From Moore Ok., Tim drove all the way to the boarder of Texas, then straight through Texas and into New Mexico. The award for longest drive so far goes to Tim, over ten hours solid. Around 10:00 pm we had reached Albuquerque and thank goodness Collin was there to save the day so Tim could finally rest. Collin had warned every one at the beginning of the trip that he does not do well driving when he is tired, and while we do consider ourselves to be adventurers, we are not stupid and we don’t take any unnecessary risks; so when Collin said he was tired 10 minutes after getting in the drivers seat, Phil climbed to the front of the bus and we quickly replaced Collin and gave him the award for the shortest drive. I must say that was a crucial time though. Those ten minutes were very important and we have to give credit where credit is due so to Collin, we salute you for getting us out of Albuquerque and also for being man enough not to risk putting us there permanently. Phil drove through the night, and apparently he can do anything when he is listening to the “Lord Of The Rings” sound track (special thanks to Liberty University and college in general for teaching us how to stay awake all night).
Justin must have taken over sometime in the early morning before sun rise because when I awoke around 5:00 am, I saw Justin driving and Collin at the front of the bus doing his typical photographer movements as he looked out the right side windows and door. His head was floating as if on a level and his body was moving up and down as he looked out at what was about to be the first amazing sun rise of the trip. Collin is a great photographer and videographer; he has an eye for the shot that can’t be taught. He also has the training, and once again we have to thank Liberty University, the school that made this trip possible, for giving gifted students like Collin the skills he needs to capture what he sees. The sun was rising over our right shoulders and the rolling hills of Nevada were difficult to predict. The three of us who were awake (Justin, Keller, Collin) were trying to decide if we should stop or keep trying to find a higher hill to get a good picture when the sun rose. Every time we got to the top of a hill it seemed like the next one would serve for a better shot, but then finally we just decided to pull over and watch the sun rise. We stopped only for a few minutes to listen to worship music and just marvel at the beautiful canvas God paints every morning that we so often take for granted. I had roamed the farthest down the road and was literally caught in a trance until I heard Justin calling me back to the bus. We set off again heading west until we reached Flagstaff where we turned north and began the steady climb up to the top of the Grand Canyon.
Because we left on Tuesday night instead of Wednesday morning, we were about 8 hours ahead of schedule. We pulled into the desert view campgrounds at 8:30 am to find a camping spot. We found a great spot off by itself enough to have some privacy, and good trees for shade and hammocks. As tired as we were after over 38 hours of solid travel, we didn’t think twice about what to do first. We parked the van and didn’t even unload anything. As fast as we could get off we were on our way to our first look at the canyon. We didn’t care if we sounded like a bunch of school girls as we started to get closer, running and jumping over rocks and past cactus plants and trees. Every now and then we would catch a glimpse through the trees, and shouts (ok more like screams) would ring out. As we got closer, several of us agreed to look down until we reached the edge so we could see it all at once. When we finally got to the ledge and looked up… the sight actually took my breath away.
The mountians melt like wax before the LORD,
before the Lord of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his righteousness,
And the peoples see his glory.
– Psalm 97:5-6