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Seeking Americana

>> May 5, 2013

I got on a plane and flew 1,800 miles.  So that I could get in a car and drive back home. Is that weird? 

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I've always wanted to take that "classic" cross-country road trip, and only recently did the opportunity present itself. My brother spent four months training in southern Arizona and was on his way back home. He was planning on stuffing his little Honda Civic with (almost) everything he owned and driving back home to Georgia. I thought it was the perfect opportunity to spend some quality sibling time and see parts of the country that you only see as you're passing through onto your final destination. I think that's what I appreciate most about road trips...there are amazing places to see all across this country and none of which are destinations. 

With only five days to explore, we didn't meander as much as I would have liked but I still managed to cross a few items off of my bucket list. 

Since my flight landed pretty late, Will picked me up from the airport and we stayed the night in Phoenix. We needed to be well rested for the next day because we had the Grand Canyon on the itinerary!!  To say I was excited to see the Canyon is a smidge of an understatement. I have a mini obsession with the National Park system. It started when I saw Ken Burns' "America's Best Idea", it's a fantastic documentary about the history and creation of the National Parks should watch it if you have 720 minutes to spare. Sure it's kind of long, but it's worth every second. 

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We started our first day bright and early from Phoenix and headed North towards the Canyon via Sedona &  Red Rocks Scenic Biway. I was so taken by the landscape of Arizona, this was my first time here and the beauty of the desert is really incredible. It's so amazing how unique each state is in terms of it's landscape, weather, culture, etc. It's what road trips are really all about. As we drove through the desert we were in awe of the amazing colors, the rock formations, and especially the mesa's.

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Sedona was absolutely gorgeous, I'd love to go back and explore the little town and maybe slip in a spa treatment or two...or nine. Who's counting? Will decided to pull over at state park on our route to the Canyon and it ended up being a nice surprise. Sliding Rock State Park is a hidden gem! If you're brave, you can take a dip in the freezing cold water and take a spin on the natural rock slide formed by the bed of Oak Creek. 

Onward to the Canyon! I truly wasn't prepared for the beauty and immense size of the canyon. I know that sounds's called "Grand" for a reason. But still, it's hard to imagine something that big and you quickly realize how incredibly small we are. 

We chose to hike the South Kaibab trail, honestly for no other reason other than we thought it would be the least crowded and something we could handle given our short time in the park. It was stunningly beautiful, so amazing that we almost forgot that we were hiking downhill the entire way. Towards the bottom of the trail we were reminded by the hikers huffing and puffing that the return trip would be completely uphill. Yikes. Thew views make it worth it.

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After our hike, we ran around Grand Canyon Village collecting stamps for my passport and found a place to have dinner. Before dinner we were lucky enough to catch the sunset on the canyon, it's amazing how the colors become so vivid in the late afternoon light. Such amazing hue's of red, orange, and purple that are just breathtaking. We opted to end the first day of our trip at the historic El Tovar hotel. Which is fitting really, given that it was the very hotel that President Teddy Roosevelt frequented when he visited the park...the park that he created. We had a glass of wine by the roaring lobby fireplace followed by dinner in the main dining room. A pretty fantastic end to a pretty fantastic day. 


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