Since we had slept in a bit yesterday, we got up early to see sunrise at the Canyon. While out on the South Rim, we heard people saying the elk were out. We made our way a few yards to El Tovar and there they were, the elk, having their breakfast. We watched them for several minutes.
It was at breakfast that I realized how isolated from the rest of the world we had been the last few days. Breakfast for us the two mornings at Thunderbird Lodge were in a special room, just steps from our rooms. On the second day, another tour group (not Disney) joined the room for breakfast. I found myself wondering who these people were and did they have permission to be in this room having breakfast. I was used to seeing the same familiar faces of our group in that room and not others. Of course they had permission, but it made me realize that we had been traveling in a circle that was just our group.
After breakfast we loaded the motor coach for the ride to Monument Valley. We left our magical luggage in our room, as the next time we saw our luggage, it would be in our room in Moab. It was going to be a long day on the motor coach, but it went by quickly and the views out the windows were amazing.
We had lunch at Gouldings. The story goes that the Gouldings were traders of Native American wares. During the Depression, the Gouldings traveled to Hollywood to get the movie producers to come to Monument Valley to film movies, which would support the declining economy of the area. The movie makers didn't believe the photos of Monument Valley were real, but paintings. The Gouldings convinced the movie makers to come to Monument Valley and the rest is history. Many movies and commercials have been filmed in the area and it has done much to support the economy. And, the Gouldings now have a museum located near their restaurant with artifacts of the movie making industry.
Here we are in Monument Valley. Two open air trucks picked us up at Gouldings to take us through the Valley. The figure in the photo is the left mitten. There is a right mitten, just not captured in that photo.
We stopped in several spots to take photos and explore. One area had a man on a horse, named John Wayne, who for two dollars would let you sit on his horse and take a photo. See photo below. I know, the background does not look real, but it is. Very real! The man directed us to the best spot to take the photo. Coincidentally, there had been an article in USA Today just that week about the man, John Wayne, on the horse in Monument Valley. One of our fellow guests had the paper, and we took turn reading the article.
After Monument Valley we were back on the motor coach to Moab, Utah. Time for Adventures By Disney Fear Factor. It was kids vs. adults. Our guides asked trivia questions from our trip so far and the group that got it right could pick someone from the other group to perform a daring task. OK, how daring could you get on a bus? Pretty daring when it came to things to eat. Let's just say that boy ate a chocolate covered cricket and the husband ate a mill worm. I got questions right so I didn't get picked to eat anything in the game!
To make both legs of our trip go faster, Disney movies themed to our trip were shown. One was an animated feature about Goofy traveling to the Grand Canyon. We watched that first. Then "Cars" was played. Route 66. . . get it?
We arrived in Moab while it was still light and we could see the Red Cliffs surrounding our resort. . . Red Cliffs Lodge, which was located on the banks of the Colorado River. The Lodge is also a working ranch. The rooms are incredible! Spacious! Clean and comfy. Our room had a large bathroom with separate sinks, two queen size beds, and a kitchen/sitting area that was located on a lower level. We also had sliding doors which lead to a fenced in patio. The photo below was taken against the fence that held in the cattle and horses just behind our patio. Upon arriving in Moab, we had dinner as group, then it was off to bed. Tomorrow we were tackling Arches National Park!
Did you know that Adventures By Disney caters to many ages and types of families? On our adventure we had a adult son/ dad combination. The adult son had a handicapping condition and needed a scooter for mobility. The adult son was a published author and the dad a college professor. We traveled with a single mom and her three children. This was actually their second Adventures By Disney tour and the oldest son was 19, but he still counted as one of the "kids." We traveled with a couple in their mid 30's with no children celebrating their anniversary. They wanted to celebrate with other people and families and chose the tour to help them celebrate. We had a family with two moms and their daughter. We had a single dad and his two daughters. One daughter had experienced an injury to her leg/knee just prior to travel, but she did OK. Another family was a mom and daughter traveling together, as the dad was unable to travel with them. We had a family that had just returned from living in Australia for several years and upon returning to the states, wanted to see the country. Their oldest daughter was graduating high school. And may others, well enough others to make a total of 40 of us, plus our two guides. It was great to see the many combinations and groups. We got along well with each and felt like one big family after spending so much time together.
The boy was the youngest child in the group yet he was old enough to do all the activities on the adventure. Adventures by Disney has recommended ages for each trip based on activities and requirements to participate in the activities or length/difficulty, etc. Adventures By Disney does ask that children be at least four years old to participate in any tour.
Read about Day 1 of our adventure--click here!