Grand Canyon and a new set of brakes

Most visitors to Vegas will visit the grand canyon in an day trip. Whilst we’re in a very fortunate situation where time is not of the essence we couldn’t imagine the round trip in a day, it was a 4 hour drive just to the canyon from Vegas! And while we still retain some british sense of a ‘long’ drive, we naturally split the journey up into two, and rested in a national forest about an hour out.

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Our favourite kind of camping spot

The next day we headed to the canyon with a brief idea of what we’d do. The first thing on our to do list was the grand canyon campground. Whilst we were never going to pay to camp we couldn’t turn down the chance at $2 for an 8 minute shower! After cleaning up we could go and see the main sight – and it was stunning. Despite not being the deepest, or widest canyon in the world there’s no room left for disappointment once your eyes suddenly drop over the edge of one of the seven wonders.

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Grand Canyon

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Grand Canyon from a different side

We immediately wanted to hike down the whole canyon (as you would right?). Unfortunately it quickly became apparent this hike wasn’t feasible in a day – there are plenty of warning signs to stop you. So we decided we’d hike partway down into the canyon the next day, and just opt for a short walk along the south rim. Despite probably not being high on anyones priority list, visiting in monsoon season actually left us in for a treat.

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Grand Canyon with a storm

We got to see an oncoming thunder storm from the other side of the canyon. It was like watching a storm in a glass cup, we tried to capture it on camera but it’s hard to do it justice. We were then warned by a ranger that the Grand Canyon national park is the most hit by thunder & lightning in the whole of the USA, and on average 1 person per year gets struck by lightning. More on that later…

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Grand Canyon again

After walking as far as we could we took the coach back to the van and headed for a drive along the other side of the canyon to some more view points. We noticed the brakes being a little soft though and the cursed rattle had returned again. We decided not to chance anything and head to Flagstaff the nearest town to get it checked out. Of course by nearest town we mean 150 miles…

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More van problems

To cut a long story short, with trips to lots of mechanics involved we needed to replace our whole breaks. The rotors & the pads needed replacing and the bearings needed tightening again (somehow). It was frustrating but when we left we felt good that we had a new set of breaks as they’re pretty important for our travels. Back to the canyon after a couple of days delay and Mikey decided to go for a run. Halfway into the run the monsoon started & he was caught in a thunderstorm – a pretty terrifying experience but luckily no one was hurt in the process!

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Lightning that lit up the sky

The next day we started our hike down into the canyon. We started early to avoid the excessive midday heat and headed down about 3 miles down the path to a rest house with water. It was wonderful to see the canyon from inside as it provided a completely different view to just looking over the top. You can see the different layers of the rock which provide an interesting insight to the history of it all.

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Trail into the canyon

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Mules coming up the canyon

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6 miles done and we’re very sweaty

After an exhausting hike back up and a restful night we headed to our next destination – LA! Not before stopping at our favourite campsite of the trip so far – about an hour out of LA we pulled up late and were fortunate enough to see not one, but two shooting stars in a beautifully clear night sky while stargazing. We were bracing ourselves for another couple of days of city life, which is always harder in the van so it was nice to have one last day of natural beauty before we went into another urban jungle.

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Our favourite spot

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