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From Grand to Bizarre

August 24, 2017

Our day at the Grand Canyon’s South Rim was fantastic!

The canyon itself is much bigger and more impressive than we anticipated or could even fathom. There are dozens of viewpoints, and each one somehow offered a completely different vista than the others. We spent the whole day exploring almost every section of the park, and we couldn’t stop staring.

Because the temperature was an entirely bearable 92 degrees, we even gathered the courage to hike down into the Canyon. The home was exhausting (especially the return trip back up the step trail to the rim) but was one of the highlights of the day. I’d love to go into more detail and post photos, but it’s very late and we have a very early start tomorrow exploring the West Rim, so I’m going to skip ahead a lot. For now, it must suffice for me to say that we observed proper mule etiquette.

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We ended our day at the Grand Canyon by grilling burgers and corn at a secluded little rest stop as the sun set. And that’s when everything started getting weird.

First, there was the lightning. It started moments after we got back in the car to leave the park. Think of the most intense lightning storm you’ve ever seen, and then add a whole bunch more lightning. There wasn’t a drop of rain, but I had to drive 45 miles directly toward a lightning storm so intense that it looked like G-d had just invented electricity and was taking it out for a spin to see what it could do.

While the three of us were busy focused on the sky, the cars in front of us suddenly ground to a halt. Literally zero movement. We had no idea why. Waze had no idea why. I started worrying that the road was shut down and we’d never arrive at our motel, which was still almost two hours away even if our car was moving. After about five minutes, we started moving again, only to stop completely again about 100 yards later. That’s when we saw enough to piece together what had happened.

A car coming in the opposite direction had hit an enormous male elk, but not too badly, because the car was damaged in only the front corner. The car was still sitting in the middle of the road, and the driver was standing right next to it, borrowing the cell phone of the driver in the car directly in front of me. The driver right in front of me had apparently asked the elk-hitter if he needed help, rather than just drive past him. The elk, meanwhile, was sitting in the grass just to the side of the road, staring at both cars and occasionally turning his head to stare right at Sam.

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And that’s about when the rain started. It was light at first, but then spent the next half hour alternating between drizzling and blindingly ferocious, rarely stopping in between.

We were a little freaked out from the elk, a little freaked out from the rain, and a little freaked out from driving in the middle of nowhere with no street lights, so I drove considerably slower. That turned out to be a very good thing, because it allowed me to avoid hitting the cougar that wandered across the road in front of us a few minutes later.

I told you things got weird.

All the delays caused us to arrive at our motel at almost 10 p.m.. All I wanted was a shower and a bed, but, like I said, things got weird.

First, as we pulled into the motel parking lot, we almost drove over a deer that was lying dead in the road, clearly having very recently been hit by some other driver. Then we saw the dozen or so middle-aged guys having a big, loud, tailgate party right outside their motel rooms. Then I went to check us in, but the office was dark. A sign told me to ring the “night bell.” I did, and out came a very nice lady who informed me that they are out of refrigerators, so I would not be getting one despite having reserved one about a month ago when I reserved the room. (A lack of refrigerator is a pretty big problem when you have a cooler full of raw meat and melted ice packs.)

I almost walked away, but Sarah convinced me to find a solution, and we ended up convincing the woman to let us put our food in the motel’s employee fridge. I was uneasy about this but I was too tired to put up much of a fight.

When we finally got to our room, the door was covered in insects of various kinds. I have a thing with insects that borders on legitimate phobia, so I once again insisted that we find another place to stay. Sarah insisted on at least looking inside. I made her go first. She said the coast was clear, but when I got inside I immediately started noticing bugs in various parts of what would have been a deeply unappealing room even if it had been entirely free of vermin.

At this point I just about had something slightly short of a meltdown. Shivering with disgust and anger, I put our stuff back in the car and drove back around to the closed office. When I rang the night bell, a completely different woman came out. I tried to explain the problem. She offered us a different room. I stood firm, gave her back the key, and drove away.

Pro tip: DO NOT STAY AT GRAND CANYON CAVERNS INN. Not ever.

Our new problem was that the whole reason I chose this motel was because there are painfully few options in the area, and we are being picked up for a rafting trip at 7 tomorrow morning, so we couldn’t really stay out of the area, either. Thankfully, Sarah found us a different rundown motel with a vacancy, but 25 minutes away in the wrong direction. I checked online reviews for the place, and they ALL specified that it’s clean. At this point, it was the best we could do, so I drove past the dead deer once again, this time headed for the Canyon Lodge in Seligman, AZ.

While all this happened, Sam had dozed off in the car. He woke up while we were on the way to Seligman, so we filled him in on the lunacy he had missed. “Adventure!” he exclaimed, disappointed he didn’t get to witness the horrors of the Grand Canyon Caverns Inn firsthand.

When we finally got to the Canyon Lodge, it was past 11 p.m. Sarah had the guy at the front desk promise that our room was clean and bug-free. Thankfully, it is. The shower is pretty good, too. So if you’ll excuse me, there’s a bed that I very badly need right now.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Michaelle Zerykier permalink
    August 24, 2017 7:45 am

    Good thing the wife was along on this trip!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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