When we left off, Kaylen and I were in the process of grudgingly handing over twenty-five American big ones to an attractive park ranger who stood staunchly between our trusty Altima and its long-awaited destination – the Southern Rim of El Gran Cañón.
Speaking of which – did you know that the official language of the Southern Rim of the Grand Canyon is Spanish?
(Confused? Skeptical? Read Part II.)
Anyway, seeing as how our iPhone maps had been reduced to this:
… we were forced to follow clumsily carved wooden signs along the road and trust that they would lead us straight to The Views, without occasioning any freak accidents involving unwitting elk or warranting any references to Thelma and Louise. (Of course, by “we were forced to follow…” I mean “I was forced to follow…” as Kaylen’s total navigational contribution to our three-day road trip can be summed up in five words: “There’s a bathroom over there!“)
We finally parked in a parking lot filled with dirty cars – a telling indicator of our having arrived somewhere at least marginally adventurous – and stepped out into the fresh canyon air. (Is that a thing? I know there’s “mountain air,” but in the absence of mountains, what would you call it?)
Now, those of you who have been following this miniature saga closely will remember the Plan. For the rest of you, here it is in a nutshell: to get ponchos, sombreros, cervezas, guitars, to sit on the rim of the Grand Canyon in said attire and to take a enormous amount of photographs.
Well, the instant our feet hit the dusty pavement, the wind and the cold and the persistently indecisive drizzle effectively and thoroughly nixed all of our well-thought-out, meticulously detailed and undeniably brilliant intentions. However… we wouldn’t admit our defeat out loud to each other, at least not quite yet. After all, we couldn’t appear to give up that easily. Instead, we both pretended to be unfazed by the less than ideal conditions and, mumbling all the while, made excuses as to why we should leave all of our Mexican-themed props in the car – just for now.
We wandered around the general vicinity of the parking lot for a while, not entirely sure whether or not we were in the right place. At one point we ambled into some kind of historical and informational exhibition, complete with visual aids, rocks in glass display cases, and tourists pretending to be enlightened by it all but really just reveling in the warmth. Really, who needs museums these days when there’s Google? (Just kidding!!!! Jeez)
Finally, we meandered back outside (I mean, that’s one thing we did know – the Grand Canyon is not likely to be found indoors) and resorted to pestering bundled-up passersby for some semblance of guidance. Kaylen, always one for approaching strangers, marched over to a middle aged woman who was walking with her head bent down against the wind, and shouted in her unsuspecting face, “Excuse me, where are the VIEWS?”
Startled, the woman looked up and, after registering that the sudden loud, abrasive demand had come from this tiny girl in stylish, laced-up boots, she surveyed the scene skeptically as though wary of being Punk’d. “Um, well…” she started off, then realized with some surprise that we were entirely serious, “Oh, the views are right over here, they’re all along the rim.”
She gestured in the direction we had been headed, about twenty feet away. Oh, right.
Approximately eleven seconds later, we had made it. The Grand Canyon. We were overlooking the place where Zeus’s lightning bolt had penetrated the earth and cracked the United States in half, causing Gandalf to lose his ring only to be found, deep in the canyon, by Voldemort himself.
Well, there’s not much to say about the next hour or so that couldn’t be better illustrated by pictures. So here they are:
After we were worn out from being such fantastic hams – who am I kidding, we could never tire from that. After a while, our fingers were simply too cold and numb to operate our cameras any longer. So we returned to the car and sat in it and ate salami and tomatoes.
I let Kaylen drive back to Flagstaff…
Did we make it? Did we party with Jake the crippled, blacklisted drug-smuggler from Canada? Did we ever wear our ponchos? Did we make it to Vegas the next day and do everything the Romans did at Caesar’s Palace?
Wait and see.
- Road Trip, Part II: “I’ll Rim YOUR Canyon” (lifeho.wordpress.com)
- Road Trip, Part I (lifeho.wordpress.com)