A very busy day. First, we had to partially pack up our stuff. We opted to take just one suitcase on our smaller trip because it is for fewer days and we figured we could fit everything we needed into one large one. We picked out what to pack and having looked at the weather, opted to take everything that would keep us warm.

We weren’t in any hurry to leave because we didn’t really need to drive in rush hour traffic. We were still at Pam’s house when Jen and Emery arrived. We got to talk to Jen for a while but Emery wasn’t quite sure of the strange guy and was leery of speaking to him.

It was time for Jen to get to work (even though she had worked 27 hours already this week) and time for Emery and Pam to get to preschool. Dick walked to Aunt Babe’s house to retrieve the car so we could pack up. We were the last ones out of the house and therefore needed a key to lock up the joint. Luckily, I thought of that before we were in the house alone.

We took off right around 9 AM and missed most of the rush hour traffic. There were still some patches of lots and lots of cars but we were able to make decent time on the route the Garmin chose for us. The passing scenery was nice to look at. The mountains in the distance look like black papier machet but when you get close to them, they are covered with greenery. Eventually, we noticed the tops of the distant mountains were covered with snow.

The farther north we went, the higher the elevation became, and the colder the temperature reading on the car. The lowest I saw was 25 degrees but we were inside and warm. At first there was just a dusting of snow on the ground. Then there was more snow. Then the landscape turned to pine forests with the trees covered in blankets of snow.

The roads were perfectly clear. We were told to watch for ice. Watch for plows. Watch for moose. Watch for deer. There is a winter storm warning beginning Wednesday and ending Friday. We looked and it supposed to begin snowing in earnest around 7 PM and we will be long gone by that time.

We stopped for gas and there was this funny stuff on the ground. Snow! Of all the things I expected to see in Arizona, snow was not on the list. But here it was. We were getting closer to the Grand Canyon and opted to eat lunch before we got to the Park. We selected The Chicken Kitchen. They had just opened February 15. I’m not sure how long they will stay in business.

There were seven things on the menu and I chose chicken fingers and they would substitute cole slaw for the fries. I got a dipping sauce and there were several options. I prefer honey mustard but this was chipotle. I figured if it was too spicy, I just wouldn’t dip much. Instead of being a dip, it was a glaze. It was too hot. I had a complete mess peeling all the outside stuff off in order to eat the chicken. The chicken itself was pretty good. I was a complete mess. Dick got chicken and waffles and said it was pretty good although it was not a cornbread waffle.

We got to the park and waited for the two cars ahead of us to get through and then used our Senior Pass to enter the National Park for free. What a nice thing to have. This was the first roadway we were on that was not plowed completely dry. To be fair, they had plowed, but there was several inches of snow and it was blowing across the plowed roads.

The Garmin had been wonderful in getting us here telling us to “turn at the light” or “turn at the stop sign” so we figured it knew what it was doing and where it was going and how to get us to our final destination. This was an error.

Instead of taking us to the Village Circle thing, it took us into the residential area and we were going away from the hotel with the little black and white flag over there, nearly off the screen. We got headed back in the right direction and then it told us to turn there and we did because why not? And we were in the wrong place again, only this time there was a lot of ice and snow and the car was sliding on an incline and drifting sideways. The driver was cussing and swearing and promising he wasn’t yelling at me although I was the only other person in the car.

We opted to stop listening to the Garmin and being an experience Grand Canyon visitor, I told the driver to follow signs to the Village and there was a sign to the hotel and we were miraculously in the parking lot without ever having to go around the circle eight to ten times. It was a miracle!

We got checked in and got our luggage to the room and dug out every piece of warm clothing we could find. We then went out and looked at the beautiful scenery. There were a light dusting (at least it looks like that) on each layer or ridge of the canyon sides. We looked up to see and the annual snowfall for the South Rim is 58 inches, so having snow here isn’t odd. The vistas were different looking with the snow and without the heat shimmer.

We walked around outside until we were fairly frozen and then came back. We went to the bar and got a hot chocolate. I got mine without whipped cream and felt quite virtuous. We ordered a cheese and cracker tray. It came with three different types of fancy ass cheeses, some dried fruit and nuts, salami, crackers, a pot of fig jam, and a pot of honeycomb. They whole thing was delicious.

The bar was filling up and space was limited. We were waiting for our bill when two women were hoping for a table. There were two more people joining their group. We invited them to sit in the two empty chairs and then they could have our table when we left after paying our bill. They were from Minnesota and so they did not find the temperatures to be quite as chilling as we did. They were staying in the Phoenix area and came to see the Grand Canyon. It was nice to be able to share our space with them for a few minutes.

We had dinner reservations and enjoyed a wonderful meal in the hotel dining room. There was a picture window and if there hadn’t been so many clouds out there, we would have been able to see the sunset, but the weather was not cooperating. On the bright side, that meant that we didn’t have to feel bad about not going back out into the bitter cold to see what could not be seen.

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