My adventures begin in Tuba City, AZ. It’s a very small town on a Navajo (Dine) reservation about an hour east of Flagstaff and about an hour west of Page. It’s fairly remote and there isn’t much in the way of housing and other comforts, but it has a surplus of beautiful scenery and unimaginable colors. One of the first things that I noticed when I arrived in Flagstaff was how different from Phoenix it was and how close it resembled my home state of Maine. I wasn’t expecting that. As I headed out of “Flag” and started on my journey on Historic Route 66 to Tuba City, the landscape became more and more of what I expected Arizona to look like. Where Flagstaff had the mountains and trees, Tuba City had the grand expanse of desert and sandstone. It was so flat that you could see for miles and miles with no real perception of how far you were actually looking. It amazed me and quite honestly almost made me drive off the road a couple of times while I played the swivel neck tourist. I come from a place where we are very used to the tourists doing that….the “cone eating, swivel neck strap hangers” as my family has called them for years. I may not have had an ice cream in my hand, but it wasn’t far from the truth for me that day. I even found that the longer I spent in that gorgeous place, I still marveled at the ever-changing landscape. Four years later, I can still be truly amazed by looking at all the fantastic pictures I was fortunate enough to take. TC was a mix of many emotions for me. It was difficult for many reasons, some of them personal, some of them pertaining to the job that was a challenge in many ways. None of those reasons can take away the wonderful things that happened during my time there. I met some wonderful people, some of whom I still keep in touch with on a regular basis. It paved more of a path on my quest to visit all 50 states and it even brought me to a humbling point as I stood beside the massive Grand Canyon for the first time. One friend once called it “a big hole in the ground.” While that may be true, I would never stoop to shun it like that. That moment of first breath-taking beauty was an incredibly emotional experience. It overwhelmed my mind and took in all my senses as I tried to comprehend what had only just been a thought in my mind prior to that. The expanse was indescribable, the colors had no names that seemed to fit and the feeling of being involved in something so personal, yet public was beyond words. To this day, trying to describe for someone else what the Grand Canyon is like is an impossible task for me. I had the good fortune not only to experience the South Rim on more than one occasion, including a sunrise and sunset; but I was able to see the North Rim where a lot of people don’t tend to go. It’s at least a 4.5 hour drive from the South Rim and the elevation is almost double. The other downside is that it is closed to the public during the winter months, while the South Rim stays available year round.