Sometimes it happens that we choose to visit a destination for some random, simple and practical reasons, such as:
- Because this National Park is one of the seven wonders of the world
- Because we have seen hundreds of pictures of that place, and we’d like to finally see it for real
- Because it figures in the list of places to visit before you die (sweet!)
- Because at the same dates, which are the busiest of the year, the tickets’ price is much more affordable than for any other destinations
- Because our friend who just moved away forgot the hiking map of this park in the box of stuff that he left to us (NB: Grazie Massimo!)
- Because my parents went there previously and they told us so many times how beautiful it is
- Because that weekend is my last birthday in the twenties, no way to celebrate it with a traditional cake and candles!
- Because we really want to see something different without traveling to the other side of the world
Here we go! These are some of the miscellaneous reasons that motivated us to book our tickets from Atlanta to Phoenix, July 1st-5th, 2015! After one year and a half of visiting places around the East Coast, we were so excited to discover what does the other side of the United Stated look like… California is pretty expensive at this time of the year, so we choose to stop in Arizona for this time, we’ll reach the West Coast later (stay tuned, it’s coming on the blog too!!). Quite proud to finally travel to a place other than New York or Florida, we happily announced to all our friends: let’s go for cactus, canyons and scenic drives! Their reaction was more realistic: let’s go for the stifling heat, dehydration and crowds of tourists… Niiiiice! 😅
In this article, we’ll share with you the story of our first time visiting Arizona in only a few days. We’ll tell you our tip to avoid the mass of international tourists at the Grand Canyon, we’ll suggest you the route of a wonderful hike, we’ll be unveiling an amazing B&B to stay in the desert between Arizona and Utah, and we’ll give you the secret of an absolutely unforgettable birthday!
But, we’ll also leave some questions without answers… How not to dehydrate during a hike with temperatures above 105°F (40°C)? How to go back to a Native Indian lady’s boutique whereas there is only one road in the middle of the desert? How not to shed a tear when it’s time to leave the beautiful land of Arizona…?
Froggyz Adventures invites you to have a look at the little program below that we arranged in order to enjoy as much as possible our first visit in Arizona in only four days! Feel free to pick some ideas if you wish to do a similar trip, and don’t hesitate to contact Froggyz Adventures for more details or if you need help to plan your next road trip 😉
Wednesday, July 1st, 2015 – Night 1
✏️ Departure from Atlanta, GA at 10pm (EST*) arriving in Phoenix, AZ around 11pm (about four hours flight and two hours of time difference*).
✏️ Rent a car at the airport, stop in a gas station not to refill our gas tank but our stock of water bottles!
✏️ En route for a 230-miles trip (370 km) between Phoenix and the Grand Canyon…
✏️ No accommodation booked for this first night, we just had some sleep in the plane and in the car!
Thursday, July 2nd, 2015 – Day 1/Night 2 > Celebration day! It’s Froggyz’ birthday 🎂
✏️ After driving about three hours and a half by night, with a short Mc Donald’s break, we finally arrived at the Grand Canyon National Park, right on time to enjoy the sunrise.
✏️ Fantastic hiking day in the heart of the Grand Canyon!!
✏️ No room reserved again for this second night: we thought that sleeping in the car next to the Grand Canyon would be so much funnier!
✏️ Froggyz in a desperate search of available and affordable rooms in a nearby hotel… We’ll tell you that story ✌️
✏️ Birthday ‘dinner’ at Wendy’s… And eventually, night at the Motel 7 Mile Lodge in Tusayan, AZ, a few minutes away from the Park entrance.
Friday, July 3rd, 2015 – Day 2/Night 3
✏️ Woke up super hungry and dehydrated… Found a great brunch ‘all you can eat’ at the Canyon Star Saloon, and bought some well-deserved souvenirs! This is also where we adopted our cutie raccoon Navajo 😍
✏️ Short trip at the GCNP Visitor Center to stamp our passport of National Parks.
✏️ Nice road along the park enjoying several points of view, and drive until Page, AZ with a stop by the famous Glen Canyon Dam.
✏️ Guided tour of the gorgeous Lower Antelope Canyon.
✏️ Photo-break at Horseshoe Bend.
✏️ Walk around the small town of Page, AZ and dinner at Big John’s Texas BBQ before going to bed at our, sooner or later, pre-arranged accommodation: The Bears Den B&B.
