A Tale of Inconvenient Footwear and Not Enough Coffee- Roadtrip 2016

If you’ve been following this blog for the past couple of weeks, you’ve probably seen all the posts i’ve been doing on the roadtrip I took back in March to celebrate turning a quarter century old. You might also be wondering why its taken me so long to get to the end of posting about it- to the point where i’m getting ready to go on another one. We can place the blame for that squarely on my jobs understaffing issues and the fact that i’ve been floating on a sea of over-time since I got back from said trip.

But hey, we’ve come to the end of it, or near enough. While the past posts have been me mainly writing about the lovely things I was thinking while I took the photos I shared, this post will be more er, honest. There’s being in love in the moment as I pressed that button on my camera to capture it, and then there’s the moment directly after where I realized I needed coffee but soon and there wasn’t a gas-station for miles.

And just like the first post , all the photos included below (except like 2) were all taken by my iPhone so ye be warned.

Jeep Renegade at the Grand Canyon


The first leg of the trip, Texas—>Grand Canyon, AZ, was started just a little before 5 in the morning and if I haven’t mentioned it before, I am not a morning person. The only reason we got on the road on time and with nothing missing is because the bf is thankfully (and annoyingly) a morning person and because i’m a terrible effing person, of course I picked a fight with him for daring to mess with the GPS for what I deemed to be too long. Eventually things got sorted though, because he’s been with me long enough to know how to tame the godzilla I am in the mornings and we listened to the first half of the Limetown podcast to get us through Texas.  Just before passing into New Mexico, we (ok ok, it was all me) decided to take a break from that to listen to a 99% Invisible rebroadcast episode of The Sound of Sports that was perfect to pass the time that seems never ending when you’re trying to get out of the barren depressing wasteland that is the north-east side of Texas.

I covered the drive from New Mexico through Arizona and our experience at the Grand Canyon pretty well in the post linked below, so I won’t get into it all again. I’ll just mentioned that there is a “cafeteria style” restaurant in the Grand Canyon Village- where I might or might not have taken the last photo up above- that earned itself the #1 prize for worst (and yet most expensive) breakfast. I don’t name names though, so have fun guessing which one it is if you ever visit.

The second leg of the trip, Grand Canyon—>Zion Natl. Park, Bryce Canyon was wonderfully weird and the only thing I regret was not listening to Is There A Ghost by Band of Horses as we raced our way out of ribbon like roads of Arizona towards Utah, because for whatever reason it’s my favorite roadtrip song and with the sun shinning like a blazing fireball above us in the completely clear blue skies, it would have been a perfect memory. But as you can read in the first post below, I listened to my usual brand of cliché songs to make up for it anyways. Again, I think I did a semi-decent job of covering most things when it comes to the time I spent at Zion, Bryce Canyon and rolling on down Scenic Byway 12, but heres a few things I didn’t mentioned.

– We stayed at the Bumbleberry Inn, in the small town of Springdale for our 3 day stay in Utah and the room rate comes with included breakfast at Wildcat Willies. And yeah, it’s exactly what you would expect from the name. Lots (and I do mean LOTS) of western themed stuff hanging from all the walls to the point where I almost expected spurs to magically appear on my shoes.The staff was amazingly kind and friendly though, and the breakfast was the best of the whole trip. I would highly recommend staying at the Bumbleberry Inn just for that perk, though everything else about it is fantastic as well. Btw, true story – I picked to stay there because I was just plum tickled by the name….the bf was not as amused with my choice until we spent the morning of my b-day sitting out on the balcony drinking really tart lemonade while watching the sun change lights on the rocky mountains in front of us. I didn’t explore the town as I had wanted to as I was hit with a minor bout of fatigue and depression on the morning we had the time to do so, but the bf did and brought me back the most amazing coffee I have ever tasted to lift my spirits. While I can’t even remember the name of the place it was from, I would advocate visiting every coffee shop in town if it meant you could taste coffee heaven on your tongue like that

– Pizza picture up above was from Zion Pizza and Noodle Co and if there was a way I could just grab my friends and drag them there for pizza without it being called “kidnapping” I would do it.

– The part about the inconvenient footwear in the title comes in here. I am a mess of person, if you’ve followed this blog for long enough or know me in RL then jesus you know how true that is, especially when it comes to properly planning roadtrips. If it wasn’t for the bf I would just drive out with my camera and cash and just make do. As it is though, he can’t plan everything (and I wouldn’t want him to) so I ended up in these hiking places with my Vans and my work flats. As a friend of mine always says, mess.  Not that this stopped me of course, cause i’m me and everything, but I thoroughly ruined my Vans on the icy and muddies trails of Bryce Canyon and scuffled up my flats at Zion. I finally remember I had packed a pair of Nike’s as we were leaving for Monument Valley though, but considering I still forgot to change into them till we were about 10 miles into the 17 mile loop, it doesn’t count for much.

– I don’t think I mentioned this in any post before, but people in general seemed particularly interested in gawking at my Jeep Renegade as if they’d never seen one before (I mean, this is a possibility as it just came out last year but still). It was both flattering and weird and the one time we saw another one on the road, me and the driver exchanged really crazy happy smiles even while passing each other at 75 mph and wherever you are lone Jeep Renegade driver, we are now bonded for life.

The last leg of the trip was Zion–> Monument Valley–> Santa Fe and then headed home. I covered my ecstatically wonderful experience at Monument Valley in my last post. We were supposed to hit the Four Corners Monument right afterwards but we missed visiting hours by about half an hour and so that has a huge bummer, for the bf more so than myself, but i’ve vowed to make sure we visit it one day even if it means I drive us out there like a speeding loon just to stand in 4 places at once for like 5 minuets before we have to head back home.

