Greetings from Williams, AZ

vraiblonde

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Gateway to the Grand Canyon!

We're going to like it here too. :yahoo: Our campground is a resort with great amenities, across the street from Grand Canyon Brewery, and a couple blocks walk to downtown.

All we've done so far is go to the grocery store and get drinks at our new neighborhood bar. We cruised downtown a bit but didn't stop at any of the super cool shops.

I'm concerned about Grand Canyon. I really need it to be spectacular because it's the main event and we've already seen so many amazing sights. I'm worried about being let down because I'm jaded to beauty. We have a train ride booked, which takes us to the Canyon, with a bus sightseeing tour for a couple hours before we catch our train back home. Apollo will be at doggy daycare while we do this. But that doesn't happen for another week and a half, so we'll probably drive up in the meantime just because it's only like 45 minutes away.

I'm madly in love with Northern Arizona, no lie.
 

jazz lady

~*~ rara avis ~*~
I'm concerned about Grand Canyon. I really need it to be spectacular
It is and awe-inspiring. Make sure you stop first at the Grand Canyon visitor center and watch the IMAX movie. It builds the excitement and then when you are actually looking out over it in person - WOW! :shocking: :yahoo:

 

vraiblonde

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Yesterday we went on downtown walkabout. Tons of cool shops and about a zillion places to eat and drink. We ended up at Sultana for a drink, which is the oldest bar in Arizona. Then we moved on to Canyon Club because they had an outdoor patio and a guy singing along to his music machine thing, which was unfortunate because at first we were the only ones sitting out there listening to him and I didn't like to leave him high and dry, so this led to me drinking 2 or 3 more beers until other people showed up and we could move on.

Then we had pizza and lasagna at Station 66, where they have a proper woodfired oven.

I'm thinking today we'll do some more downtown exploring, check out the train depot and a few other places. Monello may have other ideas once he rolls out of bed.
 

vraiblonde

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Downtown Williams:

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It just wouldn't be a western town without a gunfight in the street.

Our RV park is about a quarter mile from downtown, so we can walk it any time we want. The Safeway is right there, too. Taking an evening stroll to get a drink or a bite.... I'm madly in love with that.
 

vraiblonde

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This afternoon when I got off work we went to the Grand Canyon! :yahoo:

This Saturday we're taking the train up so I kind of felt like we should wait....then it was like, why? We're about an hour away and we planned to go several times anyway. Monello packed us a bottle of champagne and glasses so we could have a toast.

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The Canyon is glorious. It's like magic. When we were walking up from the Visitor's Center I caught a glimpse of it through the trees and did a little dance.

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There were a bunch of people but it wasn't mobbed or anything. We found parking right away by the Visitor's Center, then walked along the rim. Took the bus to another section and had some food and a couple drinks.

Grand Canyon employees live there full time....and there's a K-12 school for their kids! Can you imagine that, growing up at the Grand Canyon?? I can't think of anything cooler than that.

I'm so glad we're here for a month because I want to see everything. More than once!
 

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luvmygdaughters

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Great Pics!! I've flown over it a few times, but never have seen it up close. Its on the bucket list. Enjoy, loved the pic with champagne!!!
 

vraiblonde

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Yesterday we went to Flintstone's Bedrock City. This campground and roadside attraction has closed and the new owners are turning it into a raptor sanctuary. I was thrilled to find that everything is still currently there for a little while so we could take the tour.

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Bann

Doris Day meets Lady Gaga
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This afternoon when I got off work we went to the Grand Canyon! :yahoo:

This Saturday we're taking the train up so I kind of felt like we should wait....then it was like, why? We're about an hour away and we planned to go several times anyway. Monello packed us a bottle of champagne and glasses so we could have a toast.

View attachment 140061

The Canyon is glorious. It's like magic. When we were walking up from the Visitor's Center I caught a glimpse of it through the trees and did a little dance.

View attachment 140062 View attachment 140063


View attachment 140065 View attachment 140066


There were a bunch of people but it wasn't mobbed or anything. We found parking right away by the Visitor's Center, then walked along the rim. Took the bus to another section and had some food and a couple drinks.

Grand Canyon employees live there full time....and there's a K-12 school for their kids! Can you imagine that, growing up at the Grand Canyon?? I can't think of anything cooler than that.

I'm so glad we're here for a month because I want to see everything. More than once!
I'm so happy for you - I know this was a huge goal of yours. :yahoo: Can't wait to live vicariously(somewhat) through all your stories and pictures!
 

vraiblonde

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Yesterday we took the 2 hour train to the Grand Canyon, then there was a 1.5 hour guided bus tour, then 2 hours to goof around on our own, then the train ride back.

The train was an experience, but it's hard to recommend it. It's long and not particularly scenic, it costs $70 - $200 per seat depending on the type of car you want, and you better be back to the depot in time or you are out of luck. There was entertainment in the form of somewhat corny cowboy singers, and the employees tried to be amusing and engaging. Honestly, saying I did it is more exciting than actually doing it.

