Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter at Grand Canyon National Park.

We decided to take SS on her first real road trip, the one I foolishly thought we could pull off in January. Thankfully P is the brains of this operation, and he said hell no to driving in winter. It was a good decision because going to New Orleans was a real treat, and we know SS will always remember our time there.

SS is not a road trip person, she loves to fly. When asked what is her favorite part of a trip she says flying. Even if it is a rough landing she gleefully applauds and asks if the pilot can do it again. Meanwhile my heart is beating out of my chest and I have white knuckles. This time we are planning to go to four different states and flying was not an option.  The longest driving stretch was the first leg, home to Grand Canyon. Eight hours if we drove straight through, but we needed to stop for gas, bathroom breaks, and to stretch our legs.

The plan was to allow SS to go to bed as late as possible, then she would sleep most of the drive, since we were leaving at midnight. P was shattered when he came home and really needed sleep, so there went the midnight departure. SS could not sleep and finally went down at 3:30 a.m. Sunday morning. I did not get any sleep and was a slug packing and getting everything we needed ready. One thing we had decided before making our final plans was to make this trip as stress free as possible. We made plans but nothing was written in stone. So what if SS fell asleep at 3:30? She would sleep the entire drive and we would not have to hear her whine about are we there yet.

But the joke was on us because SS slept a little over an hour in the van. We could not believe it, how could that be possible? We planned to give her the Easter basket at the hotel in the afternoon, but stopped to give it to her to keep her busy. SS was thrilled to see a basket replete with goodies.

Part of the basket was two small Lego sets and SS immediately put them together and started enjoying herself. That gave us the opportunity to patch her eye to take advantage of the hand eye coordination challenge.

We made it later than planned but we were happy to make it without any meltdowns or major incidents. As you can see SS is hanging on to DOG who is usually left in the car. Although she is way too old to be carrying a lovey, we know the drive stressed her out.

This dude was actually doing yoga and remained on one foot for quite awhile. I should disclose that twenty five years ago, I was standing on that same spot while a friend took a picture of JJ and I. We did not think much about it at the time, because there is a path to that area. If it's accessible it can't be that bad. Funny that JJ was SS's age at the time.

I suggested to P we walk to that area and he about stroked out on me. I explained that SS and I (P is terrified of heights) would not be standing where yoga dude was, just in the middle of the rock. P said absolutely not, and no way would he ever allow SS down there. Gee, so SS can stand in front of a blow hole in Maui that scared the sh*t out of grandpa, but she can't take a picture in one of the most amazing places in the world with her mother? In retrospect it probably was not the best idea even though it would have been a hell of a picture. And as much as a joke and posture I do respect P's wishes.

P had never visited the Grand Canyon and when I proposed the trip he was not that impressed. He said it was a hole, what could be exciting about that? As we parked to walk over to Mather Point P took one last shot, "let's go and see this hole you are so excited about." I know he was half joking, but also not impressed. Once he actually laid eyes on the view P was in awe. He kept mentioning how immensely deep it is, how wide, and got excited when he spotted the river in the distance.

P knew that the year before I visited the GC a few friends and I planned to hike to the bottom. At the time I was a runner and we were hoping to run at least half of the way when the terrain was safe.  We were going to send our belongings on the mules and only have water and power bars on us. Sadly I became very ill about a month before our adventure, and my recovery was very slow. P pointed at the bottom and asked if that is where I would have hiked. At that moment he understood my desire to do it, and my sadness and regret for not accomplishing my goal. It really bothers me to this day. SS is usually the one not wanting to leave a fun activity, but P took her place. I would be ready to move on to another stop and P would ask if we could stay longer. It felt good to introduce my husband and my daughter to something they enjoyed so much.

I must admit that when I saw those people from a distance and no guard rails, I did realize my previous decision to do the same, and in a much smaller surface was foolish. Last night P was still shaking his head at me. He said "I can't believe you really wanted to stand by that precipice." Hey I love great photo ops.

Once P discovered that using SS's camera on our tripod was easier, he loved the extra long selfie stick. We took too many ill advised selfies.

We were not aware that from March to November the main roads are closed to private vehicles. because of the crowds. One must take a shuttle to all the other viewing points. SS was running on very little sleep and our hotel was an hour away. We called it a day, but will be returning for a two day stay to solely focus on this park,

Before driving to our hotel we had a treat for SS, a short (34 minute) IMAX movie about the Grand Canyon. We thought SS did not enjoy the movie because it was a reenactment of those who had inhabited the GC. I was under the impression it would highlight all the views we did not get to this time. SS surprised us when we left the theater by saying iftwas GREAT.  Our girl is that proverbial box of chocolates, we never know what we are going to get. We think her enthusiasm for the movie is because towards the end the wildlife was the focus. SS is a sucker for a feline that can devour a human in no time.

SS loved the coyote, and she can howl like one.

After dinner we took SS to the indoor pool and jacuzzi to allow her to spend some energy (AKA tiring her out so she would go to sleep).

SS decided to bring along a few of her friends. We would usually let her bring an additional fluffy friend besides DOG. But we know a six day road trip is a lot for SS, and since we are driving we have plenty of space. SS let me know she was being magnanimous by not bringing Olaf, "because he is too big Mama."

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