It is almost time to begin our summer trip and the RV still had to undergo some plastic surgery. Remember the blowout we had on our way to Arizona? Well, it was high time to get it fixed.
Upon our arrival at Palm Creek, we had met with the owner of a local collision repair shop, which came highly recommended and he provided an estimate for the repair. We filed a claim with the insurance company and once we received payment, we gave it to him so he could order the necessary parts. Through out our stay in Palm Creek I can’t tell how many times we confirmed and reconfirmed when we would be dropping the RV off and on the day we arrived, he had no clue that we were coming in. We had already planned a trip around Northern Arizona to give him time to perform the repairs and he did say he would have the job done by then.
We boarded Jackson at Phoenix’s Camp Bow Wow and began our trip to visit the Grand Canyon. We were both excited as we had never stayed in a National Park’s lodge. We were warned that it might be cold and windy in that elevation so we went totally prepared.
We spent the night in Prescott, a lovely mountain town and rightfully so. Downtown’s historic Whiskey Row, known for its bars and live music would have been a fun place for alcohol research, but again we were on a different mission. As for the weather, you could definitely tell we were in a higher elevation.
The following morning we continued our trip and had to got through Williams, a Route 66 town known as The Gateway to the Grand Canyon. Williams has an elevation of 6,770 and you could definitely smell the mountain air.
Upon our arrival at Grand Canyon National Park, we checked in to the Thunderbird Lodge, which sits right on the south rim of the canyon. Our room reminded me of a renovated old college dorm, but its redeeming quality is that it is right on the edge of the south rim, right in the center of the village so geographically desirable. Originally, we had made reservations for two nights at Maswik Lodge, about a 1/4 mile walk from the rim, and when we attempted, at the last minute, to extend our stay on the front end, Thunderbird was the only lodge with available accommodations, so we were excited nevertheless.
We followed the recommendations of many to make sure we made the much sought after dinner reservations at El Tovar. At least a month prior to our arrival this was secured, as we learned that walk-ins would not accepted. The hotel itself was built in 1905 from local limestone and Oregon pine, as a cross between a Swiss chalet and a Norwegian villa, the views from the dining room were spectacular and we lucked out by getting a table with a beautiful view of the south rim. The meal itself did not disappoint either.
As anticipated, the majestic views of the Grand Canyon left us in awe. We had been there before but it is beautiful each time. Parking was incredibly difficult to find and when we agreed not to move the truck until it was time to leave. The park itself was amazing and the free shuttle transportation provided was very well organized and easily accessible to everywhere you might want to venture. Even though it was the beginning of April, it was already busy and the summer months are yet to come.
We heard on the news that the week prior to our arrival someone had plummeted in the canyon and then the week we were there yet another person met the same fate. This was not shocking as in front of us, people, both adults and children climbed through the metal railings to have their pictures taken. The wind picks up at that elevation and all it would take is for a gust to come along or to misstep on a rock and bye, bye baby. The rule of thumb is to not get closer than the length of your body to the edge. Hence the reason for the placement of the railings and danger signs posted everywhere.
When it was time to leave the Grand Canyon, we decided at the last minute to visit Page, Arizona. We had always wanted to see both the Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons. The local Navajo people’s name for the Upper Antelope is Tse’bihanilini, which means “the place where the water runs through rocks”. The name for the Lower Antelope is Hasdeztwazi or spiral rock arches. The reason they are called Antelope canyons is because many years back pronghorn antelope roamed the area, thus the English name. These canyons were created over many thousands of years by the relentless forces of water and wind which continuously carve and sculpt the sandstone into what we see today. As the sun moves across the sky, the sun beams filter through the stone walls, and the angles bounce light back and forth creating the beautiful color, light and shadows.
Lower Antelope Canyon: You are guided through many narrow, steep steps throughout the canyon.
Upper Antelope Canyon: You are driven to the entrance and much easier to navigate and explore. Additionally, we were so excited to be able to catch the sunbeams at perfect time.
Prior to leaving Page we wanted to visit Horseshoe Bend, so we opted for a short helicopter ride for an aerial view of Horseshoe and Lake Powell. We were the only passengers and it was really cool as we sat next to the pilot and had the entire front window to ourselves.
The following day we tossed a coin between either going to Sedona or Winslow. Sedona won out so I booked a hotel room at Los Abregados for a few days. We contacted Palm Creek friends, Gina and Mike Wimmenauer (pronounced “Women Are”) who happened to be staying in nearby Camp Verde. We met for dinner in downtown Sedona and are excited to again see them this coming winter in Florida. We were in Sedona over 20 years ago and it has grown tremendously. We took a pink jeep tour back then and loved it so we wanted to take another one, just not as extreme, so our tour took us on an off-road adventure through the red rocks of the Coconino National Forest.
It was time for us to return, as we had only packed a week’s worth of food for Jackson and then pick up the RV. We had a magnificent week and looked forward to continuing toward Lake Havasu until we attempted pick up the RV. The owner of the collision shop was not in and would you believe, the RV was untouched. The owner claimed he had forgotten to order a part and that it had yet to come it. Blah, blah, blah, blame this one or that one, bottom line, he refunded our money and we were glad to just move on.