Getting Stalked at The Grand Canyon, a Camping Adventure

      In 1977 my parents drove from the Los Angeles Suburbs to the Grand Canyon on the back of a motorcycle for their honeymoon. This was in April, 1977, and I’m going to assume the weather was much warmer in April 1977 then April  2010. In April 2010 I drove to the Grand Canyon for the first time with four of my coworkers. Some of us were friends, some were acquaintances, and some of us might have been stalkers. It was going to be one hell of a Easter weekend away from work at the Grand Canyon.

the Grand Canyon
Smiling happy campers; Before Janette was stalked at the Grand Canyon

When we began planning our camping trip in the dead of winter we had no idea it fell on Easter. While the rest of our co worker’s were slaving away in a very hectic grocery store the first week in April we would be hiking, drinking beer by the campfire and working on our tan’s in Arizona, right? Janette and I always have this plan to become tanorexic on her spring break from Loma Linda University, and it seems like every year the weather takes a turn for the worse right around April first. 2010 would be no different.

One hour into the trip. Janette begs me to throw her in.

Part 1; Grand Canyon Road Trip. The Boys Eat at Every Sonic Between Here and Arizona

On a chilly morning we loaded up three days worth of supplies, tents, carne asada, flash lights and jackets into the back of my Subaru Baja and Macy’s Saturn. Well, first we had to go pick up M Who wasn’t ready, not even close. I think he was still styling his long, long, Kato Kalin hair. More about M, and his love of all thing’s Janette, later.
The back of my truck-like Baja was literally brimming with assorted camping crap by the time we crammed in every last Alaskan Amber,  Macy’s guitar and extra bibles. By the time we tied every last item we would need for the next three days to the roof the sun was just starting to rise over my mountain home in the distance and we were all ready for some breakfast and coffee.  We stopped for breakfast at the Sonic in Hesperia and everyone was pointing at the crap-tastic camping Subaru as they walked by. It was pretty hilarious.

the Grand canyon
Where we planned to throw M’s body at the Grand Canyon

The drive to the Grand Canyon from southern California isn’t to bad. Its about a seven hour drive, cutting across the 40 right along the edge of the Mojave National Preserve;  dry, dry landscape as far as one can see. Sometimes there are pretty wildflowers in the spring time after a moist winter’s rain. The drive is pretty barren until you pass Needles and the Colorado River crossing. After that the 40 takes you through Kingman in Arizona. We stopped some where in Arizona to go to Sonic. (Again) The boys were so happy they did a little Sonic Dance. It was cute. This was ten years ago and the closest Sonic to where we lived in California was an hours drive away.
We made it to our campground on the edge of the Grand Canyon by the early afternoon. Thank god it was just Janette and I in my car. We were about to discover that Janette was about to be stalked by Kado Kalin for three days. That leads me to M and that hair of his.M is growing out his hippie hair for Locks for Love and he really needs to cut that fucking hair. I feel bad for the poor little kid with cancer who’s going to get this damn hippie hair and have to wear it every day! The other important thing you need to know about M is he has a big ass crush on Janette. And he wore these huge celebrity style sunglasses nonstop for three days(Maybe so Janette wouldn’t notice him starring?). Really, these are what you need to keep in mind as you keep reading about Janette getting stalked.

      Part 2; Janette Gets Stalked at the Grand Canyon

Late afternoon at camp and we went about setting up our tents and our campsite. I asked M to take some pictures of us setting up, but he mostly just took pics of Janette.

     After the campsite was set up we made an amazing dinner of Carne Asada Tacos with corn tortillas, homemade salsa that I had pre-made and I made a fresh batch of guacamole. After we inhaled dinner we got on one of the tour buses that ran through the park and checked out the sunset at the Grand Canyon’s edge. Then it started to get cold. We were waiting for the bus, all of us starting to shiver. This is when I started to realize there would be no laying out in the warm Arizona sunshine for us this year. I was really glad I had worn my furry mountain hat. We headed back to our campsite, thinking we would enjoy a few beers and play cards around the camp fire. Well, number one, we barely had enough wood to get a fire going and we couldn’t even burn the wood very long as we had to save some for the morning’s fire. Even sitting right next to the fire I was freezing, and I’m from the mountains! We think it was about 15 degrees, with wind. It was so cold we pretty much chugged our beers and went straight to bed.  This was the coldest nights sleep I’ve ever had. I slept in two sleeping bags inside each other with my jacket on and I was still freezing!

the Grand canyon
Sneaky deer at the Grand Canyon

     We all woke up early around 7 A.M. When I crawled out of the tent the boys already had the fire going and water on for coffee, yea! Even on a 20 degree morning, drinking coffee by the camp fire is really nice! We watched as deer wandered through the campsite right next to us. There had to be like four or five deer nudging at our neighbors camping gear looking for snacks! That was pretty awesome.

the Grand canyon
That mustache. I’m at a loss for words. Notice Janette hiding behind a tree. M still found her
the Grand Canyon
Matt and Macy. The normal ones

Part 3; We Contemplate Leaving M on the Trail

the Grand Canyon
photo taken by Macy Mercado

    We all piled into Macy’s car and headed out to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon to hike the Bright Angel Trail. This trail went miles into the valley below but we decided to just do a few miles of it. We all packed lunches so we could have a picnic down in the valley below.

