September 2- 17, 2016,
Grand Canyon, Az to Durango and Pogasa Springs, Colorado
It has been a busy week in Bullhead City, Az as we wait for Penny and Roger to arrive, before we all head out to the Grand Canyon and then on to Colorado. Three mornings Guy and I, need to be at the repair shop with the coach by 5:30 am! Yes, you read that right, they start early, but are usually finished early if all the parts are in. Three days means, no parts!! The buggy and truck, also went in for a recall and the oil change. But all is well now, 3 vehicles worked on and ready for our next adventure.
Penny and Roger arrive on Friday morning, we had planned this trip about 8-9 months ago so the excitement of getting together was extremely high. There were still things that need to be done, groceries, spare tire and rim for their trailer, coaches packed, buggies loaded up, we work like crazy on Friday. So off we finally head, Saturday morning to Williams, Az. It was so frustrating for Penny and I as there was no cell service and we could not keep in touch.
We stayed at the Railside Ranch Campground for 3 days, from Bullhead City it is less than 3 hours. The drive from Williams to the Grand Canyon is only an hour, we wanted to stay at the Grand Canyon but they were booked. Upon arriving at Railside Ranch we were informed that the owner of the park was treating all campers to a Labor Day bbq with a country singer.
That was an awesome surprise, Penny and I were so glad we didn’t need to cook, what a great start to our vacation together.
The town of Williams is very small town but busy place, of course, it was the Labor day holiday! We decided to check out the town and the visitors center before the bbq, and
the first thing the guys wanted to do was find a great bar so we can celebrate the start of a great couple of weeks and our fun times together. It was a hard start for Roger as he had just had some dental surgery at the beginning of the week and was very sore and bruised.
What ’s better after walking the town and having a beer than a great root beer float, but not when it’s made with hot root beer, it was so disappointing.
Roger and Penny spend a lot of time with their Elks Club helping to keep it active. Penny now writes the Antler, which is the monthly newsletter, she brought with her a stuffed Elk, called, Elroy!! Everywhere we went on this adventure we took pictures of Elroy.
Penny put pictures of him on the Elks Facebook page and in the Elks newsletter. We got pretty creative with the pictures and had lots of fun with him.
There are no words to explain the Grand Canyon so just a few facts:
1. The canyon is a mile deep, the distance across is 10 miles, at its widest point it is 18 miles across, the narrowest point stretches 4 miles across.
2. The distance in length is 277 miles.
3.The Colorado river runs thru the middle, with white water rapids and continues to erode the walls of the canyon.
4. It will take you 5 hours to drive the 215 miles between the South Rim and the North Rim.
5. The Grand Canyon is a natural formation of layered red rock 1.75 billion years old.
6. It is not the worlds deepest canyon nor the widest canyon. Australia has the world’s widest canyon, Capertee Valley.
7. The most common snake in the park is the pink rattlesnake, it has an unusual pink hue that matches the local rocks.
8. The first expedition down into the canyon was lead by J.W. Powell in 1869.
9. The Grand Canyon became a National park in 1919 and was the 17th to be established in the US.
10. There are more than 5 million visitors a year.
We were staying at the South Rim, which is 7000’ above sea level.
One of our side trips was to Walnut Canyon which is just 10 miles outside of Flagstaff. This is a self guided hike along the rim of Walnut Canyon, there are cliff dwellings set among the rock formations.
It is at the 7,000’ elevation, the trail descends 185 vertical feet into the canyon. The canyon is 20 miles long, 400 feet deep and 1/4 mile wide. There are 240 steps down the cliffs to the ruins below, remember what goes down must come up!!
The people who inhabited these pueblos in the rocks were called Sinagua, it is estimated that they lived in this canyon more than 700 years ago. Sinagua is Spanish for without water, the Sinagua who lived on these dry cliffs we good at conserving water and dealing with droughts. They were traders from as far away as Central America. They mysteriously left the canyons around 1250CE.
There are 25 cliff dwelling rooms as well as many across the canyons. There are as many as 80 cliff dwellings, that were built under the limestone ledges deep in the canyon. The dwellings were small but large enough to sleep and cook in.
The primary source of water was in a creek many hundreds of feet below, the gardens were high above on the rim hundreds of feet above. The wildlife included ravens, coyotes, bears and cougars.
