In the midst of all the COVID-19 chaos, Bill and I decided to take a vacation. Life has been nothing short of unusual and we want to bring back a sense of normalcy by doing something rather normal and fun. So we planned a road trip to the Grand Canyon and back but with a few stops in between. We rented a camper van for our 9 day long excursion and we set out on the road on June 19th, 2020.
Day 1: The morning of June 19th we drove to the rental store to pick up our camper van. We quickly packed up, kissed the pups goodbye (left them with a sitter, of course) and set for the open road. It took us about 3.5 hours to navigate our way to our first destination at the Great Sand Dunes National Park in southern Colorado. This was my first time being here and Bill's probably 80th time (although it's been a while since he last visited). We hiked to the highest peak we could see which took us around 1 hour. The sand was so hard to walk on it seemed that for every 4 steps we took it set us back 3. It was a workout but once we got to the summit it was well worth it.
Day 2: Our next destination was nearly four hours away at Mesa Verde National Park. It sits southwest of Colorado just south of Cortez. It was the first time on our trip that we saw wildlife that was bigger than a rabbit. The history of this national park is unique it's known for its well-preserved Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings, notably the huge Cliff Palace. The Puebloan peoples lived in the cliff dwellings between 500 AD and 1300 AD, the reasons they left are unknown but archeologist believe it was due to limited resources.
We had a hard time finding a place to camp our van, due to our inexperience and confusion of the rules. We drove into Cortez, CO that night and found a Marijuana dispensery to park at. Bill couldn't wait to leave the next morning. We pulled out of that sketchy lot before I could even brush my teeth. Despite the unusual accomodations, we still had a pretty good view of the mountains.
Day 3: We were ahead of schedule and our stop between Mesa Verde and Horseshoe Bend, the Four Corners, was closed due to COVID in fact all the Native American reservation monuments were closed but we didn't let that kill our joy. Bill and I made it to Horseshoe Bend sometime in the afternoon, Arizona in mid-late June is hot. I mean real hot. We thought that it would be a good idea to lay low until it started to get dark. We found a beautiful camp spot that overlooked Lake Powell. Once it cooled down a bit we hiked to Horseshoe and caught one of the most beautiful sunsets before calling it a night. Horseshoe Bend costs $10 for parking and the hike in is about 1/2 mile. It is a very easy hike, but it is very hot so it is important to pack water and sun protection.
Day 4: Grand Canyon was my most anticipated location on this trip. I had never been to the Grand Canyon before and many have told me that it is hard to understand just how beautiful and massive it really is until you are there in person. We saw a moose, met some fantastic people, got a lot of amazing photos and watched the most amazing sunset.
Days 5-6: Las Vegas, NV. Bill and I spent two days in Vegas visiting his goods friends who welcomed us gladly into their home. This was the "intermission" in our trip where we got to shower and sleep in a bed in a home since the start of our trip. Bill and I ventured on the strip, ate lunch, rode roller coasters until we were sick. Literally. New York, New York was almost vacant so Bill and I had the opportunity to ride the coaster unlimited amount of times with no lines and very minimal waiting. It was amazing. We rode it so many times that we found out were the camera's were and decided to do our own photoshoot haha.
Day 7: Zion National Park. I recommend anyone who is looking for a national park to visit in UT to visit Zion. It has stunning scenery and a great town! We arrived in town but the major roads were closed off so we were limited to what we could do. We chatted with a local in town at and outdoor gear shop and he gave us an in to a camp outside of the park with incredible views. He was not wrong about that. And get this, it was FREE! Bill and I got some awesome photo's for the company. We have already talked about coming back when everything reopens. This park is just filled with amazing sights.
Day 8: Day 8 of our roadtrip was an interesting one. We woke up in Zion National Park hit the road and made it to Canyonlands were we spent a few hours hiking and then crossed over to Arches National Park where we got caught in a rainstorm. While everyone left the Delicate Arch, Bill and I and a handful of other people decided to stick out the storm. We hudled in the rocks until it passed and managed to capture some fantastic photo's with almost no one around. We hiked back to our car and journeyed to Glenwood Springs where we camped out that night. The original plan was to spend the night in Arches but we we're so ready to get home by this point.
Day 9: We woke up in Glenwood Springs hoping to hike to Hanging Lake but due to COVID we were supposed to make reservations, which we didn't do and weren't aware of. By this time in our trip we were both so anxious to get home and to our puppies that we didn't mind so much. The I-70 corridor is filled with so much beauty so we we're filled with a pleasant view back to our home nestled in Morrison, CO.
This trip taught us a lot about patience, love and appreciation. There were some trying times in our relationship but through love we pushed through the rough days. This is certainly one unforgettable trip that we will share and remember forever. We can't wait for our next adventure, we are hoping to check out the PNW next year! Until then. Adventure on, you beautiful souls.