The frost on my saddle had me a little tentative about leaning into the turns, but as I gained confidence in the road I cranked it up a notch. Admittedly, what I gain in the comfort of my Road King, Steve’s Buell makes up for in his ability to carve through the canyons—so he was waiting for me at the bottom.
I love exploring places I’ve never been before and everything after Kanab was new to me. The Arizona desert feels a lot like parts of Utah as we blew past at 70 or so miles per hour, but I was excited to see the Grand Canyon for the first time. We gassed up in Cameron (about 20 miles outside of the park, and since the “gas can of shame” incidents I started taking responsibility to make sure there was enough gas in the Buell), and headed for the National Park entrance. I couldn’t help myself as the Ranger at the entrance asked me how I was. “I’m at the freaking Grand Canyon for the first time, I’m doing awesome,” I said.
We started at the Watch Tower and I finally got my first view of the Grand Canyon. I don’t know what I expected, but looking at the mile deep and 10 mile across mega-hole in the earth it’s hard not to be impressed with the magnitude of the natural forces that must have come into play. A friendly Ranger told us it was a combination of the wind and the river that shaped the canyon, but Steve and I can’t help but think that some kind of cataclysmic event must have also taken a part in the story.
As we visited each new viewpoint, I fell in love with the grandeur of the Canyon.
Since this was Amanda’s first visit to the Grand Canyon too, we were enjoying the sights and sounds of the Canyon together. Since Steve had been there before, we made him our official guide and simply followed him around.
We had some pizza at Bright Angel point and got ready for our last stop at the rim before our return trip to Jacob Lake and on to St. George. I was surprised at what must have been the thousands of people we were sharing this experience with—even though I knew the Grand Canyon was the most visited park in the National Park System. I could have never imagined what that felt like in real life.
Several years ago I read Colin Fletcher’s book, The Man Who Walked Through Time, about his solo rim-to-rim through hike. His was the first such recorded hike and his story made a fascinating book. I’m not sure I’m interested in doing the same 100 or so mile trek myself, but you can’t help but really admire the effort it must have taken as you look down into the canyon’s floor.
We were fast running out of time—we’d spent a couple extra hours we hadn’t planned for at the canyon so we packed up and headed out. Although we had beautiful weather for the entire day, the thunderstorms started to roll in convincing Steve it was time to put on his rain gear just as the rain started to fall. Fortunately it didn’t last long and we were flying across the desert racing the sun to St. George.
The climb up the canyon to Jacob Lake was very fun with dry roads and sunshine. Unfortunately, we had spent so much time on the South Rim that we were losing our race against the sun. It was getting dark as we entered Hurricane, but we were almost to the hotel and looking forward to dinner and a comfortable bed. We’d spent about 14 hours on the road, but it was worth every minute. Visiting the Grand Canyon was eight or nine hours in the saddle, but well worth the effort. I’m looking forward to doing this again with Sue. I think she’d enjoy the sights—if not the ride.
We wrapped up an incredible day with a late dinner at a sports bar & grill called The Players, right next to the hotel. I had a great hamburger and relived the day with my companions as we decompressed from the day.