Wandering Around America One State at a Time – Arizona

State 3:

Welcome to the next post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride! I will be featuring the states alphabetically and next up is

Arizona

Arizona, nicknamed “The Grand Canyon State”, became the 48th state on February 14, 1912. Phoenix is the capital and the state’s largest city.

I first saw the Grand Canyon back in the 1960’s when I was in the third grade. I sat in the back seat of our Ford station wagon with my two brothers as our family went on a cross country trip seeing some of our National Parks and of course the Grand Canyon was one of the highlights of our trip.

Henry and I made our first trip together to the Grand Canyon in 1985 when we loaded up our mini van with our kids and tent camping gear and made the trek from Georgia to the Grand Canyon South Rim. Henry returned  the next year and backpacked into the canyon with three friends. Having done the South Rim, we decided to make the North Rim of the Grand Canyon our first major destination in our inaugural cross country RV trip in 2006.

Before we got to the North Rim we traveled across Arizona and took in the Meteor Crator, Petrified Forest National Park, Painted Desert and the Vermilion Cliffs .

Our home base for exploring the North Rim was in the Kaibab National Forest. We saw evidence of recent wildfires and beautiful meadows each day as we drove to and from the canyon.

Later travels through Arizona found us at Monument Valley, Lake Havasu , and the Four Corners.

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska

Beautiful Planet Earth

America’s National Parks are some of the most beautiful places on earth. Our wandering has taken us to many of them over the years. These are a few of our favorite national parks.

The Grand Canyon, Arizona

Grand Canyon North Rim Point Imperial
Grand Canyon North Rim Point Imperial

Denali National Park, Alaska

Polychrome Overlook, Denali National Park, Alaska
Polychrome Overlook, Denali National Park, Alaska

Yosemite National Park, California

Overhanging Rock with Yosemite Falls in Yosemite National Park
Overhanging Rock with Yosemite Falls in Yosemite National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Lower Yellowstone Falls in Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming)
Lower Yellowstone Falls in Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming)

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Everglades National Park, Florida

Everglades National Park, Florida
Everglades National Park, Florida

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina

Cataloochee Valley Overlook Great Smoky Mountains
Cataloochee Valley Overlook Great Smoky Mountains

This is my contribution to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge. For more interpretations of earth visit WordPress Photo Challenge: Earth

Our first cross country camping trip – in 1985!

A new Toyota mini van + 2 tents + 2 parents + 2 kids = 2 weeks of fun!

We’ve had some wonderful adventures since we began traveling in our fifth wheel nine years ago but our first cross country journey when our kids were 14 and 10 will always be one of my favorites.

Way back in 1985, over twenty years before we bought our fifth wheel, we packed up our new mini van and and set out on a trip from Georgia to the Grand Canyon South Rim, about 2600 miles each way. We had been taking our kids camping around Georgia and Florida many times but this was the first time we ventured west.

Our plan was to drive as far as we could each day and stay in motels until we got to the Grand Canyon. Loaded down with two tents, coolers, and all the camping gear we owned, we were ready for anything.

Our longest driving day of the trip was on our way to the Grand Canyon when we drove 694 miles across Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.  Once we reached Arizona we slowed down to take the scenic drive through the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National Parks.

Our Campsite at the Grand Canyon South Rim in 1985
Our Campsite at the Grand Canyon South Rim in 1985

Of course the highlight of the trip was at the Grand Canyon South Rim. After setting up camp we went exploring and planned a hike on the Bright Angel Trail for the next morning. Keep in mind we were there the first week of July and it was HOT!  With backpacks filled with water, trail mix and other snacks we set off down the trail early in the day. Going down into the canyon was fairly easy. The temperature kept rising as we got deeper into the canyon and my daughter and I decided to return to the rim while Henry and our son continued on to Plateau Point (about 5 miles from the rim) where there is an overlook into the canyon and a view of the Colorado River.

Going up was hard. There were few places to sit and rest and almost no shade. When my daughter and I got back to camp we  went in the tents and collapsed on the cots hoping to cool off.  After a short rest we were no cooler so we went to the snack bar for air conditioning and ice cream. We were well rested when the guys got back.

On our return trip to Georgia we stopped at Carlsbad Caverns before driving all across Texas, this time on I-10 instead of I-40. We spent a night in New Orleans and visited the Tabasco Factory before stopping at a beach front hotel in Ft. Walton Beach. We all enjoyed the huge swimming pool and finally felt cool!

I recently came across a log I kept of our trip. We drove a total of about 5200 miles and spent a whopping $321 on gas!

We travel much differently these days. We have the luxury of being able to take our time and rarely travel more than 300 miles in a day. We set up our fifth wheel and usually stay 2 or 3 nights in each location. And we can turn on the air conditioner and go inside to cool off  without leaving our campsite!