And so it begins - the Great Southwestern US Tour
The students of Mayfield Grammar embarked on a 12-day school trip to further educate and expand their knowledge in geography and geology in Arizona, Utah, Nevada and California. From hiking the Grand Canyon, and rafting down the spectacular rivers in Glen Canyon, to visiting some of the nation’s best known national parks to sight seeing around Hollywood, and finishing up at Universal Studios - the trip was a success and memories were made!
Our amazing rep Brenda shares all the exciting daily activities the students got up to below.
Check out their journey…
Day 1: Arrival
The Mayfield Grammar students arrived at 8:10pm. After going through customs and meeting me on the other side, our coaches dropped us at the hotel, where everyone deposited their luggage and walked over to our dinner. We were greeted with a hero’s welcome! They were very excited we were there and treated each diner as if they were the only one there. Dinner was very good, very fast and an overwhelmingly big portion.
Day 2: Montezuma’s Castle and Sedona
The Radisson Hotel in Phoenix was wonderful! Comfortable and nice, with an excellent group coordinator and a delicious breakfast.
We were soon on our way to Montezuma's Castle. We arrived ready for our talk given by Ranger Doug. He gave us a ton of info regarding the different eras and the layers of stone we would be seeing on our adventure. It was extremely hot by the time our talk was complete. The girls were given the choice to finish the walk to the ruins or return to the gift shop/museum.
We were then on the move again, headed to Sedona. This is basically our lunch and shopping stop. I highly recommended the Cowboy Club for lunch. The teachers decided it was a go, and we were treated to appetizer plates that had cilantro fried bread, prickly pear cactus fries, bison medallions and rattlesnake sausage. Everyone was adventurous enough to try everything! Then we were off for ice cream!
Time to round up the troops! I knew of a roadside rest that had restrooms, a scenic overlook and Navajo vendors that only sell handmade goods. This was after a beautiful drive through Oak Creek Canyon. We are now only 45 minutes from Flagstaff to check into our hotel. Once we arrive - students were given half an hour to get situated and we were to have a Taco Party at the hotel. There was lots of food and it was great. I sent the group to Coldstone Creamery ice cream shop next to our hotel for dessert. Busy first full day - good night!
Day 3 – Grand Canyon
After breakfast, we headed out to the Grand Canyon! We arrived at the visitor’s center with 45 minutes to explore before meeting our guide. Once we got our first group shots and hit the restrooms we went to get their first glimpse of the Grand Canyon. There were a lot of ohhs and aahs! We met our guide, Ranger Nancy! Mighty Mouse that goes whoop whoop - yep that's how she got everyone's attention. She was a terrific storyteller, who even with the sun beating down on us kept everyone's attention. Then she took us on a 5-mile hike to a few great lookouts! That evening was the Bigfoot BBQ. Once again, great food. The girls had a little time after dinner to shop before we headed off to Lowell Observatory to gaze at the night sky!
Day 4 – Winslow Meteor Crater
We are outta here - off to the Meteor Crater! We arrived, visited the museum area and then met with our guide Leann – where she explained how the displacement of the earth happened. Pictures do not do justice to the depth of the crater. Then we collected our lunches from Subway and had everyone head to the coaches. Now we are off for the Petrified Forest & Painted Desert. Hailee was our Ranger here and she gave us a great tour and tons of info. The petrified trees were amazing and the Painted Desert was just stunning - again lots of oohs & aahs! We then headed to Window Rock. Dinner was going to be late, but the staff was amazing. We were ready for bed - goodnight!
Day 5 – Canyon de Chelley
After breakfast we loaded the coaches. We headed off to Canyon de Chelley where we met our two guides, Henry and Reginald - both Navajo tribe members who were amazing. De Chelley was breathtaking and so were the pictures. As much as we wanted to stay and take in more - we needed to move on! And on we go - to Page! Back on the road, we went straight to the Glen Canyon Dam. Our drivers Michael and Larry dropped us off on one side so we could walk across the dam bridge. Then spent a little time in the visitor’s center where a Ranger spoke with us about the challenges of building the dam. That night we had a wonderful dinner where we ate the best Navajo tacos ever! Plus there were amazing hoop dancers .
Day 6 – Colorado River
That 5:30am wake up call came pretty early. Now we’re on our way to do a float on the Colorado River from the base of the Glen Canyon Dam, to the beginning of the Grand Canyon. This was a wonderful relaxing time!
Day 7 – Las Vegas
Up bright and early and off we go to Zion National Park. We arrived in good time and headed off on a hike to see Zion at its best. Then we headed to Las Vegas. The girls were amazed at the Caesars Palace complex. We came, we saw, we ate, we shopped and then we took in a Cirque du Soleil show – Ka at the MGM Grand,stunning!
Day 8 - Hollywood
Breakfast was amazing!! We had to leave by 9am to be in LA in good time. We stopped in Barstow on the way to LA for lunch. After arriving to the final hotel, we headed off to Hollywood for our tour of the Dolby theatre. The tour was wonderful! After the tour we took a walk on the Walk of Fame and did a little shopping on Hollywood Blvd. We had dinner in good time, celebrating two birthdays today, Alice turned 18 and Mrs Cocks turned - not sharing! We did manage to stay in Hard Rock a little longer, as they had great wifi and had two Pokemon Go characters to catch!
Day 9 – Hollywood Tour
Whoo-hoo excited to see if we can find any stars today! Off for our tour of Hollywood and Beverly Hills. We saw the Hollywood sign, the hazy ash hanging over the hills and valleys from the fires in Santa Clarita. The girls were most excited to see Justin Beiber’s house. Dinner was at the Rusty’s Surf Ranch and it was wonderful. After dinner we headed to the beach to watch the sunset. We ditched our shoes and went for a little play in the surf. The sunset didn't disappoint. Now, time to head back to the hotel. Long day tomorrow - good night.
Day 10 - UNIVERSAL!!
Everyone is very excited about Harry Potter. It was a fun day exploring. We had our dinner reservation at Bubba Gump's . A little gift shop visit and it's back to the coaches - we decided to leave early since everyone was exhausted and we needed to pack up for the journey home. It's hard to believe this is our last night together.
Day 11 – Shopping
Well this is our last day. Today we shopped and shopped some more. We headed to the Citadel Outlets. By the amount of bags that came back to the bus, I'd say they were successful. After a short stay here, it's back to the coaches for our transfer to the airport. Once we arrived at the airport, we said goodbye. It's just goodbye for now - they are planning a trip in two years to the east coast to Orlando and either DC or New Orleans!. Safe travels to all.
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