One amazing canyon in a day is not quite enough, so we headed from Antelope Canyon in Page, AZ, onwards to Grand Canyon. We arrived in the late afternoon, just in time to get nice evening views of the Canyon from the watchtower at Desert View.
That the campgrounds in the National Park were full, did not really shock us. We also declined to go with the plan B the ranger had to offer, but went with our own plan to search for a dispersed camping site in Kaibab National Forest around mile 270. The plan worked excellently and we found a nice site, just a couple of miles from the park entrance.
The evening was used to get Max’ bike fixed again which had two flat tires due to the spiky thorns that were all along Lake Powell. While Sam fixed the bike, I cooked dinner and Max eventually turned to playing Lego after helping his dad for a while. A nice and calm evening.
The next day we took in a couple of nice viewpoints along the Eastern part of the park. At Grandview lookout we also took a small hike down in the direction of the canyon. But we did not plan on going really further down, even though Max was all set to go down all the way. The nice thing was that as soon as we climbed down a bit, we were suddenly all alone without any other people around.
Shortly after that we parked our car and took a walk along the rim – Sam and I walking and Max on his bike. And given that all parking spots were full at the visitor center anyhow, this was the perfect choice: nice views, fresh air, some exercise and very few people. At the visitor center I got the obligational stamps for our National Parks Passport and we then went on to Mather Point to take in the view while enjoying a cup of tea with some cake. Eventually we returned the same way we came, got back to our car and went off to find the next campground.
The campground and RV park in Tuyasan was not really what we had in mind: we were not planning to stand lined up in a row with other RV which would most likely have their air-cons and compressors on all night just for the pleasure of having an electrical hook-up. So once more we went into the Kaibab National Forest and had a spot for ourselves.
The next morning, we started to head down towards Flagstaff. While initially we were only passing through a rather flat countryside, eventually the scenery became a lot nicer when passing through the San Francisco mountains. Flagstaff surprised us as a quaint small town and as it was time for a break anyhow, we used Janis’ map in order to find a park. The one we found was absolutely crowded with kids on their recess from the adjacent school, but it featured a nice skatepark which Max soon later tried out with his little BMX bike.
Given that it is Memorial Weekend coming up, we wanted to secure our campground well ahead of time for the weekend. So we eventually left Flagstaff towards Sedona. Having had the choice between a couple of places, it seemed like Flagstaff / Sedona was a nice area to spend a couple of days for the long weekend. And we were lucky to get one of the last remaining spots in the Pine Flats campground half way between Flagstaff and Sedona.
We spent the next day running some errands, specifically trying to get a new spare part for our shower system. Admittedly it was a bit of a miss not having taken care about that already in Page, as we knew that our shower system is actually a deck shower for marine use. And consequently the RV stores we went to were not able to get it for us. At least Buddy’s RV Service in Flagstaff was so kind to allow us to order the part to their address. After all, we had found it online at Walmart and for a change this time we knew that we’d stay in a location for a bit longer than usual.
The next couple of days we explored the region a bit. Sedona was top of the list, not so much for the spiritual energy and the vortexes that are supposed to be there, but much more for the nice small town with the amazing red rock country surrounding it. Based on a recommendation from Jakob’s guide book we attempted the Airport Loop. But eventually we realized that it was not a good idea to attempt that with Max’ bike. So we had to move to plan B: Sam continued onwards with Max and I went back to get the car. We then wanted to meet at a park which we had seen on a map. And as it happens so often plan B was by far better than the original plan. The park did not only feature an enormous playground, but also a water splash park – what a reward for Max after having attempted such an exhausting bike trail!
A bit of shopping, a bit of rock sightseeing and back we went to the campground for a relaxing evening and a full next day without going anywhere. We used the lazy day to tidy up the van and to do a couple of maintenance efforts such as preventivly sealing the roof with a silicone Sam had bought specifically for that.
In the evening we took a hike up to the canyon rim – 800 strenuous feet upwards (that’s at least what the hiking guide said). For us it was nice exercise after a rather lazy day and even Max enjoyed the hike up and even more so the way down. In the evening we met another German family who were already in their seventh and last month of travelling before heading home. And once more, we took lots of recommendations specifically for the Mexican part of the trip, as they just travelled Baja California up as we’ll be doing in a couple of weeks as well. In case you’re interested to get to know them: check out kidsontheroad.de.
Memorial Sunday was reserved for another trip to Sedona, this time to a nice creek with a view at Crescent Moon Ranch. At half past ten the (large!) parking lot was already full, so we packed our stuff and Sam parked a bit further down along the road while Max and I tested already the waters. What a nice refreshment on a hot sunny day like that!
Our first spot was already great. Based on the recommendation of local family, we went on a bit further to an even larger pool with a small waterfall. There the water was even deeper and the view to Cathedral Rock even nicer.
One last fifth night at our home base Pine Flats, we then left the next morning with the clear goal in mind to reserve a spot in a KOA campground. After all, it had now been 17 without electrical hook-ups and with the exception of Page also without Wi-Fi or network connection. And even though the sign in front of the Flagstaff KOA still featured a large ‘Sorry, we’re full’ sign, we tried and easily got ourselves a site reserved for the night. With electrical hook-up, free Wi-Fi, dump station, a laundry, hot showers and mobile phone connection – everything and even more than what we need. And with freshly washed laundry, a fully updated blog and fully charged batteries in the camper van, we’ll be all set for our upcoming adventures… And we’ll be conveniently located to pick up our spare part tomorrow just a mile up the road!
After that was all settled, we used the opportunity of having reception before noon to call home. And then we set off for a day trip to the nearby Barringer Meteor Crater. The crater is with its 50,000 years rather young and given the dry climate (just 7.5’’ of rain / snow per year) really well preserved. Hard to imagine the impact that meteor had – not to speak even about the larger ones that there are worldwide.