Roadtrip part 1: Pasadena to the Grand Canyon!

The adventures of grandmother, mother and daughter on a 9-day roadtrip from Pasadena to the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas.

Day 1 – Palm Springs, Salton Sea, Blythe, CA.

We drove out of Pasadena on the 210 east, then switched to the 10 towards Palm Springs.  After a brief stop at the visitor center to stock up on free maps we drove into town, found free parking, and headed to Ruby’s Diner for lunch.  We were served typically huge portions as the toy train overhead circled on its tracks.

It was baking hot in Palm Springs and we appreciated the cool mist spraying from the buildings.

We then headed south towards the Salton Sea. This sea was (re-)created by accident in 1905 when the Colorado River burst through canal gates.  We got there after going through approximately a million sets of traffic lights on the 111, and running alongside what I can only assume was the world’s longest train.  We stopped briefly at the village of Bombay Beach to see if we could get a view (we couldn’t). It was 117F outside, and the village was a slum.  Elevation -226 ft.

We switched to the 78 and drove east towards to the North Algodones Dunes Wilderness Area. You can pass through this area quite swiftly in a car but we found a place to stop and took in the excellent view.

After passing through a border check station we drove past irrigated fields and smooth roads to Blythe, CA.  We had dinner at Rebel BBQ, the yelp-recommended place to eat, and drank a much needed gallon of coca-cola.  It was still baking hot at bedtime.

Total miles: 299.

Day 2 – Wikenburg, Sedona, Flagstaff, AZ.

We started on the 10 east and as soon as we crossed the Colorado River into Arizona we stopped for gas. Soon after we started seeing cactus in the surrounding desert. These looked identical to cartoon wild west cactus, and they were visible for miles. Mid-morning, after detouring onto the 60, we had a coffee break in the small town of Wikenburg. By following signs to the visitor center we found the historic town center.  We stopped for a selfie beside a giant cactus and checked out the range of free maps available inside the old train station.

As we skirted to the north of Phoenix on the 74 we found ourselves in a band of thunderstorms, apparently from the Mexican hurricane Odile.  On a recommendation we turned off onto the 179 towards Sedona and then drove along the 89A through amazing red rock formations.

Overnight in Flagstaff.

Total miles: 280.

Day 3 – Meteor Crater, Grand Canyon South Rim, AZ.

Today we did two day trips from Flagstaff, starting with a drive on the 40 east to Meteor Crater.  It was raining and the outdoor tour wasn’t running, so instead we listened to an interesting presentation about how scientists decided meteor crater was from a meteor and not a volcanic crater (of which there are several in the area).  We got wet checking out the viewpoints, and I climbed to the top with an umbrella and saw the whole crater lifted above the surrounding plains.  Inside the excellent visitor center we admired the piece of the meteor.

After driving back to the hotel for lunch we set out on the 90 mile drive to the south rim of the Grand Canyon. By this point the weather had cleared and it was warm and sunny.  We spent a fantastic couple of hours at the rim, catching the sunset.  We picked up dinner at the General Store then drove the 90 miles back to the hotel in the dark.

Total miles: 267.

Next post: Sunset Crater, Grand Canyon North Rim, Bryce Canyon.

Following post: Las Vegas to Pasadena

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