I fell in love with Arizona.
Not only did that state take my breath away, but it also kept it.
Have you heard of that saying “whenever you go – always go with your heart?” And so, you should. I did and boy it was worth it.
Road trip to Grand Canyon must be on your list.
From all of our road-flight-trip through California, Nevada and Arizona –I can say without a shadow of a doubt that driving from Las Vegas to Hoover Dam, having lunch along the Historic Route 66 and seeing the sunset from the edge of the Grand Canyon – was absolutely the best.
We rented an SUV (Everywhere I go and need a car – I always use https://www.autoeurope.co.uk/) and set off at 5 am from our hotel in Las Vegas, half sleepy-half excited – some of us half zombies. (Not me, of course, I am an early bird!)
American roads are made for simple, easy driving. Wide, straight and all are well marked by numbers which make is so much better for navigating.
Our first stop was planned for Hoover Dam, and thanks to my perfect driving skills (meaning I took the wrong turn in Las Vegas) we made it there at the perfect time. Around sunrise time half past six in the morning.
Hoover Dam is one of the must-see things you have to do when visiting Las Vegas and is not to be missed. It was built during the Great Depression between 1931 and 1936 on the Colorado River and is still in the use to this day, though the water levels have severely dropped. It also separates two great states – Nevada and Arizona.
Apart from the few workers buzzing round, we were the first visitors to arrive so we could avoid the rather high parking charge in the Parking Visitor Centre and parked on the Arizona side up to the hill (about 3-minute walk) for free and enjoy the view to ourselves. As an American would say – cool!!
I am not scared of heights, but looking down towards the bottom of the dam it actually made me feel a little dizzy. Maybe because it was built so steep? I would not like to fall in, no thanks.
Did you know this Powerhouse produces more than four billion kilowatt hours of electricity per year!! Bloody hell!
I felt so little, but it felt amazing. Surrounded by black hills on almost every side; still, water looking like a mirror painted with dark yellow and navy-blue oil paints. Hoover Dam hugged us like its old friends and left us to feel special to be part of this monumental project.
We couldn’t stay there any longer as we had a long day ahead, so we jumped back into our Kia, all three of us fully awake and recharged (strength of the Powerhouse, ha?) and drove back on route 93.
I was saved from driving, jumped into the passenger seat and fully enjoyed the Arizona view and all it has to offer us.
Arizona is beautiful – Different beautiful.
I’ve seen Spain, Iceland, High Tatras, Jamaica, Peak District but none of that impressed me quite as Arizona did. The sky was bluer and the road never ended. One minute we were passing by a huge mountain which seemed to just appear, standing like a king, tall and proud. The next minute there was just flat empty land as far as the eye could see, Like magic! Magic which definitely touched my heart and the kid in me was looking from the window with an open mouth.
In Kingsman we took the turn and swapped route 93 for the more famous route 66, even it was half an hour longer to get to South Rim of Grand Canyon. The Historic Route 66 is something you don’t want to miss, especially when Route 66 officially doesn’t exist anymore. Why? Simply because Mother Road (another name for Route 66) is being bypassed by the new and stupidly boring Interstate Highway System. The official length of Route 66 is 2448 miles (3940km) and connects California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Illinois. (Something I will definitely do in next few years will be making the full road trip from West to East of US).
Driving on Historic 66 was definitely a lifetime experience, and it did all it could to welcome us. The sun was beaming with not a cloud in sight, the never-ending road stretching over the horizon which we thought would never end – much the same as the never-ending train travelling alongside us. Now I know why in all movies the criminals are so desperate to escape by crossing the track when the train is coming! American trains are mileeeeeeeeees long!
The only downside we found whilst driving in Arizona that the speed limit is bit poop. For this kind of wide, long and super easy-to-drive roads you would expect a faster speed limit. but we were really enjoying the view so it made up for it.
I do recommend to stop for lunch in Seligman as we did – there is a proper old-school shop/café place, the kind of you see in American movies, this one is called Route 66 RoadRunner and offers you a great choice of food and drinks and whilst waiting for your food to arrive you can shop around and get some great souvenirs! So awesome!
The cost of food is really affordable, more so than anywhere else I’ve seen in the US plus it is all made fresh so tastes that much better! Be prepared for friendly staff who won’t hesitate to introduce themselves and share some American humour!
If you like history or old vehicles, across the street is a museum/shop free of charge for entrance full of old cars and motorcycles. Though we’re not really into it we did take a look around, it’s not like we are coming back next week, so I fully recommend making the most of it. I promise you will take with you some nice, old-school memories and learn more about the rich history of Route 66 to share with your family and friends.
Seligman was also our last big stop (not counting gas, restrooms and hotdog stops!) on our way to the breath-taking views of the Grand Canyon South Rim.
All of this, including a few unexpected roadworks and speed restrictions we arrived at the Grand Canyon National Park about 1 pm.
Not bad for a mornings work ?
More about this road trip and Grand Canyon in part two – click on this link it takes you directly there!