Williams, AZ / Grand Canyon (Round Two)

With Jeffy on board, we made a quick hop over to Williams, AZ to stage some trips into Grand Canyon (South) National Park. I guess Jeffy picked a good (impromptu) time to show up at Dyna – the Grand Canyon is pretty sick-nasty-awesome-amazing.

I can’t get e-freaking-nough of the Grand Canyon.

After 2 weeks of dry camping in the National Forest outside of Flagstaff, we were super pumped to empty our tanks and have access to all-you-can-water-yourself showers. We were extra pumped when we pulled into The Grand Canyon Railway RV ParkĀ and were assigned the primo spot in the park. This is kind of big for us, as I am not a very lucky person, and my unluckiness plays out in ways such as: never winning at bingo, lotto, or any other game of chance, always getting called last when it’s time to be randomly drawn to do something, and getting placed in pretty shitty RV parking spots if we don’t book far enough ahead to pick our own. And we rarely ever book far enough ahead where we get to pick a good spot. But, Grand Canyon Railway RV Park must have sensed that we were going to be 3-4 adults in an RV for the next week and would need a spot close to the bathhouses for stealth pooping access. If you’ve ever pooped in an RV, you know that it’s not the most ‘private’ experience. Walls are thin. Sounds and smells propagate. So, when they gave us the corner slot – right next to the shower house – I was pretty stoked.

We chose The Grand Canyon Railway RV Park this round (we stayed at Railside RV Ranch back in 2015) due to its proximity to the town of Williams, AZ. It just happens to be within walking distance of 2 breweries, and 2 coffee shops. The ‘within walking distance of two breweries’ thing turned out to be really good. Because our first night in town, we got hammered.

I don’t really know how the whole getting hammered thing happened, but looking back, I suppose it started with the decision to start happy hour at 3 in the afternoon at the picnic table under our awning. Jake works East Coast Time – we were still 3 hours behind – don’t judge us! After taking a walk around the RV park to gawk at all of the other rigs in the lot, Jeffy, Jake and I got the great idea to head over to the Grand Canyon Brewing Company – conveniently located across the street from the RV park. Well, the Grand Canyon Brewing Company was also hosting a happy hour. And apparently, we really just cannot pass up a deal. Countless beers, hours of verbal diarrhea, two new AARP aged best friends, and a giant soft pretzel later, we stumbled back across the street to sleep off our bad decisions. I’m not sure if the proximity to the brewery saved us that night, or was a cause of the hang-over I suffered the next day.

Alas, Jeffy and I spent Friday trying to be semi-productive. Apparently youth really is a thing, because Jake didn’t appear impacted by marinating his internal organs in beer the night before. He woke up productive and ready to work. Jeffy and I partook in several rounds of iced coffee and a nap or two before we all walked downtown for burgers and colas. I pretty much stuck to colas for the rest of our stay in Williams.

On Saturday we decided to make the hour drive (in the Jeep) out to see her highness, the lady of Northern AZ, The Grand Canyon (GC). We packed some snacks and parked the Jeep near the Bright Angel lodge to catch the early park bus to the South Kaibab trail. We didn’t pack too heavily, as Jeffy went under the hip repairing knife a few weeks ago, and steeply graded trail probably isn’t great for healing hips. We hiked down to “Ooh-Ahh” point, where Jeffy thought it best to turn back (he’s smart). Jake and I decided to continue on down the trail for a while, and eventually and for unknown reasons began running down the trail. Which is fine I guess, except that Jake had changed out of his athletic shorts and into jeans just prior to boarding the bus that takes you to the trail because he was tricked by me (Liz) into thinking he was only hiking to Ooh-Ahh point. So, I chased a jean wearing Jake down the South Kaibab trail to the river.

If you have ever hiked GC, or even been down trails on the GC a few feet, you will know that there are various warnings telling you that you will probably die if you hike down to the river and back in one day. Back in August 2015 we didn’t make it all the way to the river – instead choosing to cut across Tonto to Bright Angel. Because we heeded the warnings. And because it was August then. But now, in 2018 it was March (30th), so apparently we didn’t feel the need to heed those warnings. And also apparently Jake thought jeans were appropriate. But whatever, we made it to the river. And it was awesome.

