The Grand Circle Tour – Final Post

It is said that all good things must come to an end and sadly, our Grand Circle Tour did as well.  It was an amazing trip, covering three states, over 1,600 miles, six national parks, multiple state parks, and so many other points of interest along the way.  We were in awe of nature’s beauty and felt honored to be able to experience landscapes that took literally millions of years to be created.

It was a humbling experience.  For anyone who is overly impressed with themselves or their worldly accomplishments, I suggest standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon.  It might serve to put things back into perspective.

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The Grand Circle Route – Starting and ending in Las Vegas

As we traveled in our trusty Kia Sedona, we were treated to a constant and ever-changing display of nature’s beauty.  The panoramas were dramatic and diverse and never failed to deliver unexpected surprises throughout the trip.  As the journey came to a close, a few thoughts came to mind:

  • The U.S. system of national parks is an amazing treasure available to everyone – whether you are a U.S. citizen or not.  The National Park Service should be proud of the wonderful work it does today, as well as its long tradition of service.  The NPS has ensured that these natural wonders will be protected and preserved for future generations to enjoy.  Take advantage of it.  Consider an annual pass or a lifetime senior pass if your plans include multiple parks.  (Our passes paid off after three visits.)

Jan 9

  • Our trip was definitely an “overview” trip.  We barely scratched the surface.  You could easily spend a week or more in each of the national parks and not run out of things to do.  The parks are vast areas with numerous hiking trails allowing closer inspection of sites, time permitting.  Staying multiple days in one park might allow you to catch that perfect sunrise or sunset or get up close and personal with your favorite arch or natural bridge.
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Sunrise over the Grand Canyon.
  • For our itinerary, traveling in the minivan and staying in hotels was the right choice.  Parking in the more popular parks at scenic overlooks was much easier than it would have been in an RV.  For a trip covering fewer parks and fewer miles, an RV might have been the right choice.

 

KIA
The Crew and our Kia minivan atop the Moki Dugway.

 

  • Being prepared for a flexible itinerary and changing weather conditions was a huge plus.  We carried small backpacks with us in case our “limited” hiking turned out to be not-so-limited.  We suggest carrying water, fruit, granola bars, trail mix, etc.  We also suggest having a fleece and a waterproof jacket.  We experienced warm and sunny days with temperatures in the 70s and 80s, but we also experienced snow and freezing rain with temperatures in the low 30s.
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Snow near the Utah-Arizona border.
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Threatening weather as we approached Monument Valley.

 

  • We really loved the mom-and-pop, family-owned businesses like Austin’s Chuck Wagon in Torrey, UT and the Stone Lizard Lodge in Blanding, UT.  They really went out of their way to make us feel like they appreciated our business.
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Austin’s Chuck Wagon in Torrey, Utah.
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Historic cabin at Austin’s Chuck Wagon.
Jan 1
No extra charge to watch the hummingbirds at the Stone Lizard Lodge in Blanding, UT.

In closing I would like to offer up these two extremely important tips:

  • Always close the hatch to the minivan securely to avoid launching flying duffel bags into oncoming traffic.
  • Always close the door behind you to prevent uninvited guests from joining the party.

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This was my first attempt to document my travels in a blog format.  I hope you have enjoyed the photos and the commentary.  My hope is that this information will inspire others to travel to the American Southwest and assist them with their travel planning.  I always read and appreciate comments and suggestions.

A huge thanks to Jan for planning and organizing the trip.  Many thanks to Dawne, Stefan and Ann for providing so much entertainment and so many laughs and memories along the way!

aCrew
The Crew

 

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Thanks, Jan!

12 thoughts on “The Grand Circle Tour – Final Post”

  1. Your blog is great. Enjoyed every one of them. You should travel around the world and write for a travel magazine or travel agency. Thanks for all your work.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed reading all of your blog entries of your trip. Your pictures are awesome and your writing style is descriptive and enjoyable. I would highly suggest you visit The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art in St. Pete. when you have the time and are in town. Thank you for sharing your adventures!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comments! So happy that you enjoyed the info! I will have to check out the James Museum – I have heard great things about it from several friends who have visited.

      Like

  3. As an American citizen and school teacher, after reading your Blog, I was embarrassed to realize how little I knew about The Grand Canyon and the Southwestern part of the USA. The photos and vivid descriptions of unique rock formations, wildlife, and plant life, create stunning images for readers and instill a broad knowledge of the areas visited. Learning the dimensions of the Grand Canyon makes one appreciate the wonders and magic of Mother Nature. Impressive also is the TLC given to maintaining these natural treasures. So, don’t be a hoodoo! Go see the sun rise from the east as it silhouettes the trees and crests over the one-mile deep canyon to the west. Join the mule deer 🦌, squirrels, and chipmunks to enjoy the “Golden Hour” in its magestic colors. Celebrate the beautiful, present moment!!!!
    Well done, Rich!

    Liked by 1 person

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