We left the Thunderbird Lodge around 8am. It was time for our next adventure, and a very long day.
Our bus took us out through Navajo country toward Monument Valley. But first we made a few interesting stops.
The first rest stop was the Cameron Trading Post. As Greg, our tour guide told us, "it is the Walmart of trading posts." It's quite large, and you can find a vast assortment of stuff there.
After we left the Desert View Lodge, the bus dropped the other 6 Stus off at the main Visitor Center. Our kids really just wanted to hang in the hotel room. What is it with kids and hotel rooms?
Anyway, we chilled in our room for about 30 minutes, then we got up in search of lunch. We walked to the bus stop and got on the blue line and rode it to the Maswik Lodge.
The Maswik Lodge
The Maswik Lodge has a cafeteria and pizza pub. I thought the kids would be cool with pizza, but they opted for other things. Riley wanted a hot dog and Reagan wanted a sub. The cafeteria was nice. I like having options and the ability to make the kids' individual wishes come true is nice. Especially when they have so little control on a trip like this one.
I felt instantly at home here. It reminded me of Disney. =)
We leisurely walked from the Maswik Lodge back to our room. We walked along the rim trail.
Allow me a second to talk about the rim trail... It's a paved path that runs along, you guessed it, the rim of the Grand Canyon. If I spent much time thinking about it, it would probably freak me out. I am not such a fan of drastic heights. I nearly freaked out and cried trying to climb off the roof of my frame shop. But that's neither here nor there.
Riley had no desire to walk near the edge. He kept me in between him and the edge. And that was fine by me.
As we were walking back up the the Thunderbird, we came across a house built onto the side of the cliff. (You can see the roof of it on the right side of the photo of Stu & Reagan leaning on the fence.)
It was just hanging there. A house. HANGING there, on the side of a CLIFF. Riley looked at me and said, "NO way are we going in there!" I said ok. Reagan, who was ahead of us, yelled back, "Hey! This house is a gift shop!" Riley looked at me and said, "Huh, a gift shop. We could go in and take a look." (insert parental eye roll)
We meandered in and out like this for about an hour. We ran into the other Stus. They were going to continue on exploring and head out Hermits Rest (a great spot at the end of the red line bus route). Our kids were done. They just wanted to go back to the room.
The Hopi House, Verkamps & The El Tovar
Before dinner, we walked around to a few different spots. We went into the Hopi House first. It is a beautiful, visually interesting building next to the El Tovar. Like the Desert View Watchtower, this was also architected my Mary Colter.
The kids got a kick out of the tiny door.
Verkamp's is just a bit further up the rim trail from the Hopi House. It has some cool historical artifacts in it, and (of course) more gift shop stuff.
We had a bit of time left before our dinner reservation, we decided to spend it in the El Tovar.
This was our last night at the Grand Canyon. In the morning, we will be leaving and heading to Monument Valley, then onto Lake Powell...
The name definitely fits. It is simply incredible and grand.
Our bus ride from Sedona to the Grand Canyon National Park was long. LONG. The kids were kind of losing their minds. Luckily we were in the back of the bus, and our tour group was not at capacity. The extra seats on the bus came in handy. We spaced out - each monster had his/her own row for a while. They listened to music and played on their iPods.
After we visited Montezuma Castle, we climbed back on the bus and headed off for Sedona.
The first stop on ourmassive family vacation was Montezuma Castle.
We left Phoenix after breakfast. Our bus ride took us through some of Phoenix's suburbs. It was cool, but long.
I really had no idea what to expect from the Caravan trip. And since I didn't know, I couldn't fully prepare the kids. Reagan was ok. Actually, she was incredible. She and I studied parts of the southwest over the last few months, so she kind of nerded out on all the history and experience. It was awesome to see.
However, Riley was not so interested in the trip. He liked it. He loved it even. But he was not happy about all the time spent on the bus. And I can't blame him for that. We covered so many miles, we spent so much time on the bus.
If you've been following our adventures for a while, you know we like to fly. Usually our flights are in an Aerostar, and one of the kids copilots with Grandpa. Well, this trip was different.
For a quick recap of the itinerary, check this out.
This trip was not with my parents. It was with Stu's. And we were flying from south Florida to Phoenix, Arizona. So, we hitched a ride on a big bird headed west.
The kids were interested in the idea. They had no idea what to expect at all. Riley has never flown commercial before. Reagan only has once, and she was 1 at the time. This was going to be a super adventure for them.
Just explaining simple things to them was fun. Like, no, you cannot bring 7 large stuffed animals with you. No, you cannot bring your water bottle (full) onto the plane.
We fielded questions the night before. Why do we have to wake up at 4am?! Why is our flight at 6:30am?! Why can't the plane leave later? What do you mean 'go through security'? How many people will be on the plane? Why do we stop in Atlanta if we want to go to Phoenix?
Our 4AM Wake Up Call
I love traveling. I love exploring new places, seeing new things, eating like a local. I like packing. Yes, I like packing.
In our house, for any vacation, I am the one who packs the suitcases. It's like a real-life Tetris game for me.
We are heading out on a huge adventure this month. The four of us are joining my husbands parents and brother's family for a 7-day tour of the Grand Canyon. (Super exciting, but I'll get into the trip later.)
As I mentioned briefly in the last post, we missed the snow by a few days. It was actually much warmer in Boone than I was anticipating (50s).
When we woke up on Friday, the kids really didn't want to go anywhere. They wanted to ride bikes and play outside for a while at the house. They were perfectly content to make their own fun.
So we let them.
We love to travel. Although our roaming souls often come back to the same places.