Saturday, July 12, 2014
We stopped at the Meteor Crater tourist site and the Lowell Observatory on our way through Arizona to California.
Posted by Joanna Freeman at 10:39 PM
I loved driving out to Joshua Tree (it was only a national monument in the late 80s but it's been upgraded), to get away from the busy smoggy LA life. It was quiet, peaceful, and had two really interesting environments, because it straddles two deserts.
Posted by Joanna Freeman at 10:38 PM
We visited a friend who moved to Scottsdale after teaching at my school for a few years (her husband is a doctor). Their three-year-old twin boys loved Griffin! Max called him "the boy" while Ender actually remembered his name. They pelted him with beanbags and played catch with a balloon. It was fun to watch.
Posted by Joanna Freeman at 10:19 PM
Thursday, July 10, 2014
After staying in cool cabins at the North Rim, we had to drive out and around to the South Rim, which is usually about 4 hours.
We saw a big herd of bison just after we left the park, talked to a nice owner of a gas station who is flying to Seattle this weekend for her daughter's reception, and then had to make a decision.
We were already taking four hours, we added on another hour to go see Lake Powell (Griffin loved the ranger program/slide show about John Wesley Powell), and Glen Canyon Dam.
We stopped at a trading post, but it wasn't really our thing. Too kitschy.
We got to the Grand Canyon South Rim entrance about 4, then to our campsite about 5. This part of the park is huge! It reminds me of Yellowstone, a big infrastructure for 5 million people a year.
Loved the architecture by Mary Coltrr, including this watchtower.
We set up camp, turns out we were next to a couple from Everett, riding their motorcycle to parks. We explored via shuttle bus, since parking is tough. The views were amazing!
Griffin got his Junior Ranger badge, looking for wildlife, writing poems, and drawing some things from the canyon. I love this program. They learn a lot and it gives them something to focus on.
Here is the El Tovar Hotel, one of the oldest lodges. Griffin was curious about the heads on the walls. Different era! I love the old lodges, though. Wish we could afford to stay in them!
We had a visitor next to our campsite when we got back.
This bull elk had huge antlers! He just kept using them to pull down branches and leaves. He knew exactly how to use them as a tool.
Then, the thunderstorms started again. After having every ranger start their talk with information about "monsoon season" (July) and how to avoid being struck by lightning, Griffin was nervous. So we sat in the car while it poured, and thunder and lightning crashed around us. After two hours, at 6pm, I called it. We packed up everything in the rain and got the heck out of there.
I'll post video when we get back. We spent the night in Flagstaff before going to Scottsdale to see my friend Alissa, who taught at Ridgecrest until this year. She has two 3 year old twin boys who adored Griffin.
Now we are north again, along Route 66, in Holbrook, AZ. We are in a motor inn across from the Wigwam motel, large concrete teepees that inspired the Cozy Cone Motel in the movie Cars!
We had dinner at Joe and Aggie's Cafe, and the current owners parents helped with the research for Cars. His dad was named Stanley, and they used that name for the founder of Radiator Springs. Some of the lines were from his mom's interviews with the director, John Lasseter.
Loved the neon everywhere! And the thunderstorms followed us here, of course.
Off to Joshua Tree tomorrow, with some stops to see other Route 66 sights!
Posted by Joanna Freeman at 9:14 PM
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
We spent two nights in a cabin at the North Rim, where the rangers (which Griffin has now decided will be his future job) said that only 10% of tourists visit. The other 90% go to the South Rim. We loved the peace and quiet and lack of commercialization at the North Rim.
Front of the lodge
Sitting in the beautiful Sun Room looking out over the canyon
Brighty of the Grand Canyon, subject of a book by Marguerite Henry, a real-life burro who worked in the canyon. I read the book in elementary school and was excited to see his statue here! People rub his nose for good luck.
Posted by Joanna Freeman at 9:44 PM
Friday, July 04, 2014
Hot! That is the first word that comes to mind when thinking of Zion National Park. It was 104 degrees yesterday at the Visitor Center. Good call to cancel the camping reservations.
We went back today with a little bit more cloud cover and did a hike and visited the Human History Museum. Beautiful park, amazing sandstone cliffs, and interesting history.
Posted by Joanna Freeman at 8:53 PM