We actually didn't have a very long time to plan this trip. We did not plan on going on a vacation this summer, but things worked out and we planned very quickly. I did as much research as I could and then we just went.
Some of you have asked if we made reservations ahead of time for hotels along the way. Yes and no. I only booked in advance our hotel at the Grand Canyon (Flagstaff) and our hotel at Yellowstone (Idaho Falls). I will blog about the advantage/disadvantage of both of those. I will include in this blog the things that were must do's, things we could've done without (or changed somewhat) and just all around aspects of the trip that many people have asked about. Also, I may do a separate blog post about the things we did to keep the kids occupied on the long car rides (many have asked about this too).
Day 1, Saturday, July 8, 2017
We left Drummonds around 1:00 PM and drove all the way to Elk City, Oklahoma to stay the night. Roughly 9 hours, 600 miles.
Day 2, Sunday, July 9, 2017
Left Elk City, OK around 8:30 AM. We stopped at the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, TX. Pretty cool and a nice break.
Kept driving through Texas (kinda boring) but the giant windmills (technically wind turbines) were very cool!
We drove through New Mexico to Arizona and made it to Flagstaff, Arizona before dark, 11 hours, 752 miles. We had reservations at a Days Inn in Flagstaff. It was just a plain hotel. Nothing to write home about, but clean and served its purpose for one night.
Day 3, Monday, July 10, 2017
We started out pretty early this day to drive to Sedona, Arizona. Our plan was to hike to Devil's Bridge before we had to check out of our hotel at 11:00.
We loved the town in Sedona and wished we could've stayed longer. If we ever go again we will definitely spend more time there as well as Slide Rock Park. The town was beautiful and the scenery was breathtaking.
The hike to Devil's Bridge (a natural land bridge) wasn't too bad. We all made it and the kids had no trouble. I was a little nervous at the very end because we did have to climb a little and walk up some makeshift steps made from red rocks. From the parking lot the entire hike was about 4 miles roundtrip. We were pretty tired by the end and very thirsty (we did take water on the hike). Here is a link with more info: https://www.greatsedonahikes.com/devilsbr/devilsbr.htm
Here are the pictures of the actual bridge. Brian and the kids said the bridge was much wider than it looks. I was fine not to go across it.
The drive from Sedona back to Flagstaff was about an hour across a mountain, very steep and curvey.
From there we drove north towards the south rim of the Grand Canyon. It was about an hour and a half.
It was very crowded and several parking lots were full. We parked at the Yavapai Geology Museum. There is a paved walkway for several miles all along the rim that seems to connect the all the parking areas.
The picture that looks kind of like a lighthouse is actually a watchtower. It is called Desert View Watchtower and is on the east side of the Grand Canyon. It was built in 1932. Here is a link from the National Park Service website with more info about it. (Also, the NPS website was a HUGE help to me planning the trip and even while we were on the trip). Please use it for maps, things to do and for alerts they may have in the areas you are traveling i.e. road closures, wildfires, etc. https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/desert-view.htm
We continued to drive up the east rim headed towards Utah. This was a long drive, but the scenery did not disappoint.
This is Kanab, Utah. We stayed the night a few miles from here.
Stay tuned for Days 4-9!