      Some of us packed sun screen.
     Some of packed water. When we got to the trail head M realized he had none of that. Thank god he brought his fancy sunglasses! Can’t forget those! And his camera to take lots of pictures of Janette of course. Really? Who goes hiking without water? I’m surprised he remembered a lunch! We stopped a few miles in to have our lunch and Matt took a nap. That boy does love to nap. He seems to take a nap where ever we go. If your looking at the pictures Matt is the one with the most awesome hair. It seemed like the longer we went without showering the more dirty looking we got, but Matt’s hair just kept looking more awesome! After enjoying our lunch with a really cute squirrel we turned around and started back up the canyon.

     The hike was fun, but Matt’s knee hurt and coming back my bad hip was kil

the Grand Canyon
Super friendly squirrel at the Grand canyon

ling me. Plus Janette was about to throw M over the edge of the canyon. We trudged our way back up the Bright Angel Trail in the snow, yes snow! It made hiking a little difficult and slippery.  We tried to hurry before Janette couldn’t take any more of M and his constant love.
We stopped at the general store on the way back (After Macy took us on a scenic tour of the park, driving like a bad ass in his Saturn the whole time. I say scenic tour, what I really mean is, I think he was lost) and picked up some snacks, gifts and postcards. I had to roll my eyes when we got back to camp and M told Janette
“If there’s anything you find you can’t say to me right now, you could send me a post card?” Janette replied
“Oh no, I can say everything I need to say right to your face”

      Then he proceeded to ask her to go to a Dodger game with him again…For the fifth time on this trip.

       Another day finished and tan less, we had some happy hour beers at our camp, then hopped on the tram to watch the sunset over the canyon again. It was still f’ing cold. It felt even colder then the night before, our beers were wearing off as we waited for the sun to set finally into the canyon below. Early to bed for us. It was to cold with the sun down to be out of our tent. Snow had actually been predicted for that night!

 

Part 4; Easter and we pray to Lose M

the Grand Canyon
Photo taken by Macy Mercado, Easter sunrise service over the canyon

The next morning was Easter and we took our little Jewish friend (M) to witness his first Christian sunrise service over the Grand Canyon. Macy led our little service and read a passage from the bible as the sun rose and filled the canyon below. It was a awe inspiring moment. I was deeply moved. Then M said something and we all rolled our eyes.

the Grand canyon
Poo shovel or spatula? You decide

For our Easter morning breakfast we were having bacon, eggs and pork al pastor sandwich’s on whole grain bread, back in our campsite. Matt had stayed behind (to get some beauty sleep, that hair of his) so he had the camp fire roaring and fresh coffee on the grate when we returned. The only problem? We forgot to pack a spatula so we used our camp shovel. Don’t worry it was not  a camp shovel that was used in a potty kind of way. The bacon and pork cooked over the wood smoke tasted so amazing. After this phenomenal breakfast we had to sadly pack up camp, resist the urge to leave M in Arizona (I actually texted one of my manger’s at work and told him we were leaving M behind until he cuts the hair) and hit the road.

the Grand Canyon

Part 5; Merica and Macy gets Lost in Arizona and we Follow him for 12 Hours

 

We had decided to take the scenic way back. Macy had the map in his car with the boys. None of our cell phone’s had any service so we couldn’t communicate so we had to blindly follow Macy. We had no idea that taking the scenic way would be a 12 hour drive home!
The scenic drive took us through the mountains near Flagstaff then dropped us into the red rock canyon’s of scenic Sedona Arizona.  After the twisting turning red crumbling mountain roads we were all starving by the time we pulled into Sedona. We enjoyed lunch at a restaurant overlooking the river down below then explored the little shops of Sedona. I found a John McCain watch, oh Arizona, you are special.

the Grand canyon
‘Merica

After lunch we drove up on a hill to get a view of the town. Janette and I found a farmer’s market with baby goats for sale. I wanted so bad to hold one, but they were just packing up for the day, boo! So it was time to hit the road. We started driving through the mountains again, driving through Jerome, which is a super cool town all built into the side of a hill on a 30 degree slope, with roads kind of like Lombard Street in San Francisco but on crazy hillside’s. Once we got out of Jerome it was a 30 mile drive out of the mountains to Prescott Arizona and across Prescott and all its traffic circles (What is with the traffic circles in the middle of no where?) then it was back to more mountains and where the hell were we? Janette and I started to feel like the boys were taking us on a wild goose chase! We just drove and drove and drove forever and had no idea where we were! After hours of this, we finally came down from the mountains for good. The sun was just starting to set as we pulled into a little desert ghost town for gas. This was the town of Kirkland, AZ. It must have something to do with Costco because everything everywhere had the Kirkland brand on it. They really should just call it Costco Town. We stopped in this ghost town to take pictures of cattle, yell at Macy, do some P90X on the side of the road, pee and roll our eyes at M.

the Grand Canyon
Somewhere in Arizona still 300 miles from home

Then it was back in the car… We were still 300 miles from the 909, our home! How could that be? We had been driving for nine hours! We went our separate ways hours later when we got on the 10 freeway, finally almost back to California. Janette and I stopped at the most ghetto of ghetto truck stops in Blythe to grab some gross fast food. After that she fell asleep. It was almost 90 degrees and windy as all hell in the desert as we drove through Indio, Cathedral City, and then Banning and finally, finally home to Redlands. I practically pushed Janette out of the car, I wanted to get back home to my mountain town so bad. So as soon as I start going up the mountain it starts to snow! Really! I just drove for 12 hours and now its snowing! I wanted to cry when I finally slid into my driveway. Home sweet home!What did we learn from this Arizona road trip?

  • Don’t go on a road trip with a stalker.
  • Never let Macy navigate
  • Always pack extra pork al pastor
  • Arizona in April means leave the bikinis at home
  • Expect the best of times and hilarious memories on an Arizona spring break vacation

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