In honor of summer coming to an end my girls and I took a mini road trip to Arizona to see the Grand Canyon. Once again, this is another of my things to do on the list of 101 in 1001. I talked to my travel agent Ms. Sonia to see if she could whip up a quick package for us. Like always she was able to work her magic, and get us a weekend trip to AZ. In order to keep in fashion of roadtrippin’, we rented a car and got on the road Friday night.
We left LA around 8/9, but prior to leaving (of course) we had to take some selfies lol My mom lead us in prayer, and the girls all said bye to their parents as well. Soon we were on our way. Being in the car for 6-8 hours can be a little daunting, especially when you run out of things to talk about. Surprisingly with us we didn’t run out of things to talk about it. Sounds about right for women huh? We touched just about every topic you could think of from future goals, guys/relationships, school, cooking – the list can go on. We had a few pit stops and driving shift changes, but the only time the car was quiet was when we were sleeping. When we were almost halfway there we ended up stopping in the middle of nowhere … I think we were in Needles, but we were literally in someone’s janky side of the road hole of darkness. Almost like one of those scenes in a scary movie when the car breaks down out of nowhere. We took silly pictures sitting in the middle of the road and then we got back on the road.
We finally arrived to AZ around 3am, and settled into our hotel The Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel around 3:30. Of course no one was able to fall asleep right away, so we talked a bit more and soon fell asleep. Our train left at 9am, so we needed some type of beauty rest!
The next morning, we hopped right up, took turns getting ready, had a mini “breakfast” (cheese, crackers, and grapes lol) and ran out to catch the train. We literally had to run because we almost missed it. Luckily our homegirl Tina (she worked on the train and was very helpful/funny throughout the day) let us in and punched our tickets. Once aboard we found our prospective seats, sat down – the horn sound and we were on our way!
Train rides always remind me of my childhood – for some reason I remember taking trains for small trips within the city – for instance my 6th grade class trip we took the train down to Santa Barbara, I took one to Bakersfield with my mom to visit family … you catch my drift. All in all, in my opinion train rides are soothing and are a time of reflection. You have ample time to sit back, relax, and literally enjoy the ride until you reach your destination. On this train there was continental breakfast with danishes, muffins, fruit and juice. We grabbed something quick to eat and got comfortable. Due to our lack of sleep we attempted to take a quick nap – it was short lived. We woke up and somehow transitioned into a really deep and heartfelt conversation. Remember when I said that train rides were good for reflecting? Well, we shared stories on how far we’ve come within our lives. Each of us have unique testimonies, but we share the commonality of being African American women (young women at that), who also attend a PWU (Predominately White University), we are college graduates, with NO kids, working towards our graduate degrees and ultimately defying the statistics and stereotypes that are often placed upon us. Mind you – we were the only black people on the train, ALL girls at that – you can imagine how we felt. All these overwhelming feelings we couldn’t help but to thank God and most importantly our parents for all that they have sacrificed, for how they raised us – shaping and molding us into the women we have become today. With all of this, we found ourselves crying and honestly couldn’t believe it was happening. It was as if there were no other people on the train but us. Once the water works finished, we patted our faces, dried our tears, and continued to enjoy the scenery.
After 2 hours we made it to the Grand Canyon. Guess what happened? IT RAINED! Our outfits were not in conjunction with the weather report. We had on shorts; short-sleeves shirts, halter-tops, rompers, etc. because we thought it would be hot. Although we were warned about the possibilities of rain and the fact that it was Monsoon season…we just knew it wouldn’t happen to us. Thankfully we brought light jackets just in case and my friend Clara brought her umbrella. We hopped off the bus and realized we weren’t the only ones who didn’t get the weather report memo so we felt a little better … AND everyone had on shorts so we were in it together. We trekked up this little hill in order to reach the view of the canyon. It stopped raining but once we made it to the top and peaked over – the view was breathtaking! It was such a surreal moment. I instantly thought of God’s wondrous works – how could one not believe when our human eyes can witness such a masterpiece on that vast of magnitude. Of course we had to have a photoshoot! We took tons and tons of pictures – selfies, usies, videos, panoramic – we did it ALL.
