North America | United States of America (USA) | California – Day 4 – The Grand Canyon
End of Day 4 – A Best Western motel room just inside the California Border
(Hotel California but not such a lovely place).
The time is 1:45am, Pacific Time. Well we made it to the promised land! We’re still about 8 hours from our final destination, but at least we’re close. The trip has been about 2900 miles so far (2100 for Scott) and our bodies are starting to rebel. The three time changes that we’ve been through are probably not helping. Even though we didn’t do a lot of driving today, we certainly had a full day. We had breakfast at a local Flagstaff joint called Mike and Rhonda’s. The patrons looked like they belonged in the WWF. Arizona is about as Wild West as they come. Cowboy hats and Native Americans were plentiful, as well as pick-up trucks that look old enough to have been built by Henry Ford himself. Culturally, this is about as far from North Jersey as you can be, and still be in the same country.
Next stop – The Grand Canyon. The drive from Flagstaff to the canyon was absolutely spectacular .one breathtaking view after another. Its the kind of route you want to hike, not drive. Highway 180 has a posted speed limit of 55 but apparently no one cares if you go 90. Even at such high speeds, we did notice that there were signs posted every 5 miles telling us not to drink and drive. I thought that West Virginia is where all the Rednecks live, but apparently they have some here too. Whizzing by scenic forests and amazingly carved out mountains, I was again struck by the immensity of this nation.
When we finally got to the Grand Canyon, I was completely awestruck!! Never, in all my travels, have I beheld such a sight. I will not even attempt to describe what we saw .there is now way I could do it justice. We took a few moments to sit back and enjoy the views and spent time in prayer, just marveling at God’s creation. Later, in the car, we looked through the Bible to find verses that could possibly describe what we were feeling.
Psalm 111: 2-4 Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered byall who delight in him. Glorious and Majestic are his deeds, and his righteousness endures forever. He has caused his wonders to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and compassionate.
Romans 1: 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
A lady we ran into at one of the viewing points said it best. ‘How can you not believe in God when faced with such magnificence’? When we left, my head was still spinning. I will be back there someday. Please put this on your list of places to visit at least once in your life! We drove back to Flagstaff and kept going south towards Phoenix. Interstate 17, which leads from Flagstaff to Phoenix, is even more scenic than Highway 180. It descends from the San Francisco Mountains and cuts through the Red Rock formations of Sedona before climbing back up through the Big Horn mountains towards Phoenix.
We pulled over at a rest area, aptly named ‘Sunset Point’, to watch an incredible array of colors descend behind the mountains. Finally, the sunset we were looking for!! A 9.8 for sure. The only reason I’m not giving it at 10 is because there is always the hope that you will see one better. Three Crosses sure had it right .God does paint it better than Michaelangelo. If I sound solemn, it’s because I feel that way. I have been totally humbled by my drive through the state of Arizona. If you have not visited, I highly recommend it.
In Phoenix, we met friends from Jersey (Chris Kamienski and his dad, Mike) for dinner. They were in town working on their golf swings. After we had spent some time making fun of Chris, Mr. Kamienski treated us to a scrumptious meal and shortly thereafter, we headed west on Interstate 10 for the ‘Golden State’. Like last night, the sky was dotted with millions of stars. Right when we pulled up to the California border, we had to pass through a checkpoint where we were asked if we had any fruits or vegetables in the car. I have no idea what that’s all about. No other state seemed to care about our fruits and vegetables and I think it’s a waste to pay a guy to sit there and ask stupid questions. Maybe the cops from St. Louis were checking up on us….we should have just done a Thelma and Louise right off the Grand Canyon.
So, the journey is almost done. Just as well because we are running out of things to talk about. We tried the radio once .just to get a change from the tapes and CDs. We were pretty excited to find a station that advertised itself as ‘playing the best variety in Northern Arizona’ until we figured out that variety meant the difference between bad country music, really bad country music, and really, really bad country music. Real cowboys must lead very depressing lives to come up with those lyrics. I’ll take Clint Eastwood any day. Thanks for all the messages you sent us via pager. Much appreciated .especially the info on the trade between the Yankees and Blue Jays. I can’t believe they let David Wells go!!
Reporting live from the west coast,