The Grand Canyon… well… erm… it’s a great big hole in the ground (though impressive nonetheless). We spent a whole day driving from viewpoint to viewpoint and, like most visitors, took hundreds of photos which in retrospect are all very very similar…. One of the good things about visiting in the winter (which will no doubt also be true of the other National Parks we’ve been visiting but really stands out at Grand Canyon with its myriad visitor facilities) is how quiet it is…. we didn’t have any problem at all parking at any of the viewpoints, no matter how small the parking facilities were,in some cases little more than a lay-by). There’s no way we’d have been able to just pootle around in the same way in an RV in the height of summer….
Mark informs me that the bird in the photo is a Western Scrub Jay. We clearly haven’t been seeing enough wildlife to keep Mark happy though as he’s now started a roadkill list…. thankfully he hasn’t yet started insisting that we stop and take photos…. (though the list will no doubt be presented for publication at some point)…
It was certainly veeeeery cold overnight at Grand Canyon, and below zero during the day (though that wasn’t unpleasant given the sunshine). The main casualty was K.A.C.’s drains, which froze solid. American vans really don’t seem to be built for the cold; I was very surprised when Mark wandered back to the van this morning and told me he’d been chatting to the guy in the mega-bus next door and that his drains were frozen too…. Before we leave the subject of the Grand Canyon I should mention the young lad on duty at the campground reception, both when we checked in and when we left. This guy was 100% Alex A.’s American Doppelganger (both in looks and mannerisms!)….. good fun!
From Grand Canyon our plan was to drive South to Sedona. We were a bit concerned at temperatures at this point (Kampington would be fine but as we’re not sure exactly how K.A.C. is set up “behind the scenes” we’re wary of damaging anything), but managed to get sufficient internet access to double check the forecast, which gave an overnight low of 33F, just above freezing and significantly warmer than the Grand Canyon. Driving through Flagstaff we did wonder if the forecast had lied, given that it still felt cold and the snow was happily falling around us….. then as we continued South we entered Oak Creek Canyon, which was as scenic as the guide book suggested and mercifully downhill all the way to Sedona.
It’s positively balmy down here, though the locals do seem to like to comment on “the cold”. This is the first touristy little town we’ve come to and the first place we’ve really wandered around (previous towns having been very much built for the automobile). According to our guide book, Sedona became popular in the 1980s when spiritualist*!*!*! Identified “seven vortexes in the area which she believed emanated electromagnetic energies that invigorated the soul”. Right. The hippies apparently then moved in, though from what we can see they’ve long since been priced out and Sedona now seems to be an affluent little town with a lucrative side-line in all things New Age. The sign outside the first shop we came to did it all…
We did a complete lap of the town on a purchasing mission. Mark decided back in Moab that he required a T-shirt with Kokopelli on it (but without “Grand Canyon”, “Sedona” or anything similarly touristy on it). Kokopelli is a little flute-playing figure, based on an Indian fertility symbol, and was present in about half of all the business logos in Moab and surroundings. We failed to find the required T-shirt, though I did spot a life-sized Kokopelli for him to pose with:
P.S. a truck-full of chainsaw-carved teddies overtook us on the outskirts of Flagstaff…. naturally we though of Carol 🙂