Monday, October 29, 2012

DAY 66- Grand Canyon’s South Rim & a Low Spot…

Since I was a mere 75 miles south east of the Grand Canyon it seemed that it was a MUST see on my trip.  Most of the Grand Canyon National Park closes on October 15th but the south rim area is open until snow closes down the road.

It was a beautiful sunny day when I headed out of Flagstaff in the morning.  There were trees here and there among the pine trees that were turning the gold’s and yellows of Fall.  It was chilly.  Flagstaff had gotten down to the low -40’s overnight and a high of maybe mid-50’s was predicted.  I so needed to do laundry because I didn’t have any long sleeved shirts available for me to wear.  I grabbed a hooded jacket and my rain coat, the Oregon rainy day purchase, and proceeded to drive northwest.

I was a bit concerned as I got close to the south entrance of the park and I see clouds of smoke.  There were flashing signs to dial the radio to 1610AM and to slow down for poor visibility due to smoke.  There was a fire somewhere off to the west of the road but it must have been under control or a prescribed fire because there was no other directions being given to the visitors.
Photo- My first sighting of the Grand Canyon from the near Mather's View Point.

 I continued driving north.  When I entered the park and I was rather surprised by the rather a bland scenery until you get to the actual rim.  Then, it’s a breath taking view.  I walked along the rim and was just amazed by this HUGE expansive hole in our earth; all caused by water erosion.  But I kept on say WOW at the view.  One guy was standing nearby and cracking up at me. It was rather funny because everyone was standing and posing for pictures with the Grand Canyon behind them.  I admit I did a couple of those by grabbing someone else and asking them to take my picture. 
Photo- Yep! I posed like everyone else in front of the view.

It was windy and cold while I walked along the rim path.  Quite a few people were wearing winter coats.  I walked from the rather packed Mather View Point to the Yavapai Museum about ¾ mile hike along a paved path.  I stopped in at the Yavapai Museum and checked out the view from the enclosed window area.  I also warmed up too.    
Photos- Some amazing views from the south rim of the Grand Canyon.

I walked past the turn off for the Park Headquarters.  At another ½ mile when my legs were starting to feel like they had enough.  I shouldn’t have run those 1.5 miles on the treadmill that morning.  I decided to turn back having hiked 1.75 miles along the rim trail and what a beautiful view to hike along.  Back out on the rim trail, periodically there were areas that had benches where you could rest along the trail.  There was also markers in the trail about the stones that you saw as you went along and talked about how many thousands of years ago that this stone was formed.  It really kind of put my short life on earth into perspective.
Photo- A bench along the south rim path of Grand Canyon Nat'l Park.

After my hike of 3.5 miles, I walked through the Visitor’s Center and learned more about the formation of the Grand Canyon.  I also thought that it was interesting how there was a lineup of almost 15 people to talk with a National Parks Employee to help plan their park experience for the day.  I had enough hiking for the day and needed to drive to Kingman, AZ where I had a reservation for the night.  I visited the book store and got a bumper sticker and some postcards of course.  Then after that I was off driving down the road towards I-40W.  It was already 4pm and I still had at least a 2 hour drive in front of me.
Photo- A National Park Employee giving a tour for young children
near the South Rim of Grand Canyon Nat'l Park.

The drive to Kingman was basically a straight shot on I-40.  I have to admit that I had already driven through Kingman and part of the reason I ended up going back was out of need.  You may remember me mentioning dropping my wallet a few days ago while at the Route 66 museum there.  Well, I missed a debit/credit card and thank goodness it had been safely turned in by someone.  I needed to go pick it up.  This had added an extra stress hanging over my head for the last two days on my adventure.  I had discovered the card was missing when I was getting dinner and brew from the Raven in Prescott.

But things seemed to be working out and the plan was that I would stay the night in a hotel in Kingman and then when the museum opened up I could pick up my card.  Then I would be back on track for my adventure; no worse for the wear.  The sun had already set for the night as I found the hotel and went to get checked in.  I talked with the clerk and started the whole process of checking in when my other credit card was declined.  She ran it again, and it came back declined again.  She asked if I had used it a lot in the last few days and that maybe I just needed to call the credit card company. 

I knew that I was probably cutting it close because I had only been able to use the one credit card but that a large payment should had gone through earlier that day on the credit card.  I later found out that the payment on the card hadn’t gone through until midnight and that what I thought was available was on hold from the London Bridge Resort and hadn’t been released as of yet. 

The hotel clerk asked if I had another card.  No, I’m here to pick up a card I had accidentally left at the museum in town and couldn’t pick that up until the museum opened the next day.  She asked if I had cash.  I only had about $12 on me.  She said that there was an ATM across the street.  I told her that wouldn’t do me any good because the card that had access to the ATM was at the museum. 

I asked the clerk where the nearest truck stop was and thanked her; jumped back in my car and headed for the truck stop.  It looked like I would be sleeping the night in my car.  I got to the truck stop and looked around for a place to park between or at the edge of the semi-trucks but the place was rather packed.  I found a place near the restaurant and went into the coffee shop area. 

I could always hang out here I thought to myself as I helped myself to a booth near the front windows.  I was the only female in the place outside of the waitresses.  I ordered a diet soda and took my time trying to decide what to order.  I need to keep the bill and the tip under $12.  I ordered a grill cheese sandwich with fries.  I then got out my nook and did a bit of reading.  I took my time eating and reading; getting a refill on my diet soda.  An hour and a half later the waitress is asking if I can pay my bill so that she can close out for the night and go home.  I put what I have in cash on the check and ask if okay I do a bit more reading and get a refill of another diet soda. 

About an hour later, I’ve drank all of the diet soda and the other waitress is eyeing me.  It was time to find something else to do.  I went back to my car and started to arrange the contents inside so that I could sleep on one side of the back part.  This was quite a process of rearranging but it was doable.  I also noticed a rather well lighted spot between two semi-trucks where I could park for the night.  I pulled my car over to it, got parked and rolled out the sleeping bag.  I was hunkered down and ready for the night.

I had texted my friend John, a traveling salesman, to see if he had gotten safely home after a 4 hour drive.  He ended up cutting it short and opted to stay at a midpoint of his travels.   I texted him about what happened.  No, ifs, ands, or buts he set me up in a nearby hotel.  He texted me that it was taken care of and they were expecting me for the night.  So I repacked the car and headed to the hotel for the night.  He said the idea that I would sleep in my car was crazy.  I texted back and said I AM CRAZY don’t you know I’m supposedly going through my mid-life crisis; at least according to some of my friends.
I got to the hotel and the sweet gal gave me the key and wished me a good night.  But I rather felt bad because I kind of experienced a bout of what I felt like was failure to take care of myself, and I will admit that I find it very hard to ask or to take help sometimes.  I always saw that as strength but I may need to rethink that. Thank you John for being generous! 

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