…it was a year ago today that I set off to America for a month long road trip. Can’t believe that it’s been a year already, time really does fly!
I wanted to mark the occasion by sharing something I wrote about one of my favourite memories from our trip….. happy reading y’all!
“It’s just a big hole in the ground” were the words we kept hearing over and over again when telling people we were en route to the Grand Canyon.
“Don’t be crazy – it’s one of the Seven Wonders of the World…It’s going to be spectacular” was my continued response as I laughed and rolled my eyes thinking these people clearly know nothing.
‘These people’ being the locals who live not too far away from the Grand Canyon, and have seen it for their very own eyes! Still I choose to assume that my years of wonder and awe over this masterpiece of nature was going to blow my mind, and tomorrow will be the day that I finally get to see it.
Tonight however, my friend and I had decided to venture out and have some drinks.
After a full day of driving from San Diego through Arizona, the night had now started to set in at its usual time of 5pm. Being November, this was one of the battles that we hadn’t considered when choosing the time of year for our road trip, and it would prove to continually kick us in the butt throughout our journey. But, instead of letting it bother us, and as with any expedition ventured, we just shrugged our shoulders and got on with it.
So with darkness now fully surrounding us, we needed a place to stay.
“This looks like the next biggish sort of town” Lisa claimed whilst studying our stolen motel map.
Prescott it was!
I have to say that when I drove into the town, and we finally saw buildings and street lights and people, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. For the past 20 minutes of driving I think we had both been secretly trying not to panic each other about how remote we were; nothing in sight apart from miles and miles of open and dark land. At these points I kept thinking ‘why did I have to watch The Hills have Eyes or Jeepers Creepers or Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ (even though we weren’t in Texas). I was doing my absolute best to push all my horror movie fears to the back of my mind. In the end though there was no need to worry, and before we knew it we had checked into a motel, dumped off our bags and were sat in a bar with what had become our faithful sponsor of our road trip, a Vodka and Diet Coke – with a slice of lime and a straw, Perfect!
It turns out that Prescott is home to one of the leading pilot schools in the USA, and we had stumbled into the local hang out bar for the students. To be fair though, there really isn’t a huge choice of bars in Prescott to be picky over when acquiring a local watering hole!
However, me being a sucker for a gimmick and this bar with its saloon like swing doors to walk through when entering, I was sold!
Before we knew it we were talking and laughing with a couple of aviation students who had decided that our accents were so unusual to hear through these lesser travelled roads of Arizona that they just had to “buy you guys a drink”. Who were we to say no!
It turns out that not only were the folk in Prescott keen pilots, but they were all pretty nifty swing dancers too, and within a matter of a few vodka and diet cokes (with a slice of lime and a straw) I was being chucked in the air and swung around a neck and twirled around legs, completely at the surrender of this giant sized hulk of a man who seemed to not realise that I actually wasn’t as light as a feather nor was I as elegant or as graceful as one either! I could see Lisa not too far away from me receiving the exact same treatment herself! Every now and then we would catch each other’s eye and reciprocate the same expression of: “this place is crazy, I can’t believe we’re swing dancing,” “I know, I’m loving it,” “me too!”
Now, I could have done this all night, it was honestly so much fun, but then they decided to bring out ‘Karaoke Hour’!
“I’m not bloody getting up there!” was the only thing I said back to Lisa as she tried to usher me to sing a song. Needless to say it didn’t work and to my horror, and probably everyone else’s, I suddenly found myself doing a rendition of ‘Summer Lovin’ from the movie, ‘Grease’. At the end of the song I hung my head in shame and slowly walked back to my little group of friends who were all cheering, laughing and shouting in supportive whoops! Well, we all have to do these things at least once in our lives I suppose.
Before we headed back to our Motel 6 to rest our now weary heads, we had the usual….
“oh you don’t want to worry about going to the Grand Canyon – it’s just a big hole in the ground, come and hang out again tomorrow evening for more swing dancing and karaoke”.
Of course we shrugged off the notion of missing out on one of the highlights of our trip to go swing dancing and karaoke as completely absurd! So the next day we drove the final couple of hours to the Grand Canyon. It was Veterans Day which meant there were no entrance fees to any of the National Parks, including the ‘South Rim Grand Canyon National Park’. Every now and then I would catch a glimpse of the Canyon and would feel myself nearly hopping with excitement and anticipation as to what we were about to see. We finally made it and there straight in front of mine and Lisa’s eyes, was the Grand Canyon!!
The GRAND CANYON people!!! Something I had idolised for years from watching movies like Thelma and Louise. We both just stood there in silence for a few moments, then turned to look at each other….and then burst out laughing before simultaneously exclaiming….
“Just a big hole in the ground”!!!!
- After thought –
Okay so as much as I may have completely underwhelmed anyone thinking of heading to the Grand Canyon, I should just say that it was a very cool thing to see and I’m glad that I’ve been. However, my tip would be to think about how you are going to do it. Don’t just rock up there like we did expecting to suddenly be in a Western movie surrounded by cattle ranches and lassoing cowboys. This is one of my faults when I travel, my lack of preparation.
So if you want to experience the Grand Canyon in all its splendour, do a bit of homework.