Sunset and Camping at the Grand Canyon

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Motoring east on Route 66, sunset and camping at the Grand Canyon.

Day 13 of our West Coast Road Trip – Laughlin to Grand Canyon National Park

We would be continuing onto the Grand Canyon from Laughlin today. Our plan was to get an early start, see some sights on Route 66 and arrive at the South Rim in time to set up camp and watch the sunset at the Grand Canyon.

We got breakfast in the hotel. I had a cinnamon bun from Cinnabon – amazing – and Richard had an egg, bacon and cheese bun from Smashburger which was just ok.

Route 66

We left Laughlin around 10am and joined Route 66 at Kingman, Arizona. Our first stop on Route 66 was the Hackberry General Store. Route 66 is full of kitsch stops which we really like and this place didn’t disappoint. There are free restrooms here and they’re worth a look inside. I was surprised to find the ladies already occupied by Marilyn Monroe!

Grand Canyon Caverns

Following Route 66 east our next stop was the Grand Canyon Caverns. We had seen this on TV when Billy Connelly travelled Route 66 on his trike. You can stay the night in the caverns like he did for $800 per night although we would be just taking the short tour.

It’s a cool place, it’s also featured on Ghost Adventures which we had watched before our trip. The air in the caverns is filtered through the rock from the Grand Canyon and takes approximately two weeks to reach the caverns. There is electric lighting and you reach the cavern in a small lift, although there are stairs incase the lift breaks – but you wouldn’t want to use them.

Grand Canyon National Park

Our final stop on Route 66 today was a quick stop in Seligman where the Disney film Cars is based. We joined the freeway again from here and topped up the fuel tank with another $18. Next stop would be the Grand Canyon National Park.

We would be camping again tonight, our last night in the tent, at Mather Campground inside the park. We arrived at 5pm and quickly set up our tent. Sunset was due at 6.10 tonight so we didn’t have much time before we needed to be at one of the viewing points to watch it.

We chose Yavapai Point for sunset and there was plenty of parking nearby, we got there with 40minutes to spare. Unfortunately with today being a cloudy day it blocked the sun so only a little light made its way through to light up the canyon at sunset, still an awesome sight though.

It was freezing once the sun went down. We chose to have dinner at the Yavapai Lodge which was ok but nothing special. There are limited options for food inside the parks and what was offered was good enough to suit most. Service does need some work but on our visit apparently most of the staff were new. They will learn quickly as the canteen area was packed and it’s wasn’t high season at the time of our visit.

We were back at our camp by 8pm and it was so cold we got straight in our sleeping bags. It was forecast to get down to -2C over night so we were in for the coldest night of the trip so far.

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