Saturday, July 4th, 2015 – Day 3/Night 4 > Celebration day! It’s Independence Day!!
✏️ Delicious and home-made breakfast at the B&B.
✏️ Nice stroll on the shores of the Lake Powell and boat excursion around Antelope Canyon.
✏️ On the road again to Phoenix, lucky to ride a few miles on the Route 66!
✏️ Accommodation booked at The Happy Valley House, was cancelled, then we spent the night at the Radisson Phoenix North hotel – Stay tuned for the gossips 👀
✏️ Dinner at the bistro inside Radisson hotel, yummy burger!
Sunday, July 5th, 2015 – Day 4
✏️ Brunch at Steve’s Greenhouse Grill in downtown Phoenix.
✏️ Quick walking and driving visit of Phoenix and its surroundings.
✏️ Back at the airport 😢 Take off at 3:30pm and arrival in Atlanta around 10:30pm… On our way back to Augusta, GA!
It was a short gateway full of adventures, emotions and incredible landscapes. Arizona, we’ll come back to travel on your roads, to conquer your canyons and to discover your best-kept secrets 🌵
💓 Froggyz’ favorite lodging during this trip 💤
The Bear’s Den B&B – 864 Driftwood Ave – Page, AZ
After a short sleep in the plane and a second night in a motel, we deserved a more comfortable bed to relax and get some fresh energy to enjoy the rest of our adventures in Arizona! A few days before our departure, we made a reservation in a Bed and Breakfast located in the area of the Lake Powell, in Northern Arizona. The Bear’s Den B&B is a charming house in the small town of Page, AZ. There are only three bedrooms and we got the largest, with a private entrance, a closet and a huge bathroom J We liked the mountain/bears themed decoration which gives to the room a pleasant rustic ambiance. The hosts of the house are very welcoming and friendly, we felt immediately at ease with them. They know a lot of tips to visit the area according to your itinerary and your preferences, and they can even take care of booking activities and tours for you! Breakfast is a convivial moment to meet the other guests, and the home-made and hearty food is really delicious, the perfect combo to start a nice day of exploring! If you stay there, don’t forget to take your picture with the bear skin rug, it’s their family tradition 😂 [Froggyz’ secret: they have a Jacuzzi in the yard with colored lights, a pure relaxing moment, and it’s unlimited 🐸]
A Home away from Home
💓 Froggyz’ favorite restaurant during this trip 😋
The brunch at Canyon Star was our only real meal in the Grand Canyon area, and it was awesome!! Of course we were very hungry and thirsty, but we are always impartial on the quality of the food: it was good! We rated it 4/5 on TripAdvisor, the buffet was well garnished with different options, both salty and sweet. The price is really affordable for an all you can eat breakfast, $13 per person (without taxes & tips). The main advantage is that anyone can access the restaurant even without being a customer of the Grand Hotel (which is pretty pricey). One more asset, there is a nice gift shop in the lobby of the hotel where we found some very nice souvenirs of the Grand Canyon!
✍️ DID YOU KNOW?…
*In the USA, there are four time zones that divide the country:
🚩 EST > Eastern Standard Time, is the first zone from the Atlantic Coast. New York City, Washington DC, Florida and Augusta, both in Georgia and in Maine, are in this zone! Let’s say, for example, it’s 11am here.
🚩 CST > Central Standard Time, the second zone, goes from Alabama (border State to Georgia) to Texas, including also Louisiana and Chicago. It’s one hour behind EST, so 10am.
🚩 MST > Mountain Standard Time, as its name suggests, it is the large mountain area with States that possess some wonders of nature such as Arizona, Utah and Colorado. Here the clock rings 9am, two hours less than EST and one hour more than PST!
🚩 PST > Pacific Standard Time, in our example it is 8am, you can count three hours less that EST (which makes nine hours of time difference with France and its neighbors!). It is the most Western time zone, on the Pacific Coast, and it includes only four States: California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and also a small portion of Northern Idaho.
Indeed, several States are split in two time zones. We notice, on the East side of the country, that Tennessee, Kentucky, South Dakota and Nebraska have a part of their territory on CST zone and the other part on MST zone… Until now, we get the idea, but in Arizona we got quickly lost in time! Yep, in this State time is different if you are in the Navajo Indian Nation or in the federal territory: Navajo’s observe Daylight Saving Time, whereas the rest of Arizona doesn’t 🌗 Easy, isn’t it?