Since the boat trailer needed the new axle and we had a couple weeks to spare we found some sweet spots to check out that we may have never seen with the boat in tow. We stashed the boat/trailer in a conveniently located lot down the street from the repair shop (Sunwest Auto & Marine) and headed to the trailhead for Horseshoe Bend view point. We knew this was a popular spot, but we were surprised by the large number of tour buses and overflowing parking lot. We parked on the road and made our way down the short trail (1mi) to the viewpoint. Even with all the human traffic we were not disappointed! Pretty amazing what nature can do with just some water, rock, and time. High on the sandstone cliffs you can view this amazing sight with the wind blowing and the birds soaring close by. This is when we discovered the Blue Dog’s disregard for any fear of heights! He scared the crap out of us with his willingness to run along the cliffs with a goofy little grin on his face. Needless to say we put him on a leash after that!
Following our quick trip to Horseshoe bend and with still plenty of time to spare (see boat trailer blues) we decided to back track a bit and head towards the Grand Canyon. So off we went in search of the largest ditch in the world. Before we got there we took a bit of a detour to the Wupataki Monument. This is an old pueblo that was just off the freeway, but was certainly worth seeing. The road took us around and through the reservation where we were able to view ruins and many volcanic lava formations. It was really cool to pull over and imagine what it must have looked like when these things were erupting! Almost all of the ground was made up of lava rock and you can still see a few of the old “domes” even though the entire area is covered in Quaking Aspen trees and brush. Blue didn’t like the rocks so much and quickly found out they hurt his feet.
This road would eventually take us into Flagstaff AZ where we planned on staying for the night. This would put us on route 66 where we knew there would be some cool things to see along the drive.
We cook as much of our own food as we can in order to save some money, but sometimes, especially after long drives you gotta just eat out! We found an awesome little steak house on our route that had great all you can salad bar. Yeah I know…salad bar in a steakhouse, but we were in need of some vegetables in our diet and this thing was huge and cheap for what they had to offer. After we ate we found an empty church parking lot to spend the night. We sometimes stay in parking lots to save money with Wal-Mart and various hotels being our go to spots. Wal-Mart is usually too bright and doesn’t have wifi access although they never hassle you. We’ve even seen some that look like RV Parks! It also provides a convenient shopping opportunity for provisioning the next morning. Parking in hotel parking lots usually allows you to hijack the wifi signal, but can sometimes be a risk since they normally monitor the lot and you could get your rig towed. A little tip if you do stay in a hotel parking lot and find the wifi locked. Go inside to the desk and ask what the rates/availability is. Most of the time there is a sign near the computer that shows the guest password for the wifi. On this trip we learned of an even better option and that is church parking lots. Some have unlocked wifi and as long as its not the weekend no one is going to kick you out and they are usually empty and dark.
Anyway, the next day we were off to the Grand Canyon via Route 66. We first went to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and it was certainly a sight to see. However it is very touristy. Not really our thing. We needed to find a better way to experience this awesome place.
Friends had told us about a place called Havasupi falls near this area. We did a little research and found we were not far from the trailhead. After a little self motivation for the 20mi roundtrip hike, we decided to go for it. First we had to get to this trailhead which gave us a couple options. Im always checking the road atlas we use to plan the route we want to take. GPS is great, but sometimes it can take you out of the way or on some wild back road in order to get you on the “fastest route.” Upon scouring the maps I found a dirt road that looked to run through some really cool back country and get us straight to our intended hiking trail and the Supi Indian Reservation. The crew (Bailie) didn’t think it was a good idea, but I did not listen and pushed on down a very long dirt road through mostly cattle ranches. We saw lots of cattle and horses along the way that were literally within arm’s reach. It was some very pretty country and we drove for probably an hour weaving our way along only to find ourselves at the end of the road in someone’s driveway. I thought we could have found another way, but with thoughts of banjo music playing and shotguns blazing, we quickly turned around and headed back the way we came. I felt defeated and needed to lift my spirits by testing out my newly purchased Mossberg 308. I also picked up some exploding targets (AZ is awesome!) so what better place to see what they can do! Also since our 2nd amendment is in jeopardy I wanted to shoot my new toy before some politician tries to take it away. We shot a few rounds, blew up a target, and it definitely felt good to blow off some steam.