Day 11 – Oh my god. I’m so sore!

We woke up to our alarm at 4:00 AM, hopped up – well, actually it was a very slow and laborious effort considering how incredibly sore every muscle and joint in our bodies were – and THEN we headed to the Canyon. We made a quick pit stop at McDonald’s for a hot tea to warm us up from the cold desert night. Finding a spot near the trail head from yesterday, we parked and started our search for a good view.

We headed to the Rim Trail and somehow managed to find an UPHILL section. As if we weren’t tired enough already… We walked and walked until we found a suitable overlook and plopped down and waited. The rocks weren’t exactly like those luxury seats at Yankee Stadium, but it sure beat standing! At about 6:00 AM, that glowing ball of gases finally peaked over the far edge of the Canyon.

Our cameras started snapping and before we knew it, the sun was well into the sky. We looked down into the Canyon at the trail we had hiked the day before and thought to ourselves – what were we thinking?!? We saw plenty of folks getting an early start on their treks and all we could say was ‘Good luck!’ and avoid a snicker or two.

Despite the sunshine, we were still exhausted. (I blame our lack of chlorophyll – and photosynthesis abilities. But that’s just me.) We went back to the campsite and decided to take a ‘quick nap’ then have breakfast and head out. Well, if you consider a 3 hr nap ‘quick’ then we succeeded. At about 11 AM, we broke down camp and hit the road; this time headed for Uncle Mike and Aunt Ellie’s house in Phoenix, Arizona!

Driving through more National Forest lands between the Grand Canyon and Flagstaff, we saw the remnants/effects of some ‘controlled forest fires.’ It looked creepy. Dead limbs and burned/charred/blackened ‘stuff’ on the ground – all surrounding healthy looking, tall, green trees. It was a very bizarre sight.

Any who, we decided to take Liz Mosher’s (and several other people too) advice and make a stop in Sedona to check out their ‘Red Rocks.’ To Ally’s dismay this was not the same ‘Red Rocks’ that Dave Matthews used as his stage to record an awesome live album but rather actual red rocks. It was pretty awesome to come around the bend in the mountain and see the red formations ahead of us. It almost looked like ‘Radiator Springs’ from Cars. Also, in our googling (yes, googling – not oogling) we found out that the famous Red Rocks of Sedona were the basis for Disney’s Thunder Mountain Railroad. Enjoy that nugget of information; use it in Trivial Pursuit or something.

            We stopped at a couple scenic overlooks, took some pictures and continued on our way. As cool as they were, I recommend someone going to Arizona to visit Sedona BEFORE going to the Grand Canyon because as neat as Sedona was – it paled in comparison. After all, it is called the GRAND Canyon…

            Before long, we were in Phoenix. We pulled up to a loving welcome party of Patrick’s Aunt Ellie, cousin William and Joseph (Eliza was at gymnastics) and Ellie’s sister Gen.

Despite our attempts at helping, Aunt Ellie single handedly cooked us a glorious dinner (complete with homemade ranch dressing!) while Ally banged out a couple loads of our laundry. Before long, Eliza was home and we enjoyed a little bit of time playing around with the kids and talking to them about school before we all needed to go to bed.

            The kids had school and we needed to get on the road early because tomorrow we are headed to San Diego! The final stop on our Tour de America! 🙂

Grand Canyon, AZ to Phoenix, AZ – 209 miles

-Ally and Patrick

(or is that Smokey? I didn’t think Bubba could grow facial hair like that…)

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