Wildflowers in Parowan, Utah.
Yankee Meadows Lake,
Antique Tractor Show
Miss Iron County
and her attendants.
Over the top Las Vegas glam.
Fancy racing bikes at Interbike.
Mark Cavendish's winning ride.
Mark meets George Hincapie.
A big horn sheep in the Las Vegas suburbs.
Time passes more
slowly in Williams, AZ.
One tourist came to town in style.
Cruiser's Cafe 66 has live music in the afternoon.
Route 66 memorabilia is
A cheery gas station from yesteryear.
A mannequin greets patrons at the Red
American Flyer is a coffee shop for cyclists.
The road to Sycamore Canyon.
After 20 miles of dirt roads, we find Sycamore Canyon.
White Horse Lake
A dam holds the water back from Williams.
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
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
Cavendish wasn't on hand himself, but Lance
Armstrong's legendary lieutenant George
Hincapie showed up to add a little star power to
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 on I-40. 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
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
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.
wound up and
bringing us to a
we drove right
out to the edge
of a huge cliff.
The canyon is
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.