June 3rd and 4th ~ Canoga Park to the Grand Canyon
On Saturday we got a later start than we had hoped and pulled out of Canoga Park just before noon. It simply took us longer than we anticipated to finish up the last-minute items, grab our toiletries, top off the diesel and propane tanks, load up the balance of the refrigerator and freezer items, go over our check list for the hundredth time, and hook up our tow vehicle which is all new to us.
The intended stops between the Los Angeles area and our first nights stay got thrown out the window and instead we simply enjoyed the remainder of our day, excited to finally be on our way toward America’s Wonders…
Sunday – June 4th
After a warm night that was made much more comfortable with our air-conditioner humming, we woke up refreshed and feeling more like we had actually left home. I am still finding my way around this tiny kitchen, but we managed a nice warm breakfast, showers and found clean clothes hanging in the closet. So far, we seem to have remembered to pack the essentials…
Today starts off with a two-hour drive from Kingman, Arizona to Bearizona Wildlife Park located in Williams, AZ. After family members had visited there and recommended it, we were curious to check it out for ourselves.
Bearizona is located at the intersection of I-40 and US Hwy 64 (Historic Route 66) in Williams, AZ. – 58 miles south of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon – 25 miles West of Flagstaff, AZ.
It is a combination rescue center, walking park and a drive-through zoo. I was a little disappointed in the drive through portion, however we only utilized one of the two options. We chose to drive ourselves since we had just missed the bus tour that included a guide and narrative. I’m confident that would have been much more interesting and informative if we had learned more about the animals, their history and how they came to be at the park.
There were sectioned off areas, each divided by a fence and a cattle guard which kept each breed of animal in its own area. In this part of the park we drove past mountain goats, wild burros, young bears, large bears, arctic wolves and both white and brown bison.
I did get a kick out of seeing one of the black bears relaxing in his own “hot tub” bath.
Just FYI, once you pay your admission, you are welcome to do both options, we just did not want to wait the extra two hours for the next guided bus tour.
The walking portion of the park was similar to visiting a zoo, but on a smaller scale. The highlights for me included the birds of prey show, an engaging turkey and the magnificent black jaguar.
Our afternoon turned out to be OK, but not a wow. The drive-through portion mid-afternoon was the wrong time as many of the animals are quiet or resting in a shaded hide-a-way. Best time to visit would be mornings or late afternoon. I do think it would be a great stop for families with children on your way to see the Grand Canyon.
Our next challenge came when the RV park we had made reservations at, was on the opposite side of the Grand Canyon than was shown on the map. That meant that we had a mile deep hole and the raging Colorado River between us and where we were expecting to sleep…
It would have taken us quite a way out of our path, so decided to forgo the money spent on the reservation and try to find an alternative. This time of the year, finding an empty space in a campground close to a National Park can be a challenge, but the fates were in our favor and a lovely lady in a shop mentioned Camper Village, just around the corner from where we were. They had a spot left and we grabbed it.
It was before 5:00 so we quickly parked Ellie Mae, unhooked Jethro and made a beeline toward the Visitors Center of the Grand Canyon.
“For each man sees himself in the Grand Canyon – each one makes his own Canyon before he comes, each one brings and carries away his own Canyon.” – Carl Sandburg
We had just enough time to take a few pictures along the rim on the Rim Trail and Mather Point and watch an introductory movie at the Visitor’s Center before calling it a day.
Here is a sneak peek of the GRAND CANYON. We plan on getting up and out in the morning to get some more shots before heading out.
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful for a very helpful lady who graciously got me a map and helped me find an alternate place to stay when our original plans went up in smoke…
We hope you will join us for more of our road trip adventure!