Arizona (Grand Canyon)
Thank you again to Carl and Marvis Gali
of Tucson, AZ
Also, thank you again to Fred and Ivy Gali of Tucson, AZ
Starting on Wednesday, October 16, 2002, 10:59:38 AM
What a neat surprise I had. When I got to Tucson my uncle Carl had told me that my other uncle was in town. My uncle Fred and aunt Ivy, whom I stayed with in South Dakota was now at their winter home in Tucson as well and I got to spend some time with them.
My other uncle, George, from Oregon had came down for a brief visit before I got there. However, he did bring and drop off the newspaper article from the Albany paper up there in Oregon. I hadn't seen the article other than the web site and was surprised to see that they had a very large picture of me in there. Actually two of me and one of my friend Karla.
I went to the local bike shop and got some oil and filter for the bike and changed my oil. My aunts and uncles all took me to breakfast the next morning and gave me a good send off.
Just down the road I took the highway towards Phoenix and north to Flagstaff. On the way I knew I was on the right track when I saw this sign showing me the Carefree Hwy. Yeah, I almost took that one too.
Up to Flagstaff I was surprised to see that the desert had vanished and I was close to the mountains. Flagstaff is actually at 7,000 feet above sea level. I did notice that the temperature had dropped quite a bit as well and I was leery of the thunderstorms that seemed to be lurking in the area. I took hwy 180 north out of Flagstaff to take me up to the southern entrance to the Grand Canyon park and was fascinated by Humphrey Peak just north of the city. As I drove past and around to the north side of the mountain I could see that there was snow on top. The thunderstorm clouds were very sparse and isolated but at one point I did get rained on. But just briefly and then it was gone.
It was quite a spectacle that I had never experienced before. I was driving down the highway just outside of Flagstaff when I broke through from under the clouds and was in and enjoying the bright sunshine. Suddenly it came out of nowhere and I smelled that fresh scent of rain. The ground was totally dry and there wasn't a cloud above me for miles. I looked all around and couldn't see any signs of rain in my general vicinity. Then, I saw something out of the corner of my eye and I looked up into the sky. Like magic I saw it coming down. The sun was shining through the water droplets and they sparkled as they approached. It was like a wall of water droplets sparkling in the sunlight. I could see the defined bottom of the rain as it got closer to the ground. I watched in amazement as it finally hit the ground right in front of me and then all around me. For only about five seconds the water fell with heavy raindrops. Then, just as quickly as it came I could see the top of the sheet of water as it dropped and then there was no rain. It was not even enough water to have gotten me thoroughly wet. The sun was still out and the ground was still dry.
As I cleared around the north of the mountains the terrain resumed to desert again. This time it was a colder desert and not quite so barren. I could tell that I was still up pretty high in altitude.
I made my way to the park just at dusk and was able to witness the sunset upon the canyon. I had seen pictures of this place all my life but never imagined it to be like what I saw myself. This place is so huge and vast it definitely takes your breath away. It made me feel so small and insignificant as I looked over the edge and across this incredible wonder. Canyons within canyons, dropping hundreds of feet. There have been very few places that I have been able to see so much, standing in one place. There would be no way that I could capture that moment and that view with any camera.
The colors changed as the sun sank lower and then came back out from under a cloud barrier.
Rocks, suspended in time above this alien landscape created an emotion that i have never felt before.
I took a walk over to another view point and along the canyon rim to look back at all the people from across the gap here.
The sun finally set and there was no more to see as it got dark.
I stopped at a camp ground right there at the edge of the park and considered sleeping there for the night.
I was not really tired so I was trying to decide whether to move along or stay. I consulted with the frog so we went on down the highway towards Page and the Utah border.
I stopped to get a quick bite to eat at a convenience store and met a wonder gentleman that I had a very pleasurable conversation with. He was 78 years old and was driving and living out of a van as he was exploring the country himself. We talked for about an hour or so before we went our separate ways.
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