The best part about it for me was that with every little step further, you gained a different perspective and viewpoint into the canyon. I think I stared so hard that my eyes started to hurt. We joked that it was just a backdrop and that when all the tourists leave each night, the workers will hit a switch and it’ll disappear lol. That’s honestly how surreal it is! A cool little spot we found was a hollow peak. My friend Lila kept saying she heard an echo when she would speak. “Yall hear that echo?” she asked countless times. We’re looking at her like she’s crazy… like what are you talking about?! She told us to stand where she was, and within an instant the echo was there. Outside that small vantage point you couldn’t hear a thing, but once you were in the center of that point the echo was massive. We played around stepping in and out, talking loud and soft. It was as if we were speaking into a microphone. Super cool! If my video will upload, I’ll let you guys hear it 🙂
Next, we walked past the Hopi House and took a quick glance inside. There were Native American artifacts such as handmade jewelry, pots made of clap, dream catchers, to regular tourist essentials like shot glasses and refrigerator magnets. We bought a couple of souvenirs and we left.
Meanwhile, with all of our walking, selfies, and shopping we worked up an appetite and decided to have lunch at the restaurant nearby called El Tovar. We were immediately seated next to this cute family with their baby and son. We talked with them and engaged with the baby for a moment before our waiter came. The menu was somewhat exquisite, or maybe I just wasn’t expecting Veal and Duck Confit at the Grand Canyon. Anywho.. I chose the Duck Confit Sliders with fries, my friend Brianna had the Veal Sandwich, Lila had Short Rib Sandwich and Clara had this yummy looking Salmon Salad with fries. The food was really good and we couldn’t stop raving about the french fries. They were the thick cute steak fries! You keep reading the blog you’ll soon learn that I’m a sucker for sweets, fries, wine and a good brunch! At this point we were stuffed to capacity and a nap was in order. I could’ve fell asleep at the table that’s real it was lol Waiting for one of us to get up to lead the way, after about a good 30 minutes of people watching and gaining the strength to finally move we made our way back to the train. That’s when I realized I had left our return tickets on the bus on our table. Once again it was Tina to the rescue (she def had our back!) she let us in with no problem and we were on our way back to the hotel.
The nap life was SO real for us! We reclined our seats, snuggled up and immediately fell asleep once the train started moving. I woke up to music and talking, but it felt like I slept for hours (in reality it was about 30-40 mins max). There were more snacks so we went and grabbed some and came back to our seats to watch the “surprise”. At 5pm they had a staged show outside and aboard the train. It was a cowboy chase and then they hopped on and proceeded to “rob us” lol. I instantly thought of my niece and how excited she would have been. Moments like those I believe are meant to be spent with children because they make the memory even better. The gangsta cowboys went through each cart and “robbed” each family: Disclaimer: This is where you’re prompted to give tips to them for their performance. When they got to us I guess they already knew we weren’t having it. So they made light jokes with us and kept it pushing. See ya! lol. I’m so kidding, but at the same time I’m being serious. At least we turned them down with a smile and sense of humor.
That night we had a sleepover and decided to push our beds together to make one giant nest of comfiness! We jumped on the beds, laughed, talked and watched Black&Sexy TV. Another highlight of the night and trip was yet the next infamous girl talk – we decided to go around the circle and tell each other our first impressions. I think that’s always fun to hear. We traded experiences and a little more crying happened (not because of what we said but because the topic changed).
Finally, the sun came up and we checked out of the hotel. Before leaving Williams we stopped for breakfast at the Pine Country restaurant. Here we go again, the only brown babies around and the stares were ridiculous, but we kept on being us – carefree and classy. Sidenote: They had pretty great biscuits and gravy. I will give them that! On our way out we stopped in another Native American store and the owner greeted us with a smile, “I was hoping you girls would come back!”, she said. My immediate thought – so you were watching us… not creepy at all lol. She told us she saw us walk by. Mhmm. She gave us a little history behind the Kokopelli, the legend who was a fertility god, storyteller and more. Then we found some really cool stones and picked some out to take back home.
It was about 12 pm and we were on our way back to California. Another thing scratched off on my list, also one of the Wonders of the World. Two down, five more to go!
Until the next adventure!
bisous, Bree ❤