After leaving New Mexico we headed into Arizona on Monday, October 21st. We spent the first night at a small campground on old Route 66, didn’t even unhook our Jeep as we had pulled in to sleep and were taking off again in the morning. We had decided that we wanted to see the Grand Canyon while we were in northern Arizona, and were headed for Williams. A couple we had met previously, who were going to Arizona had told us about a campground in Williams, called the Canyon Railways RV Resort where they had stayed previously. We called the campground, they had an opening, so we reserved a site. We were pleasantly surprised when we arrived, to find a campground that was fully paved, tastefully landscaped, had resort quality amenities, and very friendly staff. We highly recommend this campground for anyone who wants to stay in the Grand Canyon area; it has a great view of the mountains, with great amenities-including use of the pool and whirlpool at the nearby hotel.
Arrived at Williams on Tuesday, and got settled in. Went into Williams on Route 66 which goes through the heart of town. It is the best preserved section of 66 we have seen so far, and the neon is lovely at night. Most of the old buildings have been well preserved or restored. Williams was not bypassed by Interstate 40 until 1984, so that helped tremendously in keeping Route 66 alive and well in this location. We did a walking tour downtown, ate at a couple of restaurants during our stay here, and met some of the local folks. Ran into several other fulltimers at the park here who we had met previously in New Mexico; they are headed further south in Arizona for the winter. It was good to see familiar faces, and catch up with their travels.
Our second full day here was spent at the Grand Canyon; we took the Jeep to the South Rim, kept it parked in one of the main lots and took the shuttle buses-which are free-to various sections of the Canyon. The buses take you to sections that are closed to public traffic, and you can get on and get off as many times as you like. They run every 10-15 minutes which is about how long we stayed in each area. Really enjoyed our day at the canyon; the weather was cool in the high 50’s but sunny. The crowds were small and we had no wait times wherever we went, even at lunchtime. Perfect time of the year to go to the Canyon.
On Thursday, we did a “stay at home” day. Caught up on cleaning, laundry, got groceries and went for a bike ride. Joan took Smoke for a longer walk than usual as he had only short walks the previous days. We are finding that we need at least one day a week to recharge our batteries, let our various senses get a rest from all the sensory stimulation-particularly from the gorgeous scenery. It can be overwhelming at times! We probably tend to overdo the sightseeing, and driving on scenic byways, but don’t want to miss anything.
Friday, we took a couple more scenic byways, Route 89A which runs from Flagstaff to Sedona, going through Oak Canyon. We enjoyed this byway even more than Spearfish Canyon, as the scenery was more varied and it was a longer ride. Along the roadside were many rustic motels, cabins, small country markets, a few artist studios, and many overlooks and trailheads. We stopped at one of the markets and got hot apple cider and cappuchino. The propietor was a local who advised us what to see in Sedona and where to eat. After reaching Sedona, we took her advice and ate at the Wildflower Cafe; the food was delicious! We sat on a balcony overlooking the shopping district with a view of the Red Rock cliffs. After eating, we stopped in a couple of the shops briefly, then headed for Airport Hill nearby; it is 600 feet above Sedona, and gives you a magnificent view of the city and surrounding mountains and rock formations. It was breathtaking, as were our views later that day from the road we took on the Red Rock Loop. We had the opportunity to take our Jeep on some unmaintained roads through another canyon; instead of seeing the canyon from above (as we had done at Grand Canyon) we saw it from the canyon floor. Both canyons have similar rock formations, coloring, and look very much alike in many ways. Locals told us that both canyons were formed at the same time, and were comprised of some of the same materials-which is why they look similar. We drove back to Williams taking Route 179, which has several overlooks of famous rock formations-the Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock, and others. We were able to see the rocks as the sun was setting; an unforgettable experience. we arrived back “home” after dark, tired but so glad we visited Sedona. It is a place we plan to go back to, as we didn’t see everything we had wanted to see. It is a magical place we will never forget.