Janice's Travel Blog for the North American Circle Tour

Kingman, AZ to El Paso, TX

Kingman AZ to Grand Canyon AZ

At Grand Canyon National Park, AZ


Sunday, February 4, 2007:  A bright sunny morning as we approach Grand Canyon National Park.  There are signs of recent snow beside the road, but the roads themselves are clear.  We checked in Maswik Lodge for 2 nights – no internet so this will be posted later – and then walked to the closest overlook for the Canyon.  Breathtaking, for sure.  The scale is astonishing – it’s a mile to the bottom and 10 miles across!  And the colours are as wonderful as all the pictures show.  We’re both still felling the effects of our colds, so are taking it slow and easy.  Larry, particularly, is congested and coughing.  We opted for a dive along the rim to the west with stops at a few overlooks.  Each viewpoint offers new amazements.  There’s still ice on the road and paths, though, so we’re being very cautious.  Finally, back to our room for the Super Bowl.  A dash to the cafeteria for a quick dinner during half time and a relaxed evening.

Monday, February 5:  Another bright blue sky day – we’re very lucky with the weather.  Last week it was blinding snowstorms here so travel was risky and views very limited.  We spent the morning visiting the rest of the overlooks to the west, all the way to Hermit’s Rest, a cute old building from the days of stagecoach trips. [ the hermit was actually a Canadian named Boucher who built a cabin on the edge in mid 19th century, and the cabin is still here ].  We picked up a few souvenirs there, then lunched and relaxed for a while in our room.  We hope to both feel better soon, but the colds linger.  Larry’s cough seems worse.  Our afternoon adventure was a self-guided tour of historic Grand Canyon Village.  We timed it to be at the railway station in time to see the daily train pull out and wave to the conductor.  The old buildings here are interesting; most of them were designed by a woman named Mary Colter,  whose style was to blend in as much as possible with natural surroundings.  She did an excellent job.



Janice’s Photos of Grand Canyon:

Pic1  Pic2   Pic3   Pic4 Pic5   Pic6  Pic7 (sunrise)   Pic8 Pic9  Pic10   Pic11  Pic12 






Larry’s Photos of Grand Canyon

Pic1  Pic2   Pic3 Pic4 Pic5  Pic6 Pic7   Pic8 Pic9  Pic10   Pic11  Pic12  Pic13   


Grand Canyon AZ to Camp Verde AZ

Camp Verde AZ to Benson AZ


Tuesday, February 6:  We were awake early, so grabbed coffee from the cafeteria and made our way to the recommended outlook to view the sunrise.  Though we missed the colourful preliminaries, we did see the canyon to the west light up as the rising sun had it.  Then back to our room for breakfast and to pack up for the next stage.  We left the park by the opposite route from the one we came in by, and stopped at several outlooks over the canyon.  Last night, the speaker, Jim, had recommended Lipon Point as the best view of the geology, and it was great.  But the best was likely Desert View, where we climber the Lookout Tower and could see far in two directions down the canyon , as well as out over the Painted Desert.  Leaving the park, we drove through desert, catching occasional glimpses of smaller canyons, to Flagstaff, then on to Oak Creek Canyon.  It is smaller, of course, but has similar spectacular formations, especially near Sedona.  Driving in the canyon and seeing from below is interesting,  We made and early stop in Campe Verde, AZ so we can catch up on email, etc.  It’s much warmer here, and Larry is into shorts.  Pack away the woolies!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007:  We took our time this morning, with a leisurely breakfast and slow departure.  By noon, we were cruising the streets of Scottsdale and admiring the desert landscaping by all the houses.  It was too early to stop for the day so we didn’t get a chance to check out Jean and Sammy’s hotel.  From Phoenix/Scottsdale we took a scenic route to Tucson, stopping in the historic town of Florence to picnic in the park.  Dry-area parks and playgrounds are rather different than we are used to, but the kids were having fun just the same.  We drove through desert for the rest of the day and were surprised by the amount of vegetation and the many varieties of cacti and other plants.  After a circuitous trip through the Tucson suburbs [ it was not, it was direct on the gps ] we found our way to the Saguaro National Park.  We had only an hour or so before the park closed at sunset, but really enjoyed our circuit of the “cactus forest” and some closeup looks at some of the cacti.  We hoped to find nearby accommodation so we could return in the morning, but no luck.  We stopped at Benson AZ in a Baymont Inn – very nice digs.







Oak Creek Canyon, Arizona:



Pic1   Pic2   Pic3 Pic4   Pic5   Pic6 Pic7   Pic8


Saguaro National Park, AZ


Pic1  Pic2   Pic3  Pic4  Pic5   Pic6  Pic7  Pic8   Pic9


Benson AZ to El Paso Texas



Thursday, February 08, 2007:  As we were checking out of the hotel there was much discussion of destinations and so on.  We were told to watchfor a canyon of  unusual rock formations shortly after getting on to Interstate 10.  It was really quite different from most we’ve seen – very rotund rocks, some perched on others looking quite precarious.  No photo op though.  Our lunch stop at a tourist info rest stop in New Mexico was great.  Friendly staff, nice picnic area and best of all excellent wireless [ welcome after the total wireless foul-up at last night’s Baymont Inn ]  We navigated successfully into El Paso, found a hotel in the east end and set out for Juarez, Mexico.  We found parking on the El Paso side of the pedestrian bridge and joined the throng trudging across.  We wandered the streets for about 90 minutes – what a lot of bustle and very little sign of prosperity.  The hucksters reminded us of China. We sat in the lovely cathedral for 10 minutes or so, resting and contemplating.  Then back across the pedestrian bridge, over some tracks and through a construction site to our car, back to the hotel for room service and Thursday night TV. [ relieved to be back in USA – felt a little vulnerable over there – very few Caucasian tourists ]



Checking In – Janice and Lar  ry don’t travel light   Pic


Pet areas at New Mexico rest stops are not that friendly to pets  Pic


Juarez, Mexico


Cathedral  Pic


Town Square  Pic


Bronze Man sitting at fountain  Pic


Juarez street   Pic


Bridge to USA  Pic


Rio Grande River, US left, Mexico right   Pic