Now it was the last weekend of my first stay in United States and after the last successful trip to Colorado Springs ‘elder bro’ was kind of confident of a long drive and navigator was also thrilled. Actually it was navigator’s first out of India tour as well. He was interested in making a holy trip to the Denver night-time holy-houses, but he could not. This was driving him crazy and he wanted to go out and he wanted to go to New York ! Crazy guy was told it was actually another part of the world (12 hours drive from Denver!) . Finally we decided for the Grand Canyon in Arizona ( 7 hours drive from Denver). This was going to be fun, for sure.
We began our long distance trip at 5.30PM from our Inn on April 27, 2007. Although we didn’t know the route, but I managed to get a print out of the route map from Google Maps & our GPS was always there to help. We came to know there are two rims in Grand Canyon : North (2438 meters above sea level) & South (2134 meters above sea level). The elder bro declared to go to the North Rim first as it is the stiffest!! Well, as you wish bro… we go to North rim. I recommended to take a break in the mid night & we would again start in the early morning and guys have actually agreed.
Elder bro was our driver without a challenge! He drove us fantastically in that night, baring only once chassed & cautioned by Cops for over speeding! We took the route of US-6 highways, then I-70 West to reach Grand Junction, then went via US-89 South to Richfield, Utah. It was a fantastic time for us. Navigator opened his Laptop and started playing some old Hindi and Tamil Songs. Elder bro as usual was making fun of the navigator. When we reach Richfield it was around 1 AM in the night. We decided to take rest there & went to the city area looking for a motel. We finally took shelter in a motel called “Nights Inn” at 69 South Main St., Richfield. We all took bath and wanted go to bed. Between navigator opened his laptop and was trying to browse to find some information but alas there was no Internet connection. Anyway we decided to wake up at 5 AM in the morning and will start by 6 AM. But as usual none of us did wake up at 5AM, everyone was asking the other to wake up first. After lots of serious discussion (!!) on bed, I waked up at 6 AM. So we managed to start at 7 AM only.
But once we came out of our room there was one more shock waiting for us. We found someone had banged our car from the back. So We decided to change our car & consulted the GPS about the nearest Avis office. The wise GPS recommended us to go to the Cedar City. Then we took our breakfast at the McDonalds & started from Cedar City although that was a slight diversion from our normal route. Anyway we went to the Airport of Cedar City and found one Avis there, but they were not the proper Avis but some franchise. So they were not ready to change our car as we took it in Denver and asked us to go to Las Vegas for changing the car. But Las Vegas was very far from Cedar City and was on a different route so we decided to proceed towards the Grand Canyon.
Then we drove through I-15 South (touching Zion National Park) to UT-17, continue in AZ-389 and finally reached AZ-67. But here the main adventure began. After driving through AZ-67 we found a notice board waiting for us stating “The road is closed”. This was frustrating for us once we have covered such a huge distance. Then we took help of our GPS. It prescribed us some different (read no) route. It was a jungle route full of fallen trees. Roadside was full burnt trees. After driving around 2 hrs we didn’t find the passage to North Rim, we got more frustrated. Finally we joined AZ-67 somewhere, we were very glad. We drove though Kaibab National Forest. But very near to North Rim Entrance there was one more board stating that North Rim was closed for visitors. Oh no…what is happening with us. It was around 2 PM local time then, we decided to go to the South Rim. It was around 100 miles drive from there to reach the South Rim. On road one American asked us for a lift and elder bro obviously agreed. But our guest was generous as he took us through a shorter route so we get down wasting less time this time. Then we drove towards the South Rim & reached there at around 4 PM. South Rim was open for visitors & we got the opportunity to visit Grand Canyon.
It is a must see in the United States. Grand Canyon is a steep-sided gorge carved by the Colorado River. Geologists states that the canyon was formed nearly 17 million years time span & is 446 Km long and 29 Km wide. During prehistoric age the canyon was inhabited by Native Americans. The beauty of Grand Canyon cannot be stated in words. It is massive, royal & gorgeous. We started our visit Yavapai Point, then visited Mather Point, Grandview Point, Moran Point, Lipan Point, Navajo Point & finally the Desert View. There are so many view points & we tried to cover most of them, but it was getting darker. We had to come out of the Canyon & we planned to start from Las Vegas. So we started from Grand Canyon at around 6.30 PM & started our trip towards another tourist attraction in US, Las Vegas. We will cover it in next post.