Our 8 Day Trip to the Southwest (Part 2 of 3)

Day 4

We continue on our quest through the Southwest to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and the El Tovar Hotel. More spectacular scenery, long hours listening to classic 60’s and 70’s rock–we’re old, remember–and exchanging philosophies on life.  We have plenty of philosophical thoughts about life and the current political issues confronting us as a society so there’s rarely a lull in the conversation.  Once our blood pressures are elevated to maximum, we shift the conversation to kids (theirs) and cats (ours).  That usually calms us down. (Travel hint: travel with friends who aren’t too askew to your own political beliefs!)



Our journey through southern Utah is as scenic and awe inspiring as the central regions. But one thing to remember is, however, when planning a trip, plan on where you are stopping around the size of towns you will be traveling though and the options for where to eat.  We didn’t!.  Not really a problem if you’re not too picky–like finding places that are still in business would be have been good–but we were lucky to find a little diner in the small town of Kayenta, Arizona. That’s right. Arizona.

My impressions of southern Utah are admittedly limited to what we could see through the windshield of our car but the most long lasting impression will be the vast amounts of land that both beautiful and scattered with small towns that have seen better days.  Much of the history of southern Utah is still existing so “new” is not an adjective that is used very often.  I wish we had had more time to stop and discover the history of the area but since we had long distances to travel, we had little time on this trip for lallygagging.  Maybe in the future.

Back to Kenyata, Arizona…it has a Burger King, a McDonalds and The Blue Coffee Pot Restaurant!  We opted for The Blue Coffee Pot Restaurant and I would have to say we chose right.  With a flare toward authentic Mexican, you can find many other tasty menu items that are made fresh.  Only disappointment might be the salad bar. ‘Salad Bar’ is a stretch as it’s main ingredient was Iceberg Lettuce and the topping selection was a choice of two dressings and saltine crackers on the side. Go for the tacos! 

Making Our Way to the Big Ditch

Wow! The Grand Canyon!

As we enter the park, from the north, we enter Grand Canyon National Park and stop at the Visitor’s Center for our first official viewing of the canyon.  Have I said spectacular too often?? 

The visitor center has several opportunities to get oriented and find out more about the geological history of the canyon.  We climb to the top of the observation tower “to get a better view” and are taken by the breathless view (and, I suppose, we were slightly out of breath from climbing the circular stair to the top).

The canyon was formed millions of years ago (1600 to 1800 million to be precise…) by wind and water erosion to a depth of more than 5000 feet. Formed by the Colorado River and expanded to it’s 10 to 16 mile width by erosion from rain and snow melt, the canyon meanders along in a curving path over 277 miles in length.  

Our stay is at the El Tovar Hotel on the south rim of the canyon.  It’s location gives us spectacular views into the canyon at sunset and sunrise. The natural color changes of the mineral layers exposed during the formation of the canyon provide a spectacular scene.

The El Tovar Hotel was constructed in 1905 and named for a Spanish explorer Pedro de Tobar…yes, Tobar, not Tovar…who led the first expedition into Hopi Indian Country in 1540. The hotel’s early history as an oasis to vacationers to the canyon still carries on today. 

Images of the South Rim

Some Thoughts

This was my first trip to the Grand Canyon since I was about 10 years old.  It is still majestic!  Not that I would have expected it to change much since it took millions of years to get to it’s current state…But it is interesting how one’s view of the experience is formed by one’s own personal age.  The message, for me, is that revisiting places and experiences is rewarding at any point whether it be a few years or decades later in life.  

10 years old versus 66 brings with it comparisons of places with time that can only be experienced from a  desire and need to travel in order to gain new perspectives from old memories. 

Keep traveling!


P.S.  The next stop on our adventure is to Santa Fe, New Mexico and an overnight stop in Denver on our way back home.  Stay tuned! 

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