Thursday, July 25, 2013

Road Trip Diary / Day 9

Day 9

We got up fairly early and packed up the car to get on the road again. It was time to start making our way North towards home. Our big stop of the day was going to be the Grand Canyon. I had seen it quite a few times on our family road trips over the years, but my husband had never seen it before and he was really excited. We were getting close to it when we drove by signs for a place called "Bearizona", which is basically a drive through zoo.

This is not a real bear, by the way.
We were kind of in a hurry, but we thought if it wasn't too far out of the way, we would give it a try. It happened to be right on the way and it was awesome! It was literally a drive through zoo. Like Jurassic Park without dinosaurs. You just follow a road that leads you through several different enclosures (that were all wide open. Crazy!) and you just drive through at your own pace and look at the animals. And you are driving INto the enclosures, so that means you could have a bear or a buffalo, right next to your car. Kind of like a safari. We unbuckled the Princess and had her sit on my lap so she could see better. 
Such a stinker. She never smiles for pictures anymore.
  We saw mountain goats and buffalo (my favorite) in 2 colors. Who knew there were blonde buffalo?
This guy was right outside our car.
As you can see this huge guy was right outside my door. I think buffalo are so cute, but I was getting a little nervous at how close we were to him. They are HUGE! After watching them on the discovery channel, I learned that they are definitely scarier than they look. And he was like snorting and scratching his horns on the tree....I was afraid he was gonna start charging our car. So I told my husband to keep moving!
Here is a blonde one. So weird looking! I think the brunettes are definitely cuter.
Look ALL the way back. See the white?
You can barely see it, but way back there in the picture above, there is a baby blonde buffalo that was born on July 4th of this year. So it was a week old when we saw it. It was kind of weird that it was off by itself, but a person at the park told us that its normal behavior for the baby to stay away from the rest of the herd when its young.
Then we saw wolves, which FYI are incredibly hard to spot (and we were in a small enclosed area where there were supposedly 14 of them). So keep that in mind next time you are in the woods. They are really good at not being seen.
Can you spot the sleeping wolf?
Then bears. Oh My Gosh! They are so freaking adorable. Princess and I were squealing, ooing and awing at how freaking cute they are. I know, I know they are dangerous. But my gosh they look so cuddly! That was probably the best part of Bearizona; because you could get closer to these bears than you probably ever would otherwise. Whenever I have seen bears in regular zoos, they are always so far away and usually sleeping so they are even more hard to see. Many of the ones we saw that day were just a few feet from our car door.

This guy was my favorite. Look at that face!
So, after that cool little detour, we continued onto the Grand Canyon and spent most of the day there. There is just so much to see.
His first view of the canyon.

Do you think they even had a clue?

There are tons of viewpoints all along the canyon; so many that you can't possibly stop at them all in one day. There were hotels, visitors centers, gift shops and campsites. Its crazy. And if you did stay out there, there are a ton of cool activities to do. You can hike, horseback ride, white water raft, bike. You could almost stay for a whole week. It made me want to look into the hotel and see if it was a good place to go visit again sometime (meaning is it nice enough for my vacation standards). The sun was just setting as we left the park, and we barely made it in time for me to swing by some of the Indian (Navajo) jewelery stands that are lined up on the road exiting the Grand Canyon.
They have such beautiful jewelery and I'm sad I didn't get more time to shop. But I did get a really cute polar bear pendant (I have to find a chain for it) that is carved stone and the woman who sold it to me said that it symbolizes strength and protection. Sweet. They had so many beautiful (all handmade) things. Copper bracelets and turquoise. Cedar bead necklaces and hand beaded head wraps. I loved it all.
We drove a little more and stopped at a trading post in Cameron for dinner. The food was surprisingly good. I had an Indian fry bread french dip sandwich and it was so yummy! It was basically a french dip sandwiched between two doughnuts. Holy deliciousness!  The hubby had a taco, enchilada and tamale with salsa that was even too spicy for him. And that's saying a lot. He loves his spice. Then we drove a few more hours until we were too sleepy to go any further and we checked into a hotel for the night.

To Be Continued...

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