This is one big country

by Diana on June 28, 2009 · 3 comments

in Musings

I was thinking this today as we continued to drive across it.

After manic packing all last week, the moving truck came on Friday.  It was a long day for us, especially for my husband, who packed absolutely non-stop the whole time the movers were moving.

We had gone to bed the night before, exhausted, at about 3 am.  We just couldn’t do another thing, but there was still lots to do.  Luckily, we had some help getting the kitchen packed up (you know who you are!), and that really helped us over the hump.

Then, after a couple of goodbyes, we finally hit the road at about 10 pm on Friday night.  Incredibly, the girls fell soundly asleep, and Dwayne and I chatted about this huge move we’re making.  We made it to Barstow, CA at about 11:30 pm or so and checked into a Holiday Inn Express.

The next day we slept in late — we all needed the rest! — and then we grabbed breakfast at a Denny’s and headed out for the Grand Canyon.  We will try to avoid Denny’s again if we can.  I thought I remembered that Denny’s was pretty OK food, just cheap, but it’s not, really.  Blech.

Since we had come into Barstow in the dark, it was really amazing to step out of the hotel and to see it in the daylight.  We were staying next to a bunch of outlet shops, but other than that, there was the highway and then, desert.  I really felt that our journey had begun when I saw that desert and felt the heat beating down on us at only 9 am.

We made pretty good time to the Grand Canyon and got there with enough daylight left to check in at Bright Angel Lodge — we were staying at Thunderbird Lodge.  We walked along the paved rim path, enjoyed the sunset and then got some yummy dinner.  I had a delicious red pepper cream soup.  (I took a picture of it since it was so pretty, but unfortunately, I realized that we didn’t pack the software necessary to upload pics from Dwayne’s camera onto my machine.  I can probably find the necessary software online, but I just don’t feel up to it right now.)

This morning, we took a ranger walk and learned about fossils.  He taught us about some different kinds of fossils and then let us go hunting for some.  They were 250 million year old fossils from the time when the Pacific Ocean had submerged the place where we were standing.  I didn’t realize that at one time, the Pacific Ocean had covered the Grand Canyon.

Then, after the fossil walk, we walked down a little ways and saw some beautiful petroglyphs.  The ranger had told us that only 5 percent of Grand Canyon visitors venture down below the rim, so just by going down a few hundred feet, we became part of the elite few!  (I also took pictures of the petroglyphs, but I’ll have to post them later.)

Then we had lunch at one of the Canyon restaurants, spent too much at the gift shop and hit the road.

We made our way on Route 160 through Navajo country.  We stopped at a few of the roadside stands to look at jewelry, rugs and pottery, but the prices were really high.  We were surprised because so many people had told us that the prices were reasonable, even cheap, but this is not what we found.

Life on the reservation looks very rough and very poor.  I could not see any economic infrastructure to speak of, except the roadside stands.  I didn’t see much ranching, or farming or any other type of means of earning a living.  Most of the homes were either RVs or trailers or octagonal yurts of some sort.  But most of the homes had pretty nice-looking trucks or SUVs parked outside, which was so weird, given the poor condition of the homes.

We didn’t get to go to Four Corners because the park was closed when we passed by.  Right now, we are in Cortez, Colorado.  The girls swam in the hotel pool, and then we gave them a bath.

Dinah and Djuna seem to be enjoying the trip so far.  They do ask often how far we are from our new home, and they’re very excited to get there.

Everyone is sleeping soundly, while I type this post and enjoy a cup of hot herbal tea made with hot water from the hotel room coffee pot and a tea bag I found in my back pack.

I think I’ll go join my sleeping family.



1 Genevieve June 29, 2009 at 12:14 am

I’m so glad we caught each other online tonight! Sounds like you guys are making some great memories! How cool that you went under the rim! :) I can’t wait to see all your pictures, once you get home!


2 Holly June 29, 2009 at 12:27 am

Diana! Your trip makes my feet itch; I have frequently felt the desire to just keep driving east when coming home through the Pasadena valley. Your Grand Canyon adventures sound wonderful, and it seems you are making the most of what is a long (but exciting!) journey.

Continue to have an amazing time, and hi to everyone!

3 Paul from the clue-by-four June 29, 2009 at 7:14 am

Wow! Colorado already! I’m excitedly following along with you guys… if you have a route planned, let me know what it is so I can imagine you driving through.

And make sure you keep taking pictures!! Even if you can’t upload them… I love looking at my snaps from the trip, and I’m excited to see yours.

The grey East awaits you all!!!

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