CANYONS, BLESSINGS AND WILDLIFE
There are more photos on here which you won’t have seen on facebook.
We originally left Sedona to head to a place called Page. We never stick to plans and on our way we saw signs for the Grand Canyon and thought “whilst in the neighbourhood”. We’ve been there before but visited the South Rim whilst in Nevada, now in Arizona we visited the North Rim
It was Sunday and still Labor Day weekend so we knew we had to find a campsite quickly. We found one called Desert View and it cost us $12 for the night! Who said you can’t do America cheaply? We pitched the tent and our neighbour introduced himself, Tony and his momma from Georgia. They were missionaries on a road trip. They had a thick southern drawl, and would be locally called “southern hicks”. They looked and sounded like they were from the old tv show “The Beverly Hill Billies” affectionately known as “The Clampits”
They were really nice people though and told us where to spot the wildlife, so off we went promising to catch up with them later to talk about Leeds as that’s where his mother in law was from!
It didn’t take long to spot an abundance of wildlife. I was in my element. Great views of the Canyon and wildlife surrounding it..perfect
I forgot how beautifully breathtaking the Grand Canyon is and to see it from a different angle made a difference
I zoomed in on the above photo and captured Kev. He was trying to hide but not doing a very good job
Our campsite didn’t have showers and we were in dire need of a good wash so off we went to another camp ground and paid $2 to use the shower for 8 Mins each. Now being from Yorkshire I knew I could get a good wash in less time than that so still had time to wash my smalls in the shower! Haha. Always thinking of ways to save money 😃
Seems Kev had the same idea as he put his to dry in the same place as mine. .on the dashboard of the car! I would later dangle these out of the window when driving to dry them even quicker. Kev said I was a dosser! Lol
It was lunchtime and we were hungry. We’d bought loads of tinned and packet food so no point wasting it. As our washing was drying on the dashboard we set up the cooker outside the shower block and cooked smoked bacon and parmesan fettuccine….nice eh? See we’re not really trailer trash, we do like nice things too…we just looked like trailer trash…face…bothered? Nope 😂
Off to visit another part of the Canyon before heading back to catch sunset at our campground and catch up with our new friends Tony and Missy (Tony’s momma)
Tony asked if we wanted to join them for dinner and offered us some mashed potatoes and pinto beans…”no it’s ok thanks we’re having white chilli chicken with Mexican rice and red beans” “Oh” he said “that’s good I didn’t think you’d have anything with your little tent an all” we do have some standards! (Not many though) haha
He gave us firewood for our firepit, so with full bellies we sat under the milky way having an ice cold Bud Lime whilst keeping warm by the fire.
You could feel the temperature dropping and the wind picking up so we said our good nights and got into our tent. To say it was cold was an understatement. I slept in my thermal long johns and vest (brought for later in the trip), pair of socks, my down jacket, sleeping bag liner and sleeping bag!!! 😨 the wind blew our aireated mesh sided tent and Tony snored loudly in the next tent…this camping does have its downside.
The next morning after Kev cooked breakfast we went to say goodbye to Tony and Missy. “Have y’all ever been blessed? Me and mar Momma would like to bless y’all” Oh no what do I say to this. I’m not religious, each to their own, everyone has their own beliefs/gods, me I don’t believe. I didn’t want to offend them so agreed to it. We had to join hands and Tony and Missy lay their hands on our shoulders whilst asking God to protect us and asking those evil spirits to “BE GONE from us” ( Tony saying this in a thick Southern accent and shouting). He said we were special people and asked God to bless us.
Feeling rather special after our blessing and hoping that God would be good to us we set off for our next destination….Monument Valley.
Well it seemed we had been blessed. We were the first ones there so had our pick of camping spots. “Right at the front please” The photo below was taken before the wind started blowing and totally collapsed our tent! We took it down hoping the wind would drop later, which thankfully it did. We now had a new neighbour, Brent, 48 years old had packed his job in, bought a motorcycle and decided to travel for as far as he could for 2 years, whilst he still had his health and was able to do.it. Amen to that.
We did the 17 mile drive around the valley taking in the heady sites of the Navajo monuments. It was surrounded by red rocks and sand, blue skies and searing heat. There were jeeps doing guided tours but we wanted to save money so did it in our Nissan Versa.
