On Friday, we drove down from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon hoping to get a spot in the Pine Flats Campground in the Coconino Forest. We traveled on 89A from Flagstaff towards Sedona. The campground was a half way point between those two cities. What we didn't know was that there was a restriction on all vehicles over 50 feet long for part of the road to the campground. Our overall length is just about 50 feet, but we were already on the road when the restriction sign appeared and there was no turning back. The reason for the restirction was that there are 2 1/2 miles of steep switchbacks on a very narrow road. It was one heck of a ride!
|Just One of the Switchbacks We Traveled|
We made it through the switchbacks only to find that the campground was full as the weekend was upon us. We continued through Sedona looking for another RV park and found one that would do in Cottonwood just south of Sedona. It was great because we actually had electricity, TV and all hookups which we have been without most of our time on the road. We were only there for two nights but it gave us an opportunity to see a little bit of Sedona, do a little shopping and gave me time to pack up for my trip to Philly to see my daughter, Kelley, for the week. On Saturday,Tim took me to the Chapel of the Holy Cross which he had seen before on a previous trip to the area.
|Chapel of the Holy Cross, Sedona|
It was really an architecural feat. It's built into the red rocks of Sedona and was absolutely packed with tourists. We were told they never hold Mass there because it only has room for 75 people and the priest only goes out to it for private events such as weddings. I thoroughly enjoyed our short visit to Sedona for the day and understand why everyone is so taken with the natural red rock beauty surrounding it.
|Red Rock outside of Sedona|
On Sunday, the 15th, we left Cottonwood and parked the RV in Pine Flats Campground in the Oak Creek Canyon Valley. Tim took the canoe and the bikes off of the car and we headed to the airport in Phoenix where I was to take the red-eye to Philly. I was at the aiport about 8 hours early so that Tim could drive the 4 hours back to Pine Flats in the daylight and not have to drive in the dark over unlit canyon roads. My flight was cancelled, naturally, but I was able to get on another one with a stop in Denver. The red-eye was just that!
On July 16th, Monday and July 17th Tuesday
Tim did some relaxing after his long drive on Sunday. He did a few RV repairs (nothing serious) and then he took a short sightseeing ride through Sedona so that he could decide what he would like to do with the rest of his time there.
The morning of Wednesday, the 18th, with waders on, he hiked into areas which had steep rock formations so that he could get to streams and fly cast.He was amazed to find out that the areas that are "catch and keep" are well known to the fish and they don't bite, but the "catch and release" areas are also well known to the fish. In these areas, they greedily grab the hook knowing that they can have their bait, eat it and get released. Tim did just that for five trout! He did do some "catching" he just couldn't keep them. In the afternoon, he hiked the areas near the campground and left the fishing pole home.
Thursday, the 19th, he went to Montezuma's Castle National Park which is an Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwelling similar to the ones we saw in Mesa Verde but much smaller. This structure housed thirty five people but never Montezuma. It got it's name because early on historians thought it was a Mexican conclave for Montezuma, but he never came this far north.
Tim also visited a campground called Dead Horse Ranch west of Cottonwood at which we were to stay further along on our journey. It was a big open flat piece of desert with no trees and not much in the area to do so Tim decided that we would change our itinerary and visit Las Vegas instead. He cancelled those reservations.
Friday, the 20th, he loaded the canoe and the bikes, hooked up the car and without the sage advice and help of his co-pilot (his words, not mine), he headed back up through the Oak Creek Canyon and the 2 1/2 miles of switchbacks at 15 mph and then on to Flagstaff on the way to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. It was a three hour drive with no problems. He set up the RV and planned one day of exploration before he would be driving back to Phoenix to pick me up.
So, on Saturday the 21st, he did a bike tour on the eastern end of the South Rim. Along the route he came upon a Ranger about to lead a bike tour of the area so he joined in. He biked four miles with the tour and another ten miles on his own to the west end and the lodges on the Rim. The bike trails are paved and the elevations are relatively mild, so he really enjoyed his day riding and seeing such gorgeous vistas. He was surprised how crowded the South Rim is compared to the North Rim.
|View from the South Rim Bike Trail|
On Sunday, the 22nd, Tim took a six hour drive from the South Rim to Phoenix to pick me up. As my flight arrived at 10:45pm, we stayed in Phoenix for the night. We drove back up to the Rim on Monday the 23rd with a quick side trip to Montezuma's Castle so that I could see it as well. We'll explore the South Rim together starting tomorrow, that is if we're both not too exhausted to move.