Travel Diary: Williams, AZ

I’m so excited to share all the fun things we did while we visited my parents in Williams, Arizona!

For those of you who don’t know, over the 4th of July weekend my mom got married at the Grand Canyon! My stepdad lives and works in Williams and my mom retired and moved there.

Williams is a small Route 66 town. It looks very much like the town that inspired Disney’s Cars and Radiator Springs. Williams is known as the road to the Grand Canyon, as it sits about an hour south of the park entrance. It is also known for the Polar Express at Christmas where kids dress in their PJs, ride the train, and spend time with Santa and Mrs. Claus. I can’t wait until we can visit Williams at Christmas (most likely for Christmas 2020). My mom describes it as living in a Hallmark Christmas movie!

Thursday, July 4

We arrived in Williams in the afternoon on July 4th. We left Fresno around 4 AM and got into town around 2 PM. We had a family bbq at my parents house and then headed to Main Street for the parade.

The 4th of July parade was the quintessential small town parade with lots of kids, historical organizations, and bagpipes (what’s a parade without bagpipes?!). The most exciting part of the parade for us was the end. My stepdad is one of the local police officers and he rounded up the rear of the parade in his truck!

We also watched the fireworks that night and it was a really spectacular show. Bret, Amelia, and I left early because Amelia was tired and restless, but the whole day was a lot of fun.

Friday, July 5

Friday started out great and quickly went sour. We headed to my parents for breakfast and ate in the backyard (the weather was perfect all weekend). While Amelia was playing in the backyard, she got hit in the mouth by a wooden swinging bench. Through her screams and blood, I was able to see that she had chipped her tooth. She eventually cried herself to sleep and we took that time to call around for a dentist. Luckily there was one pediatric dentist open for emergencies (since it was a holiday weekend) but they were in Flagstaff. Flagstaff is about 30 minutes east of Williams. So Bret, Amelia, my mom, and I jumped in the car and headed to the dentist. The doctor and nurse we saw were amazing! Shoutout to Around the Mountain because they were so great at making us (the adults) feel comfortable and knowledgeable in a terrifying situation. After looking at her mouth and taking an X-ray, the dentist told us Amelia had chipped both front teeth and cut her gums. Luckily, she didn’t see an exposed root or damaged nerve and that everything should be fine. The teeth were a little wiggley but they’d firm up over the next few days, so soft foods only until then.

Luckily it was a quick trip to the dentist and soon we were headed back to Williams. Before we left Flagstaff, we did grab lunch at Chick fil a, which, I must say, was one of my favorite stops. Apparently Arizona is Chick Fil A’s testing state, so I was able to try the spicy chicken strips and they’re delicious! So now I’m (un)patiently waiting for those to come to California.

When we got back to Williams, my stepdad took the three of us and his cousin (who’s closer in age to my siblings) on a ride in his Ranger! He took us to the lake he fishes at and spots he likes to camp. The best part was when we got back and realized how dirty we were from the dirt roads. I have never wanted to shower more in my life!

That night my parents hosted a dinner at the Grand Canyon Brewery for family and friends. By this time, my brother and sister-in-law and cousins had made it into town. The GC Brewery was such a cool looking restaurant with excellent food! Highly recommend!

Saturday, July 6

We started our day by going to Bearizona! My stepdad works there part-time doing security and gave us a lot of tips of things to do. This is a really cool zoo-type “theme park” with a drive through portion. The drive through portion has bears, wolves, bison, mountain goats, and other smaller animals. You could roll down your windows throughout each section except in the bears and wolves (big no-no). We had fun playing the Jurassic Park theme song throughout our drive and seeing how close the animals would get to our car.

The walking portion of the park is like a regular zoo where each species is segregated. There was also a cute little petting zoo where I made friends with the goats and sheep.

After Bearizona, we had lunch in Downtown Williams and walked around the shops. I’m a sucker for cute eclectic shops and these did not disappoint. There were still several we didn’t get to that I want to shop at the next time we visit.

That night my parents hosted another bbq for all the family and friends who made it into town.

Sunday, July 7

Wedding Day!

My mom came over to our AirBNB bright and early. I did my moms makeup and my best friend did her hair. We had so much fun and I really think it helped relax her because I know she was feeling stressed.

Once everyone was ready, we met up with my parents and followed them up to the Grand Canyon.

The wedding and reception were held at Shoshone Point. It’s accessible to hikers or bikers, but not cars. There’s a small parking lot off the main road and the point is about a mile from there so we shuttled people to and from the event area.

I was the designated photographer for the wedding (and the whole weekend, really) so I spent my time running around taking pictures. We were most concerned Amelia was going to run off the edge of the canyon so Bret kept her in her hiking pack most of the time (that thing is the best!).

The wedding was held on the point and the reception was in the area with the tables. My stepdad’s friend catered a delicious bbq meal and all the decor was put together by my mom (with my niece assisting her).

It was a beautiful wedding! I did pretty well at not crying until my mom started her vows and she started crying. I lost it! But I could also tell there were others crying so I didn’t feel like a total goof.

The only people missing in this near-perfect weekend were my stepbrother and sister-in-law. My stepbrother is in the Air Force and it just so happened that he was being deployed again on the day of the wedding. With the days leading up to his reporting day he had to stay within three hours from the base, and because he lives in Wyoming, there was no way he could come to any part of the weekend. We’re praying for his safety as he is abroad and hopeful we’ll get to meet him soon after he gets home!

Monday, July 8

Before heading out, we stopped for coffee. We stopped at the same local coffee shop, Brewed Awakenings Coffee Co, every morning and it was definitely one of the highlights (very good coffee!).

We tearfully said goodbye to my parents and wished them luck on their honeymoon. I say “luck” because they were headed to Europe for their honeymoon and my moms dad and stepdads parents were also going. So the luck refers to all the strength my parents and grandma needed to wrangle the grandpas!

We took longer to drive home than we had driving there but we didn’t mind, we weren’t in a hurry. We spent the ride reminiscing about the weekend and discussing future trips we’d like to do. Overall, it was a really great weekend. I couldn’t be happier for my parents and truly love how happy they are together. I haven’t seen my mom this happy in a long time (if ever) so I know all this was 100% worth it!

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