Days 3 and 4 were all about getting to Page, AZ in time to see the sunset at Horseshoe Bend. We left Memphis early on Sunday morning and planned to spend the night in the Walmart parking lot in Amarillo. As we were driving, we realized we had not packed the annual park pass we would need to gain admission to Grand Canyon and the handful of other parks we’d visit. Oops… The good news is that there are several parks in and around Albuquerque that sell passes. We drove through Amarillo trying to get as close to Albuquerque as we could.
Our first night of boondocking in the CRV was at Cline’s Corner, a run down little gas station off I-40. When you tell people out east that you’re planning to sleep in your car, they look at you like you’re deranged. But it seems to be fairly common out west. That night at Cline’s, we shared the parking lot with several RVs, a few SUVs, a VW bus, and 2 semis. And we got to see a beautiful sunrise over the desert.
We finished the drive to Albuquerque and stopped at the Owl Cafe for breakfast. Pancakes, bacon, and coffee. The perfect vacation breakfast. There are several old-fashioned diners along historic Route 66. We picked Owl Cafe because it was the only one open on a Monday.
Then we shuffled off to Petroglyph National Monument. After purchasing an annual pass we took a few quick little hikes. It was a great opportunity to get acclimated to the heat and the elevation.
Driving through the night put us about 4 hours ahead of schedule which was just enough time to drive out to Canyon de Chelley. This Canyon was originally on the itinerary but was crossed off because we didn’t think we’d have enough time to see it. What a treat to be able to see it after all!
As we drove, the temperature started rising and the landscape became distinctly desert-ish. It was so hot and I got winded on a quarter mile hike. The Canyon was so lovely and a great way to acclimate to the greater Grand Canyon region.
And we made it to horseshoe bend in time for sunset. We fought with a crowd of drivers for a parking space and jostled alongside them to get as close to the rim as possible but it was worth it! The pictures do not do it justice…
We tried to sleep in the car in the Walmart parking lot in Page but it never dropped below 80. So around 10:30 we drove over to the Quality Inn and spent a luxurious night in a hotel.