Snow In Arizona??? Our Grand Canyon & 4-Wheeling Side Trip

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Jim and Lynnette with palm trees in the background - Phoenix Arizona. Photo by Driving from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon the next morning, we were faced with 'winter driving conditions' in Arizona!

The photo on the left is us 8 hours before the photo on the right!

Both photos were taken in Arizona.

The first one was at our hotel in Phoenix late on Friday afternoon. The next one was just north of Sedona in the wee hours of Saturday morning.

Wait… it gets better!


Friday, March 5:

After a day spent sweating in the hot sun at the ballpark while watching a Chicago Cubs Spring Training game, we each got a bit of a sunburn on our first day in Arizona.

We watched Spring Training baseball games at Hohokam Park in Phoenix, Arizona. Neil & Abby spent a 2nd day at the ballpark, while Jim and I drove to the Grand Canyon and Sedona. Photo ©

We spent the evening relaxing in the hotel bar, until we moved the party out to the patio… I spent the entire time convincing Jim that we should drive all the way to the Grand Canyon early the next morning — just so we could say that we’d done it.


Saturday, March 6:

The next morning, I talked Jim into an unplanned trip to the Grand Canyon. If we left at 3a.m., we would still be able to make our 11a.m. appointment in Sedona to spend the day 4-wheeling with Nena at Farabee’s Jeep Rentals (now Barlow Jeep Rentals).

Lynnette pointing to the Grand Canyon on the local tourist map -- not close to where we were, mind you! Photo © Neil & Abby Jim and Neil just hanging out in Arizona. Looks can be deceiving... Jim is toasted, while Neil is stone cold sober! Photo © Neil & Abby

(It was a 4-hour drive North from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon — one way. Then a 2-hour drive South from the Grand Canyon to Sedona. Luckily, they were both located on the same road north of Phoenix… it just took 4 hours out of our morning to squeeze in this “quick visit” to the Grand Canyon.)


Here’s How It Went…

Our 3a.m. wake-up call meant we were the only ones on the road — driving in pitch blackness up twisty mountain highways that we weren’t familiar with. That is Sucky Point #1.

We were basically running on adrenaline… too many nights in a row working late at the computer AND we stayed up partying the night before. After two hours on the road, we could barely keep our eyes open. We pulled over & slept for an hour in the parking lot of a not-yet-open-for-the-morning McDonald’s near Sedona. That, my friends is Sucky Point #2. (Cuz now we had even LESS time to spend at the Grand Canyon… IF we were going to keep our 11a.m. offroading appointment.)


Kokopelli’s Everywhere!

The 'World's Largest Kokopelli' -- known as the 'fertility god'. There are Kokopelli souvenirs all over Arizona... we got one too. (I'll let you know if it 'works'.) Upon awakening, we grabbed a breakfast sandwich at the now-open-for-business McDonald’s, when we noticed that we were directly across the street from the “World’s Largest Kokopelli” — right there along the roadside. We snapped this photo just as the sun was coming up.

Now, we’re back on the road and trying to make up time when out of the blue… we ran smack dab into a snow storm! In Arizona!!!

Eight hours earlier: sun-tanning and sweating. Presently: could barely see through the thick snow that was falling and couldn’t drive faster than 30 mph up the windy mountain road.

Who knew that Arizona had snow plows?! It was quite intimidating. Our biggest fear was getting back down that mountain.

There was only one way in and one way out at this point. We almost turned right around. Instead, we spotted a snow plow and trusted that the roads would be sufficiently cleared for us to make it back down the mountain — after we caught our glimpse of the Grand Canyon, that is.


Our Chevy Chase Moment

We called it our “Chevy Chase moment”… Upon reaching the Grand Canyon, we paid our $20 bucks (yep!… the “per car” admission fee), then dashed to the nearest pull-off spot.

Just like the Griswald’s… They were running late in their attempt to get to Wally World … when they came upon the Grand Canyon … they stopped at the first roadside pull-off … just long enough to snap a picture of them looking over the ledge.

Ta daaaa… Our “Chevy Chase Moment”: Lynnette and Jim make a quick stop by the Grand Canyon -- this is the 'Chevy Chase Grand Canyon shot'.

In the end, we are SO glad we did it… drove WAY out of our way just to say we saw the Grand Canyon! But one thing’s for sure: We’re going back next year.

Standing at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. (Notice the snow on the peaks?) In a matter of minutes, we hopped back in the rental car for our trip back down the mountain.

We were an hour or so late for our off-road Jeeping adventure, but we managed to spend a couple hours 4-wheeling in Sedona with Nena Barlow… on the Broken Arrow Trail, to be exact. (Check out the photos from our off-road Jeepin’ adventure.)

This photo gives you a glance of what it was like in Sedona… Beautiful clear blue skies and mountainous rock forms in Sedona, Arizona -- known for their iron-rich Red Rock.

Now, compare that with the picture of snow we had experienced just hours earlier!


Tips For Photographing The Grand Canyon