Girls Road Trip 2018 - the next couple days; Moran Point, Lipan Point, Yaki Point

On the way to check into our cabin rental, we stopped at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center.  Honestly we thought it would be a little... more (?) than what it was.  For the amount of people visiting, we expected a little more.  It was fine, but compared to say... the visitor center at Mt. Rushmore?  No comparison.  We ended up leaving the Grand Canyon visitor center area surrounding area pretty quickly after viewing a few things and buying a couple gifts in the shop.  Honestly, the gift shop offerings were terrible; we couldn't find anything for most of the people we wanted to purchase for.  Very few items for sale comparatively speaking.  The little ranger hats, t-shirt and vest for The Littles could have been bought anywhere and the little stuffed tree stump with little animals poking out of it, also could have been bought literally anywhere.  The t-shirts for sale were few and well... we didn't buy any even though we had 5 different people we were 'looking' to buy t-shirts or 'something' for.  (*We did find great choices elsewhere - including the gift center down the highway at Desert View and we also found great things at Hermit's Rest and the Market inside the Grand Canyon.  Just not their official visitors center.)

Grand Canyon Visitor Center
Hub for park information, bike rentals, coffee, exhibits & historical artifacts, plus a gift shop.
S Entrance Rd, Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023

I find anything to do with history fascinating... and I also love when people do things like this;

A minor left his box of supplies for prospector's coming after him, with a note telling them to use anything they might need from it, but to please not destroy anything.

This display of how the rock formations were formed was interesting, but easily missed as it's just on the side of the display, facing the back of the gift shop.

While I go for history, my daughter goes for plants.  Any kinds.  She loved the various cacti, shrubs, flowers and trees found on this trip. 

Using the cabin as our home base for the next couple days we hit all the area 'outlooks' - Moran Point, Lipon Point, etc. 

You would think you would get tired of looking out at the Grand Canyon over the course of a number of days, but you know, we never did.

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Girls Road Trip 2018 - Arizona Continued (The historic cabin....)

While researching places to stay in Arizona during our hiking and camping road trip, I came across a cabin you could rent that was in the Grand Canyon area but not actually in the busy part of the park.  I decided to book 2 nights there as I knew I didn't want to camp in the busy campground more than the one night (just for the showers) yet we wanted to stay in the Grand Canyon area because we planned on visiting some of the lookout points over the next couple days.  

If you've been following our Road Trip story so far, then you already know we ran into a huge glitch with this reservation as well.  You have to call ahead of time to get the code to to get into the cabin.  No problem.  Except when I called, the office had shut down due to lack of funding for staffing.  Because they were low staffed, they shut the office down until the following week... long after we would be gone.   

My two nights reservations were made months ago and paid in full.  But unfortunately there was no other numbers to call; no one else I could call.  The reservation system is through the government's main site for the whole country and all they do is take your reservation and money; they had no way to help. In the end, it took a lot of work on my part but I tracked down the code to use for our reservation and we were able to get in.  Whew!  Or we would have been 'homeless' again - for the second time on this trip.

Since all water has to be trucked into the site by the employees, there was no drinking water replenished since the people before us had left; but thankfully they hadn't used all of it and there was 1 container left.  We knew the next people staying after us also would not have fresh drinking water if they hadn't brought any themselves so we mostly used our own that we had brought, and left half the container for them.  (Assuming they were able to track down the code to get in.  I have no idea.  Perhaps they weren't able to due to the office being closed and missed their reservations... I have no way of knowing.)  The water in the kitchen is also trucked in, and not knowing how much water the previous guests had used and how much would be left before the employees came back to work and filled it, we also conserved that water and tried to use as little as possible.

The cabin is quite bare so you need to bring your own... well, everything.  Except the kitchen had bowls and pans, silverware, etc. and because past guests leave many things, there was a pretty good assortment of kitchen items.  We opted to use our own though. 

Although the cabin has gas lights, there is no electricity and no bathrooms.  The bathroom is in the outhouse - but it's a vault toilet, so it's not quite as rustic as an actual outhouse.  It does smell like an outhouse though... 

Loved this old desk in the bedroom area; except we didn't really touch it and certainly didn't sit at it or use it.  The cabin doesn't have anyone to clean it; it's cleaned by the current guests for the next guests.  So it's under layers of dust and grime.  I'm sure it's home to plenty of spiders as well; but I wasn't about to check too close.

I just love how these pictures make it look so lovely!  It's actually pretty dirty and has a lot of spiders and mice - This room looks so welcoming but in reality we didn't use the living room at all; we walked into it to take pictures but that's about it. 

This cabin looks like it offers solitude, but it was fairly busy in that area.  It's near a very popular hiking trail as well as a busy road that had more traffic than I anticipated.  Since it's listed as a historic cabin in a recreation area, there are groups of people that come to see it, and even have picnics on the grounds.   They expect the cabin to be 'open' to the public to tour.  That gets awkward!  

