Grand Canyon

The morning after seeing the Diamondback game at Chase Field, I was picked up at my hotel in a van by a weathered old tour guide named ‘Fuzzy’ and his apprentice named ‘Duke’ from Vaughn's Southwest Tours. Fuzzy had a leathery complexion as if he had been laying out in the Arizona sun since birth. He also smelled of stale pipe tobacco and malt liquor, but he was extremely knowledgeable about the area and an excellent and entertaining story teller. After picking me up, we mad about 5 or 6 stops along the way to pick up more folks taking the tour. A couple of the stops were at high end, big money Phoenix resort/spas

The first stop on the tour was Sedona, a desert town near Flagstaff that’s surrounded by red-rock buttes, steep canyon walls and pine forests. It’s noted for its mild climate and vibrant arts community. Uptown Sedona is dense with New Age shops, spas and art galleries. After spending about an hour there we headed up into southern arm of the Rocky Mountains going up the switchbacks to a point of near car sickness. As we ascended, the temperatures dropped steadily. Down in Phoenix yesterday was a high of 88 degrees. On our trip up to the canyon, the thermometers dipped into the 30s and it started to snow.

We stopped for lunch along the way then finally got to the canyon at about 11 AM or so. When we arrived, I was really disappointed to see that there was heavy cloud coverage and low visibility. After about an hour, it was like the hand of God came down and pushed the clouds away revealing a breathtaking vista that words or photos couldn’t accurately reproduce.

We had plenty of time to explore on our own so, I went off and found a quiet spot, sat on the ledge and meditated. One of the most peaceful feelings I’ve had in a whole and I don’t get a hell of a lot of them!

We got to check out the El Tovar Hotel where they filmed the scene in National Lampoon’s

Vacation where Chevy Chase steals the money from the cash register.

On the drive back to Phoenix through the beautiful Sonoran Desert, we stopped at a trading post on the Hopi Reservation where I got a cool little Hopi Tribal Doll. The state of Arizona doesn’t set their clocks back for Daylight Savings Time , except for the area of the of Hopi Reservation. So we traveled back and hour and forward an hour in a matter of 15 minutes on the drive back. I was back in Phoenix by around 8:30 PM.

This was a great way to wrap up a 6 day trip that started in New Orleans and took me through Houston, Dallas, Denver and Phoenix.