The bus tour, on the other hand, was pretty cool. $40 per, and the bus driver was a fountain of interesting information (plus he was hilarious!). He took us to Hopi Point on a scenic drive, let us goof around for 20 mins, then took us to Mohave Point to hang out for half an hour. You can do those things on the free shuttle buses, but then you'd miss the tour guide giving you the history and factoids. Definitely worth it.

Apollo being in the kennel all day worked out well, so we'll probably take another all day jaunt so we can see everything we want at our leisure. I can't imagine getting tired of seeing this amazing Canyon.
 

Monello

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We had our first extreme weather event out here. I posted this in another thread but not sure if followers of our adventures would have read it. So at the risk of being redundant, here it is.


Every day I'm extremely thankful that Vrai had the foresight to imagine a life of rolling adventures. It's full of adventures. For example: This week she had an appointment to replace her cracked windshield. In true karma god's fashion, while washing my Jeep's window, I notice a chip. So we drive both vehicles to Flagstaff, about 30 miles as she has an appointment to get her WS replaced. They can also get a tech to fix my chip. But it's a wait. 1/2 mile down the road is a Walgreens. We decide to kill time by going there instead of sitting in their waiting room.

Purchases at Walgreens made, we attempt to hike back to Safelite. But it's now raining. We wait for it to clear as we can see blue skies off in the distance. Mother nature had other plans. The skies open up with a hail of hail. Decent size chunks. 1 hit me in the hand and it stung. Cars are getting pelted. People are running into the store from the parking lot.

I am seeing more rain in 15 minutes than we have seen in the 4 months we have been in Arizona. The street is now flooding. It's a 4 lane road, with 2 lanes in each direction. But the 2 outer lanes are under water. The hail is starting to accumulate on the roofs and the grassy areas. It's surreal. The temperature quickly drops about 10 degrees.

We buy umbrellas and make our way back up the street. The hail increases and we seek refuge in a 2nd hand store. Then Safelite calls to see if we need a lift back to their store. On the drive back we see the piles of hail, the flooding streets and we have a good laugh at our predicament. In the end it could have been a lot worse. But we managed to survive our first Arizona weather event.
 

vraiblonde

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Yesterday I put Apollo in doggy daycare and we spent all day at the Canyon, hiking and exploring and taking our time.

First we saw the IMAX movie, which was definitely worth the time and $10/per.


Then on to the Canyon. We wanted to watch the sunset from Hopi Point and take the shuttle down to Hermit's Rest, and I wanted to hike the Bright Angel Trail, so we made our game plan accordingly. Parked in the Village and hiked the Bright Angel, which is about 10 miles at a 10% average grade (we only did a little bit of it) and ends up at Phantom Ranch:

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Then we walked the Rim to the Market Plaza to pick up lunch:

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Grand Canyon has four distinct areas:

Visitor's Center, which is where most people start.
Market Plaza, where the workers live. There's a grocery store, a bank, post office, living quarters, etc.
Grand Canyon Village, where the hotels and restaurants are.
Hermit's Rest, which is WAY out west, about an 80 minute shuttle ride roundtrip.

And of course there are a bunch of points along the way. You can walk the Rim Trail the whole way (13 miles from South Kaibab to Hermit's Rest) but there are shuttle buses that take you all over the place. What we found, though, is that there are eastbound and southbound buses, and they don't both stop at each point and not each point has restroom facilities. For example:

The plan was to take the shuttle all the way out to Hermit's Rest, ooh and ahh, then back to Hopi Point to watch the sunset. Then we learned the ride to Hermit's Rest would take over half an hour, then that same back. And we learned that Hopi Point doesn't have an eastbound shuttle to get us back - you have to hike about a mile to Mohave Point to catch the bus. But while Hopi Point has a restroom, Mohave Point does not.

:mad:

So it became complicated, and what we ended up doing is making sure we were well drained, then took the shuttle to Mohave Point, watched most of the sunset (and rainstorms in the distance at Hermit's Point, where we would have been drenched if we'd gone with our original plan):

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NoAZ, especially Williams/Grand Canyon, has a disproportionate number of steak houses because foreign tourists love them - they don't have real steak houses back home and it's uniquely American and cowboy to them. We normally don't hit up steak houses because we grill at home and when we eat out it's something we can't get just anywhere. But I wanted to do a tourist steak house, so we ended up at Big E's in Tusayan. Big ass steaks in a westerny setting that wasn't over the top - those Japanese tourists should feel like they got their experience. Patio seating on a pleasant evening.
 

vraiblonde

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Also, Grand Canyon hiking trails are as easy or hard as you want them to be. If you're a young stud/ette who wants a challenge, there are a number of hiking experiences for you. And if you're old and out of shape, there are also several options. Even if you're disabled and/or in a wheelchair, you can STILL "hike" a decent portion of the Canyon.

All you have to remember while hiking down is that you have to get back up, and descend accordingly.
 
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