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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Grand Canyon

Hello from Williams, Arizona!  We had a good trip from Page of about 175 miles that was through a wide diversity of landscape ranging from typical Arizona desert to tree covered mountains near Flagstaff. The trip here  was mostly uphill with a stiff headwind causing the truck to work hard, but she made it just fine, but only averaged 8.8 mpg.  Williams altitude is around 7,000 ft above sea level, and is about 30 miles west of Flagstaff on I-40. It was on the original Route 66. In fact, there's a sign it town that says "Last Town bypassed by I-40". Williams  is better known as the gateway to the Grand Canyon and is home to the Grand Canyon Railway. The campground we're staying at, Grand Canyon Railway and Hotel RV Park,  is part of the Grand Canyon Railway and hotel complex and is first class. This park is also a member of Passport America, which means we're enjoying a rate of only $22/night which is half their normal rate. Diesel prices here run as high as $4.19/gallon, but we have found it to be much cheaper when we get away from Williams. A lot of visitors that come to this area stay at the hotel and ride the train to the GC where they have about 4 hours to visit the Canyon, or can opt for a multi day stay before their return trip. We chose to drive to the Canyon which would give us much more flexibility in exploring the area. Our first stop was the visitor's center, in the center of the park, where we were given maps and a game plan as to the best way to see the park. There is a large and very efficient shuttle system that serves the entire park area and is divided into 3 different sections, or routes. The orange route serves the eastern most section of the park, the blue route serves the center section, with the red route serving the western most section of the park. The shuttles routes are designed for a shuttle to stop at each predetermined location, or viewpoint,  every 15 minutes, giving you time to explore the area, and catch the next shuttle. This was our plan and worked very well for us. We visited 16 different observation points in the park which took about 6 hours. We did quite a bit of walking and were plenty tired by the time we got back to the truck. We had already visited the North Rim and pretty much had a good idea of what to expect in the way of landscapes, but was still awestruck by the vastness and beauty of the Grand Canyon.

We're leaving here in the  morning heading for Lake Havasu City for several days where we hope to find the London Bridge and see if we can find the wild burros in Oatman.

I've manipulated the aspect ratio in quite a few of the scenic photos to give them a more panoramic effect. To view this effect, just click the photo, and click the X in the upper right corner to return to the next one, or you could just look at all the photos first and then go back to the first one and click it and click on the film strip beneath the picture to see them all without having to go back and forth. 

Gateway into Williams. There was one on the I-40 entrance as well as one on the east side of town.

Sign in front of the Grand Canyon Railway and Hotel Complex.
Old steam engine all decorated up for Halloween. They still run her on predetermined dates and special occasions.

Check out the silver pumpkin.

Cruiser's 66 Cafe. It's decorated in 50's and 60's style with old rock n' roll music being played. We had burgers and fries here, right tasty! Pretty cool place.

They even had an Elvis mannequin next door.

The Red Garter Inn. They had a female Mannequin hanging from an upstairs window.

These were all over Williams.

Our camp site.
Visitor's Center at Grand Canyon.

We're having a great time!
View from Mather Point.

Adjacent viewpoint at Mather's Point

Bridge over Colorado River. The bridge is a foot bridge over the Colorado that is part of the Bright Angel Trail. Donkeys won't cross over this bridge because they can see between the bridge boards. There's another bridge upstream used for the donkey's to cross. There's a 3000 ft elevation drop from the rim to the river.

I spotted this nice fellow with an Outer Bank's Bluegrass hat on at one of the overlooks, and of course, I had to ask where he was from and he said Elizabeth City, NC.  Small world!

Steps back up to the road.

Aboard one of the shuttles.

Beginning of the Bright Angel Trail that goes all the way down to the canyon floor. Probably the most popular trail but still takes 6 to 9 hours for the round trip and is not recommended in a single day. Parts of it are very strenuous (according to the sign).

Looking down on the trail from a viewpoint.

This was strenuous enough for me.

For all my Masonic Brethren. This marker is at Powell's Viewpoint and is placed in remembrance of a 3rd degree bestowed on a brother here in 1913. How cool is that!

The mighty Colorado which averages over 100 yards in width through the canyon. It looks like a big creek from the view points.

Pretty good whitewater.

Monument at Hermit's Rest. You can read about it here.

Hermit's Rest building constructed in 1914. It's used as a gift shop now.

Huge fireplace inside hermit's rest.
Plaque on outside wall.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful pix!!!! Looks like you had a good, clear day. Our day there was kinda hazy. I'm thinking the Hermit's Point was to the east. We traveled from North Rim, all the way around to the east & then to South Rim. That was a loooong day.