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Grand Canyon to Glen Canyon

Leaving the Grand Canyon’s north rim to Page AZ is one of those spectacular roadtrips that can only be found in Arizona or Utah.   From Grand Canyon you cruise along Rt 67 to Jacob Lake, a small outpost in the Kaibab National Forest that is a nice destination in its own right but massively overshadowed by the Grand Canyon 47 miles away.

vermillion-cliffs-view.jpgnavajo-craft-sales.jpgFrom Jacob Lake the road descends on Alt. Rt. 89, passing from Ponderosa pine forest, past gorgeous views of the Vermillion Cliffs, and eventually to high desert.   At a viewpoint near the Vermillion Cliffs, just after entering the Navajo Nation, there is a large pullout where Navajo women have set up stands to sell art and crafts made by dozens of Navajo artists they represent.   The stop is worth making just for the views of the Vermillion Cliffs — the best view we’ve seen yet — but the items for sale are also beautiful.

A bit further you pass the little outpost called Cliff Dwellers, where there is a small motel, a restaurant, and a few homes butted up against the red stone of the cliffs.   Amazingly, fly fishing in the perennial streams of the nearby canyons seems to be the major attraction of Cliff Dwellers.

The road bottoms out at about 3,000 feet at Navajo Bridge, which crosses the Colorado River at a narrow spot above a very tall gorge.   The bridge, originally built in the 1920s, is a steel arch type which appears to hang 700+ feet above the deep green water of the river below.   Actually, it was replaced in 1995 by a larger but nearly identical bridge, and so you can now walk across the old bridge for the view.   Well worth the stop, but keep in mind that there’s no RV parking.   We “invented” some along the exit road and the ranger on duty did not mind.   There are covered picnic tables near the bridges so it makes a nice lunch stop.

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From Navajo Bridge the road climbs again to the south, until Alt Rt 89 joins Rt 89 and you have a choice: Flagstaff or Page.   We turned left (north) to Page and immediately began a climb through the red cliffs where pullouts give you an outstanding view of the plateau below.   The road slices through a notch in the cliffs and you’re back up at 6000 feet.   Then it slowly descends down a tilted plateau to Page.

Page was originally a workers town for the builders of the Glen Canyon dam that formed Lake Powell. When the dam was proposed, there weren’t any towns for 80 miles, no roads, and no rails.   Today it’s a modern town with golf courses and marinas on Lake Powell, but it’s still a long way from anything.   This, plus the fact that it is located smack in the middle of some of the most beautiful landscape in the southwest, makes it a popular stop for RV’ers.

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The National Park Service offers a free 45-minute tour of the Glen Canyon dam, and this is another stop well worth making.   The views from the bridge and from the Visitor Center are breathtaking on a nice day — and it’s usually a nice day out here.   Emma snagged a Junior Ranger badge there, too, in about 90 minutes.

The last time we were here we stayed at Wahweap Marina on the shore of Lake Powell.   It’s a very nice spot, but this time we wanted easy access to services.   The Super Wal-Mart on the main road is unbelievably convenient, with a Shell station across the street that has an RV dump, fresh water, propane, gas, diesel, and air.   We needed three of those things, plus a bunch of supplies at the Wal-Mart.

Last night while taking a shower I noticed the water was extremely sluggish going down the drain.   Not surprising, since I live with two females who have long hair, and we have to take apart the bathroom sink trap two or three times each year to remove clogs of hair.   But the shower drain is not as accessible, which is why we always have a small screen in the drain to catch hair.   So what was the problem?

We tried a jug of liquid drain stuff last night but there was no effect at all.   This morning we ran into the Wal-Mart for a snake, and it was a bomb too.   It hit the pipe walls at the trap and wouldn’t go any further.   Then we got a plunger and applied some effort with that.

The plunger yielded some small improvement, plus a lot of sand regurgitated by the drain.   Aha!   We washed off some dirty feet back at Great Sand Dunes National Park last month.   We think that, combined with the other things that go down the drain, the sand had formed a clog that corrosive drain cleaners couldn’t touch.

At this point the shower is usable but still slow.   We could have an Airstream dealer take apart the drain (requiring opening of the belly pan beneath the trailer), but first we’re going to try to use the water hose at the Shell station to push the sand through the trap.   That requires removing the lower half of the bathroom window, then the screen, so we can snake the hose into the bathroom, but I’ve done it before and it should be reasonably straightforward. This is what on-the-road maintenance looks like sometimes.

4 Responses to “Grand Canyon to Glen Canyon”

  1. Roger Says:

    Take a look at the ‘other’ Rich’s post. He had a similar problem but it was HIS hair!

  2. Airstreamer in Phoenix Says:

    There is a reason my pup’s name is Jacob Kanab Powell

    Jacob–Jabob’s Lake
    Kanab–town in the nation’s greatest state
    Powell–Surname of John Wesley Powell for whom the monstrosity that is Lake Powell is sadly named after. Powell himself is a great man in American history. Lake Powell would more aptly be named George Bush Reservoir since it represents the values of George W better than John Wesley. Dang . . . did it again on the political thing. Delete if necessary.

    Too many politics these days.

  3. Airstreamer in Phoenix Says:

    PS–Read The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey.

  4. Judy Hazen Says:

    Judy and I enjoy reading your travel blog since we visited several of the sites covered in your blog on our 8,000 miles trip to Montana to attend the Airstream International Rally in Bozeman. We started our trip in early June with a private tour of Chaco Canyon. We visited several ancient peoples of the American Southwest sites along with 10 National Parks and 4 National Monuments on our trip. Craig Childs “House of Rain” book is an interesting read since it tracks a vanished civilization across the American Southwest. Another interesting book on the ancient ones of the southwest is “Those Who Came Before” by Robert H. Lister and Florence C. Lister. Both books cover some of the sites that you have visited.
    Fred Hazen

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