Sleeping in a car or anywhere that exposes you to sunrise in that matter, wakes you up as soon dawn breaks. Before we were even both up I took off on our two hour jaunt towards the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. What I (Alex) didn’t know at the time was that it wasn’t just a few outlook posts that visitors would stop by but the canyons actually ran almost 300 miles long. As to why we were heading to one of the access points of the park.
Along the way, about an hour in and when the sun began to give a little more warmth we pulled over to try to make a quick breakfast. An issue that we were struggling with a bit was keeping the butane grill lit even with mild winds. At the time it was still an issue but some solutions that we figured to fix the problem was shaking the fuel can prior to use as well as keeping the fuel in the car to keep at a warmer temp and using the box of the burner as a wind shield. Anyways after that we cut up onions, potatoes again and had some eggs as well as of course coffee from our awesome little cup and a half percolator (thanks again to the great E. Holmes on that) while organizing the car.
We began the trip with Bia having an internal meltdown as we are both quite organized individuals and what was supposed to be the few items we owned filled not only the trunk full but stacked from the floor to the ceiling throughout the backseat. Day by day we would continue to reorganize our stuffs and by this point we were able to at least bring one rear seat clearing (not the floor). A big part of the organization process was making the more vital stuff available. To note, we did have a few items that were being gifted as well as some gifted keepsakes being brought back to Michigan for storage.
After breakfast we hopped on the freeway, driving another hour past stand after stand of hand-crafts and local jerky for sale. Some as empty as the desert around us but others being set up for the day with Native made goods, absolutely beautiful but not necessary for our trip and a little out of our price range as well.
Once again, the “America The Beautiful” pass worked wonders, or I guess did it’s job waiving the $35 entrance fee as we made our way in.
First stop was an old lookout tower sitting at the edge of a cliff. From outside you could see unbelievably far across the canyons which reached as far as as a mile down with the great Colorado River insignificant to the awesome walls towering over. Inside the lookout tower was a gift-shop and a bunch of old Native-American wall paintings, inscriptions and artifacts that followed through three different levels along a spiral staircase. After making our rounds we got back on track around the canyon. Another lodge with artifacts sparked interest for a stop.
The Grand Canyon was recognized by the Native-American tribes as a holy area and pilgrimaged to. It was also settled by some of the tribes in and around the cliffs over the years before the European settlers came through.
After about 45 minutes of driving into the park the dreaded “check engine light” shown bright and with much concern we rerouted towards the nearest Autozone. Autozone is known to give free car computer diagnostics readings (OBD-II) and as far as we knew, the car was about to kick the can. It was a bummer to bring the Grand Canyon tour to an early end but as the unknown happens we set course to Flagstaff, AZ an hour away and to the closest store.
After diagnostics, it turned out to be a clogged catalytic converter and at least not the engine which was a huge relief as we had another 3k miles plus to drive until Miami. Flagstaff on the other hand was a beautiful mountainous winter town in Arizona that was touristy and absolutely wonderful. As far as Arizona came to thought in my mind was desert and canyons but never thought much of the wintery aspect of the snow-filled mountainous areas. Both of our first time through and would definitely visit again.
With the car still in good running shape and still getting 27 miles to the gallon we headed next towards Las Vegas where a good friend and most recent roommate was traveling through for a conference that we planned on meeting up with…