Prescott Valley, AZ to Las Vegas, NV

The day of traveling between Prescott and Vegas was my most challenging.  It started out on a great note.  Staying at my family friends’ house, I was treated to an awesome breakfast spread!  It was so great to not eat breakfast in my hotel room while getting my stuff together before hitting the road.  Then I heard the bad news, it was snowing in Flagstaff.

I’d have to go through Flagstaff to get to the Grand Canyon.  It’s funny because when I think of Arizona, I think of very hot, very dry, desert.  Boy, were we not expecting what confronted us on the road!

As I headed from Prescott towards Sedona, weather was alright if a little chilly.

Before I knew it, the fog started rolling in through Verde Valley.  

I was a little bit nervous about the weather, but I was astounded when the beautiful red rocks of Sedona rose out to greet us on the road.

Can you imagine living surrounded by this beauty every day?

I’m not exaggerating, I was literally saying, “Damn, Sedona!” this entire drive.  To do: plan a weekend trip back here ASAP.  I absolutely loved the little town and obviously the beautiful scenery.

You’ll have to forgive me for the selfies, but occasionally you get a little tired of asking strangers to take your picture!  I pulled out to a little trail head in Sedona to take a minute and take a breath…look around and marvel at what I saw! That has been an important reminder for me on this trip.  It has been a challenge for me to keep going, going, and going.  Plus, my personality is always “What else can I see?” “What other activity can I do before I call it a day?”  And sometimes I just have to remind myself to calm down a little bit.  There is beauty surrounding me in every moment of this trip!  I don’t want to miss appreciating it just because I’m so focused on getting to my next destination.

I feel like you could spend a week outside exploring all of these different peaks and cliffs.  The entire drive through Sedona my eyes were just scanning back and forth trying to take it all in. 

There was one other thing I was determined to do before I left the Southwest.  I wanted to try and find a Hopi ring that looked like one my mom has.  She’s been wearing this ring since she was in Arizona like 30 years ago.  I tried to explain it to my mom’s friend, Lori, who I was staying with, but finally I just broke down and asked my mom what tribe the ring was from.  That’s how I knew I had to find a place to carried Hopi jewelry.

I headed to my trusty smartphone to try and find a jewelry store that would carry Native American jewelry.  Obviously, that was like every store in a 100 mile radius.  But I turned to Yelp to read the reviews to pick the best option.  I’d mentioned before my hesitation to purchase items from places that might be less than legit.  I’m okay with paying a premium, as long as I’m comfortable with where my stuff comes from.  Does it feel like I’m making too big of a deal out of this?  I know it might feel like small beans, but it’s something that’s important to me.  That’s how I wound up at Garland’s Indian Jewelry.

After wasting about an hour of the lovely saleslady’s time looking at every Hopi ring they had in the store.  I was just so taken by these beautiful turquoise earrings.

So, even though I had meant to purchase a nice silver Hopi ring, I ended up with a new pair of turquoise Navajo earrings.  Another thing I loved about shopping at Garland’s is that they could tell me all about the jewelry.  I learned about the kind of turquoise that the earrings were made from and even got a little bio of the jewelers themselves.

With my new earrings in my pocket (joke – they were in the nice protective velvet pouch in my backpack!), I headed up to Flagstaff.  I was legit 15 minutes into the drive when the lovely snow confronted me.

I had to have a serious conversation with myself.  I didn’t think that I could go through Arizona without seeing the Grand Canyon….but I also didn’t want to a.) get into a terrible accident or b.) get stuck in hours of terrible traffic.

Like many dilemmas in life…I had to weigh the pros and cons.  At the end of the day, I knew that it was possible I wouldn’t be back near the Grand Canyon anytime soon.  So I decided to suck it up and make it through the snow (these flurries were nothing for a girl who lived in Michigan for 2 years!).

This is the scene that greeted me at the Grand Canyon.  Beautiful, yes.  Not very Canyon-y, though.  Unfortunately, while it wasn’t snowing on the south rim of the Grand Canyon…it was still super foggy.

As Remy and I walked along the path, I hoped that the fog would clear.

Instead, the fog just kept getting thicker and thicker.

  

I tried to stay super positive about it because… I was at the Grand Canyon!  What an amazing testament of creation on our planet!  But, I was also frustrated.  I wanted to go there and be like totally blown away by this huge natural wonder!!  Instead, I just saw little bits and pieces of it.

As you can see, the fog really didn’t let up!

  

Until finally… you could barely even see anything!

Remy and I walked for a little bit longer.  We headed out to a little pathway to the edge of a cliff to be like the other daredevils taking pictures.  I promise you, if you could see the drop you would have been super impressed!!

I’d basically decided we were going to have to just cut our losses when it started HAILING!! Well… that did it for us and we hustled (read ran while squealing under my breath tucking my chin to my chest and tugging Remy along with me) back to the car.

The drive out of the Grand Canyon was miserable.  First of all, to get to the Grand Canyon you have to travel on this highway that literally just goes to and from the Grand Canyon (which is like, duh, you can’t get to anything through the Grand Canyon).  But it’s frustrating because you are going to the Grand Canyon… not stopping there on the way to someplace else.  Secondly, did you know it’ll cost you $30 to get into the Grand Canyon.  Even if you are super lame like me and literally spent an hour peering down and trying to see the canyon through the crazy ass fog.  I was just super frustrated with the situation.

I was also oddly close to being home.  As I drove west through Arizona I kept trying to do the math and calculations in my head.  Was there some way for me to get home by the next night?  My plan was to spend the night in Vegas and then head to California through the mountains, was that what I should still do?  Could I make it to Bakersfield that night?  Could I crash in Palm Springs and then head north?

I drove for a few hours and then stopped in Kingman, Arizona (literally the only place that had more than a McDonalds on the highway).  I went and sat down in a Chipotle to eat dinner.  I took a deep breath and I thought about what I was going to do.  10 days in and I think I was just plain TIRED.  It is exhausting being a road warrior!  It’s hard to feel like you have to keep going and going and going and you can’t just chill and watch 15 episodes of Real Housewives in your sweatpants with nowhere to go and be.

I also was just so disappointed in my day!  I had loved Sedona, but I absolutely hated what happened at the Grand Canyon.  I’ve also noticed that it can be difficult for me to recover from a letdown like that.  Sometimes, I just let it spill over to other things and other moments that it shouldn’t even effect.  I feel like there’s a life lesson in there somewhere 🙂

I decided that I didn’t want to end my trip this way.  I didn’t want to be sad and frustrated on my way home!  I didn’t want to spend my last night in Bakersfield (no offense, Bakersfield!).  So I decided to make it to Vegas and go from there.

Distance traveled: 438 miles

High: Sedona and my new earrings!

Low: anti-climactic Grand Canyon visit

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