Parowan UT, Las Vegas NV, Williams & Sycamore Canyon AZ – Wow!

RV blog post - After brief stops in Parowan, Utah, and Las Vegas, Nevada, we spent some time on Route 66 in Wiliams, Arizona, and hiked Sycamore Canyon.

Wildflowers in Parowan, Utah.

Yankee Meadows Lake, Parowan, UT

Yankee Meadows Lake,

Parowan, UT

Antique Tractor Show Iron County Fair Parowan, Utah

Antique Tractor Show

Miss Iron County and her attendants, Iron County Fair Parowan, Utah

Miss Iron County

and her attendants.

Ukele singers, Iron County Fair Parowan, Utah

Ukele singers.

Over the top Las Vegas glam.

Over the top Las Vegas glam.

Fancy racing bikes at Interbike.

Fancy racing bikes at Interbike.

Mark Cavendish's winning Tour de France ride.

Mark Cavendish's winning ride.

Mark got to pose with George Hincapie.

Mark meets George Hincapie.

Big horn sheep wandered into the Las Vegas suburbs.

A big horn sheep in the Las Vegas suburbs.

Time is on standby in Williams, AZ.

Time passes more

slowly in Williams, AZ.

Elvis in Williams, AZ Car culture, Williams, AZ

One tourist came to town in style.

Cruiser's Cafe Williams, AZ

Cruiser's Cafe 66 has live music in the afternoon.

Route 66 memorabilia Williams, AZ.

Route 66 memorabilia is

everywhere.

A cheery gas station from yesteryear, Williams, AZ

A cheery gas station from yesteryear.

A mannequin looks for patrons at the Red Garter Inn.

A mannequin greets patrons at the Red

Garter Inn.

American Flyer in Williams, Arizona combines coffee and cycling, a great match.

American Flyer is a coffee shop for cyclists.

wildflower in Williams, Arizona Mountain biking Kaibab National Forest. The road to Sycamore Canyon outside Williams, AZ

The road to Sycamore Canyon.

Sycamore Canyon, Kaibab National Forest, Williams, Arizona

After 20 miles of dirt roads, we find Sycamore Canyon.

Sycamore Canyon, Kaibab National Forest, Williams, Arizona Sycamore Canyon, Kaibab National Forest, Williams, Arizona Sycamore Canyon, Kaibab National Forest, Williams, Arizona Sycamore Canyon, Williams AZ Sycamore Canyon, Kaibab National Forest, Williams, Arizona Sycamore Canyon, Kaibab National Forest, Williams, Arizona White Horse Lake, Kaibab National Forest, Williams, Arizona

White Horse Lake

Dam outside Williams, AZ

A dam holds the water back from Williams.

Elk bugling in Williams, AZ

Williams, Arizona

September, 2011 - While exploring the hiking trails at Red Canyon our legs were still

itching to run, so we decided to put them to the test a little further south at Parowan, Utah's

Labor Day Iron County Fair 5K.  We had done this race three years prior, and we toed the

start line alongside the local speedsters from the high

school track team, hoping to match our old times.

By some miracle we both bettered our times, and Mark

left his peers in the dust.  But it was the 80-year-old

Paul Flanagan who completed the 6500' altitude race in

a brisk 25 minutes that really got our attention.  Heck,

he was older than most of the tractors at the fair's

antique tractor show, and he was a whole lot faster.

The Labor Day parade

was much as we

remembered it, showing

off both the young beauty

queens and older ukelele

singers.  The arts and

crafts show was filled with

blue ribbons for Best in

Show of everything from

quilts to apple pies to giant

backyard pumpkins.  And

the ferris wheel was

loaded with people swinging their legs and

eating cotton candy while taking in the

mountain views.

We continued down I-15 on our way to Las

Vegas for the annual bicycle industry trade

show, Interbike.  The glitz and glam of this

crazy, over-the-top city greeted us warmly,

and we were soon immersed in the world of

bikes and cycling.  Vendors showed off the

latest in their lineup of snazzy looking racing

bikes, and crowds formed around Mark

Cavendish's multiple stage winning Tour de

France bike.

Cavendish wasn't on hand himself, but Lance

Armstrong's legendary lieutenant George

Hincapie showed up to add a little star power to

the crowd.

Las Vegas is an enormous spread of urban

sprawl that reaches out into a vast desert, but

sometimes there is a little blurring of the two

worlds at the edges.  As we passed through

one of the Las Vegas suburbs on the interstate

we saw two big horn sheep standing at the

edge of the highway watching the cars go by.

The cars, of course, wanted to watch the

sheep just as much, and a huge traffic jam

soon formed as we stared at each other.

Our final destination for this all-too-brief season of

RVing was Williams, Arizona, about 50 miles south

of the Grand Canyon.  It is one of the showcase

towns along the old historic Route 66, and there are

fanciful nods to mid-twentieth century car travel on

every corner.

There is a fun, quirky and festive air to this town,

and every afternoon you can hear live music playing

on the patio at Cruiser's Cafe 66 where the local

Grand Canyon Brewery beers are served.

An antique gas

station features a

vintage car sitting at

old fashioned gas

pumps.  Inside there

are all kinds of Route

66 souvenirs and

memorabilia.

The Red Garter Inn

is adorned with a

woman hanging out

of an upstairs window luring

people to pay a visit.

The American Flyer coffee

shop is a bike-and-bean

bistro with creatively

designed coffee tables and

shelves, all made with

bicycle parts.

Williams sits on the edge of

Kaibab National Forest,

and it harbors a special

secret that I suspect many

tourists miss.  Somewhere

in the fine print of a

Williams tourist brochure I

found a tantalizing

description of Sycamore

Canyon, Arizona's second

largest canyon (after the

Grand one).  We had

never heard of it before

and definitely had to go check it out.

Getting to it requires a long

drive on dirt roads through the

woods.  The directions said to

allow 3.5 hours for the trip but I

figured that was only for

slowpokes.  Four hours later,

as we emerged from our

adventure, I realized that being

a slowpoke is the only way to

get through these woods.

The road

wound up and

down and

around, finally

bringing us to a

plateau where

we drove right

out to the edge

of a huge cliff.

The canyon is

rimmed by

gnarly old trees, and it's basin is

lined with a light smattering of

greenery and bushes that soften

its sharp, jagged edges.

Wandering back along the dirt roads through the woods we came

across White Horse Lake and then returned to Williams past a dam

that protects the town from deluge.

Despite the proximity of the interstate I-40 and the town of Williams, the woods in

this part of Kaibab National Forest feel very remote.  One night we heard loud

animal noises, and in our sleepy state we thought we were hearing coyotes.  The

next night the sound was right outside the trailer and we opened the windows to

listen carefully.  It was a nearby elk bugling.  He couldn't have been more than a

few hundred feet from the trailer, but in the moonless pitch dark we couldn't see

him.  Sometimes in the distance we could hear another elk answering.  The next

morning a small elk harem ran past our campsite.  Six females charged by us

followed by a solitary male

in the rear.

It was really hard to say

goodbye to the magic of

summertime in the

ponderosa pine woods, but

the temperatures were

dropping fast and Groovy

was waiting patiently in San

Carlos, Mexico.  We had some chaotic logistics ahead of us to put the

trailer to bed and re-awaken the boat, but we wanted to catch the warm

water in the Sea of Cortez before winter's chilly fingers took it in its grasp.