Thursday, March 24, 2016

Throwing Thursday Back Off The Grand Canyon

I was looking through some old photo albums this morning and came upon that which you see here, taken the first time I visited the Grand Canyon, which would make this the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

I'm thinking this would qualify as one of those Throw Back Thursday photos.

A couple weeks ago, on Facebook, Mr. Spiffy posted a photo of himself and his Favorite Son Cameron dangling off the edge of the top of Half Dome in Yosemite. Mr. Spiffy asked others to post photos of themselves in precarious locations.

I posted one high atop a rock formation in Zion National Park. I did not remember this Grand Canyon high atop a rock formation photo at the time I was looking for a precarious photo.

My first time seeing the Grand Canyon was part of what ended up being a long roadtrip of the classic winging it, going with the flow type roadtrip, with no itinerary other than initial destination being Yellowstone.

On the way to Yellowstone we stopped in Ellensburg to rent an apartment for my last year of college, which was to start about four weeks hence. Spent four days exploring Yellowstone, including hiking to see Yellowstone Falls in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. I remember remarking that this is one grand canyon, and suggested heading south to see the more famous Grand Canyon.

On the way south we came to a turn off to Bryce Canyon National Park. Knew nothing about Bryce Canyon. It was not a long detour and en route to Bryce saw my first Utah redrock. Bryce Canyon turned out to be the most incredible thing I had ever seen, up to that point in my existence.

Then it was on to Zion, again knowing nothing about it. Entering the park from the east one comes to one amazing site after another. Stopped at each, not realizing the main attraction came later. Was surprised to find the road entering a tunnel. The tunnel had portals, which gave you quick views of where the tunnel was heading. Exiting the tunnel I found myself driving down a steep series of switch backs to reach the bottom of Zion Canyon.

In one day I had now seen two of the most incredible things I'd ever seen. Drove to the end of Zion Canyon, then hiked up the narrow slot canyon of the Temple of the Gods. Spent the night in Zion Canyon in my tent.

Next day we headed south some more, to Grand Canyon. When first a canyon came into view it was again one of the most incredible things I'd ever seen. And then realized this was a side canyon, not the main show.

After a few hours of taking in the Grand Canyon I decided, since it was close, why not head to Las Vegas, a town I'd never been to before. Arrived in Las Vegas well past midnight. It was extremely HOT. Set my tent up in a KOA. Did not really much like that first Vegas visit.

Decided, since we were close, why not head west to California, to the Los Angeles zone and go to Disneyland. Had roadtripped to Disneyland the year before, using San Clemente State Park as the base location.

Leaving Vegas stopped in a rest area. A drunk guy was parked in his pickup. He told me he was too drunk to drive, asked if I'd drive him home to Hollywood for a hundred bucks. Got him to his home, he had a guest house out back. His wife was so grateful to have him safely delivered we were talked into staying a couple days. Which is how I came to watch the movie Chinatown in a theater in Los Angeles' Chinatown.

After the unexpected stay in Hollywood headed south again, to the aforementioned San Clemente. Stayed in San Clemente a couple days, driving back north during the day to go to Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm and Universal Studios and to explore the Los Angeles zone.

And then it was south to San Diego. Had not been to San Diego since I was 17, on my first roadtrip without my parental units. Tented in a KOA south of San Diego. Explored Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo.

At the time it seemed like a good idea to drive into Mexico. And so crossed the border, without incident, unlike a couple years prior. Got lost driving in Tijuana. Bought way too much ridiculous stuff, including a five foot statue of Cortez, which I still have. My little 65 Mustang was stuffed with stuff, which made the rest of this trip a packing and un-packing challenge, til all the Mexican trinkets were unloaded back in that new apartment in Ellensburg.

Decided to visit the San Diego Wild Animal Park, staying at a nearby KOA. Was very impressed with the Wild Animal Park. Had never seen anything like it. Had never, previously had an up close surprise encounter with a tiger, or had a gorilla throw gorilla poop at me.

Somewhere near the Wild Animal Park stopped at an orange orchard where I bought a lot of the best oranges I have ever had.

My memory is vague regarding the rest of this roadtrip. Don't remember if it included going to San Francisco. Do remember taking the Klamath Falls route through Oregon, rather than I-5, due to the need to return to Ellensburg in Eastern Washington to unload my car full of Mexican trinkets.

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