(See our trip in pictures on Instagram!)
Be sure to read the first and second posts in this #9Parks12Days series, where we visited Great Sand Dunes, Carlsbad Caverns, Guadalupe Mountains, White Sands, and Petrified Forest National Park sites in Days 1-6.
Our “grandest” part of the adventure began on Day 7 when we finally journeyed up to the (south) rim of the Grand Canyon. My sister and I had both visited this national park before, but Tom and the boys had not, so we tried to let them guide the day. We traveled with the sun to get the best colors against the north rim and in the canyon bottom, moving from east to west. Our favorite spots include Yaki Point, Yavapai Point and Geology Museum (great on a hot day!), and Mojave Point, where we watched the sun go down.
Our campsite was located in Trailer Village RV Park, which ended up as an end site, so plenty of room for 2 cars, an RV trailer, and a large tent. Oh, and free cable TV?! That was an incredible surprise, as we had been hauling a little TV with us and had not pulled it out until this stop.
We cannot state enough how WONDERFUL the shuttle system is on the South Rim. Every driver was courteous, there’s a shuttle every 10-15 minutes (seemed faster at some points), and they can get you closer to many spots where there is no parking. In addition, on the nighttime roundup after sunset, they were diligent about making sure no one was left behind, using the dispatch to locate and send shuttles to specific spots, even picking up folks along the roads.
On Day 8 we departed along Desert View Drive for a few more winning shots, and made our way leisurely toward Cortez, CO. We were excited to stop in both Monument Valley and Four Corners Monument, both part of the Navajo Nation.
We arrived in Cortez to one of the best KOA’s we stayed in (review coming soon!). I had the chance to finally do some laundry – hooray for clean pants! We were still a bit tired from the amount of walking we did around the South Rim, and accidentally slept in a bit later than we wanted on Day 9.
Ambling on our way, we spent most of the day in Mesa Verde, and we are blown away by their visitor centers and museums! We found out that we had to leave our trailer in a parking area near the main VC (no trailers can go beyond the campground at the park), so we lost some time dealing with that, but still had an amazing visit. We missed out on any tours, as they were all filled until late in the day, and we needed to reach Moab by nightfall. Seeing the Pueblo ruins had been on my bucket list for years, so I was thrilled to finally be there and experience the wonder of the place.
Day 9 ended with a dip in our Moab pool’s campground, which was under construction, and a surprise power outage! Luckily it was evening and the heat was tempered by a nice breeze, and our neighbors needed to unload some ice cream, so in all we weathered the outage quite well.