We got to Flagstaff and headed North to the big hole. It was about an hour and a half drive up through the Painted Desert and I mean UP. We began to climb in Flagstaff and were at 7200 when we finally made it. The landscape was beautiful as it transitioned from arid desert to lush mountain forest. The Grand Canyon was just that, grand. Not much to say about it other than you really have to see it to be able to grasp how amazing it is. Matt and I have decided to come back in about 10 years so that we can all hike down. There was so much to do in the area, but not so practical with a 2 and a half year old. We pretty much just drove along the rim and got out every once in a while to take in the scenery. People were just tightening up their laces and putting on their back packs and heading down the cliff...looked like so much fun. We'll have to come back.
I thougt that we would be going down once we left the Grand Canyon but I was wrong. We headed back to Flagstaff and stayed between 7000 and 6000 feet elevation the whole way. We drove down a different way than we drove up and the landscape was forest the whole way, very pretty land.
We went through Flagstaff and on South toward Sedona. Now, mind you by now we've been driving for 9 hours and were pretty exhausted already. I was really feeling ill because I'm congested and the elevation was killing me, and Matt didn't sleep a wink in the teepee so he was beat. Matthew was taking it better than either of us. I'm thankful that his congestion has gone away so his ears weren't doing what mine were. It was only about 100 more miles South to Jerome and Prescott Valley where we were slated to settle for the night. We were thinking it would only take us about an hour and a half tops to get there. Wrong, so wrong.
I really wish we had been in a better state to truly enjoy the beauty that was around us. I'm telling you, it is probably the most beautiful part of America. And I feel I can say that with a good basis for compairson. Unfortunately pictures aren't good enough to show how majestic this land is. The red rock and the bright green and yellow of trees, and the blue of the sky. Amazing! It was treacherous driving though. You're on the edge of cliffs and the mountain shooting straight up your other side. Lots of switch backs and really slow going. People live here though. Really rich people I suppose, because to get a house here can be no easy feat. We got through Sedona which was beautiful and obviously a great tourist destination and headed on to Jerome. This is an old copper mining town perched on the side of a mountain. It was a ghost town for forever when the miners left, until some hippies and artists discovered it and made it their own. Such a great place, but I have to admit I was seriously nervous driving on this road. Well, Matt was driving, but I was still nervous. At this point we thought we'd never make it to our hotel. I can't stress how totally breath taking and spectacular this region is though. I've never ever seen anything like it. It was a really rough road to travel but I'm really glad we did. By the time we FINALLY made it to Prescott Valley I fell into the bed and passed out at 8. Now here it is almost 10 on Saturday and I really want to be done. I am enjoying it, but I'm ready to not have to be in the van all day long.
We are headed back to I-40 today and are going to take Route 66, the old road, the rest of the way through Arizona. There is apparently tons to see on this, the longest stretch of uninterupted Mother Road. Looking forward to it, and trying to shove the cold aside so I can really enjoy it. Will land in Barstow, CA for the night, our last night on the road. Then it's on to San Diego.