What wasn’t awesome, was when Jake’s undertrained body decided to give out about 10 minutes after leaving Indian Gardens on the way back up Bright Angel. Indian Gardens is 4.5 miles from the top of GC. 4.5 straight up canyon.

It was a long afternoon. And yes, Jake looked like the guy on the warning signs (see above).

We did make it up though, and we didn’t require the assistance of park rangers (thank god). We met up with Jeffy at the top, who had spent his morning/afternoon exploring the sights from the rim. I ate peanut butter ice cream from the ice cream shop at Bright Angel Lodge. Jake threw up some more.

We decided it would be best to call it a day and head back to Dyna in Williams. We only had to pull over once for a throw up. Not bad!

Jake and I had also booked tickets to ride the Grand Canyon Railway train into Grand Canyon on Easter Sunday – which was the next day. Jake was feeling much better after a bottle of Pedialyte and a night’s sleep, so we went forth, a crew of 3, back to the Grand Canyon. The three of us spent our Easter Sunday riding the train with entertainment provided by group of fake cowboys with questionable morals and choice of humor. Spoiler: the whole cowboy acting set was based on repeatedly belittling the stature of one of the men performing. It was weird.

I ate a lot of Peeps.

Other than the moral questionability of the train robber actors, the train ride was otherwise really cool. We’ve never done a train ride to a destination. The train made me feel very sleepy. And I liked it. I think I would like to ride trains more often and take long train induced naps.

Even the next day, our lady GC she was still out there in Arizona, holding down the whole “vast indescribable giant slot in the earth’ title – even if Jake did spend the prior day defiling her with puke. Grand Canyon don’t care!

We spent our ‘train day’ to the GC walking (slowly) along the rim, sipping drinks (still cola for me) and snacking on snacks on the balcony of El Tovar, and gazing into the vast, mesmerizing depths of the mother of all earth cracks.

Then we loaded back onto the train, got fake robbed by the group of actors with questionable morals, and returned to Dyna.

Jeffy spent one more day with us, a Monday, which meant a work day for me and Jake. And on Tuesday, he hitched a plane – which ended up taking him to a variety of airports and spending way more time than was scheduled – to be deposited back in Rochester, NY.

We cried for about 5 minutes, and then picked our friends Cam & Alissa up to come play in Dyna with us for a few days! We wouldn’t want to get lonely.

After they spent adequate time worshipping Lucy as she should be worshipped, we headed over to the Grand Canyon Brewery for dinner (and cola for me), packed some day bags, and tucked ourselves in at a semi-reasonable hour. Lucy was very confused as to where she should sleep. Cam & Alissa are also cat people, and Lucy fell in love with them (again) very quickly.

We got up at the butt-crack of before dawn, drove back to the Queen of cracks in dirt, and hiked down South Kaibab again. This time, we had plans to catch the sunrise – and not traverse all the way to the river. I think we puked on the GC enough for one trip.

We mostly made it to catch sunrise. And then we headed in a bit deeper. Liss and I stopped at Cedar Ridge and chilled while the boys walk/pranced another mile or so further on. Then we all reconvened and headed back to the rim, where we walked to the Visitor Center, caught a bus, and somehow garnered a window seat (with a decent view) at The Arizona Room.

When we departed the Grand Canyon for the last time during this trip I felt a bit sad. As in, I noticed the sadness. She’s just so damned beautiful. And humbling.

But, there are derelict ‘almost’ theme parks that need to be explored. So, we made an obligatory stop at Bedrock City on the way back to Williams.

Have I bragged to you guys about how great Jake and I are at choosing friends? Well we are. Jeffy, Cam, Alissa – all awesome. Seeing cool shit is awesome. Seeing cool shit with your friends is even more awesome.

We weren’t ready to let Cam & Liss leave us yet. We placated them with heavy diner food and giant pie slices at a cute restaurant called The Pines in Williams, stuck Lucy and her aggressive loving on them, and put them to bed. Then we locked them in the RV so we could drive them Las Vegas.

Ok, that’s a little ‘kidnappy’. It was planned. But Las Vegas has a big old airport and apparently some other fun stuff to do. So where next? Vegas. With Cam & Alissa on voluntarily board. Not actually being kidnapped.