Driving around the Grand Canyon & heading to Cortez, CO…

Shortly after I entered the Grand Canyon (there was a long line of cars waiting to get in), I was following a long slow line of cars.  The speed limit within the park is low but this was getting a bit annoying.  Turned out it was slow or stopped because there was a huge herd of mule deer on the side of the road and crossing the road and people were stopping to take pictures.  Well, you know what they say…when in Rome!  I took pictures of course.  

My first stop was at Hopi House and the trail views.  For all the times I had been to the Grand Canyon I was not aware that this even existed.  It was the first time I had gone off the main road and seen the house…as well as the El Tovar Hotel.  The views from here are spectacular.  I wasn’t curious when I was there but typing this now I was curious how expensive the hotel may be and how far out you might have to book to get a room…nothing available until September, only one room came up…it was very nice…and it was $325 per night on average before any type of taxes…a little beyond what I would pay at any time…though I did pay $600 a night for a room at a resort on the water in Key West a few years back when my sister and I drove there from the other side of FL for 2 nights but we were splitting the cost and it was a once in a lifetime experience because we had never been there before and didn’t feel we were likely to go again.  I did the following week after she flew back to MA but that time it only cost me $400 for almost the exact room but it was one bed instead of two. I didn’t even look at the restaurant menu within the hotel…I probably could not afford to eat there.  All this said, the place is huge!    

Anyway…back to Hopi House and the views…

Taken from Wikipedia:  

Hopi House is located on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, within Grand Canyon National Park in the U.S. state of Arizona. Built in 1904 as concessionaire facilities at the South Rim were being developed, it is the first of eight projects at the Grand Canyon that were designed by architect Mary Colter, along with Bright Angel LodgeHermit’s RestLookout StudioPhantom RanchDesert View Watchtower, Colter Hall and Victor Hall, (the latter two being employee dormitories). Hopi House was built by the Fred Harvey Company as a market for Native American crafts, made by artisans on the site. The Hopi, as the historic inhabitants of the area, were chosen as the featured artisans, and the building was designed to closely resemble a traditional Hopi pueblo. Hopi House opened on January 1, 1905, two weeks before the El Tovar Hotel, located just to the west, was opened.”

I did go by Bright Angel Lodge, Hermit’s Rest, Lookout Studio and Desert View Watchtower.  I could only find available parking at the Desert View Watchtower so I will post those pictures soon.  

Just a few pictures of the El Tovar Hotel:

My next stop was Mather Point.  I did not think I had been here before but hiking here after finally finding a parking spot I recognized it as soon as I saw it.  


The Desert View Watchtower was on my list of things to do before leaving the Grand Canyon but after hiking to Mather Point and then back to the car I wasn’t sure I had enough energy to do that…I was going to have to decide once I got there.  I had seen it once before last year on my I-90 road trip but from quite a distance on a cold, drizzly dusk.  I wanted to be able to visit during a sunny day.  Sore or not…I got there and I had to go!  The walk to the tower was not as long as the walk to Mather Point so that was a plus and I got to sit down on a bench when I went inside.  After resting my weary joints for a little bit I walked around the building and then headed outside.  

I was not aware until I visited this time that there had been a plane crash here on June 30, 1956 between a TWA & a United plane. Everyone on board both planes was declared dead.  In 2014 it was decided to declare the site a national landmark and a plaque was placed.  The plaque is noted below and two images after the plaque is the area of the crash, the larger picture with the black tree silhouette.  

When I initially left the Grand Canyon I was just driving…I had no destination and it was still relatively early.  I am directionally challenged and did not even realize I was headed in an easterly direction.  At one point I passed the famous Four Corners area…love this spot, I came here in 2017 on my Utah/Arizona trip…but did not stop because it was closing in 20 minutes.  It was now 4:40 PM and I needed to make a decision about where to spend the night…I usually try to make these decisions around 2 or 3 PM.  As it turned out I had been driving aimlessly for almost 3 hours through this pretty countryside and I was 45 minutes from Cortez, Colorado and a Hampton Inn…destination determined!  During this 4+ hours of driving I only stopped long enough to take pictures of things I thought were worth looking at again. Here is some of the beauty I enjoyed between the Grand Canyon and Colorado…check out #6 from the end…a large rock formation that looks like a large group gathered.  🙂   

I made my way to the Hampton Inn in Cortez and after settling in I headed to the Destination Grill a short walk away from the hotel. I had a lovely conversation with a couple from Australia while here.  They had flown into San Diego, CA several days ago and made there way here.  They were going to be pretty much headed in the direction I had just come from going to Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, etc and then driving Route 66 back to CA.  I gave them suggestions for places to check out and it was nice that we had met…seemed like it was destiny that we all be there at that time in that place.    

Tomorrow before moving on to a new location I will be doing a lot of driving around Durango…be sure to come back!  Like my stories?  Invite your friends to enjoy or if there is a story you like or a trip you would like to take, send the post link to a friend and plan out a trip!  Have a question about a trip?  Leave me a message and if my brain doesn’t fail me I will answer your question(s).  

               You know the routine by now….come visit me at my page on Facebook, on Instagram, Pinterest and at my website.  If you find something you like on my blog and you don’t find it for sale, please contact me.  I will give you a quote.

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See you on the road!   

May your adventures bring you closer together, even as they take you far away from home. – Trenton Lee Stewart

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