The Uphill Slide

There is always something.

The Grand Canyon and Arizona

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Thousands write about the grandeur of the Grand Canyon. They’re all right, and this huge colorful area of land and rock carved out millions of years ago has been described better than I ever could, so I won’t try. It’s spectacular and a must-visit-place like so many other places I’ve been. Arizona and the Grand Canyon though is a part of our family history that will always remain in our memories. Jacob likes to brag he’s an Arizona native having been born in Tucson.

I’ve been to the Grand Canyon probably five or six times in at least three seasons. The first time I went was in 1978 with two other women and a young girl. I think we stayed at Yavapai Lodge or El Tovar. It was in the early fall. About six years later, my husband and I lived in Arizona. We escaped to that state about two months after our marriage. It was a whim and the desire to escape wrongdoing. We loved Arizona and can’t give you any good reason we ever left. Communication is the best explanation.

The Grand Canyon topped the list of places we wanted to visit. We were maybe different from those who were born and bred in Arizona, as so many ignore visiting their own home landmarks and natural wonders. We wanted to see everything in the state, so we hit the road every weekend to do that. We visited Mt. Kitt on Roy’s Kawasaki with the sharp pinpricks of rain hitting our bare arms. I fell asleep on the back of the Kawasaki one time; I think it’s a good idea to be strapped in as for carnival rides. Eventually the Kawasaki disappeared after a little traffic accident in Tucson, never to be replaced by another motorcycle, or so Roy said. Thirty years later, something changed his mind; but he never offered me a ride on the new orange Harley he bought last year. It wasn’t ever me afraid of the motorcycle though; in fact, you may laugh at the notion of a scooter as any equivalency to a motorcycle; but we’ve thought that might be a good idea here on city streets. But considering that Cary has Caleb to tote around, then it would be me on that scooter. It’s range is limited, while mine is not; so bigger might be better. How odd to think of life coming back around the circle.

Our visits to the Grand Canyon were always to the South Rim that is the most popular; I never visited the North Rim and always wanted to. It was a drive though from South Rim to North Rim, over 200 miles. And everyone says the South Rim is better anyway, like the comparison of the Canadian side of Niagara Falls to the American side. Still I like to judge those things for myself, if possible. I will visit it someday. Maybe the smart thing though is to drive from Vegas which isn’t a lot further than the drive from South Rim to North Rim. But the North Rim’s closed for winter, so it has to wait until at least May. The South Rim is one of those national parks recommended to visit in the winter, and I would love to see it again in winter as this year is the 30-year anniversary of our last winter visit. But nothing is free, so time and money is always a consideration of desires.

We visited the Canyon a couple of times by ourselves in summer and then that winter visit. We took family there on their visits to us in the three plus years we lived in Arizona. First trip was Roy with his parents and two of his kids from his first marriage in 1985, while I stayed home to attend secretarial classes. Then there was me taking my sister-in-law and niece and nephew to the Canyon that same year while Roy stayed home to work. A couple of years later, we left Arizona’s beauty behind. The next time we returned to that home was 16 years later with our two kids for a vacation of the West. We started in Tucson, visiting San Xavier del Bac and Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and Tucson Medical Center where Jacob was born and a little house in Catalina where we lived. Of course, when you are that close to another country, you have to take a day trip across the border. We crossed into Nogales, Sonora. All I really remember of that day trip was Roy getting mad at Cary and I over her fear of some man in the street. We argued up the road until he demanded to get out and walk. He got out, but of course we didn’t just drive off.

On the drive to the Grand Canyon, we stopped overnight in Sedona. Cary thinks this was possibly the best memory of our trip. Roy scheduled the Pink Jeep tour that took us rocking and rolling over the red rocks with an entertaining guide who earned his tip. And Slide Rock is a place that Cary would like to visit again, since we didn’t allow her to get the true thrills of that place.

It was an awesome trip but as always, way too short to see everything. It was our last real family vacation. The next year I took the kids to Greece and Turkey while Roy opted out, preferring to hunt in Alaska. I was always silently disappointed when Roy chose hunting or fishing over family time and making memories with us. I suppose I was afraid to ask too much and get the answers you already know and don’t want.

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