The Grand Canyon and beyond!!

It was a long drive to The Grand Canyon, lots of staring out the window in to forest and deserted lands, sprinkled with the odd house or farm, it was really amazing to think about people living so far away from everything. We past a few roads with mail boxes lining the roadside and it looked like the path disappeared to nothing, but then up in the hills or far away amongst the dirt tracks we would see little houses, it was incredible. It was also rather nice to imagine people living so peaceful and simple away from the hustle and bustle of today's society. In addition, another amazing thing about following Route 66, that I failed to mention in part one, was that sometimes you could stay on it for miles and miles and then other times you would have to get back on to the I40 but you would still be driving right alongside it. We would try and follow it with our eyes and see when it stopped and when it would appear again. It seemed so sad to think that instead of driving through towns and down these fun little roads than curved and twisted, we had to follow the highway in one straight line, leaving this historic road left to crumble. I recently watched Disney's 'Cars' again and got a tad sentimental. Anyhow, we will move away from Route 66 for a minute and get back to those towns a little later. :)

After checking in to our hotel, we freshened up and made our way to The Grand Canyon, which is now a National Park. As we drove in through the park and bought out tickets to go see The Canyon, it was amazing to hear our Dad talk about the last time he visited. You see, when he visited 35 years ago there was no queuing up to buy tickets, there were no cafes and shops and National Park centers, no, my Dad and my Mum just drove right to the edge of the Canyon. They could drive their car right along it looking out. Furthermore, on that first visit Dad said it was extremely peaceful, you could barely hear a sound for miles, it made it feel eerie yet magical and that is what made it all rather special. Upon hearing this I was very excited and ready for The Canyon to take my breath away, I will admit though that I was nervous as I don't do well with heights and was terrified of anyone going to close to the edge, but at the same time I couldn't wait to see it. My experience was a lot different to my Dad's however, there were people everywhere, camera's flashing, tourist groups, kids running around and therefore it was anything but quiet, at one point there was a group of people more interested in a squirrel than the actual Canyon..I'm not even making that up! :p When we stepped up to the first lookout post it took a minute before it really sank in, it was a beautiful site to behold but I think at first you can't fully grasp the magnitude of it while you are looking at just one small part of it. We walked around and took in as many angles as we could, we took pictures and stepped towards the edges that were safe (ish) to do so and I tried to soak up the nature of it all. I loved the colours, the reds, oranges, browns, I loved the way when you looked into the distance the rocks seemed to disappear in to the clouds and I loved the way it all looked so calm and still. I felt very blessed to be able to experience it. I did get jelly legs a few times though as there are spots where there are no barriers and people can climb and do as they wish and, well, some people are rather brave or silly or a bit of both, or maybe I just lack adventure and a risk taking attitude, whatever it may be you can bet anytime we got close to an edge I held on to the closest tree for dear life! :p



Day three had us heading towards Las Vegas, another little detour on our Route 66 trip, however, on the way we were still going to try and follow the Mother Road as often as we could until we could hear Vegas calling our names! :p The first place we really wanted to visit was the Snow Cap Drive In, in Seligman. Kelly, Jen and Dad had stopped at a lot of awesome old original Route 66 cafe's and trading posts and I was hoping that there would still be some left to see once I joined them and this place looked great. We followed Kelly's book (Travel Route 66- Jim Hinckley) and within no time we had spotted it! :) This town is mentioned in the making of 'Cars' on the DVD extras as it was a town that got bypassed and was left forgotten about for 10 years, the shop owners and residents never gave up on it though and it is now being put back on the map and is a popular stop for those on Route 66. That was confirmed when we visited as it was extremely busy. I loved the Snow Cap Drive in the most as it had so much character and was vibrant and colourful. Every inch of the place was covered in pictures, stickers, paint, wall art and tricks. They had a small outside dining area and a little corridor in which you go inside to order your food via the man at the window. The man serving us was a delight, when Kelly said "Please can we get 4 ice cream cones." His reply was "no, I can get them." He then proceeded to hand Kelly his card that had 'my card' written on in and made her jump by squirting mustard at her...yellow string came out the bottle! :p We didn't try the burgers but the ice cream was delicious! :) It was the perfect little stop and such a cool place to visit. They also had two signs on the door, one at each side with a door knob, one saying 'push' the other saying 'pull'...yep Jen got tricked on the way out! :p




Arizona had a few cool road side stops and we made sure to visit them all and add to our postcard and gift piles! :)



We still had a long drive a head of us, which saw us stop at Mr D's Diner while passing through Kingman Arizona, that was a funky little diner, perfectly retro and 50's! Check it out here: http://www.mrdzrt66diner.com/ and once further through the desert and past the Nevada State line, the Hoover Dam. We couldn't drive by without stopping and so we welcomed our first experience in 104 degree weather! :p It was HOT!!!! The Dam was a cool site to behold and it was rather unbelievable to comprehend the work that went into building it and the bridge over the top.



More diving and singing ensued all the way in to Las Vegas and to our hotel. Looking out the window all I could see were bright lights and big buildings, food network stars on every billboard and shops, what's not to love about any of that? In addition, after all I'd heard about Vegas I was very much looking forward to experiencing it all...


...to be continued! :)

Have a wonderful day!
Love


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