My two guiding principles on this journey are to only do things I want to do and not to over plan everything, as I am wont to do. I have tried my best for Europe, buying only a one-way ticket to Stockholm, a tour of the Baltics and the goal of getting to my ultimate destination, Paris, when I get there. No hotels, no dinner reservations, no prepaid train trips to quaint little French towns. I will do that when I get there and let the weather decide my destinations.
The USA road trip requires a bit more decisiveness. Scrapbook conventions, Blue Jays games and friends’ travel plans all have set dates. The Utah parks do not, but I want to get to many of them before peak park going season and booking the limited choices of hotels that were nearby seemed like a good idea. For months, I poured over maps and brochures of the Grand Circle-the Grand Canyon, the big 5 Utah parks, Mesa Verde in New Mexico- deciding which ones to visit and booking hotels in the nearby towns.
After Sedona, I had planned to drive to Williams, Arizona, near the Grand Canyon, spend two days exploring there, then drive to Zion National Park and partake in the many hikes available. I would then travel east to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, before heading north to Salt Lake City.
Alas, things did not work out as planned, Just before leaving Sedona, I learned that my dear uncle, Benjamin Goldstein, had passed away. He lived in Saskatoon, where I grew up, and had been an auditor for the Canada Revenue Agency before going to law school. He and my father practiced together for many years before Uncle Benny was appointed as a judge to the Provincial Court. I was going to the funeral in two days in Winnipeg.
I cancelled my Williams/Grand Canyon hotel and booked a flight to Winnipeg from Las Vegas, the most convenient and cheapest place from which I could depart. I changed the destination in the GPS to Las Vegas and headed west, trying to figure out when and where I could fit the Grand Canyon and Zion back into the itinerary. As I was mulling this dilemma over, I passed a sign saying the turn-off to the Grand Canyon was in 5 miles. Do I or don’t I? I would only be able to give it a few hours, but my other option was to arrive in Las Vegas at 4:00PM and sit in an airport hotel until bedtime. I took the turn.
An hour later I was at the entrance to the Grand Canyon National Park. A further hour later, I had parked my car and the Park’s shuttle had dropped me at the start of the Rim Walk. From there, I enjoyed a pleasant few hours meandering down the path, marveling at the views and reading the narrative plaques which described the Canyon’s history (2 billion years old) and the significance of its distinctive layers.
It is not a photo of me, but the ones with me are not good. I am still struggling with the selfie and bemoaning my lack of a selfie stick.
The dash in and out of the Grand Canyon was also not the all encompassing Grand Canyon experience I had planned for, but it was the Grand Canyon nonetheless and the best I could do in the circumstances.