Day 3: Williams, AZ to Cannonville, UT
The best way to start talking about Day 3 is to talk about the night before. We spent some quality time drinking at the local watering hole with a large group of Norwegians. They were dressed head to toe in Harley Davidson gear. I mean everything; bandannas, gloves, even underwear (I assume). They were drinking Budweiser and Corona beer with an occasional shot of whiskey. We had a lot of fun with them. There were maybe 12 of them in the bar, but they actually had 36 total in their group. They were riding motorcycles from Chicago to L.A. all following Route 66. I think they were taking 13 days to do it. They found shuffle board to be very similar to curling and played it all night. We would see them again on the road near the Grand Canyon.
We managed an early start regardless of how bad our heads hurt. Our struggles began early when we had difficulty finding the trail we wanted out of town. We were hoping to stay west of the railway from Williams to the South Rim, and travel straight north. This proved difficult, and eventually impossible. Not for lack of trying though. At one point, we had wondered around for over four hours, and only made 14 miles of northerly progress. Hindsight being 20/20, I now know part of the Great Western Trail is east of the railway, and would be perfect for where we were headed. Next time.
Trying to describe the Grand Canyon here is useless. Really it is. If you haven’t at least seen it in person, do so immediately. Better yet, take a few days a hike to the bottom. It is awesome. It will truly help you appreciate what a wonderful country we have here, and maybe help some of us realize how hard we need to work to protect it. Needless to say, the Grand Canyon does not disappoint.
There is a small trading post on the Little Colorado about 60 miles north of Flagstaff, AZ. This was our next stop. We would be arriving from the west. I believe this was Kaibab National Forest, and again, we had wonderful open roads with almost no one else on them. We had to take a small portion of highway into to Cameron. After a short stop for fuel, it was more highway to Tuba City.
What pavement we had to do earlier in the day was quickly made up just after we left Tuba City. We spent the next 4 hours battling super soft sand and really rough roads. Plus, we were going in circles much of the time. This is Indian country, and the roads are very hard to follow. Again, the 4×4 system proved to be a wonder ally. Our other saving grace was an old Indian. He was watering his heard of 10 or 12, when we pulled up next to him. He wasted no time placing both his arms on the driver side open window and asked, “what are you two white boys doing out here?” If you think about it, that was a great question, and not one easily explained. The way we wanted to go was impassable according to this old Indian, and we had absolutely no reason to doubt him. He provided us with an alternate route to Page, AZ, that in the end, worked out perfectly.
[singlepic id=6560 w=320 h=240 float=left]After reaching Page and crossing the Colorado River at Glen Canyon Dam, we fueled the Raptor and continued north. It was already late afternoon, and this was going to be a long day. We had about 46 more dirt miles to go to our destination, Cannonville, UT. Our final section is called the Grand Staircase, and it was one of the most scenic parts of the trip. Words again will not do any justice to just how beautiful this canyon called The Grand Staircase is. This is a must do for anyone. The road through here is dirt, but most of it is in good condition, and 4×4 is not needed. There are hundreds of wonderful photo opportunities here. The trail empties out into what is called Bryce Canyon. Bryce Canyon is also a really cool area that is known for its rock climbing and excellent camping. We found a small hotel to stay in before the sun went down, and shared a wonderful pizza. No beer here, Cannonville, UT is a dry city. My co-rider did some research on this topic and found that UT does not have dry counties. In-fact, it is up to the individual “temperance” of each community to determine their policy on alcohol. There is no state or county laws specifically prohibiting the use of it. We still managed to sleep like babies. Tomorrow we would be staying in Moab, UT.