Day 4 of our first motorhome road trip. Today Dave shares another lesson that we’ve learned as newbies to van life. We also visit the Grand Canyon IMAX and watch one of the natural worlds best light shows, the sunset over the Grand Canyon – wow!
(Dave) I wake up with a stiff back. Two inches of foam isn’t an orthopaedic mattress it would seem! Definitely something to consider when we buy our own motorhome, we need a good bed.
I’ve not shaved for a week. I thought I’d try the hipster look. It hasn’t worked, I just look homeless. Miche says I look like a cowboy. I have the hat, drink coffee and eat beans a lot. (ML-don’t I know it! 🙂
We had a visitor this morning, whilst eating our porridge outside the van. An Elk, the size of a pony, came wandering down the other side of our van. Amazing creature, he slowly made his away around the campsite. Just wandering in between the vans before heading back into the forest. I was kinda hoping we wouldn’t get a visit from any other forest life such as bears, big cats or rattlesnakes. (ML EEK!)
Today’s van lesson
Yet another van lesson today. We are parked on a slight slope, nothing much we thought, but it was enough for us to see our grey waste emerging out of the shower trap this morning. (ML – Ewwwwww!) The tank is only showing as a 1/3 full so it looks like we’ll need to keep emptying it each day to avoid wet feet.
As we discovered yesterday, the van valve lever is broken (see our funny video footage on Day 3). As it won’t tighten up I’ll need to remember to remove it before we travel, otherwise it could drop off on the road. Without that lever I won’t be able to empty the waste. Not good.
Where are we today?
Last night we arrived at the Grand Canyon Trailer RV Park (South Rim). After breakfast, having waved goodbye to Eric the Elk, we headed off for a wander around the campsite. What a great place. As newbies to camping we were impressed by how large the site was and the amount of useful facilities on offer. There were toilet blocks, water points, electric points, recycling centres, shower and laundry facilities. These were all discreetly dotted around the campsite. We’re starting to understand why vanlife and camping is so popular. It’s starting to grow on us by Day 4. (ML – Yay let’s go van shopping DT?)
Mid-morning we headed off to find the Grand Canyon Visitor Centre. Before we flew out for our road trip we’d researched the area and created a plan of places to go and things to see. We’d spotted the IMAX trailer online, which is part of the Grand Canyon Visitor Centre. We thought the IMAX movie looked like a great introduction to the Grand Canyon National Park.
We didn’t bother buying tickets online beforehand, even though it was July, we had no problem getting in for the short movie. We enjoyed the IMAX experience and hearing the story behind the Grand Canyon, it did set us up nicely ready to go explore it for ourselves.
Following an hour of wandering around the visitor centre, we headed back to our rented RV for some food. We planned to head back out and watch the sunset over Grand Canyon later on. Our original dinner plans were sadly ruined as we discovered that the fridge wasn’t up to the job in the July heat. We appeared to have a ‘proving draw’ great for bread, not a cold fridge for our salad and beer. We lost quite alot of our first food shop. What a nuisance. Hey ho. Lesson learned: if all else fails beans on toast makes a great fall back meal in a van.
Sunset over Grand Canyon
Following our yummy van dinner, we walked the short trail from our campsite to the edge of the Grand Canyon ridge. We joined many other campsite guests for a spectacular sunset light show. It really was an amazing experience. The crowds were all very hushed or whispering. The only sounds were the clicking of camera shutters and shuffling feet as people moved to get a better position to take that perfect holiday shot.
As the sun slowly set, the light moved and changed colour across the canyon. We watched as the landscape changed from yellow to orange, to brown and then reds. Finally turning to black as a shadow swept across both sides of the canyon before throwing the bottom into darkness.
Definitely a goosebump moment and a humbling experience. I would highly recommend watching the sunset at this jaw dropping Unesco World Heritage Site if ever you have the opportunity to visit. This should be on everyones #bucketlist.
DT on the edge
During the early stages of our amazing light show, I spotted a great vantage point. There was a large jutting out rock ledge, which my risk assessor (Miche) strongly advised me against climbing down on to due to there being a sheer drop and certain death.
Whilst Miche was distracted I nipped off and made the climb down and out onto the ledge. (ML – I’d been chatting to a nice Canadian couple and hadn’t noticed DT had snuck off. Suddenly I saw this crazy person out on a ledge, then I realised it was DT. I literally stopped breathing! Thank you to the lovely Canadian couple who kindly stayed with me to make sure I remembered to breathe and not faint off on the spot!)
I can confirm it was pretty scary climbing down (ML – please do not try this folks, disclaimer alert – Miche the risk assessor says ‘don’t do it’ ok, ok, lecture over).
Ahead of me on the ledge was a pro rock climber who was much braver strolling up to the edge. It took me about 10 mins to build up the courage to crawl up to and look over the end. It’s a mile drop to the bottom! The things I do for Touring Tails footage honestly!
Finally to round off our busy day we had a quick wander around a nearby gift shop and spotted our new van mascot. Meet Eric the Elk, he’ll be joining us for future adventures.
Miles travelled: 0 in the van but several hours of walking (ML – woo hoo smashing our daily fitsteps)
Campsite: Grand Canyon Trailer RV Park (South Rim) 100 Trailer Village Rd, Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023,
Coming up: Day 5 of our first motorhome road trip, Miche is co-pilot on a Maverick Helicopter ride to take a look at the Grand Canyon from above.