Day 75. Sunday, 2 Dec: Grand Canyon
It’s cold in Arizona in early December and we felt it last night. Our 8 am start from Cameron into the East entrance of Grand Canyon National Park (GCNP) took us to even colder parts. We were supposed to reach the Visitor Centre in an hour from Cameron, but we reached the Watchtower two hours later at 10 am.
The reason for our slow going was this…
Driving a 28ft RV in Snow and ice
A few times we nearly turned around! But when we saw a big Class A motorhome slowly make its way past our lookout point further into the park, we had to follow. If they could do it, so could we. And we did it.
We drove in snow and on ice, only a little ice, without snow chains at 20mph and stopped often to unclench our fists to get blood flow back to our bone-white knuckles. No, it really wasn’t that bad, but it was our first time so we were super tense. In hindsight, driving to Yosemite National Park when we just picked up the RV for the first time, was still the worst.
The GCNP rangers don’t use salt on snowy and icy roads. They use grit, a mixture of salt and gravel, and the snowplough was hard at work to keep the roads safe.
The Watchtower was impressive. We loved the native art inside and the steep spiralling staircase visible along the tower wall all the way to the top. The views! Oh my goodness, the views! I don’t want to spoil the Grand Canyon for you, but it gets even better from here.
The small Tusayan museum is interesting, but the ruin is nothing compared to the Aztec or Mesa Verde ruins we just saw a few days ago. What we did enjoy was walking on a little forest loop near the ruin to learn that it was the tribes’ ‘shopping mall’; a star educational moment for both the kids and us. To see how these people lived and survived with only what they needed and no more gives new meaning to that foreign term ‘minimalism’.
On that little loop, they got their food (berries, fish, corn), their fuel, building materials plus twigs and sticks to make toys for their kids. All in one small section of the forest! Why do we need malls and ten thousand shops to sustain us again? Because we ‘want’, not ‘need’. I was going to say skip the Tusayan ruin if you’ve been to the other larger sites, but on second thought, take your kids to see how people who loved and respected nature ‘shopped’ centuries ago.
Now, we’ve seen so many great things in America these past weeks, jaw-dropping scenes of beauty and utter impressiveness (not sure that’s a word). But nothing prepared us for the greatness of the Grand Canyon. I’m so glad that we saw it towards the end rather than at the beginning of our trip. The other canyons that we saw before this, which were all amazing, may not have had the same impact otherwise. The Grand Canyon is, well, I’m searching for a suitable adjective other than ‘grand’, but just look…
When I finally stopped taking photos (as difficult as it was) I looked up. I could only laugh in astonishment and gawk at its majesty. This is seriously one of those moments where I had to stop clicking or scrolling to just admire what my eyes were seeing. To give them time to really take it in while my brain computes the sheer scale of not only the Grand Canyon but of the grandest of grand moments on our epic road trip around America. We were there! Unreal and the stuff of dreams.
Overnight: Railside RV Ranch. $42 p/n. Full hookups, Free Wi-Fi & Brk.
So, the answer to the headline, How to Discover the Grand Canyon with Kids in a 28ft Motorhome in the Heart of Winter, is simples (you know meerkat.com, right?)…