Monday, October 6, 2014

Celebration Road Trip - Final Two Stops

So far, our two week road trip to celebrate our upcoming 25th anniversary was filled with surprises, incredible scenery and lots of fun.  From the beautiful and magical North Rim of Grand Canyon and the awesome time we had in Capitol Reef / Goblin Valley / Cassidy Arch to the spectacular adventure we had exploring slot canyons in Escalante.  But, we still had a few more days and two more destinations to enjoy.  Next stop...the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.

We headed out early from Captitol Reef National Park and the scenery along the way was beautiful.  Part of the drive went up from the east side of Bryce Canyon National Park.  I snapped a picture through the windshield of some of the amazing roadside scenery.  I like how this photo even caught the reflection of it on the hood of our truck...


We had made reservations at one of the many campgrounds in Grand Canyon National Park.  That's a must because it's very popular and spaces fill up fast.  We got there around mid afternoon and set up.  Shortly after that, we headed over to the rim for the sunset.  The Elk were out for some late day munching.  Hubby got a picture of this guy with huge antlers.  He was bending young trees over to eat their tender tops.  The Elk made very weird sounds to communicate with one another...something we'd never heard before.

It was very cloudy but the sunset was still beautiful.

Here's a photo I took...


As the sun disappeared, we turned to walk back along the rim and hubby got this gorgeous picture looking east.  We could see rain storms over the canyon and they moved so fast that in no time at all it was pouring right over us.  Good thing I'd brought a jacket to protect my camera!  We got drenched pretty quickly but the rain didn't last long and we dried quickly too.  Another magical night at Grand Canyon!  I love that place so much!


The next morning, we had a good breakfast, loaded our packs, and headed out on our bikes to ride from view point to view point.  Our first stop was the visitor center to check things out.  There was a Raven in a tree there that had an audience of people watching him as he talked and talked.  I wonder what he was saying?


After a few stops, we arrived at the El Tovar Lodge.  It was built in 1905 and is one more of those amazing National Park lodges that are so much fun to see.  Since it was already mid-day, we decided to treat ourselves to lunch in their elegant restaurant.  It was beautiful and so fancy with staff that were extremely professional and treated everyone like royalty. We got there early enough to be seated near the window for an view of the canyon while we dined.  There was some old and interesting artwork on the walls that they're happy to provide a printout that tells about them.  Oh....and, the food was really good too! 


I love the dishes they use there and they have some on display just outside the dining room...


There are a lot of stops you can make along the rim.  Some are simply a place to take in the view.  Others have a museum, an art gallery or something else too.  I fell in love with the amazing view from this stop.  I think it was the Yavapai Museum of Geology.  The building sat right on the rim with windows all across the canyon side.  What a great living room that would make!!!  I snapped a picture but everyone else was enjoying it too so it was impossible to get a picture with no one in it.  But, I like the silhouette of this lady in her cute hat enjoying the view...


I don't remember how many miles we rode that day but it was quite a few.  There were a lot more stops and miles to the end stop at Hermit's Rest than I thought.  It was a lot of fun though and nice to take our time and enjoy the park without using the park shuttle bus.  Although, it's a great option and I did take advantage of it and rode back from Hermit's rest to the El Tovar Lodge.  Hubby rode back to meet me there.  I locked up my bike and headed into the bar to order a drink and before they'd finished making it, hubby called me to let me know he was there.  That was fast!  He got a drink too and we sat on the front porch of the lodge to relax and take in our amazing time there.

I had a prickly pear margarita.  It sure was pink!


When my daughter and I stopped at Grand Canyon in July, we found a cafe in the Market Plaza (inside the park) with that was very affordable and had lots of food options.  I was pretty tired from our long bike ride and didn't really feel like cooking.  Besides, this place was so good that we couldn't miss it.  So, hubby and I headed over there for dinner.

