We know one thing.. finding a hotel in Las Vegas during a mega-event on weekend nights after a long and exhausting flight.. well, impossible! So we head back to the airport and just fall asleep in a waiting room. These things happen!
As soon as the restaurants open we have breakfast and in the early daylight we ride our bikes on the Strip towards Red Rock Canyon, where we find a camping only to fall asleep immediately! The next day we start climbing towards the Spring Mountain Pass to drop down into a vast landscape, where we find a refreshment at a lonely gas station. The sky is clear blue, not a cloud in the sky when we enter Death Valley National Park. Since it’s February the temperatures are ok during the day, at night it freezes a bit. We ride the Twenty Mule Team Canyon Road towards Zabriskie Point and enjoy the amazing views of this colorful desert area.
We are in Flagstaff at the moment at 2100 meters high, the sun is shining and a cool breeze softly blows into our faces. Among us trees which soon make way for a vast, but colorful desert landscape of Painted Desert. This is Navajo country and we can tell there is a difference here; all the land is enclosed and there are many stray dogs trying to find food among the trash. The Indians in Tuba City are friendly to us and we have a little chat at the supermarket. We are here to visit Monument Valley! As soon as we leave Kayenta the red rocks start to emerge, at first round and less impressive, but soon we see the well known monuments in front of us. We head for the visitor centre and have a self-made sandwich with the most amazing view in front of us. “Hmmm, you know Elmar.., it would make a great picture if you head down and cycle amongst these monuments..” “Uhuh, sure.., maybe later!”
One more National Park to visit during this short holiday: Grand Canyon! It’s a long and winding climb up to the rim and when we arrive it’s already dark. There’s nobody at the entrance gate to make us pay, so we continue and find a camp spot at the closed campground. We are pretty beat up, cause the climb was a bit longer than we anticipated. Elmar quickly cooks us a pasta meal and we fall asleep early. The next day we take our time to cover the 30-something kilometers to the main campsite, stopping at each viewpoint and enjoying the views into the deep. It’s like a giant painting, hard to imagine how big it is and how deep the canyon where the Colorado River runs through. We see deer and mountain goats and one deer even pays a visit to our tent! The Grand Canyon is truly ‘Grand’ and a great way to finish this trip.