If you recall, I mentioned that the only rule we had was "no plans." We would just land where we could and see what we could and wing it...
I had googled the towns we considered stopping in and on the map near the Grand Canyon Village, was a place called Desert View. And when I googled said place, there were two Best Western hotels listed. With that knowledge in mind we knew that if that's where we landed we would have an option for staying.
Flash forward to the evening of our third day on the trip...we were climbing up the mountain on the highway and looking at the canyon that rises above the Little Colorado River. We were commenting about the size of it and wondering if the Grand Canyon was going to look like that or better.
We drove through the park entrance and paid for our visit and received a map and information sheet from the ranger at the gate. I followed the signs for Desert View and pulled into the parking lot. No where was there a Best Western. There was a gas station, a camp ground and a market. Evidently there are two "Desert Views" in Arizona...
"What the hell....." said I.
"Now what?" asked Husbeast.
Weebeast sat in the back with a look that said "this can't be good."
It was dusk, we were several hours in any direction from a place to stay and we had no idea what to do next.
Husbeast flipped open the information guide and found Grand Canyon Village which was another 25 miles.
There were a couple of lodges and hotels listed with ratings and activities that were included.
"What are you going to do?" he asked as we both studied the map.
"I'm going to start at the top of the list and start calling places..."
The first number I dialed was for the Bright Angel Lodge.
The operator answered the phone and asked how to direct my call. I told her that I'd like to see about available rooms for that night.
"ohhhhh. Uh.....let me transfer you." Her voice let on that we were probably not going to have a place there that night.
The front desk picked up and I repeated my question. She hesitated for a moment and I swallowed hard..."We have 1 room left. It's a suite. It's normally $500 plus tax, but I can give it to you for $300 plus tax. There's a living room, dining area, two bathrooms and a master bedroom. There are two roll-away beds as well. "
I had pretty well made up my mind and I repeated what she said to Husbeast. He took just a moment to consider his options and nodded his head.
"I'll take it!" Our luck was holding out. Yes, it was a spendy room. But we didn't have many options.
With one less thing to worry about, and a little daylight left, we continued on our path into the heart of Grand Canyon National Park. We rounded a bend and Husbeast looked out his window.
"Hooooolllllllyyyyyy shiiiiiiit......" I heard Husbeast and I saw him turn his full body toward the canyon. I couldn't do much looking but what I saw made me dizzy with wonder.
"Don't look....you just drive...."
Naturally I couldn't help but sneak a peak at it every chance I had. The 25 mile trip was slow and windy and made even slower by the drive by glances we kept taking. We were both in literal awe at the immensity- the depth, the distance, the colors. My eyes couldn't seem to focus for the shear vastness of the canyon. That, and driving at the same time made things blurry. Ha!
I soon had to pay attention to the road signs that guided us to the Grand Canyon Village and then on to the Bright Angle Lodge, but we were all that much more eager to see the Canyon in the daylight and truly appreciate its wonder.
The closer we got to the village, the more we noticed buses that were pulling into parking lots where a few scattered vehicles were parked. People were getting off of the buses with luggage...
We made the roundabout and followed the last couple of signs into a parking lot that was lined on both sides with vehicles 50 or 60 deep. We both had our heads on a swivel looking for one spot that might be left. We had just begun to realize that we were possibly going to be doing the same thing that those people on the bus were doing. We were not looking forward to backtracking to a faraway parking lot and waiting for a bus to bring us to the lodge, provided a bus was even still running. Our hopes were sinking when about three quarters of the way down the lot, Husbeast let out a "BAH! AHHAHAHA!!!" and he pointed out his window, nearly coming up out of his seat. He had found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. THE LAST PARKING SPACE! I whipped ol' Petunia in there and we sat for a moment basking in the glory of our continued "wing it" luck!
After checking in we headed to our suite, which turned out to be a cabin that was built in 1929. It was moved to the Bright Angel Lodge by Mary Jane Colter in 1935. She is the architect who designed Bright Angel Camp as well.
We fell in love with the little cabin and wished we were going to be there for at least one more day! There were books on the mantle about the Grand Canyon and we spent most of the evening, after dinner at the lodge, reading stories about the area. We kept it rustic that night and left the TV off. All three of us had a book in hand and sat enjoying the fire and dimly lit rooms.
Husbeast looked up at one point while reading about the Bright Angel Trail and said "We are getting up early to hike the trail before there are a bunch of people out there...."