The Grand Canyon

May 11, 12, 13, 2018 - The big day arrived and it was time to go to Williams Arizona, our base for visiting The Grand Canyon.  With the time differences we were still getting up way early so I quickly checked the Rancho Sonoma rules and regulations to make sure leaving early was not forbidden.  I couldn’t find it anywhere so we made breakfast and afterwards  packed in and pulled out.  The route was back through Oak Creek Canyon so we got to experience that beauty climbing into the mountains once again.  This time I stopped at all the pull outs I could to take photos.  The forecast for that day was high winds gusting up to 45 miles per hour.  Once we got on I-40 in Flagstaff the winds made themselves evident.  We get better gas mileage when the wind is at our back and that day we got almost 21 MPG.  

The trip to Williams was only 84 miles so we got there by noon.  We checked into our RV park Railside Grand Canyon which was a pleasant switch from the bossy Sonoma place.  The staff was very friendly and offered any assistance needed while at the park.  They had a shuttle which ran into town as well as hot tubs, recreation hall, nice showers and even a doggy spa.

There was also a train which ran between Williams and the Grand Canyon.  It touted a scenic trip between the two destinations and is something to consider for future visits to the Grand Canyon.  

 With plenty time to spare we decided to drive up to the Grand Canyon to take a sneak peak at what was before us.  We were on the south side of the canyon and the national park is divided into the south rim and the north rim which was a long journey around.  The north rim was less visited and was closed until mid May because of weather.  The trip to the south rim was only 59 miles and once we got there we found the park to be plenty occupied. Once again our $10 lifetime pass got us past the $30 admission fee and the nice ranger gave us maps and info we’d use to see the park.  We had to search around for a bit to find parking but we found a spot at the Backcountry Information Center designated for larger vehicles and quickly closed up the van and started out on foot and paws.  We couldn’t have found a better spot for we were just a short  walking distance to the Rim Trail and the hotels and cabins situated on the canyon.  Chase was in tow and did very well on the walk behaving most of the way.  We had to divert him when we saw some horses and an elk, luckily he didn’t see them.  

We accessed the Rim Trail at the Bright Angel trailhead and were immediately immersed in the expansiveness of the canyon.  Photos and personal descriptions of this fabulous landmark don’t begin to describe what one sees in person for the first time.  It is unimaginable the scale before you when you try to comprehend the depth and width and the shapes and the colors and the light before you.  You can walk along the rim for a mile and the only change in the view is the angle from which you are observing it.  We walked from Bright Angel trailhead to Hopi House taking photos and watching the people along the way.  There were many people at the park  but the expanse of the canyon kept it from feeling over crowded.  With a firm grip on what was before us we headed back to the van for the hour ride back to Williams.  

The next morning we were up at the crack of dawn.  We had heard of a kennel in town and tried to call but their phone reservations did not take calls on the weekends.  It was Saturday.  We decided to give it a try and drove to the kennel and luckily they were open and had a space for Chase. We wanted all the freedom we could get for our full day at Grand Canyon and this helped it immensely.  We checked him in and headed for Grand Canyon National Park.  An hour later we arrived and slid into an RV slot at the main visitor center exactly where we wanted to be.  We closed the shades and locked the van and set out on foot for the Rim Trail.  After visiting the restroom we decided to go back to the van and re-consider our wardrobes.  It was windy and cool and a light jacket would probably be needed.  Then we set out to Mather Point.  From here we walked west along the rim a little over two miles taking in all the splendor.  When we arrived at the point we started the day before we decided to duck into the Harvey House Cafe at Bright Angel Lodge for some lunch.  After lunch we (not so wisely) got an ice cream cone for dessert which was delicious but heavy.  We wandered on from here with intent to see the rest of the western side of the south rim.  Our feet were tired and James’ knee was acting up so we decided to take advantage of the bus system.  After all, it was seven miles to the end of the Rim Trail on the west side and we could ride the bus to a few stops and walk the trails when we felt like it.  It worked out pretty well as we got to see all of the west side of the canyon with the exception of Hermits Rest which was the last stop for the bus before the route started back east where we had parked.  We picked up the return bus at the stop before Hermits Rest in hopes to get a seat but ended up standing the entire 7 miles back.  No big deal.  Once we got back to the transfer point for the bus to our parking lot we had to change buses.  The line for the bus going to our parking lot was exceedingly long so we decided to walk to the previous stop and catch the bus there.  It worked.  The line at the previous stop was a lot shorter and we were able to get on right away.  Unfortunately the driver on this bus was a hateful lady with a raspy voice who obviously needed a cigarette badly.  She lectured everybody when they got on and when we got to the overcrowded stop we skipped she decided to only let on a few folks and rolled on.  We managed to get a spot and rode the torrent all the way to our stop.  

We boarded our coach and prepped for the journey back to Williams completely satisfied with a full day’s visit to The Grand Canyon!  About ten minutes into our journey home we got a call from the kennel.  They said Chase had a large pink spot on his right shoulder and asked if they should be alarmed.  We of course knew our little guy had a problem with allergies and assured the kennel we’d be there within an hour to take him off their hands.  The entire way there we worried that maybe he missed us so bad that he scratched his shoulder or that they had not been  nice to him.  We arrived and it wasn’t so bad.  Under the lighting in the kennel his skin looked very pink which is kinda normal for Chase.  It was however a little irritated so we took him home and gave him a benadryl.  

After settling in and freshening up a little we headed out to Rod’s Steakhouse in Williams for a tasty ribeye. After dinner we went back to the van where Chase was patiently waiting and started to go back to the campsite.  A beeping noise continued after we started and we discovered our step did not retract as it was supposed to.  We worked on it for a little bit but couldn’t do much in the dark so we headed back with the step deployed.  Once back at the campsite we both enjoyed a refreshing shower and then  hit the hay. The next morning we got up early (once again) and tried to figure out the step problem. We managed to get it to retract and then pulled the fuse until we could resolve the problem.  We went ahead and packed in and set out to find a breakfast somewhere.  After a hearty breakfast we headed back towards the canyon on the same route we’d traveled the previous two days.  Once we got in the park we turned to the east and drove stopping at any and every viewpoint we saw.  By noon we could say we had seen all 31 miles or so of the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.  Our destination this day:  Waheap Lodge and Campground in Page, AZ.  

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