Days 21-22: Williams, AZ and the Grand Canyon (Ryan)

I for one was glad to leave Vegas…I like my brother, but not the city. It’s hot, dusty, and overrun with glamor. We headed out in another day of scorching heat…105 plus. As we headed quickly toward the Arizona border and no more restrictions about helmets we went through Boulder City. The layout of the city as you head towards Lake Mead has a very “Mediterranean” feel with terraced houses. If you need to stay near Vegas but want out of some of the chaos, you might try Boulder City…it seemed nice as we rode through.

Boulder City, NV…looks like a nice alternative to Vegas.

We skipped the Hoover dam because the heat was getting to Beth. We caught glimpses of the Colorado River through various gorges and valleys.

Colorado River through a series of desert hills.

Our elevation increased and finally the temperature started to come down a little. We still got scorched through the thin air, but at least we weren’t in the oven any more. We picked up route 66 and headed toward Williams, AZ and the Grand Canyon. As we came into Seligman, AZ, I felt a pop through the bike’s frame and Beth practically jumped forward. Her sissy back had shifted back and the luggage rack had sagged. I pulled off and started looking at the luggage rack structure. The main structure was intact, but there were two broken tabs at the front of the grab rails that were supposed to keep the sissy back and luggage rack(which mount to the back of the grab rail) from pivoting back. I eased the bike into town and stopped at the first service station and asked if they weld or had a welder I could use for a few minutes. He didn’t weld or have any equipment, so he gave me classic directions: “take your first left, go till you get to a stop sign, make a right. Way back in there you’ll see a dirt road on the left. Take that down to the barn at the end…that guy welds. No, there isn’t any sign marking the place.” Found the place…there were about 4 or 5 guys sitting around drinking beer and talking. The welder was happy to help. I stripped the luggage, saddle bags and the like off of the bike, pulled up through the gravel into the open bay door. After removing the seat and all the offending parts for him, he cleaned up the broken pieces and welded them back with much better welds than my original work. After painting them up we all sat around and talked. They were interested to hear what we were doing and were happy to share stories of their motorcycle trips and various local exploits. The owner had a 1948 Panhead Harley …very nice, classic bike. He had ridden with his ex-wife (on her own bike) up the pacific coast and a few other places.

1948 Panhead Harley. Not all that different from a modern sportster, Harley’s haven’t changed much!

Sweet, very classic bike. 1948 Panhead Harley.

When we pulled back into town we stopped for dinner at “Road Kill Cafe” right next to the recreated old downtown.While the food tasted good it didn’t end up sitting well with either of us…consider yourself warned.

Rebuilt Downtown Model

Road Kill Cafe

We made it to Williams just after dark. We checked into a really cool 1940s era motel built with local stone. Canyon Motel and RV Park was a great, clean, affordably priced place to stay about 60 miles from the Grand Canyon.

Williams, AZ

Canyon Motel. Caboose is available as a family lodging.

Cool, old 1940s era motel buildings.

In the morning after breakfast we headed the 60 miles or so up to the Grand Canyon. Wow…it was crowded. Really wasn’t the peaceful scenic experience I had envisioned, it was too crowded for that. Also, be warned that many areas are only accessible by their own tour buses. We went where we could ride and skipped the buses. After Canyonlands and Arches the punch of the Grand Canyon was weakened; the scale is definitely greater, but not enough to make Canyonlands pale in comparison, plus the crowds didn’t help. That’s not to diminish the Canyon though…it is amazing, vast, and austere.

Probably the coolest part of it was the desert tower. It was built in the early 1900s and has many Native American characteristics including the locally done artwork on the interior. By far Desert View Tower was the best place along the Canyon that we visited.

Desert View Tower

Inside Desert View Tower

View from the Desert Tower

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