles before – sorry Dad no call this morning!
We went on a small stretch of the historical route 66, which we then partially followed whilst traveling along the I40. Also along side much of the interstate were train tracks and once again, we saw some incredibly long trains, winding their way around the mountains.
It is hard to describe the terrain and landscape as we drive along, today’s views changed constantly from sand, desert, rocks, snow-capped rugged mountains – sometimes green, sometimes barren – the beauty is awe-inspiring. I tend to update the blog on a Saturday when we travel however, sometimes it’s tough as I can’t tear my eyes away from the window! Today we saw a lot of motorhomes and trailers, I guess it must be a busy travel day with people taking their time crossing between California and Arizona – we’re back driving eastwards for a couple of weeks before we head north into Utah.
It was with great excitement that we entered Grand Canyon National Park. Thanks to our National Parks Pass (annual cost: $80), we saved another $25.00. We stopped by the Visitor Center to ask about hiking trails and picked up Junior Ranger books. Nate immediately spotted the snow, which held far more interest for him over the next few days than the actual Canyon!
Trailer Park Village is a huge campground with full hook-ups. In our travels so far, we have never seen as many rental campers in one place; quite a lot of Europeans but many US renters on Spring Break. All the sites are supposedly pull-through but, as attested by the battle scares on the tree next to the site, pulling through was not always successful! Dave bailed on that idea and reversed it in instead – a much better idea. We’d been warned not to leave our sewer hose out and hooked up as the (HUGE) ravens like to poke through them with their beaks apparently! When we hooked up the sewer to use the washing machine, Dave created a ‘raven-resistant sewer hose cover’; he’s very inventive!
It took a while to set everything up but the little ones were perfectly content playing in the snow that was piled up at the side of our site. Nate dove straight in, wearing only shorts, T-shirt and crocs; I eventually managed to persuade him into socks, boots and an added sweater! They were thrilled to have the snow to play in, absolutely no need for any other kind of entertainment.
Before dinner, we went over to the Yavapai Observation Station to get our first views of the Canyon; those incredible first moments of seeing the chasm are indescribable. It was a bit cold but well worth it. Of course, Nate just wanted to get back to the snow – the natural wonder of what was before him was kind of lost on him I think!
After we had everyone settled, we disconnected the water, as advised, due to expected freezing temperatures.
States visited: 49!
visited 49 states (98%)
Create your own visited map of The United States
Miles driven so far -
LOOP 1 (Aug 2009 - Aug 2010): 29,000
LOOP 2 (May - August 2012): 10,800
Highest altitude with camper: 11,158ft (I-70, CO)