June 19, 2010

Travels: Bryce Canyon, UT to forest north of Flagstaff, AZ – 375 miles (5646 total miles)
Accommodations: Dispersed camping, Coconino National Forest

As much as we loved this wonderful campsite and Bryce (which I highly recommend!) we needed to leave and get some consistent internet so Dave could work. We began our migration towards Arizona.

We pulled out of Bryce at 11:40 after some playtime, breakfast at Ruby’s Inn, and packing up. Our plan was to make it to Sedona, Arizona. My dad had told me it is a pretty place to stop, and we had a couple days to kill before getting to Phoenix.

We headed out of Bryce in the direction of Kanab. The landscape before us was very similar to the Eastern Sierras but with orange dirt. The landscape quickly changed to red rock canyons complete with Bryce like hoodoos – this was Red Canyon (also had some great looking camping).

It was a nice cool day – low 70s – as we started out our drive. I have been pleasantly surprised by these cool temps! Zion area is much warmer! We moved on to Juniper trees and the dry high desert. We hit a 6100 foot summit outside of Kanab and looked out onto red sand dunes rolling across the landscape.

We got back into pines and aspens in the Kaibab National Forest. Another beautiful spot to camp that reminds us of California! We planned to drive right past the Grand Canyon and straight to Sedona, but “we” were inspired at the North rim turn off and took a short, 90 mile detour. It is a beautiful drive to the north rim of the Grand Canyon. Pines, aspens, lush green meadows, a herd of buffalo grazing in a meadow. It was absolutely gorgeous!

We finally got to the North Rim. We walked out onto a very windy point that looked out over the Grand Canyon. It was beautiful, but it made me quite nervous. Moms – do you know that mother bird feeling where you are crazy worried about your kids and just need to hold onto them? Well, that is how I felt. I was certain my carefree son was going to run off one of the sides as he went to hop from one rock to another. In the end, it all worked out. The five of us made it out to the farthest point and back.

We stopped at the gift shop for some postcards – I am a big fan of National Park gift shops or Visitor Centers for postcards! I love sending them to friends and family. Now, I am just waiting for one in return! J/K. Then, we stopped at this old saloon and Dave and I shared a beer.

We grabbed a snack in the trailer, loaded up, and drove out singing to one of our favorite kid CDs Animal Playground by Putumayo.

Back on the road towards Sedona, we see a sign for the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. No! We are not going! Back up to 8840 feet – lots of high points today! Haha! The kids are having some rest time reading and coloring, and we are taking some time to listen to the Josh Nordgren band worship CD. I don’t know a time when a good worship CD doesn’t bring perspective and uplift, do you?

“Lord my strength, my fortress, my rescue in distress.”

“Like a tree that flourishes my roots can be found in You.”

“Redemption begins with a decision, despite my mood I will give you praise.” {Boy did I need that one yesterday!”

We left the trees and cool and entered the Arizona desert. Low on gas we finally pulled into an Express gas station in the middle of Navajo Nation land. There are jewelery/art stands all over this hot desert, red sand, dune looking rock formations, mobile homes dotting the landscape – a very poor area you can tell.

We have decided to try a KOA in Flagstaff for the night but wait to make reservations. We continue across the desert (5000 feet) as the sun sets behind us the sand dunes rolling through the desert have a purple/pink glow. We slowly begin to gain elevation again as we get closer to Flagstaff, back up to 7500 feet. We see National Forest roads – hmm free camping? Sounds good. We pull off on a forest road in the Coconino National Forest and hit the sack! We are beat! {This is why we don’t like to make reservations – plans change.}

Dave: “I think the trailer is overweight. Closer to 8000 pounds.” {you don’t know how many times I have heard Dave mutter these words.}

Marin: “Look at. Look at! On the road. A goat!” {Not really}
“Look at a tunnel.” {Really}
“Look at a goat on the road.” {Not really}

Courtney: “A typical afternoon on the road looks like Marin snoozing in her cow car seat with her blanket. Mason and Mackenzie listening to a book on tape while they color or stare out the window and rest  (thanks Erin!). Dave and I either talk or I read to him.”

Dave: {driving into the Grand Canyon N.P.} “This is gorgeous.”

Mason: “Do you remember when we went on a hike with Austin and Merric and we would stop and play games?” And when we went to Sutton’s cabin?”

Mason: “God is in our tummies. And he has to be the same size as our feet to fit.” {Got to love little kids trying to make sense of our big God. See even theology comes into our car conversations.}

Courtney: “Out of my Friday funk. Today is a great day! I am so blessed to have the best little travelers along for this journey! It is so funny how many funny things they know because of this trip – like the names of the different gas stations. Mackenzie said today, ‘Why don’t we find a Conoco, they will have diesel.’ “

Marin: “Horsie, come out of your cage!”

Dave: “Hey Buddy?”
Mason: “What stinker?”

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