After leaving Winslow we drove through Flagstaff and on to Williams, Arizona. About nine miles north of I-40 is an interesting little place near Red Lake which is a combination gas station/convenience store/hostel/RV park. The RV spots are out back and are very basic, just water and electricity. But restrooms are close and very nice, and coin-operated showers are available as well. It is a nice and inexpensive place to begin our exploration of the South Rim from.
As soon as we had the trailer set up we took off for the park to get a first glimpse before dark. Our National Parks Passport got us in for free, saving us $25. Soon we’ll break even on the Passport purchase! We drove past the main visitor center over to Yavapai Point. Unlike Clark Griswold, we did not merely glance and leave! We took many photos in the last thirty minutes before sundown, then joined everyone else enjoying the setting sun. We even got to see a California Condor soaring on the updrafts. Soon the sun began to set, and as the last of the orange ball disappeared over the horizon a collective sigh was uttered and then everyone got up to leave.
On the way back out of the park I took a wrong turn which took us past a sign that mentioned something about an evening program. We investigated further and it turned out to be a presentation on the California Condors and their rescue from near-extinction. It was very informative and entertaining.
The next morning we drove back up and stopped at all of the main lookouts and attractions from the visitors center eastward to the Desert View Watchtower. After that we drove around and explored the Geology Museum, the market village, and the lodge area. On the way back south we stopped in Tusayan and investigated the Grand Canyon Camper Village. It seemed about as basic as where we were staying, and was a little more expensive, but it was 45 miles closer to the park! We made reservations for the following day.