We got up early the next morning and got one more look at that amazing canyon before we left.  Salsa got to go this time and we took her picture.  I think she likes it there!


Then, we headed back to camp to pack up, hitch up, and hit the road for our next stop.  One last picture before we left....the view from our campsite.  Beautiful!  And, now this place has so many awesome memories....from the wonderful time I spent there with my daughter in July and, now, the great time I had there with my hubby.  I was a bit teary eyed about leaving.  But, I'm sure we'll be back!  And, we were heading off to see and experience more places.


Our next and last stop of this trip was going to be Sedona, Arizona.  We enjoyed more beautiful landscapes and blue skies filled with puffy clouds along the way.


And, many more miles of golden yellow flowers...


We had a reservation on this stop too as the only place we know of in town is the Ranch Sedona RV park and we didn't want to chance not getting a spot.  It was pretty hot when we got there and we were pretty hungry.  So, we got all set up, turned on the AC for Salsa and Penelope (our dog and kitty) and headed out for lunch!  We went to the Oak Creek Brewery and Grill at the Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village.  It was a good choice.  It was nice and cool inside, we had a window seat with a nice view of the village below, the waitress was really nice, and the beer and food was great!

We ordered a sampler of some of the beer they brew...


The little mugs were so cute!...


We tried something we'd never had...deep fried pickles.  But, not just any deep fried pickles.  These were "Wicked Pickles" that had been infused with jalapeno.  YUM!!!  The rest of our food was great too!


The main thing we'd planned to do on this visit to Sedona was to go for a mountain bike ride.  So, the next day, we headed out for a late afternoon/sunset ride near Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte.  Trail parking areas now have kiosks to purchase a parking permit for $5.  We had no trouble at all finding spaces to park.  And, as always, the scenery there was spectacular!


That's Courthouse Butte that I'm pointing at.  We were riding to the base of it.


Fun!


But, watch out for some of the obstacles sticking out from the edge of the trail!...



We capped off the final night of our trip with an amazing meal at the Taos Cantina (funny name for a place in Sedona!).  Hubby had a "Dirty Sedona Margarita" with pineapple, orange juice and cinnamon in it.  It had a very unique flavor.  He loved it!  I had a Blackberry Lime Margarita.  Cheers!


I'm not sure if we were just hungry after our bike ride and because it was late or if the food really was really amazing but that meal was SOOO good!  Hubby had tamales and I had shrimp street tacos.  I'm getting hungry just thinking about it all.  Incredibly delicious!


A perfect end to a perfect trip!

P.S.  If you haven't had a chance to see photos and posts from the rest of our trip, I've provided links at the top.  Just click on one of the places and it will take you to that post.  Once there, if you just want to see the photos, click on any photo and it will bring up just the photos and they'll be larger.  We had an amazing time and saw so many spectacular things!

Thanks for stopping by!  :-D

7 comments:

Cindie said...

I love seeing and reading about your special trip - we've never been to the southwest so this is a treat and something to think about for the future.

Sweet Posy Dreams said...

Stunning scenery, and good food too! Sounds like a perfect trip.

Amy at love made my home said...

I have so enjoyed reading the posts about your journey, so many things that I have never seen or heard of before, it has been fascinating. I am of course even more glad that you enjoyed it so much and had such a good time! xx

111 LaLa Lane said...

I've really enjoyed reading about your journey and looking at those breathtaking photos. It might take me a while to get there, but I have to now. How could I not go see those gorgeous vistas that you so beautifully captured?

Delighted Hands said...

Grande Finale! Just beautiful and such an amazing trip!

The Polka Dot Closet said...

What gorgeous pictures, I have never been to the Grand Canyon, I don't know why not, heck I have been all over Europe and missed some of the most beautiful parts of my own country. Looks like you had ton of fun, food, and drink

Carol

mamasmercantile said...

Such an amazing trip, I have never been fortunate enough to visit any of the places so it really was fascinating. Thank you for sharing such treasured photos.