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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Unplanned Adventures

The Grand Canyon was by far the largest planned visit on our trip - we knew we wanted and needed to see that, so anything afterwards we considered a bonus. We had no plans leaving Williams, other than to make it back to BC in time so that we could do a couple of things before catching our flight to Florida.

The day we left Williams, we had some high expectations of getting as close to Zion National Park as possible. After reviewing our National Geographic Road Atlas, we decided to take a little detour at Sunset Crater National Monument, where there was also a vista point for the Painted Desert. This is part of why we love our Road Atlas! It has been great for finding other nearby points of interest, and has helped us to plan detours when necessary. We do have a GPS, but the Road Atlas is an invaluable tool on this type of road trip.

Sunset Crater was one of those unexpected beauties we stumbled across during our travels. It was visible from the road, but when we turned off the main road and onto the scenic bypass its beauty was more evident. I wish I was able to get some good shots of the Volcano itself, but we never got out of the car as we were still trying to make good time. I was able to get a few photos of the lava fields as we drove by, but they don't quite capture just how impressive they really were. They stretched on for ages, and I wish we had been able to join those exploring them on foot. 


Arizona 2016Arizona 2016

Arizona 2016

As we continued on, we drove past the entrance to the Painted Desert Vista point and needed to find a turn around point. This is the part of the trip where we realized we were having some brake issues. The trailer brakes weren't working properly, which was putting a lot of strain on the truck brakes. Once Brett was able to stop us, the truck brakes were smoking and stinking - so we let them cool off for a bit before making our way back towards Flagstaff. Brett had noticed some brake fluid on a rear tire, so we stopped at an O'Reilly's Auto parts for a new rear brake Caliper and during that stop made some lunch. 

After leaving Flagstaff for the second time that day we knew we would not make it as close to Zion as we had hoped, but we decided to give it a good try. That afternoon, we drove through the Navajo Reservation, which is the largest land area retained by a U.S tribe. The reservation covers a total 27,425 square miles, occupying parts of northeastern Arizona, southeastern Utah, and northwestern New Mexico. The hills were beautiful and the majority of the land was untouched. It was a natural beauty that we enjoyed the entire drive. Many times Halle would exclaim, "Look at that!" from the backseat. I was thrilled that she appreciated the natural beauty almost as much as we did.


Arizona 2016

Arizona 2016

Arizona 2016

Arizona 2016Arizona 2016

Arizona 2016

Arizona 2016

Just as you leave the Navajo Reservation, you enter the small but pretty town of Page, Arizona. We made it to the edge of the town where we crossed over Glen Canyon Dam and National Recreation Area. We thought it would be a nice place to stop and see, and it was also getting late, so we decided to turn around the park overnight at the Wal-Mart in town where we had seen many other RV's stopped for the night. It seemed like a nice small, safe town and it meant free camping for the night. Surprisingly, it was one of the best sleeps I'd had in a long time as Nolan also decided to have some nice long stretches of sleep that night.

The next morning after breakfast we stopped at Glen Canyon to take in the sights of the Dam and learn a few things at the visitors centre. Halle earned two more Jr. Ranger badges there for Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and for Rainbow Bridge National Monument. 


Arizona 2016

Arizona 2016

The Dam itself is a concrete structure, similar to the Hoover Dam and stands 216m, while Hoover is 221m. It was an impressive site to take in and Halle enjoyed learned about the area. We'd love to go back one day and actually hike there, as well as visit Powell Lake in Page.


Arizona 2016

Arizona 2016
Arizona 2016

Arizona has so much beauty to see and between our two visits to that state,  I feel that we have barely scratched the surface. There is so much to see and do there, we will most definitely return for a third trip in the future. 

Have you visited Arizona before, or do you have any tips on some of your favourite places and spaces? Where should we go the next time we're in Arizona. We need some "must see" spots!

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