Sunday, 3 January 2016

TRAVEL - At The Edge Of Paradise: Part 5/6 - 'PHOENIX AND THE GRAND CANYON'.

So it's 2016! OMG where has the time actually gone! As it's at the fresh start of the year when we are all naturally reflecting on the year we've just had and looking out on the year in front of us. I thought it's the perfect time to continue my 'At The Edge of Paradise' chapters. I'm still thoroughly enjoying writing them and visually looking back on the fearless fun we both had. I'm also still celebrating the fact that neither of us accidentally died. I'm still very proud of us (Wow that was hard to say! Complimenting yourself is tricky) But I am! 

Day two into 2016 and me and the wife are already discussing location travelling plans for 2016. Wohoooo! If anyone has any recommendation please let me know. Cambodia and South American are grabbing us at the moment but we are open for ideas. Kind of want to stay away from the typically tourist locations. (Oops I'm side tracking slightly, right back to current blog) 

I also wanted to continue with sharing my experience for anyone who is contemplating biting that big old bullet and embarking on a little travelling adventure themselves! (DO IT!)
I've bunged part five and six together to speed things up as I would ideally like to finish this travel chapter stuff by Christmas lol (This month, sorry it's taken forever). Right once again I'm closing up my mouth and welcome to- 

At The Edge Of Paradise - 'PHOENIX AND THE GRAND CANYON' - Part 5.
(Grab a hot chocolate)


Back on that 'road trip' road again and currently in a 7 and 1/2 hour journey from down south we had finally reached the Arizona state. Excited!

But literally five minutes after jumping out of the car to take our 'We were here' memorabilia picture, we unfortunately got pulled over on the free way by officer Jared aka A COP. He wanted all our papers immediately and initially stopped us as our sat navigation was illegally placed in the middle of the front windscreen rather than on the dashboard. He gave us a little telling off and wished us a pleasant trip. At the time I was cracking up and I discreetly (naughty) took this picture. Duh! It felt just like the movies being pulled over in America. Big badges and flashing vehicle sirens blaring. We loved it! I've never been pulled over before especially not in a foreign country. (Another story to tell the kids!) 

So I have to share with you the wrong turn or move we took to get us to Phoenix. 

Before our journey looking at the map and cutting down time we thought it would be a great idea to drive through a national park instead of around it. Now the US national parks are nothing like ours in the UK. In our head's we thought a little lake or stream with a bit of greenery. Well no a national park US style means literally driving on a cliff edge with no barriers. Whoops! I'm gutted that I didn't take a picture of the steep cliffs we drove up or the picturesque scenes before us that were pretty epic. I think we were both far too busy holding on to our safety seat belts. Another factor we forgot to take in was petrol! Not only were we driving in an epic National Park, we were now (perfectly timed. NOT!) driving on the red as we forgot to top up the fuel tank beforehand. Badly kicking ourselves as we had both been getting exceptionally better at this planning our routes stuff and keeping Thelma fueled ready for the road ahead. That morning we slipped up...........Badly.
Oh did I mention it was sweltering in desert heat (because Phoenix is essentially desert land) now with only very hot bottled water in the car. With the car notifying us with the annoying stupid low petrol beeps, we were kind of in BIG BIG trouble. Why us? Actually only us! We thought we had this travelling thing sussed. Another panic moment between us (we've had a few now) WHAT THE BEEP DO WE DO!!?? Is the question we asked eachother. Although this had been the best experience of my life I didn't want my family to deal with my body being eaten by rodents in an American National Park because we had stupidly took a wrong turn to save time and STUPIDLY ran out of petrol. I mean had neither of us watched 'Wrong bleeding Turn'. So with the car beeping and the road journey ahead of us forever extending and no cars in sight against us we were doomed........until wifey remembered that the sat navigation system had already been pre-programmed to find the nearest gas station to our gps location. Bingo! I mean is she the best or what! (You can tell she's a teacher by trade. Super planner) Who thinks of that. Shazza! Shaz saved the day. (again) So with a few clicks on the navigation machine we had found the closet gas station still in the middle of the forest only 2 miles away. Another diversion actually the opposite way to our Phoenix, Scottsdale destination but we didn't care we needed gas pretty fast.
I really wish again we took a picture or at least filmed the area of the rescue gas station which was surrounded by absolutely nothing apart from big hefty tall trees and desert land. These abandoned perfect eerie film locations do actually exist. Once pulled in now fueling Thelma right up, a lovely truck with a dog in the back and only what I describe as a hillbilly (sorry to be sterotype but that's exactly what he looked like) pulls up beside us. The dog looks ill and mean. I definitely weren't looking to see the driver in full capacity, my judgement was merely on using my peripherals (you know when something instinctively feels bad and you don't have the bottle to look) but they were spot on. Luckily we had finished with the gas and it was a pay at bay quick station. Once back in the car I could feel the truck hillbilly driver staring right at us. They do exist. Me and Shaz without speaking said to each other. Let's get the F out of here. And that we did. 

Now we can both laugh at that part of our trip and we do all the time. But we were both absolutely petrified in them very stressful moments that day, but we knew we'd be okay. Things could of gone differently but  I honestly think someone or something was guiding us along the way. Shaz felt it too. Crazy but so true. 

Lot's of Cacti plant and gigantic dinosaurs into Phoenix. 

We finally reached our hotel The Saguaro Scottsdale.

The luxurious Saguaro hotel that we again found on offer. How?......I have no idea because it was more like a 5* hidden gem . We badly needed this after our journey ordeal and our past beds being somewhat damp, cold or moldy but full of character. This place was like living a dream. We actually extended our stay for one more night at an extra cost. Three nights of heaven done. 

We were soon back on the road again heading 3 and 1/2 hours towards the Big Grand Canyon. Through the cliffs. 

We made it. Behind are our lodges Maswik Lodge, Grand Canyon Village which stank of the outdoors life (hahaha). We were literally in the middle of a national park with wild boars and animals running around. In the wild The Canyon turns completely pitch black at night with the smallest of street lights provided. Luckily we had a torch! Back packers life! Very exciting times. I mean we did kindly ask for an adventure of a lifetime! 

That night we were lucky enough to get to The Grand Canyon edge just before Sunset. It was beautiful. We cried. No words will ever describe the feeling and emotions we felt at this very moment..............

Once again mind completely blown. Another wonder of the world ticked off the list. Yaaaaay! Looking back I wish I had a better camera at the time to truly capture every single dent and detail of the touching landscape around us, but at the same time no picture will give The Canyon justice. You just have to see it to believe it. I have my vivid memories for that. Again cheesy but so true. A miracle. A mystery. A shared fond Memory. 

The fast life never ends. The next morning before we set off on our road trip tracks, me and Shazza had to of course do the obligatory flash YOUR BOOBIES to The Wild Canyon. You can't take the Essex out of us! Loved every single second! I guess we can be proper grown up's in our sixties or seventies!

Next stop Part 6 
Las Vegas (4 hours)!

Please let me know if this piece has hopefully inspired you in some way. Even to book a travelling trip (and hopefully not put you off!lol) YOU CAN DO IT!
At the end of these chapters I'll be doing an itinerary of all the places we stayed and tips on the trip in case they help your Route 66 journey. Planning can be overwhelming so why not share.  

Thank you for reading!

My Look,
My Style
Flora Maria


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