While looking at the map after Walnut Canyon, we decided that a trip to Sedona would be fun…not thinking that it was a Labor Day!!! Taking the one lane scenic road turned out to be not only beautiful but bumper to bumper…it followed along the Oak Creek river, where many, many people were enjoying the sun and water.
some of the mountains on the way to Sedona
We finally made it to town about 2 hours later, we took a vote, which was unanimous, so we drove right thru the town of Sedona, it is filled with crowds and cars. We kept going and headed instead over to Jerome, heading back towards home, this town was built up on the side of the mountain at the 7,800’elevation.
Jerome sits atop the Cleopatra Hill, it is a historic town, known for copper and gold mining back in 1876. When gold was discovered miners and gamblers and bad boys of the old west flocked there. Saloon and bawdy houses were the entertainment after a hard days work. Its rowdy population was once 15,000 people.
The road thur town was all switchbacks and very narrow streets, the buildings sat right on the street. It was very confusing as we drove in circles thru the town, (the signs did not help) trying to get to the other side and the road we needed to be on. The views were amazing looking down into the canyon. We couldn’t even imagine how they built this town on the edge of this mountain. No pictures tho.
It was time to head to Durango, Colorado after our wonderful stay in the Grand Canyon area, as we had a date with the Silverton/Durango Railroad!! On the way we went thru the Four Corners of the US, where the four states touch, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona meet. Most of the Four Corners region belongs to the Native American nations, the largest is the Navajo Nation, followed by the Hopi, Ute, and Zuni nations.
Our next campground was actually in the town of Hermosa, Co, about 10-12 miles from Durango, along the Animas river. There were numerous off roading trails we would be able to ride our buggies on which was exciting for us after dragging them all that way.
The first day, off we went up a very rocky rough road with Roger and Penny leading the way, not knowing we needed to purchase OHV stickers!! The first person we meet is a Sheriff, he does not see that we don’t have them!! We really don’t know how lucky we are.
We get to the top of the mountain take our pictures, admire the view, and head back out on a much narrower road, but decided it’s not for us, Rogers back wheel starts sliding downhill as he starts to back up. Not good!!
Backing up does not work the tires just slide down the hill more, it is a good 800’ down, can’t even see the bottom, lots of vegetation in the way. What to do…luckily we have wenches which we use to wrap around a trees, tow straps tied to each buggy, long story short, we tie our buggy to theirs and yes, our front end starts heading up hill as the wench pulls it, that makes the back end slide towards the edge. There is no way to move it, the guys wench it to a tree, as well!!
It takes us 4 long hours to get both buggies off that trail, turned around and heading back down the hill to home, where we all kiss the ground and each other and many prayers were said. That night there were many adult beverages consumed. Penny and I were pretty nervous while we were up there that a bear would come around the corner, so Penny and I would sing lots of stupid songs, down into the canyon, while holding cans of bear spray and our gun!! Of course, the guys just shook their heads and laughed at us.
The Silverton/ Durango Narrow Gauge Railroad, and starts in Durango and goes up thru the mountains following the Animas River up 45.2 miles to Silverton, Co. which is an old mining town. It is a 3 ft narrow gauge railroad, the train is powered by a coal fired steam powered engine. It is best to wear glasses as there is lots of debris from the coal in the air and will get in your eyes.
Guy and I had taken the train last year, it was a great ride, so we wanted to take Roger and Penny. We left our campground at 7:15 am for the train that leaves at 8:00am sharp, wether you are on it or not. There was no time for breakfast so we were glad that there was McDonalds next to the train, coffee and Mcmuffins were sure good.
It is an all day adventure, we did not get back until 5:30. The train ride takes 3 1/2 hrs up and back and stops in Silverton for about 2 hours, just enough time to walk the town and have lunch and of course ice cream, before you head back to Durango.
The town of Silverton
It was a fun time in Durango but now the time has come to make the trip to Lake City and the cabin. Penny and I were not looking forward to packing up all the clothes and food out of the coaches and into the cabin, too much work.
Stay tuned to what happens with the 4 of us as we take on the town of Lake City and meet up with James and Cindy, to buggy across the mountains of Colorado.