On the way drive back we had to go UP all the hills we’d driven DOWN, on an uneven bumpy road in our little matchbox car. I didn’t think we’d make it but Kev is quite a good driver and navigated the craters well. When we got to the top I let out a sigh of relief and said “I don’t know if me squeezing my bum cheeks helped you, but I certainly felt better for doing it up that steep hill!” Haha
We decided we needed to have a cool drink and take in the sights after that. Over to the cafe for an ice cold diet coke and to take in the spectacular view
We got told that the sun went down at 7.44 and was something special so not to miss it. We were putting our things in the tent and noticed the sun going down but it was only 6.35. Brent informed us that the Navajo don’t recognise daylight saving time so by driving into the valley we’d lost an hour! We managed to catch sunset whilst enjoying a bud lime with some ice I’d scrounged from the cafe. Sat on the edge of our tent with no one in front of us, enjoying a cold beer. Each day we keep asking ourself “can it get any better?” We saw a sign that said “life is not measured by the breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away” this was certainly one of them
The night was warm so we didnt need the thermals, but if we thought the red soft sand was going to give us a comfortable sleep we were very much mistaken. Our hip and knee joints were painful from turning over in our sleep in the compacted sand. Ouch.. however, this was soon forgotten when we saw the sun just starting to rise over the monuments at 5.3oam.
After cooking our obligatory breakfast of scrambled eggs (this time with tinned hot dogs – luxury) we set off to see what other wonders the day would bring. We were heading on up to a place called Page in Arizona. We called in to get petrol on the way out of Monument Valley and thought we’d better check the time as it seemed to change everywhere we went…all was good we were still on the same time zone as the previous night.
When we arrived in Page, 2 hours later, we had gained another hour!! This time zone thing was doing our heads in. We found ourself a great campsite for $20 and that included water, electric (to charge our phones/tablets) a swimming pool and free wifi…bonus. Kev had researched the area, as he always does. He really is good at researching and planning, with leaflets and a local map he takes me to all these wonderful sights. The next place of interest was Horshoe Bend. A 1.5 mile hike to look into depths of the green water below surrounded by high rocks. There was a notice warning people not to go too near to the edge as it make look solid on top but may be crumbling underneath. As if anyone would go near the edge!?
A young American couple were VERY close to the edge trying to get “the shot” I said “you’re very brave” and she laughed and walked on to another spot. Next thing I heard a muffled scream. She’d lost her $500 Go Pro camera over the edge! Should have taken notice of the signs
Horseshoe Bend was beautiful and it was free to visit…which is very unusual. We then moved on to book a tour of Antelope Canyon. It wasn’t cheap at $40 each but was SO worth it. The guide was crap. She told us to stand in single file in the Canyon as it was narrow. There were 14 of us and me and Kev were at the back and couldn’t hear a thing she was saying, or where she was telling the people at the front of the group the best place to take a photo. 4 people in front of us couldn’t hear her either and when she’d finished explaining to the first 7 she moved on and left us wondering.
Me being me, I went and explained that we couldn’t hear her at the back. She looked at me and turned around to walk off! How rude! “Excuse me” “did you hear what I said? We can’t hear your explanations at the back of the group” she walked off….by this time I’d lost it. “Are you just going to ignore me?” Yep she was….
I let it ride, for now. We had to double back to get out of the Canyon so we ended up being at the front of the line and the guide was at the back. We came to a standstill and another guide was there saying “we have to wait as there is a snake in there that they’re trying to get out” yeah right whatever… our guide came to the front and said “what’s going on? ” the other guide explained to her. Now it was my turn “you can’t hear things at the back of the line can you?” 😂 We made our way back to the jeep and the guide climbed up saying that tips were appreciated. The bloody cheek! 😲. I told this young American guy that in England if they give bad service the only tip they’ll get is “don’t eat yellow snow!” The group thought it was hysterical and I don’t think the guide got any tips from anyone. Haha.
After another trip to Wallmart to get some beer (I don’t normally drink it but an ice cold Bud Lime after a day in the heat goes down a treat). We headed back to our campsite. We were pitched up next to 3 young American girls, that were in their twenties. I know you shouldn’t racially profile but I was dreading the night time cos I expected them to be rowdy and drunk. I couldn’t have been more wrong. We sat chatting with them for hours. They took pity on our thin piece of foam we were using as a mattress and lent us a blow up queen size mattress. Oh this night was going to be bliss. They also bbq’d some sausages and gave us some. We returned the favour and gave them some beer. Perfect swap. Everyone was happy. We were all in bed by 9.30pm but the mattress wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Everytime one of us moved the other bounced up in the air. Haha it was going to be a long night and I have a feeling Kev might find himself on the floor in the morning, with my menopausal flushes causing me to toss and turn. Ooops
The following morning we’d eaten , packed up and was on the road to Zion National Park by 7.30 am. We don’t mess about. Up and off to make the most of the day, but Kev is usually snoring by 9pm after driving all day. Old git.
