From the North Rim
Looking out to the canyon
I am writing this blog update from probably the most bizzare location I will on the whole trip. I am lying on our bed in Room 215, Trade Winds Motel, Clinton, Oklahoma. Now you may think that there is nothing out of the ordinary about that, but take a read of this! From a website about quirky hotels and hotel rooms:
"Some hotel rooms have a view. Others have mini-bars. Then there are those one of-kind rooms that actually have their own special history. Today it's possible to stay in the very places where something notable happened. True, in most cases it's something infamous, but nevertheless, pop culture and history aficionados still make the pilgrimages to these places so they can say, "I slept in the very room where (fill in the blank).
The true Heartbreak hotel?
We start in Clinton, Oklahoma at the Best Western Trade Winds Courtyard Inn. Here, you'll find a hotel room fit for a King. Literally. That's because this was a favorite, convenient stop for Elvis Presley throughout the 1960's, when he and his storied entourage would drive from Memphis to Las Vegas. Presley stayed in the same room, #215, several times during
Entrance to the Moqui Caves
Me and the owner of the cave
this period and today the room is maintained as a mini-Elvis shrine with memorabilia and 1960's furnishings."
We only checked in here because the price was good (half price!) and it is near a museum we want to visit!! The owner said this was the only room left. Anyway, I'll slip out of my Blue Suede Shoes and get on with the real subject of this blog. Our time at the Grand Canyon.
We left Zion National Park on Thursday morning of last week and our first unplanned stop was at the Moqui Caves just outside Zion. It was interesting little place which had a collection of luminous minerals and dinosaur fossils collected in the area by the father of the current owner. He had lots of stories about his family and the area and seemed genuinely proud of what his father had achieved.
After a brief stop at the cave we hit the road again and drove south into Arizona to an area called Kaibab National Forest, and our accomodation for the night at Jacob Lake which is north of the Grand Canyon. On the way to Jacob Lake there was a section of road which
gave us some great views of what is known as the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. It is a huge area of land that encompasses cliffs and terraces and plateaus and from a distance appears like a geological staircase. We stopped and had a walk around and got some great photos before pressing onto Jacob Lake.
When we got to Jacob Lake, it was literally a petrol station, visitors station, a motel and a collection of log cabins (one of which was ours for the night). So following an impromtu picnic and ,a drive around the National Forest we checked in, unpacked and relaxed in the sun for a little while until dinner. The cabin was a lot more spartan than the ones at Zion; a bed, lamp, desk, sink, shower and toilet. No tv, phone, radio or internet. Talk about going back to nature!
We got up at 5am on Thursday and drove the 45 minutes to get to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon for 6.30am. Considering it had been 32 degrees celsuis when we sat in the late afternoon sun at our cabin the day before, the rather chilly 15 degrees temperatures that greeted
Spurs in the USA
The best restaurant in the USA!
us in the morning were a shock to the system! I was in my fleece and long trousers for the first time since we left the UK!
I don't think anything can prepare you for seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time. We drove through the forest and meadows up the visitors car park and after a short walk we were right at the edge of the canyon. The sun was shining but still low in the sky and because of the time it was quiet and not busy, the atmosphere was very serene and calm. The canyon was so big and spectacular, there were beautiful views of buttes, canyons and rocks everywhere we looked. Each time we walked and drove to a new viewing point it seemed to show a different kind of view of the canyon, from the Colorado River deep in the canyon to the Navajo Indian Plains on the south side. It is a place that I would recommend everyone to visit if they get the chance.
Rachel has been to the more touristy South Rim of the canyon before and she said that where we went at the North Rim and then
The Grand Staircase
It took up the whole horizon.
Cape Royal and Imperial Point were so much better. More picturesque and varied than the views afforded from the other side. It was great to be able to walk round and explore without hundreds of people in the way. There is also the chance for some fantastic hikes in the area, including overnight hikes to the river at the bottom of the canyon. You can see why this is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and we are both very glad we included it on our road trip.
The next part of our journey was driving through Indian country and onto New Mexico, which I will update when I can. Anyway, its off to Elvis' bed for me!
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