I thought there was quite a lot of Colorado but it turns out there's a lot of Arizona too. The drive from Albuquerque to Grand Canyon took about six hours and a lot of songs from the 80s. My favourite moment was passing a road sign to the nearest town then finding the exact right song on my iPod so I could holler: "Standing on a corner in WINSLOW, ARIZONA, such a fine sight to see. It's a girl, my Lord, in a flat deck Ford slowing down to take a look at me."
My husband Mark HATES the Eagles so much he nearly drove off the road and any chance of getting him to take me into Winslow, Arizona so I could actually stand on a corner went right down the gurgler but still, it was worth it. He's just not the "Take It Easy" type, I guess.
I should have had my friend Marty Bergin with me. We used to have "Lyin' Eyes" sing-offs back in the day.
Anyway, the Grand Canyon itself surpassed all expectation when I finally got to see it although I was a bit startled upon our initial approach to see 150,000 tour buses parked outside our rim-side hotel. My first glimpse of one of the seven natural wonders of the world included getting coughed on, smoked on, sneezed on, talked over, bumped into and hoiked at by the world's biggest collection of badly dressed people (note: I had not been to Vegas at this point) basically trying to get to the gift shop.
However, within 100 metres of this soul-destroying melange, the crowd dispersed and we found ourselves alone on the pathway that traces the southern rim. This two hour return walk goes down as one of the most amazing I have ever taken. If the word "awesome" had not been ruined by aerobics instructors, I would use it to describe the Grand Canyon.
We watched the sun go down (back with the sniffers and hoikers) and stayed in a gorgeous little cabin nearby, then got up at 5.30 to watch it come up again.
Staggering. Seriously. Staggering.
Even more so was the helicopter flight we took after leaving the National Park. To see the Canyon from the rim is one thing, but to be above it and see it from side to side in all its vast glory is quite another, plus there's no hoiking.
I was glad we had done it this way around and that when we left the Canyon it was its natural majesty that lingered in our minds, not the strange things people will do with fanny packs, small poodles and elasticated waistbands.