We called in at a place called Kanab on the way there. It looked nice as we drive through so decided to stop as we fancied a coffee. It was the town where The Lone Ranger was filmed and host of other celebrities were from there, including John Wayne
The photo above was of an insurance company’s offices. Reminds me of old time America. We love little backwater towns like this
It was a quaint little town and the people were really friendly. We sat and had a coffee and home made apple and cinnamon muffins. We decided we’d better get off as it was 10am and we wanted to get a camping ground for tonight and it’s on a first come first served basis. We were just about to go when the church bells started chiming, jokingly I said, “what if we’re in another time zone?” “Don’t even go there” came the response. As the clock chimed 11 times, YES 11!!! We checked it out in the coffee shop and we’d lost an hour again! How can that be? We’d only driven 2.5 hours and lost one! Lol
Zion was breathtaking. Huge rocks reaching towards the sky with green pine trees dotting the landscape
The place was heaving with tourists and we couldn’t find anywhere to park up never mind stay the night so we drove through it and back out. We spotted a herd of Bison on the way and a mountain goat!
On the outskirts of Zion in a little place called Glendale we found a great little campsite in an apple orchard with cows for neighbours. We set up our cooker and had Montreal chicken pasta for lunch. Amazing what you can cook in one pan
We spent a lazy afternoon washing our clothes, sorting photos out and me doing my blog. It was freezing at night and we ended up fully clothed in the tent with the wind blowing in. We were cocooned on our sleeping bag liners and bags and couldn’t move. Roll on the morning when the sun came out to warm us up!
Dawn broke and the wind still hit us hard. We were high in the mountains so it was cold. We cooked breakfast in the laundry room whilst everyone else was asleep, washed our pots and pan in the bathrooms and drove off to Bryce Canyon. Another wow moment. We walked to the bottom of the valley and back up again. It was a strenuous hike but well worth it for the views
We spotted what I think was an antelope and then Kev spotted a Prairie dog watching the antelope just a short distance away. So cute
We parked up at a picnic spot, cooked lunch in the forest before heading out to find another campsite. At one point Kev wouldn’t even have considered a caravan never mind sleeping in a tent and cooking outdoors. He loves it now. As do I. It has brought a new diversity to our travels and we plan to bring the tent back with us for future use. We always wondered how we’d cope not having a house to live in. If we can live out of a car and a tent I’m sure we’ll be fine in a motorhome. We could eat outdoors all summer
After we left Bryce we needed to head up towards Salt Lake City, which was 250 milew away. We stopped in a town called Marysvale which was 1000ft long (Kev walked it and counted his steps. Lol)!! I don’t think even one horse lived in it. The campsite was $15 for the night. We walked to the only store in town to get some water, and Kev fancied a beer. We sat outside the store on the chairs, and as he was drinking on the street the can had to be covered..by a paper bag. He looked like a local alcoholic sat there outside the store /petrol station all rolled into one.
An older couple pulled up in their vw camper van to get gas whilst passing through the town. “What’s all that smoke up there in the hills?” She asked. She thought we were local hicks passing our time drinking at the gas station! Lol.
The owner of the station had to drive a drunken girl home that had been beaten up by her boyfriend and had nowhere to put her Harley Davidson bike. So where did she get someone to put it? In the store of course!
All the local rode about on ATV’s (all terrain vehicles) and quad bikes. Even the older people and kids as young as 10 were riding round the hills and roads on them. It really was out in the sticks with little facilities Even the jail was antiquated
We walked around the town and it took us 20 mins, and that was with reading a couple of the diner’s menus. Lol
The houses were traditional wooden clad with rockers on the porch..You don’t think places ike this exist.
On the way back to camp we spotted a deer just near our campsite. I love all the wildlife in these places
Went back to our tent and cooked our dinner, chicken stew and dumplings with Idaho herby mashed potatoes. It was gorgeous. This was one of the less scenic pitches we’d had in a week but we were the only ones there so it was quiet and we didn’t have to listen to French accents all night. All our campsites have been full of french people that, on the whole, have been rude and ignorant. They’ve never spoke to us and ignored us when we have said “hi”. Our friend Sandra, who is French, is an exception. We met her in Mexico and she is lovely, but she also agreed that not all French people are as friendly as her.
Another cold night with crickets twittering in the trees above us meant a restless night. Roll on tomorrow! We set off to Salt Lake City where we are staying in a hotel. Woo hoo!!
We threw our plastic camping crockery this morning, also the 1/2 inch thick mattress we’d been sleeping on. We’re saving the tent and cooker. On to another destination before flying to Boston.
Kev has been amazing on this trip. We had no specific plans or routes. My sat nav wouldn’t work so he just follows roads signs, looks at maps. You know… the old fashioned way. We’ve seen some amazing sights and had a good laugh in our little tent. We’ve had some good nights and some bad nights, weather wise. As our friends Sandra and Steve say, a good day is a good day, a bad day is a good story! Thankfully we’ve had both and laughed through all of them.
Our next part of the journey will be more civilised again before we head off in our campervan in Iceland.
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