Saturday, 30 April 2011

Day 11: Flagstaff to Williams via Grand Canyon

Last night I went into downtown Flagstaff for dinner and a drink. It's a pretty cool place with plenty of restaurants and bars, and pretty lively. First I went to the Flagstaff brewery. I had a nice beer in there, but it was a bit quiet, so I ended up sitting at the bar in a neighbouring Irish bar. I got chatting to Bob, sitting next to me; and it turned out that he to was doing a bike tour around America; except he had quit his job and was taking 2 years out to do it. Nice! He was pretty knowledgeable about the places I had been to and where I was going, and recommended Rods Steak House when I got to Williams.

There's a big event at home today: Yes, it's Simon's birthday. I hear they had a street party in his honour. I hope you had a good one! There was also a wedding on I believe, so William and Kate, I hope it works out for you. Talking of Simon and birthdays, he had a t-shirt made especially for me for my birthday to wear on this trip. Unfortunately it was left at home, I'm such an idiot. Anyway Gillian thoughtfully sent me a photograph to post here. This way lots more people will get to see it:
...and the back,
Today is a day off Route 66, as I head north towards the Grand Canyon, but on the way is Sunset Crater, a volcano that erupted only about 1000 years ago. You can go up the volcanoo and see the crater if you have the time and are up for a long hike. I didn't, so I bought some postcards instead!

The snow capped San Francisco Moutains, from Sunset Crater National Park

A guy said to me today: "There are only two types of bike; those that have been dropped, and those that are going to be dropped". That was after he helped me pick my bike up. In my haste to hop off and take a few more pictures, I hadn't put the stand down properly and over she went! Luckily, as I was still astride her at the time, I was able to slow her descent to the ground although there was no way I could stop it altogether. After this kind sole helped me pick her up again I was relieved to see that there was no damage - not even a scratch.

The lava flow from the volcano, in the background.

After a good 30-odd mile ride around the Sunset crater National Park, it was time to head off to the Grand Canyon. Entering the park from the eastern end of the Southern Rim, the views were spectacular, and the was a 40 mile ride along the rim, with countless photo ops. Here's just a few that I took today:

The roads around here are great for motorcycling: well maintained smooth tarmac, which twists and turns, rises and falls, it's fantastic! The weather has been sunny and dry for the last few days, although pleasantly cool (in the 70s). In fact it's so dry that I had to buy some ChapStick as my lips were starting to dry out. I now have one more thing to add to my morning routine: put on lipstick, and re-apply regularly!

After a number of hours at the Canyon, it was getting on and time to head back south for Williams, and rejoin Route 66. The road to Williams is dead straight from the Canyon for about 50 miles, so a bit dull after the riding I'd done earlier.

Williams is a small two street cowboy town, and has a really nice feel. I didn't have a room booked, but soon checked into the Route 66 Inn, an old Mom & Pop Motor Lodge right in the middle of town. The room's big enough but could do with refurbishment as it's a bit tatty. Then again, for $39, I don't expect much. It has a bed and bathroom, has Wi-Fi and is clean, so that's good enough for me.

As I was sitting in my room, I heard some familiar voices passing by outside - yes it was Dale, Anthony, Daniel and some of the other Aussies! "We're going to Rods Steak House for dinner" they said, " Come with us". So I did. And then on to the Canyon bar which had Country karaoke going on. It got a bit messy, and I even took to the mic for a number. Hopefully, no one videoed it. What good company they are, we had a blast. Oh, and the steak was to die for - Bob, you were right!
Anthony and Daniel have a bonding session, having narrowly missed getting into a fight

Dale lets rip singing Peggy Sue!
As always, all the photos, and today's route are here:

Time for bed now, as there's the Route 66 Fun Run leaving here tomorrow, heading the same way as me - about 800 cars and bikes - and I want to get away before they do. Overtaking them would be a nightmare!

Today's Mileage: 196
Total Trip Mileage: 2289

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