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The Grand Canyon and Phoenix trip

Over the past couple of years I’ve made a habit of doing quick trips on 3 day weekends. Last year over Memorial Day weekend I went up to Edmonton to see one of my sisters for the first time in 5 years. This time I realized that I needed a relaxing break and selected Phoenix as my destination, where I could stay and visit with my aunt and cousin and relax in nice weather by the pool.

I flew out early on Saturday morning and was in Phoenix by 8AM. I spent the day with my Aunt Elaine and cousin Chet, relaxing by the pool, enjoying grilled hot dogs and potato salad (my father’s recipe), reading a cheesy pulp novel on my Nook via loan from San Francisco Public Library and rounding off the evening by having dinner at a local favorite pizzeria. While enjoying the pizza dinner, my aunt mentioned that she was hoping to make it up to the Grand Canyon before her planned move in July and I proposed doing it the next day. A quick search showed that it was a 4 hour drive north and we headed back to her place to do some research online and make the proper arrangements.

Sunday morning we woke up at 5AM, by 7AM we were finished with breakfast, gassed up the car and were on our way north toward the Grand Canyon. The drive up was a beautiful one, the desert area of Phoenix giving way to the red rocks of the area around Sedona and then on to Flagstaff and beyond where you will find cooler weather and forests of pine trees. By 11AM we were at the Grand Canyon.

I had never been to the Grand Canyon before, but I had grown up hearing stories from my father about when he went with his family and they rode donkeys down into the Canyon. I remember him saying that you have to experience the Grand Canyon as photos don’t really capture just how huge it is. His great stories caused it to be on my destination list so I was delighted by this opportunity. Like most tourists visiting for the first time, we went to the south rim.

The views were indeed spectacular.

I also got to try out the panorama feature on ICS on my Nexus S:

We spent 3 hours exploring, and looking at the map, we walked over 3 miles around the rim before taking a shuttle back to the parking lot.

I’ve uploaded more photos here (but still only about 25% of what I took!): http://www.flickr.com/photos/pleia2/sets/72157629955730124/

We started the drive back shortly after 2PM and grabbed a late lunch on the way back. My aunt and I wrapped up the evening by relaxing in the hot tub under the stars and managed to get to bed around 10PM.

Monday was a pure relaxation day. My cousin made buffalo chicken on the grill and so we enjoyed sandwiches and veggies. My internet connection was quite poor, and I was able to resist the temptation to suffer through it to work on Ubuntu stuff – I was here to relax! I spent all afternoon and into the evening in the shade on the porch finishing the book I had started on Saturday and catching up on magazines.

The day wrapped up with dinner at Outback with my cousin before heading over to the airport for my 11PM flight back to San Francisco.

The trip was a great one. Relaxation! Grand Canyon! And stunningly beautiful weather for Phoenix in May, 80s and low 90s all weekend. I am happy to report that I’m feeling refreshed and once again ready to take on the world this week.


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