Infectiously Happy

So this is the meaning of the word Magnificent.

Since I was a little girl my momma has been talking about going to the Grand Canyon. We never really planned a trip there, but it has always been there on my list of places to see before I get tired of seeing places. Once when I was a flight attendant a pilot let me in to the cockpit as we flew over on the way to Vegas. I know that doesn’t truly count as visiting so when my mom decided she was going this year, Frenchie and I quickly made our travel arrangements. We had severals days of adventure with our family in Arizona, so this one is kinda long. I edited and cut as much as I could but I had so much fun to cover. The people have been after me for details, so settle in cause here goes…

My travel posse:
Of course my beloved Frenchie, who was our competent driver and co-host to adventure. My momma, who is the original inspiration for happiness in my life. She has a bucket list and she is making me proud as she is marking things off! My Aunt Mary, one of my momma’s big sisters and a never ending resource of family history. She had us laughing the entire time. And last but not least My Uncle James, one of my momma’s big brothers. I had never been on vacation with this crew, but I can’t wait to travel with them again. They are down for any adventure, they love walking and the fact that they qualify for senior citizens discounts means that all adventures are free and discounted!!!

Adventures: museum & national park hopping, scenic Arizona drives, thrifting in Phoenix, shopping in Flagstaff, exploring cave dwellings in Sedona, artist dates with my favorite sculptor.

So the DNC was invading my hometown of Charlotte for the whole week, giving my mom an impromptu vacation. She booked a week of timeshare in the Scottsdale area for the week, then put me in charge of finding fun for our party crew, with our main focus being a visit to the “GC”. Our first afternoon in Phoenix was spent getting settled in our home for the week, checking out what was around and a required timeshare presentation. I would count the presentation as a complete and utter waste of my time EXCEPT they had these great white chocolate and craisin cookies and they gave us a free nights stay in Sedona for our trip back from the Grand Canyon. We did make it an early night because the next morning adventure was starting super early.

Our second day we probably got up at dawn since we were headed to the Grand Canyon by car and it is an almost four hour drive. I had done some research before hand and everything I saw said arriving around 10am would help you miss traffic jams and waiting for parking. It is too early for me to recall the exact time, but, we actually left so early that we got to see a really nice sunrise over the desert/mountain terrain. I typically don’t enjoy riding in the car, I can’t really keep my eyes open, but the trip was pretty awesome. Besides taking in some breath-taking views, we had a chance to talk and laugh with my momma, aunt and uncle. It is a great thing to have a rich family history and a chance to share and learn from those you love. I think we spent most of the day once we arrived at the “GC” taking in all the amazing views at different look out points. The GC is fairly inexpensive to enter, only $25 per car/van, but if you are over 62 years of age you can get a $10 pass for life to ALL National parks and that covers yourself and anyone in the car with you. We parked at the visitors center for convenience and rode the free shuttles through out the park. There is plenty of hiking and foot trails, even availability to ride mules into the canyon. There are several museums within the park dedicated to the people who originally inhabited the area, the plants, and stones found through out that area. The canyon really is one of the most magnificent things I have ever seen. I wouldn’t consider myself a nature lover, but this is something you must see if you can. It is one of the only land formations that can be seen from space and I can only imagine how overwhelmingly amazing it must have been to ancient people or explorers. It seems to go on forever in both directions with unknown depths and the great Colorado river running right through it. Towards the end of the day we departed from the canyon through its less used east entrance taking advantage of the “desert view” and having a chance to ride through a portion of the Navajo reservation. We had dinner at the local “trading post” which we were told is Navajo owned. Before heading to Sedona to sleep we stopped in Flagstaff to see family and I had to opportunity to shop at Bibeloz. The owner Kim is helpful and friendly and it is the cute shop filled with my favorite kind of souvenirs: unique, hand-crafted, free trade and affordable. Mango and Pineapple reaped the benefits of this trip and loved what I brought them. We probably should not have waited until it was dark to head to Sedona from there. It isn’t exactly a highway running between Sedona and Flagstaff, more like a two way winding street with “dangerous” cliffs on each side. The ride added some end of the day adventure for my party crew. :-)

Our next day in Sedona fed the museum nerds in each of us. We had the chance to visit some original homesteads of settlers who first settled in the area after the original settlers (Native Americans) were removed. It was interesting to learn how the area was claimed, settled through “squatter’s rights” and developed into present day communities. Sedona is beautiful landscape and seems like a fantastic escape for hiking and yoga. Making our way back to Scottsdale we took our time having a chance to visit Montezuma’s Castle, which is a series of unique cave dwellings. Again we had a chance to learn more about the people originally inhabiting this area. The cave are so high it is hard for me to imagine how they were climbing up and down all day. My mom was able to come up with something else for her bucket list and I plan to tag along for it. She has decided she wants to visit every National Park in this country. I gifted her with a “national park” passport, which gives details of the parks in each area of the country, also providing pages for stamps to track your progress.

My final day in the area was an interesting mix of shopping and a trip to the local art museum. My mom and I (kinda) love thrift shopping and Scottsdale has quite a few thrift shops around with a wide variety of “Jazzy Cowgirl” hand me downs. It was fun rummaging around and if it ever becomes the latest thing to need colorful leather suits or sequined cowboy boots I know where to go thrifting! We finished up the day with a visit to the Phoenix Art Museum. My Frenchie was in sculptor heaven and I must say this museum is really nice. It is split up into main wings, with a pretty interesting collection of modern art. The highlight of the visit was a photographic/collage exhibit by Stephen Marc called “Passages on the Underground Railroad”. It was an awesome collection of images from different sites that played a major role in the transport of slaves to freedom. It gave me an idea to take a road trip to some of the areas so I can see them with my own eyes. Stay tuned for that particular adventure.

Okay I think thats enough words. I had an awesome time and can’t wait for my next family vacation. Until next week, and by week I mean in the next 7-10 days. 😛

Apparently some of you don’t like to read and keep asking me for more pictures. So for the people who only “read” in pictures, here is my recap in visual form…

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14 thoughts on “So this is the meaning of the word Magnificent.

  1. Thank God you didn’t don a hat like Frenchie & your mama! I DID like the jazzy turquoise suit you picked out though! Looks like a great time was had by all, thanks for taking us along for the ride 😉 I only wish I had know you were going out west, you could have crashed with my bro & his family in Chandler, AZ but you have to LOVE dogs, they have 4?! LOVED!

  2. My son keeps asking me if he can see the edge of the world. I have tried to explain to him that the world is round and does not have an edge but he’s 5 and that is just way over his head. my second idea is to take him to the grand canyon. I think if our earth did have an “edge” it would truly look like that.

    1. Your son is so cute! This would definitely be the closest thing to the edge. They even have a glass bottom look out point that would blow his mind. Make sure you keep me posted when you guys head out there. Thank you for reading!

  3. That helicopter flight over the grand canyon has nothing on this. Now I really need to see the “GC”! As always thank you for sharing, you’ve inspired me. Kelley, you ROCK!!

  4. I am really looking forward to visiting the Grand Canyon very soon. I know it is going to be an awesome experience in so many ways. Thank you for sharing a bit of your time there. It really gave me a great feel for what for what it is like. Keep shining and HARNESS YOUR SUPERPOWER™

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