I wish the places listing this as a recreational area also mentioned the cabin is a private rental!  We had people drive up early one morning and start to peek in the windows and walk in the door on us.  I had to tell them the cabin isn't actually to the public to walk through - and that we were privately renting it.  I'm glad we weren't in the middle of dressing or anything when they showed up and started to look in the windows and walk through the door! There is a guest book on the kitchen table; apparently this sort of thing happens to most of the people that stay. 

We enjoyed the quiet compared to the campground the night before.  We played horseshoes, ate dinner and then sat on the porch, eating some Reese's Pieces before heading in to bed for the night. 

Bring a flashlight so you can find the bathroom in the middle of the night!


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Grand Canyon and Mather Campground Continued.... and running into a problem with our next reservation

Grand Canyon and Mather Campground continued.....

As I mentioned in another post, we aren't fans of 'campgrounds'.  Packed in like sardines, almost on top of your neighbor, loud with kids, music, drinking; vehicles driving through all night long disturbing sleep with noise and headlights...

But we did book one night in an actual 'campground' that week; for the showers!

Mather Campground at the Grand Canyon as pay showers - $2 for 8 minutes - that sounded like heaven as it would be our only official shower that week.  I was making reservations early enough in the new year that many sites were still open for me to study on the online map.  I chose the site that looked to me, to be fairly private and more secluded than some most.  In the end I was happy with it (Maple Loop).  We were pretty close to one neighbor on the side and the neighbor right across from us; but as campground standards go, it wasn't bad.



Like most of the area, elk roam free - but are quite docile and used to people.  Because my daughter and I were pretty boring, quiet guests, we had a visitor who felt right at home.  She ate her fill, nestled down into her 'spot' and proceeded to hang out there... maybe slept there that night.  I have no idea.  We got used to her being there and didn't pay any attention. 

I plan on doing a post about the food options we chose and our reviews... but that is for another post on another day.  

Not only is there showers at the campground - but there is laundry facilities!!!
Not too expensive either.  We had brought our own soap (an almost empty laundry bottle I filled with water at home before we left.  We used this for 'clothes washing' during our road trip; great for washing wash cloths, shirts, socks and underwear, etc.  with the soap and water already mixed; and not having to use our 'clean' water resources for it.

But we took advantage of the laundry facilities and got our clothing washed.  Actually that leads to the next part of our 'what could go wrong NEXT' story....

You see, after our night at the public campground, I had reservations for 3 days at an old historic cabin in the national forest.  I chose it for a few reasons - not only was it different and cool but it would allow us to sleep in a warmer space, as I knew the temperatures in this area at night would be down in the 30's; it was also a chance to put our sleeping bags on a bunk bed instead of the ground and it would serve as a great home base that was solitary and secluded while allowing us to be just a short drive away from all the other 'look out points' in the Grand Canyon park that we wanted to visit.

As with most rentals you make your reservations and pay for it and then right before your check-in you have to call to get the code to get into the front door.  I planned on calling for the code on Tuesday but if you're following our Girls Road Trip 2018 story, you already know we were completely flying by the seat of our pants after the fire evacuation of Chiricahua National Monument and the Bonita Campground - which left us basically stranded in Arizona with no reservations, no plan, no idea of what to do.  So we ended up camping in random areas across the state in National Parks that week; and therefore - didn't get to call in for the code until we were back in 'civilization' at the Grand Canyon Wednesday.

And another glitch in plans when I dialed the number only to hear a voicemail recording letting me know that due to the lack of government funding; they had no one to staff their office and they would be closed until the 22nd.  Which was the next week... 

So we had paid reservations in a cabin that we couldn't get into because the government office was closed.  WHY didn't the employee simply call the 2 groups of people that had paid reservations while they would be closed down and give them the code BEFORE THEY SHUT THE OFFICE AND LEFT?

Seriously.  TWO groups. Us and the one checking in on Saturday after we left (according to the online reservation system).  So two phone calls with the code to get into the cabin we had PAID FOR already... was too much to ask?

Their number had the message they were closed.
The government reservation people had no other numbers to reach anyone and no information.

I'm not going to go into all the details - it was crazy and... stupid.  But with so much work on my part, I tracked down that friggin code and Thursday morning after our laundry was done, checked out of the campground and headed over to do the touristy "Grand Canyon Visitors Center" and then leave the busy public part of the Grand Canyon for the more off the beaten path and less busy Eastern side of the park... and our solitary cabin.  (Which I determined that if we got there and the code didn't work I'd pitch a tent and stay there anyway even though tents are not allowed on site.  I figured if someone with the authority to kick us off the site due to erecting a tent came - then they should have the authority to know the code to get into the cabin so either way; we had a place to sleep that night.  I hoped.)

To be continued.........

If you enjoy visiting Just the Coffee Talking, please consider using this affiliate link if you are planning to shop for anything (seriously, anything!) at Amazon. -Coffee at Amazon by Coffee Talking


You might also be interested in some of the products related to this post, I purchased through Amazon;

Eating utensils
Collapsing Sink
Olicamp Mess Kit
Mountain House Foods


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