Friday, September 13, 2013

Day 2 - Grand Canyon

It had rained most of the night and by morning there was still a bit of mist in the air. Temperatures were decidedly cool with the mercury barely reaching 60 under a patchy sky.

First stop: Williams, AZ. Essentially a 1-street town Williams' main claim to fame seems to be that it is on Route 66. Two blocks of Route 66 memorabilia, kitsch, and photo opportunities and that's about it. Oh yeah, the Grand Canyon train departs from there as well. It's worth a stop but unless one is a Route 66 fanatic needing all the tin signs, tee shirts, etc. you can be in and out in an hour.


From Williams it was a straight shot up Hwy 64 to Tusayan where we would stay the night, and the South Rim of Grand Canyon (apparently it's just Grand Canyon and not 'The' Grand Canyon. Not sure why.) While it threatened rain most of the way the worst we got was a few drops here and there and it was a beautiful ride, very reminiscent of the Needles Highway well known to those who have toured around Sturgis and environs in South Dakota.

Arriving at the park gate we paid our $12 per person entrance fee. The handwritten sign on the park gatehouse said "Heavy rain predicted, limited visibility, NO REFUNDS". We went in anyway and headed up to the visitor centre. While there were lots of people around it wasn't crowded, one of the benefits of visiting when school was back in session.  After getting the lay of the land it was off to see the canyon itself.

Countless writers have used every imaginable adjective to describe Grand Canyon, and none could possibly do it justice. It truly is an incredible sight. As we walked the South Rim we could see a storm coming in from the East and watching it fill the canyon with clouds and rain while throwing a few lightning bolts for good measure was quite a sight. We hastened to the cafeteria before it hit and sat in dry comfort with a cold pint while the storm brewed outside. An hour or so later it had pretty much stopped and we continued our trek along the rim.

The storm clouds actually made the viewing much more interesting as the sun peeking through and the shadows on the cliffs gave the scene a sense of perspective; normal depth perception fails you when looking at something this vast.  Simply spectacular.


As another storm came racing down the canyon we headed for the parking lot.  And didn't make it in time. We put our rain gear on over already wet clothes and rode the 10 miles back to Tusayan in another heavy downpour. Oh well, most of the day was dry and we saw the canyon. Mission accomplished.

As a side note, one thing we did remark on was how little English we heard being spoken - French, German, Japanese, and other European languages were all well represented. Recession? What recession?

Tomorrow we're off to Page.

10 comments:

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    1. Thanks. Just loving this ride and envying those of you who have this as your back yard.

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  2. A wonderful view. The last time I was there it was really hazy so the view was more like a mural. It lacked depth and looked very 2-D.

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    1. Richard - It really was amazing and the weather gave it a lot of character.

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  3. My heavens Dave, between you and Sonja, any desire I have to work is ebbing right out of me. Be safe and keep the posts coming.

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    1. Thanks David. It's been an awesome trip so far!

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  4. It is exactly as you said "spectacular". Enjoy and safe ride.

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    1. It's actually hard to process just how amazing it is. Just beautiful.

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  5. It must have been quite the sight watching that storm move through the canyon. So glad that most of the day you stayed dry. At least you were heading back to the hotel when you got really wet.

    Glad you are enjoying the trip.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Trobairitz. We're having a grand (pun intended) time!

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