In our search for a trip that would combine history, culture and a sense of adventure, we decided to give the Grand Canyon a try. After all, it doesn’t get any more adventurous than the Canyon which is not only a living, breathing museum of the earth’s geological history but is also among the seven natural wonders of the world.
So after deciding to make a road trip out of it, which would also serve as some great bonding time, my travel buddy Robin Timmons and I, set out on an 8 hour drive from Los Angeles’ San Bernardino County. Since a ride for two was the order of the day, a mini SUV from Enterprise Rental fit the bill, and all for a mere $31/day. Not a bad deal, huh? Having a travel buddy on long road trips works well, as you can take turns behind the wheel and take in the passing scenery to its fullest.
After hitting Interstate 15 North and then heading onto Interstate 40 East, we patted each other for our incredible foresight – for bringing our iPods along. Especially after we realized that the radio and satellite reception along the highway was in a pitiable state and a road trip without music is like waffles without maple syrup, like Batman without Robin, like a Woody Allen movie without Scarlet Johansson…oh well, you get the point. It is great to stock up on plenty of water and snacks for the prices along the highway stores seem pretty close to daylight robbery. Carrying a spare gas can is prudent, considering the long stretches of empty highway between two consecutive gas stations that we encountered; and oh, you need to fill up your tank at least twice.
Avoiding the gazillion attractions on Route 64, we headed straight for the Best Western Squire Inn, which incidentally minded their B’s & H’s, namely Breakfast, Billiards, Bowling, Bar & of course, the hospitality. After a sumptuous fill of Pizza at the Pizza Hut housed in the Explorer café and a through exploration of the National Geographic Visitor Center, we trudged along to catch the much anticipated “Grand Canyon Movie” at the IMAX theatre. Our unanimous review: Larger than life. A must watch.
To take in the local architecture, we visited the Hopi house – designed to closely resemble a traditional Hopi pueblo and also the Lookout studio, which both served as great examples of ‘natural architecture’. Since art & architecture are symbiotic, we visited the Kolb Studio, home to a series of beautiful photographs & art works. And no trip is complete without increasing your ken, so the next stops included- The Geology Museum, and Verkamp’s Visitor Center Museum. As dusk drew near, we decided to call
day and headed to El Tovar for dinner, a cozy wood paneled restaurant with a wonderful view of the canyon. No vacation night is complete without a nightcap and Saguro Sports bar, housed downstairs in the Best Western Squire Inn, proved to be a great place to wrap up the day with a few beers.
Day two began with a sumptuous complimentary breakfast and getting two pairs of hiking boots out of the boon
docks. It was time to explore the Bright Angel Trail! Starting at the Grand Canyon Village and moving along the Mule Corral, we stumbled across some adorably muddy mules along the way, which were twitching their long ears surreptitiously for errant noises. The hike ended along the Colorado River, a good 4380 feet from the starting point. Although there are plenty of points for water availability, it is best to carry enough on person.
After this rigorous hike, we were famished. Onward to lunch, me mateys! Hot white Steamed Rice with Spicy chicken at the Explorer café filled us up and left us with goofy grins. We then decided to drive around in the park, where we had a close encounter of the deer kind.
At the end of it all, we accomplished what we set out to do – a road trip, a gorgeous adventure and a voyage of discovery of the Grand Canyon’s ageless secrets. And a lot more than what could be put into words.