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The Grand Canyon Road Trip

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Reposted in honor of Mother’s Day! Love you (and our long road trips), Mom!

A while back I shared?The List of things to do during my 40th year.

On that list, I included seeing the Grand Canyon. I should have been a little clearer.

The correct entry on The List should read “Return to the Grand Canyon and do more than a Clark Griswold drive-by.”


Back in the olden days- you know, the 80s- my family routinely took 2-week vacations in the Family Truckster just like the Griswolds.

In fact, we called it the Truckster way before it became cool to call it that.

Such pioneers, I tell ya.

One year my parents took us on this incredibly long road trip. The final destination was my Grandparents house in Tucson, which was typical of our road trips growing up.

The kicker here was the route: we were going north through Texas, stopping in Colorado, cruising through Wyoming and visiting cousins in Utah.

That was not the end of the fun, oh no! Then we’d head south through Nevada and into Arizona via the Grand Canyon.

grand canyon road trip

Eventually, we would end up at my Grandparent’s. Eventually.

But getting there was half the fun, right Clark?

Read the following in a snotty ten-year-old know-it-all-voice.

Oh, and OHHHHH— and we stopped at like 4 MILLION national parks along the way. ?Each rock- JUST A ROCK, people!- looks exactly like the ROCK we saw 50 miles back. So. Over. Rocks.

All I wanted to do was put my Walkman back on, curl up on the middle seat and be left alone.

Bryan Adams, like, totally gets me, you know?? Heaven, Somebody, the totally radical Summer of ’69…? Best. Tape. Ever.?

Ahem. Aren’t we glad we don’t stay a tween forever? But that’s for another post.

So imagine that attitude (and I was the tame one) times 3 and you have my parent’s unappreciated trip of a lifetime stretching out for two long weeks.? Their personal kind of hell, I’m sure.

Grand Canyon 15

We were promised a big night at the Circus Circus hotel in Las Vegas. This was the only part of this trip that landed on the cool meter because even tweens and teens know Vegas is all caps COOL.

But after all the “fun” we had at that point, my parents punitively decided to skip over that nonsense (ugh, really?!) and take us straight to the Grand Canyon.

The biggest fricken hole in the world (- Clark Griswold) shouldn’t be missed, right


We did the Griswold.

Again, before it was cool to do so.


Bright Angel Trail

Can we ride one of those donkeys? ?


Can we get on a big raft and ride the rapids???


Can we talk to a real Indian?(the 80s!), er, Native American??


We got out, took a few pictures with our Polaroid, went to the bathroom, loaded back up, and trekked on. My folks were ready for adult beverages and adult company at that point; the kids were in need of new batteries for the Walkmen.

Road Trips RULE, right kids?

And now you know why I take my children to Disney World and Disneyland.

Just kidding, Mom and Dad.

I appreciate all the things we saw and did on those long trips. I cherish my memories of our family at Carlsbad Caverns, The Royal Gorge, Zion National Park, Yosemite, the Alpine Slides among others.

Oh- and Hoover Dam! We did that before the Griswold’s too, and with less drama I might add.

I can also cross Wyoming off the list of states I’ve been to as well.



Today I pack my kids into my version of the Truckster, my black Honda minivan known in our house as the Vader Van.

Lessons learned from my family trips:? keep it short, yo! We head out for a 3-day trip up to the Grand Canyon after school today.

#OhLucy and Claire are extremely excited about it. Luke (Luke, Luke… your feet, Luke…) just wants to know if he can charge his iPod in the car. Since he will be SO BORED, of course.

Ahhh, it all comes back around on you, doesn’t it?

(Pharrell Williams is NO Bryan Adams tho’).

Seth doesn’t care about the trip as long as his Papa and Grandma will be there (they will) and that Papa brings a baseball to pass around (he will.)

Ahhh, yes, going back to the Grand Canyon with my parents AS a parent.

Aint life Grand?

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms and mommies-to-be! Will you be able to spend time with your mom this weekend?

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Be Careful Out There! Grand Canyon Safety Tips - Traveling Mom

Thursday 14th of July 2016

[…] family has traveled to the Grand Canyon about six times over the past three years, and each time we are simply stunned by its […]

Lily Kwan

Wednesday 21st of May 2014

The Grand Canyon is so beautiful! It's true about what they say that seeing it in person can't compare to pictures/video.

Veronica Lee

Sunday 11th of May 2014

Visiting the Grand Canyon is on my bucket list. Have a fun trip!!!


Saturday 10th of May 2014

I LOVE the Grand Canyon! Have a wonderful trip :)Karen @karenlovestorun


Saturday 10th of May 2014

Haha I bet your parents were secretly thinking that they hope you have kids just like you someday!! ;0)

Have a wonderful vacation at the Grand Canyon! That place is most definitely on my bucket list!

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