Day 89/90 – The Grandest of Canyons (February 9, 2021)

Night 89/90- The Grand Canyon

So we have a few waypoints on this route to keep us going in the right direction. New Orleans was our first detour with considerable mileage gained and days attributed to it. The Grand Canyon was the second, much larger, detour on this multi thousand mile trip. So we gave it some time to breathe.

Day one was just a short skip to the camp site just outside of the gate. We rode up in line with the cars and had a ranger tell us about the Greenway just off to the side that we might enjoy more. We had just come to the gate looking for passes or to pay any fees needed, now we had a fun way of getting there. Russell got his veterans pass and everything was just peachy. We decided to hold off on reaching the edge until the second day. For now we would just wander about the woods and hang out. It may be a bit cold up here, but it’ll be fine.

The next morning we were up and flying down the road….or not. It got to the low 20s last night and some things needed to thaw. Another day, another coldest night. (It was the next night)

I’m glad we were told about this Greenway. It was probably my favorite “bike path” yet (Over north DC and into Alexandria). This one was made that much cooler by finding ourselves surrounded by elk. The path moved to within sight of the road and saw some cars had stopped. An elk was just hanging out about 10 ft from the cars. Looking all around, there were about 3 within 20 ft of us and another 10 just wandering around between us and the forest on the other side of traffic. Never seen a wild elk this close. I’m sure they are a bit more docile from all the tourism. This day would be full of animals and would later befriend a crow.

Rolling through the visitor complex, we walked up with our hats down over our eyes so we wouldn’t ruin the surprise. 30 yards later and we made it to the a railing.

Dang.

I spent a day staring at this and still could find an end to new things to see or questions. Counting the bands and cliffs. Wondering about the layers and how weathering changes with altitude. Or trying to imagine the first trickling waters that carved it all out. I could make a day of just watching the people interact and take in the land as well. How are you supposed to visit a big pit? You take pictures. Walk too much. Forget to drink water, maybe? But if you don’t sit on a cliff over looking a sea of cliffs… did you even go to the grand canyon? Enough cliff sitting. It’s time to see some peaks.

Rolling our bikes along the edge, we stopped at a few of these outcroppings. Each one had its own incredible nature and view. The best view was when you would look over and see someone on the peak you were at earlier in the day wearing an alien mask. The guy had been going all around filming for Tiktok or something. Mask, dance, grand canyon. Pretty easy, but they were filming for hours. At one point he went out on this peak that had a boulder separated from the main “walk” even further out. When he decided to jump the gap, we (along with a few other tourists) watched as he made the jump, did his thing, and then had to work his way back over…. all on top of a couple thousand feet of cliffs. Wild.

The geology museum was sort of closed. Most of the exhibits were covered with plastic to keep people from poking the same glass as everyone else. The sight out the window was awesome, but that should be a given by now.

For the rest of the canyon, I think I’ll leave it up to the photos. I have been filming way too much with the GoPro and have barely scratched the surface in editing. That might just have to go onto the cloud for now.

We grabbed lunch back at the visitors center and doubled back to the edge for one last look before we left. We stayed for another 2 hours before heading for the campsite just outside the park. I thought the Greenway was fun going to the canyon… I would fly to the grand canyon just to ride that path back. Just the right amount of speed and cornering. Surround it in more nature than you can ask and you have an amazing ride to end the day.
We returned to our camp and pretty much put out tents right back where they were. Tonight’s challenge is that it is the coldest night of the entire trip. Mid to low teen temperatures… I know folks back home are seeing those temperatures now (and so are friends and family in Texas). With all of my layers and maybe the help of an emergency blanket, I’ll be fine.

Spoilers, I used the blanket and slept comfortably once I pulled my hat over my face. Little bit of frost and condensation to deal with in the morning, but it wasn’t too bad. (I say this in past tense because I’m currently finishing this up while laying in my tent in only shorts in California at a cool 46 degrees tonight)… I’m a bit behind on these posts. We have made headway and had some fun challenges along the way which I cannot wait to write about. Hopefully I’ll have a bit more time now we are back to the warmth of the desert.

Here is to one of the coolest and most complex single sights one can see, as well as one of the great wonders. We have a lot ahead of us and have put so much behind us. This chapter has ended and now we look to our new target, just 500ish miles away, the Pacific Ocean. Till then, wish us well and write to your senator to help push the winds on our backs. May your drinks be the exact temperature you want and Texas gets its power and heat back. Have a great one everyone.

As usual-

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