The main reason we went on this trip was to meet up with Jake and Jackie and their parents at the Fairmont resort in Scottsdale where Jackie’s brother Dillon was the manager of the hotel’s nicest restaurant, and as such was able to get us all some really good room rates. The Fairmont is not the kind of place we typically have the good fortune of staying at, which was immediately evident to all the staff when we rolled up to the main entrance in our dust covered Land Cruiser, road weary and dirty from four nights of camping, realized that they were going to charge me for the valet to park the truck, and promptly sped off to park it myself. We got a pleasant surprise when we finally did check in- Dillon had arranged for us to get a room upgrade- and boy was it an upgrade! Our “suite” was literally as big as our entire house. Even so, we didn’t waste too much time in the room ogling over our amazing bump in circumstances- the pool, and more importantly, the poolside drinks were beckoning…
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There has been plenty written about the Grand Canyon by much more eloquent writers than I to do it more than enough justice, so I won’t even attempt to add my own paltry insights, except to say that if you haven’t seen it yet, you should definitely make the effort.
We spent two solid days driving and walking around the south rim of the canyon, and probably would have spent more if it hadn’t been so bloody cold and windy. You might think that we don’t look too bundled up in the photos and infer that I am exaggerating about the cold, but the reality is we thought we were headed to the sunny hot desert of Arizona, and thus packed a little light in the down jacket and thermal underwear department- luckily, the amazing views had the same warming effect as a dram of whiskey, and we persevered to see a majority of the viewpoints- but sadly, just like whiskey, the effect wore off all too soon, and before we knew it, we were back on the road, headed south to Scottsdale for our big rendezvous with the Drays.
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The next geological wonder we encountered on our roadtrip is fairly unknown to most, but widely recognized- you’ve probably seen photos of it gracing the pages of National Geographic or any number of tourist brochures or travel guides… the extraordinarily beautiful Antelope Canyon. It’s a curvatious slot canyon, painted in layers by every shade of color on the warm end of the spectrum, barely a few feet wide in some spots, but over 120 feet deep, formed from eons of erosion through the soft Navajo sandstone.