A Grand Day Out

“Let’s go where there’s CHEESE, Gromit!”
Perhaps you’re familiar with the cartoons “Wallace and Gromit” and the short entitled “A Grand Day Out” in which they build a rocket to go to the moon to eat cheese, their favorite food.  Our Grand Day Out was at the Grand Canyon, though, which looks quite different from the moon.
I was brought to tears twice on Tuesday by a few of those “I love America” moments, one of which I’m sure you’ll understand, and the other probably just because I’m a girl who just had a baby, so I cry at the drop of a hat. 🙂  The day had an innocent enough beginning, with the children and I going down to the hotel breakfast and then to the pool.  When it was time for me to feed Daniel again, John came down to the pool and took over so I could return to the room.
We quickly packed up our things, visited McDonalds for some fortification, and drove the few miles up to the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, arriving around 1pm.  The parking lot was pretty full, and I knew from the map that we were near a vista point, so we opted to park towards the back of the lot near the trail to the good views.  I honestly found myself thinking that if we could drive up to the view without having to really get out, perhaps we’d leave the kids in the car and just hop out ourselves for a few quick photos.  I was interested in seeing the Grand Canyon only because we’d be driving past it, and, by all accounts, one should see it if possible, but I wasn’t too keen on VISITING the Grand Canyon.  Boy am I an idiot sometimes;  I just had no idea what awaited us when we rounded the corner on the trail to Mather Point.
Sure, I’ve seen all those aerial pictures of the Grand Canyon, but seeing it for the first time in person was actually breath-taking (I know I described the California Coast in the same way) in the truest sense of the word; I almost felt like the wind had been knocked out of my chest, and it was all I could do to keep from sobbing.  As it was, I had trouble enough with maintaining my eye makeup, but I don’t think anyone except John noticed, so I didn’t embarrass the family with my blubbering 🙂  Here’s what set me off – and I do realize it will not produce tears to anyone looking at these pictures.  This is really just something you have to experience for yourself.

Not sure what was going on here…maybe a “trust” exercise at the Grand Canyon?

Worn out from all the majesty…

That covers just about all of our awesomeness for Tuesday – the rest of the post is mostly a few silly things from along the way 🙂 As we drove out of Grand Canyon National Park we noticed the Flintstones Campground.  I had to take a few pictures off the internet for you so you could see how lame this place is:

This picture makes it look kind of cool…

I guess I can’t show you how lame it looked from the road – guess it’s cuter inside?

I took a bit of a snooze, and John told me later that I missed a few towns: one was called “Twin Arrows,” and the next was called “Two Guns.”  Hmm. Wonder what that was all about.  Obviously, being in Arizona and New Mexico for a few days we would find ourselves in Indian Country.  I remember as a child stopping occasionally at Indian Trading Posts here and there and always enjoying browsing the jewelry, leather goods, and animal furs.  Oh, and rocks. And petrified things.  I had hoped to find such a place for one of our pitstops, and my hopes were buoyed by some of these billboards:

Fort Courage Trading Post – these signs have seen better days…

We also saw a few for which I was not quick on the draw – so I will just tell you what they said – things like “Good coffee,” “Friendly prices,” and “Foreign visitors and tour buses welcome.”  All of them advertised the “largest selection of Indian jewelry” (how can they ALL have the largest selection?) On my quest for the perfect trading post at just the right time to stop, I asked John to pull off the interstate three separate times to check out the shops at different exits.  One wasn’t there, another was closing as we drove up, and the last looked like it had closed down about ten years back . My hopes were dashed.  It was quite comical how much time we lost looking for one of these places:

Yup. The Indian trading place next door was closed down, too.

John said, “Guess we should have just stopped at Knife City!”  Don’t ask me why there were at least five knife shops along a stretch of I-40 that didn’t even have places to eat for 100 miles.  Here’s what we found when we followed a billboard to the “Route 66 Diner” after our attempts at an Indian Trading Post had failed:

False advertising…it wasn’t even on Route 66

Along the way…

Um, no thank you.  It was at this point that we looked for food on the GPS and settled on a Cracker Barrel about 30 minutes farther East.  This was good because it left us only 2 hours to drive after dinner and because we hadn’t yet eaten at a Cracker Barrel – a MUST for any authentic American road trip.  I took a few pictures of the shop because the stuff they sell is just so “southern.”


The necessary Cracker Barrel photo: rocking on the front porch 🙂

And here we come to the second time I had tears in my eyes on Tuesday — the Yankee Candle area of Cracker Barrel.  There were Yankee Candles in England, and I’ve seen them a few times since being back, but for some reason, when I was in Cracker Barrel, with all the other scents of the food and cute crafty things around, in the midst of overwhelming amounts of Americana, opening the Macintosh Apple Yankee Candle jar just made me feel so happy that I almost cried.  I sure do love living in America 🙂

7 thoughts on “A Grand Day Out

  1. Love this write up. We too traveled similar routes on our 6 months of cross country driving while my husband was deployed and we awaited housing. Why not just wait it out and travel 16 states? So I did…one of our favorites was the Grand Canyon and yes, the absolute majesty. How deep is HIS love for us? And I am thrilled that you share your love for living here especially with all the grand places you have been. Keep sharing!

  2. My family visited the Grand Canyon on our cross-country road trip when I was 11. I just remember looking at the canyon and being SO over the whole trip that I was just like, ya, pretty, can we go now? I would like to visit it as an adult and actually take it in this time 🙂

  3. Awww, makes me cry just seeing all the cuteness in the midst of an AWESOME Creator’s Creation! You all included. Love and miss you guys. Hey, don’t forget, Yankee Candles are a dime a dozen here in New England! The original store is in Deerefield MA baby!

    Anyway, great pics, so want to see the Grand Canyon next time I have the opportunity!

  4. Loved reading all your recent posts. I, too, feel the same way about the Grand Canyon. I’ve been 4 times in the past 10 yrs or so and everytime I go, I feel in such awe.
    Glad to see you guys are having such a great time.

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