Friday Feb 26 – To the Grand Canyon

Well, the drive to the Canyon was almost as spectacular as yesterday’s driving. The only drawback was that most of it was along freeways, so there weren’t many opportunities to stop and take photos. Heading into Phoenix I drove through a huge flat valley, with mountains all around, cacti, you name it – and speed traps every few miles. I don’t know whether they had some special campaign going or whether this is normal for Arizona, but there was an unbelievable number of them. Hopefully I won’t have too many speeding tickets arriving in the mail the next few weeks!

But first I had a problem to solve. Last night I realised I’d miscalculated my Magnesium doses and wasn’t going to have enough to get me home. So job one this morning was to sort that out. How? Well, I pulled over into a rest area along the interstate with good phone signal. I Googled naturopaths in Phoenix, found one that had a pharmacy built in, and told Google maps to give me directions. I pulled up in front of their door and they sold me enough Mg to last me till I get home. It probably added a 20min detour to my day all up. Easy. Without the phone, I reckon it would have taken the best part of a day before I had it sorted out. As Nikki said, the phone just paid for itself!

From Phoenix I headed to Flagstaff – again, on freeways. I hadn’t researched it very much, and it turns out Flagstaff is at a lot higher elevation than Phoenix, so I was back climbing mountains. Bryan, thanks for encouraging me to get the more powerful car – it’s made a big difference. Again, a beautiful drive – with the classic Wiley Coyote and Road Runner cacti everywhere. They’re everywhere – but only on the south side of each hill, they obviously need the sun. Unfortunately I didn’t have the chance to stop and take photos because there was nowhere to pull off the interstate – but it was spectacular. In Flagstaff there was snow everywhere – I’m back in cold weather, which was a bit unexpected. I just kept moving, following signs to the Canyon – which took me up a back road that was just stunning. Over mountains with snow and trees – thankfully the road was dry and cleared, but the snow everywhere was very pretty.

I reached the Canyon about 2pm. Like on the drive up, there’s lots of snow on the ground, but the roads are clear and dry. It’s very overcast, and they’re forecasting rain and snow the next couple of days, so I’ll head off tomorrow, I don’t want to get stuck or have to drive through terrible weather. I bought some postcards, and took my first look at the canyon itself. Despite the weather, it’s still spectacular. Quite a bit of snow on the edges, and the air is very clear so you can see a very long way. Not much colour, though, which is a shame – but I guess with the overcast weather I can’t expect much more. You can walk for miles along the rim, great paths, depending on snow it’d be easy to take Bertha for huge distances. But I’ve pretty much just been driving to lookouts, walking a little way, and getting back in the car, because it’s hovering around freezing – Bertha might survive a serious hike bit I doubt I’d last ver long – and many of the paths are only partially cleared of snow which would make it hard going.

I got a room with a view of the Canyon (only $10 more than one without). The only drawback is that I’ve AGAIN not got internet – so I’m writing blog entries but can’t post them. I’m going to have to make sure I get a hotel with internet tomorrow so I can actually get this stuff out to you all!