Knowing that we had blown any possibility of a short drive, Nancy got herself up at 4am and fought her way through the labyrinth of the camper’s interior (full of stuff — including three bikes) to get everyone a change of clothes so we could all have showers and breakfast before leaving for The Grand Canyon. We made it out of the hotel shortly after 6am.
Erin was still not improving at this point and the bounciness seemed to have returned to the SUV. At some point along the road, I noticed that the rear of the car seemed to be sitting much lower than the front. I tried the self-leveling system, but it seemed to have completely failed and shut itself off. We were now driving seemingly without any rear suspension at all whether or not we were towing the camper — which means hard and bouncy.
Even so, the drive to Arizona was beautiful. Between the Texas farmland and wind turbines to the many mesas and mountains, we were constantly amazed at the change in scenery. We made it to the Grand Canyon around 6pm. After setting up our campsite and having dinner, Sean insisted we go see the view. It was amazing!
One of the best things about the dry wilderness of the Southwest is the view of the stars at night. Sean had the best view of all as he slept in a hammock outside the camper.
Thursday morning we had to stop at the Home Depot in Austin to pick up the generator we had ordered back home. This gave us the opportunity to see Mallory one more time and also enjoy some “damn good tacos” at Torchy’s.
It turns out the road trip to Albuquerque was our longest planned day of driving on the entire trip. It finally began around noon and by 6pm we were still a good 8-10 hours away. Erin was suffering the whole way so shortly after dinner we decided to bail on Albuquerque as well as our plans to bivouac at a Flying J and instead started calling for hotel reservations a few hours out in Clovis, NM.
Clovis turned out to be almost completely sold out due to a race that weekend, but we found a suite available at the Holiday Inn, so we booked it and eventually arrived around 10pm, with everyone pretty much crashing in bed immediately upon arrival. Erin was crazy happy to have a bed and air conditioning.
Erin’s health did not improve overnight, but Mallory came through with several recommendations for doctors from her “mom friends”, so Erin and I headed out to a doctor with walk-in hours. After an examination and some preliminary lab work, she prescribed Erin antibiotics.
A high-school friend of Nancy came to visit us with her family from Dallas. McKinney Falls has a nice swimming area below the lower falls, so we spent a couple hours there before dinner. Sean enjoyed jumping from the rocks into the water repeatedly as well as struggling to hold onto the rock wall behind the falls as he made his way across and they pounded down on his shoulders. Even Ian jumped from the rocks a few times!
Unfortunately Erin ended up spending most of the day sleeping in the camper. We were hoping those antibiotics would kick in quickly.