Road Trip: Phoenix to Grand Canyon to Williams / by Will Tung

Mather Point @ Grand Canyon

Today was easily one of the best days of my life. I have a feeling I'm going to be saying that again when I drive the Pacific Coast Highway (CA-1), but for now, this is on the top of the list. Heading out of Phoenix, the scenery was beautiful (again). Each day the scenery gets more and more dramatic, making the first trip from Austin to El Paso seem absolutely lame. I realize that I enjoy being out on the road more, than exploring a city (at least for now). The adrenaline I get from driving up and down long swooping mountain roads and seeing large peaks and valleys all around me while my ears pop from all the altitude changes is hard to describe, but it's up there as one of the best feelings you can get in life. You see a huge mountain ahead of you, and then you start focusing on the turns, and the next thing you know, you see this huge mountain in your rear view mirror, and you think to yourself, "Holy ****, did I seriously just cross that?!" Yea, that's the feeling. Seeing a lot of blown tires on the road wasn't comforting though. While I head west (well north today) and see the massive lands before me, I gain a lot of respect on the pioneers who braved these lands on wagons. Wagons! I have no idea how long it would take them (as I never finished the game Oregon Trail), but major props. It gets me into thinking about how we are on the brink of a new pioneering era, to the moon and to Mars. I've always hoped that I would be alive to see that come into fruition, and I still do. I left Phoenix in the morning, heading out to the Grand Canyon. But on the way, I made a detour through Sedona, as recommended by Bilal. Am I glad I made that decision. The city of Sedona is interesting, being that it's built randomly through a small canyon. It's like a hidden resort town in the middle of nowhere. The best part of it was the AZ-89 highway, which winds up and down on narrow roads through forests and cliffs. Driving this road top down while "obeying" the 35 mph speed limit feels exactly like a video game. Here's a portion of the highway so you get the idea of what it was like:

Highway 89

It started to rain while I left Sedona, which sucked, cause I just washed the car. I finally did end up getting to the Grand Canyon, and paid the $25 fee to get in. One word: Massive. I mean, it's well known the G.C. is humongous, and one look at the map will tell you this. You see photos and videos all the time. But none of these do it justice. You cannot begin to imagine how big this place is until you get there. That's when you realize how insignificant you are compared to the sheer massiveness that is the Grand Canyon. G.C., I bow down to you. As the sun set on the horizon, strong winds suddenly blew through the canyon. It was almost as if the sun was holding the winds back, it was almost instantaneous. And the wind smelled like lotion you would find at Bath and Body Works. This was just a day trip for me, but mark my words, I am definitely coming back to make this a full blown vacation, exploring it by hiking, by boat, by helicopter, and camping. I am now in a Super 8 motel in Williams, an hour from the Canyon. An annoying thing happened on my way to Williams: I was filling up my gas at a station, and the pump must've been broken because it didn't stop when my tank was full, and gas started pouring out of the tank and onto my car. I caught it 2 seconds after. Trip stats:

Distance: 299.4 miles Average Speed: 50.3 mph Moving Time: 5 hours 56 minutes Total Time: 11 hours 57 minutes (so long b/c I was at the Canyon) Average Mileage: 28.3 mpg