I had meant to blog everyday while I was on my trip to the Grand Canyon. Even while I was “off the grid” for four days I had meant to write and then just post it once I had access to the internet. Oh my gosh, I was exhausted every night. I was crawling into bed every night no later than 9:30pm and going straight to sleep. That is unusual for me. Not just the 9:30, but the going straight to sleep. Usually I like to play on my Kindle (Mah Jongg or Solitaire…) but my Kindle was pretty much left alone most of the week. So, I did not write. I had a blast. I made a great friend. We are already talking about our next trip. It may be another two years before we go, but I think we will go.
When I left, I was so anxious about going by myself. Was I going to have a roommate? Would I make any friends? Would I be left all by myself? I did not have a roommate. That was nice to be able to relax on my own and not worry about somebody that I did not know. I made friends. I think Carolyn will be a “life-long” friend. I already miss her. It was hard coming home and not talking with her and laughing (and we laughed so hard) but she lives on the East Coast. I’m back here in reality, worrying about some friendships that I thought I have built, grieving for some that I have lost. I did a lot of soul searching while I was away and have realized that I am stronger than I have given myself credit for.
Day One: I flew into Phoenix and took a shuttle straight to the Hilton. I was early, so was put on a waiting list for a room. I wasn’t hungry, so had a bowl of fruit in the dining room and then sat in the lobby. The longer I sat, the grumpier I got. I was ready for a nap. I was about 5th on the list, so I waited. Impatiently. A couple came over and started talking to me and they were also on the same trip as I was. I was so happy to meet somebody finally. While I was talking to them, my name was called for a room. Yea! I got upstairs and got to rest for awhile. At 4:30 we had registration. That is when we got to check everybody out. We met our leader, Mike (hysterical!) and we had to get in front of everybody and introduce ourselves. There was a girl sitting across the aisle from me who was travelling alone who worked with cats and I swore I was going to talk with her. I ended up not talking with her until about halfway through the trip. We had a very early morning the next day, so went to bed early on the 16th. Did not sleep well that night. I was off with the 2 hour time change, the being nervous, etc.
Day Two: We loaded up the bus after a good buffet breakfast and left the hotel by 8am. During breakfast a lady came up to me and said she was travelling alone also, maybe we could eat together? That was Carolyn and we became partners in crime for the rest of the trip. On the road to Sedona we stopped at Montezuma’s Castle and Red Rock State Park. Places I have heard about from my parents and on the History Channel, Discovery Channel, PBS, my siblings travels. I could not believe that I was actually seeing them for myself. The Red Rocks were beautiful. Sedona was beautiful. We did not stay in “downtown” Sedona, so were not near the great little shops, unfortunately. The group ate at a little Mexican restaurant named Maria’s and both Carolyn and I had huge frozen Margaritas. Oh my. We got very silly, giggly, and ended up walking up to the nearby convenience store to get snacks, giggling all the way. And all the way back. By the time we got back, I had discovered that she had been given the handicapped room on the first floor (and had been given the same at the Hilton Phoenix Airport hotel) so she did not get a bathtub and evidently she likes to take baths. This became a standing joke the whole week (though she ended up with a bathtub once we got to the South Rim lodge in the Grand Canyon.) Then the hotel desk clerk thought she got her trail mix (or whatever she got at the convenience store) there and I had to tell him that, no, she had purchased it at the convenience store. I was waiting for the elevator by this point and Carolyn had walked to her room. The clerk had walked over to me all concerned, “Where did she get those?” Seriously? Do we look like we would steal trail mix from their $2 stash? I had bought some Milano cookies (yum!) Off to bed (again, early–tired–we had mentioned going into the hot tub…but we were exhausted.)
Day Three: Up early again for breakfast (hot continental) and then on the bus by 8am. This trip I sat with Carolyn, so everyone on the bus was doomed. We didn’t need Margaritas to put us into giggling fits anymore. We stopped in Flagstaff at Arizona State University for a brief rest period (and Starbucks on campus was open, so we got tea/coffee/etc.) Enough where we would need another bathroom break at some point! There was a bathroom on the bus, but we got a lot of rest stops. They (Mike and our wonderful bus driver, Dave) were very generous! So back on board and got a tour of Flagstaff (would be back on our last day in Arizona) before heading on to the Grand Canyon.
This is where I am going to stop for right now. Have to leave you in some suspense, right? Right…