Grand Canyon, Arizona -

TRAVEL: Grand Canyon and Flagstaff

Back in October Adam and I took a weekend trip up to the Grand Canyon and Flagstaff. During our drive we listened to Aziz Ansari’s new book “Modern Romance”. Audiobooks are awesome!! And so was “Modern Romance”!!

On the way up, we stopped at a 50s diner in a tiny town – of which I’ve forgotten the name, whoops – for a second breakfast and/or early lunch. The paved road ended about 100 feet from the highway and the rest of the way we drove on gravel. Our meal was delicious. Crispy bacon, buttery toast, and scrambled eggs drowning in ketchup were all I needed to make me happy.

After this we drove the rest of the way up to the Grand Canyon. It was a Saturday at the beginning of October aka prime tourist season. We definitely should have picked a different day to go. Finding a parking spot was horrible. It took us close to 30 minutes of slowly driving through the multiple parking lots until we finally spotted a family that was getting ready to leave.

And now, storytime:

As I mentioned above, finding a parking spot was  h o r r i b l e ! ! At last, we spotted a family that was strapping their kids into car seats and packing things away. I asked them if they were leaving and they said yes. Now, it is common courtesy to let a driver know that you’ve already given your parking spot away to someone else, right? So in this situation, I am correct in assuming that the family told me “yes” they were leaving and because they left it at that the spot is open and I am free to wait for it, right? Okay, I’m just checking in with you because what happened next left me feeling flustered and unjustified!

The family finishes their packing, starts the car and pulls out. I pull into the spot and as I’m turning in a car in front of me begins to BACK INTO ME?!?!?! At this point I honk my horn to let them know I’m there and I pull into the spot. Well, I hadn’t even turned off the car when I heard someone knocking on my driver side window. I look up and see a woman pointing at me and yelling, “This is my spot! You give me my spot!” To which I am too confused to respond to her and point to a car behind us that is about to leave and let her know that is opening up. She walked away. I thought that was the end of it. Nope.

I get out of the car and the woman walks back up to me and told me, “You no good person, this is my spot!” Behind her, in a rental car, is a man about her age and two kids in the back seat. The dad starts yelling at me in Italian and aggressively waving his arm in my direction. All I could do was point at the car that was pulling out of a spot 10 feet away from them!!! At this point I gave up trying to communicate with them and walked off to take in the Grand Canyon.

A few things about this story stuck with me:

  2. Kudos to them for driving in a foreign country. I’m sure that is difficult and stressful. Two things most people don’t want to experience on vacation.
  3. I’m sure they walked away from this experience telling a very different story than me. Probably something along the lines of: *in Italian* “This rude American woman stole our parking space and kept pointing and shrugging her shoulders”.
  4. In a perfect world we would be fluent in the same language and I would have been able to explain to them the whole situation and we would have laughed about it after while taking in the beauty of the Grand Canyon.

I can relate to them. Having lived abroad in cultures that varied from semi-similar to radically different than my own, I know that navigating a foreign country is hard. I’ll never see them again but I hope the rest of their trip in America was enjoyable!


Grand Canyon, South Rim, Photo Credit: Adam


You can see it’s a long way to the other side of the canyon! Photo Credit: Adam



After the Grand Canyon, we drove over to Flagstaff for the night. The road between the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and Flagstaff winds through rolling hills and thick forests. The afternoon sun was setting and the scenery looked gorgeous.

Somewhere between the Grand Canyon and Flagstaff, Photo Credit: Adam

Somewhere between the Grand Canyon and Flagstaff, Photo Credit: Adam

I call this one "Stumpy", Photo Credit: Adam

I call this one “Stumpy”, Photo Credit: Adam

After we stopped to take these photos we drove past a large mountain that already had some snow sitting at the top. I’m hoping we can drive up to Flagstaff this winter to enjoy the snow. We’ll have to see if my tiny car is able to make the drive!

A friend offered his home for the night. We walked inside and realized he lived in a long rectangular home. Adam and I were very confused why it had been built this way. Our friend told us later that this tiny house was built a long time ago as a barracks for the lumber yard just up the road. I guess a rectangle is the best shape for cramming in a bunch of bunk beds.

Frankly, we didn’t see much of Flagstaff. We were tired from our driving and visit to the Grand Canyon. Dinner at a Thai restaurant in town was about all we could manage before heading back to our friend’s place, turning the heater on, and enjoying the quiet night.

Early Sunday morning we had breakfast in town, filled the car up with gas, and got out of town. Fun fact: Flagstaff’s elevation is about 7,000 feet (2,130m) and Phoenix’s elevation is about 1,100 feet (337m). Our drive was all downhill from there!

We had a great weekend, filled with lots of excitement and tasty food. Have you ever been to the north rim of the Grand Canyon? I’d like to go there next and also visit the Antelope Valley Canyons!


11 thoughts on “TRAVEL: Grand Canyon and Flagstaff

  1. Shane says:

    Seems like I’m not the only one who has fun (or maybe thats not the correct word) with rental cars! Grand Canyon is on my list – hoping I can make it there in 2016 sometime, fingers crossed.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wynne says:

    oh my gosh, look at those pics! i bet Grand Canyon looked even more amazing seen with your own eyes than through the camera though. ah i really wanna go! btw, i’ve never listened to Audiobooks before. in fact i’m not sure we have them here, they’re not really big here where I live. I’ll keep an eye out though. sounds great for a road trip.

    Liked by 1 person

    • haleepagel says:

      A good place to start for audiobooks is youtube. I’ve found a lot of “the classics” there. Otherwise, websites like are subscription based and have really big audiobook libraries!


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