And so, this is the part where I have to get realistic with you, oh reader of mine. Just like my last big trip that ended in Boston ,by this last leg of the trip, I was a little worn out. There’s only so many days I can go at 110% with cheerful energy and over the top spontaneity before I need a little bit of a break. And so, after arriving in Santa Fe after a night filled with me driving through what felt like ALL of the Safety Zones the state had to offer (this is a stretch of road that has apparently been designated as an area where people need to crawl instead of actually drive and I cursed up the bluest of streaks that kept making the bf kindly offer to take over the driving for me- which of course I refused because I am one stubborn son of a gun), I needed a little bit of a break. This was actually our second time in Santa Fe, so thankfully we were both ok with just taking it easy this time around. I put makeup on for the first time on the trip, dressed in something other than dirty ripped jeans and a t-shirt and we headed out to do a bit of shopping (souvenir and jewelry for me, t-shirts/hoodies for him).

Highlights of this part of the trip included:

– Arriving at the hotel the bf had picked out, Fort Marcy, and finding out we had been upgraded to a two story condo suite with literally the best interior design i’ve seen outside of a magazine. The service here was fantastic and apparently the happy review I left for it on trip advisor has garnered an usually high number of likes, so yes- I recommend you stay here if you’d like somewhere not too crazy expensive that is still well appointed and near to the city center with lovely and helpful front desk people.

–  A fantastically wonderful woman at one of the shops who spent a good 45 or so minutes helping me pick out some lovely pieces to take home with me (lets not mention the stupid amount of $$ I spent here, let me keep my dignity) and told me she loved Texans because, “They’ve got big hair, big hearts and big wallets” – so effing true my dear. She forgot to ring up a shot glass I had picked out for a co-worker and came rushing out of the store after I had checked out and was leaving to furtively shove it in my hand and wish me a great day.

– Eating at the Blue Corn Cafe just like we had done at our first time here and the food was still so finger lickin’ good. Go if you’re ever there, please please please, your taste buds will thank you.

– Curling up with the bf to eat amazing mouth watering Chinese take out from Lu Lu’s on the couch in the downstairs part of the condo and watching episodes of Discovery channels Gold Rush and Deadliest Catch as we are always wont to do at some point during a roadtrip. A universal constant if you will.

We woke up relatively early the next day and headed home, tummies full of coffee and gas station donuts and ready to say goodbye to our life on the road, at least for now. He drove us halfway home at reasonable speeds while I scribbled my thoughts down in my journal in the passenger seat, and then I took over the wheel and broke every single speeding limit in two states while he listened to my rants on the impossibilities of fantasy economics and playlists inspired by the betrayal of Julius Caesar played on the car stereo. It was perfection and while I was sad to be home again and facing the idea of a piled up mess at work, all good things must end and anyways, I needed to get back home to start saving up more $$ for the next trip.

~m

Hermits Road- The Grand Canyon, South Rim, Arizona

grandcanyon overlooks, south rim Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon the grand canyon, south rim, at sunrise Ms Fables at the grand canyon, south rim Empty at sunrise, grand canyon

“And the still and the quiet almost took my breath away, though I guess the altitude claimed that first” 

We made it up to Hermits Road and the first overlook just a little after actual sunrise, but just in time to miss the busload of people finishing up their Sunrise Tour, so my inability to roll out of bed on time actually paid off greatly. The Grand Canyon at the beginning of March is apparently a popular time- if the day before was any indication- but that Monday morning, most if not all of the overlooks were either empty of people or near enough that we could really take in the expansive vistas and just watch the changing light patterns over the formations.

( There was debate about stopping in at the Geology Museum near the visitors center but we decided against it, which probably ended up being a good thing because the next few days where just chock-full of geological marvels and I think it’s better that I didn’t get my fill of looking at “rocks” on the first stop. Indeed, I ended up buying a really overpriced geology book a couple of days later at a gift shop in Bryce Canyon that I think i’m probably gonna treasure forever, so, no regrets about missing that.  )

The Grand Canyon was left behind in our rearview mirror sometime around 9 in the morning, after we stopped for breakfast in one of the cafeteria style restaurants in the Village, and we left by the East Rim exit, stopping at one last overlook on our way out to formally say goodbye. We headed north towards Zion and I remember looking back and wondering if we would ever come back one day and even now I can’t honestly say if I will….i’d love to see the North Rim, but… I almost feel like coming back later would ruin this first and only experience.

~m

The Watchtower- The Grand Canyon, East Rim, Arizona

from a distance, the Watchtower, east rim , Arizona grandcanyond

A more comprehensive post will follow on how exactly I got to the Grand Canyon from Texas, tips on where to stay and how to get here as well as how to get around, the best places to see and what you can probably skip but, for now…. I will just post these. 

the watchtower, grand canyon the watchtower, Grand Canyon East Rim

Eastrim, Grand Canyon at midday
looking towards the desert flats, East Rim Grand Canyon
The Watchtower at the EastRim
from the look outs, The Watchtower

This was the first magnificent (though not the first overall) view I got of the Grand Canyon and I sat on a bench near the edge for what felt like ages but was probably closer to 20 minutes, just gazing into the immensity. It felt like I could have sat there and looked for years and still have had some detail to observe, some shifting of the light that would illuminate a surface or ravine previously unseen. It was grand, in all the sense of the word. 

~m