Driving Through Marble Canyon In Arizona To The North Rim Of The Grand Canyon

The last leg of our trip to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon always seems to be the most scenic. We left Flagstaff around 9:00 a.m. and arrived at our campsite at the North Rim about 2:30 p.m. We stopped once for fuel at Cameron, then for lunch at Jacob’s Lake. The weather was beautiful with not much wind, which was a plus. Here are some pictures of the scenic beauty along the way:

Could you imagine living in that house?

If you look very closely, you will see a house in the center of this photo. It will give you some idea of the scale of those cliffs–they are HUGE! Could you imagine living in that house, out in the desert?

Although this is the fourth year I will be working at the North Rim, I never get tired of seeing this landscape or taking this drive along Arizona Highway 89 and 89A. It is beautiful!

The road does seem endless, though

This is Marble Canyon, on Highway 89A in Arizona. It is absolutely gorgeous.

Navajo Bridge crosses the Colorado River

Crossing over the Colorado River on Navhjo Bridge. This marks the far eastern edge of the Grand Canyon.

Vermillion Cliffs

and here is your one minute video of  the Vermillion Cliffs in Arizona:

Along Highway 67 South on the Kaibab Plateau



After lunch we headed south on Highway 67 headed to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. There was snow in the higher elevations, but it looks like it has been melting quickly.

Still on Highway 67 South, almost to the entrance station

The higher we went on the Kaibab Plateau, the more snow there was. Still, there wasn’t nearly as much snow as last year.

The North Rim doesn't open to the public until May 15th, so I had to jump out and unlock the gat. Brrrr, cold!

Last year, the snow was taller than our RV at the entrance station. This year, it wasn’t nearly as high, but it was still cold. The gate doesn’t open to the public until May 15th each year.

See, not nearly as much snow as last year.

USA RV Park in Gallup, New Mexico

The driveway to USA RV Park in Gallup, New Mexico

Just to show you that I am not whining and complaining all the time, I have to tell you about USA RV Park iin Gallup, New Mexico. We stayed there the next night after the nightmare that was Santa Rosa, and I have to tell you, it is one of the best RV parks we have stayed in in the more than 11 years of living full time in an RV. We noticed when we entered the park that it was lovely, clean, well kept. The driveway was attractive and made the whole place appealing as soon as you enter the property.

The office and store were immaculate!

When we walked inside the office/store, we were greeted by the people behind the counter. The owner registered us, and gave us a discount for Fabgrandpa being a veteran. That was another first, because in all the years we have RV’ed, not one park has given us a discount for military service! After we paid, and were shown where our site was on the map, the owner handed us his business card with his home phone number on it. He told us if we had any problems during the night to call him personally. We both felt that was his way of telling us that we wouldn’t have any problems, and we didn’t. Everything worked like it was supposed to, all night.

review of usa rv park gallup new mexico
Our site was flat and level

The whole park was clean and looked so nice. It was hard to believe the price was only $31 and change after the veteran’s discount was applied. The roads were paved, and sites were graveled, so even though the wind was still blowing, there was no dust, and that made it very nice for us.  The site was long enough for our truck and trailer without unhooking.  We were very very satisfied with our stay at USA RV Park. I didn’t personally visit their bathrooms, but FabGrandpa did, and he said they were sparkling clean.

review of usa rv park gallup new mexico
Parked by the propane tanks

The next morning before we left, we had to fill up with propane.  The service was quick, and even at the price of $3.25 per gallon made filling up a pleasure. I would say if you are on your way along I-40 in Gallup, and need an RV site for the night, USA RV Park is your place.

Road Trip Time Again

As you may or may not know, Fabgrandpa and I live full time in an RV and work at the Grand Canyon during the season. It is time again for us to make our migration west for the job. We hooked up the trailer to our new truck for the first time today, and set out with a destination of Tom Sawyer RV Park in West Memphis, Arkansas. It is right across the river from Memphis, Tennessee. We’ll be staying three nights here so that we can go down and do Beale Street again.

We LOVE the blues, and live blues is the best ever! Our first date way back in 1991 was at The Blues Harbor Club in Underground Atlanta. I think I fell in love that night, while having dinner and listening to the blues with my handsome guy.

FabGrandpa had a goal of leaving by 9:00 A.M, and we actually got on the road around 9:20. He is in his own little heaven driving the new truck. It has a  computerized diagnostic and information system on the dashboard, that figures the MPG automatically. I know this feature has been in vehicles for a long while now, but we have been driving a 1997 truck since 2001, so this is all new to him. For a guy who loves numbers, he is, well, orgasmic!

computerized diagnostic display panel f0rd f-250

FabGrandpa loves this!

Although we only drive about 55 mph while we are towing our trailer, we were making good time. However, the trailer seemed to be “wiggling” around back there, something it didn’t do when we towed it with the other truck. We pulled over to the side of the highway for a potty stop, and discovered that there had been a blowout on the trailer!

RV blow out

it was blown UP!

That tire was not only blown out, it was worn completely off the rim! So, from now on, if that trailer starts wiggling, we’re stopping to see what the problem is! We have talked about getting on of those tire pressure monitoring systems several times, but never acted on it. I think now is the time to just do it.

This is where I am so glad I have that Droid phone that I got back in November. It has the greatest Map app on it that functions as a GPS. It shows us as a little blue arrow on the road, and shows us moving along the road as we drive. When we pulled over and discovered the blowout, I had no idea where we were, except that we were on the entrance ramp to US Hwy 78 near Holly Springs, Mississippi. I looked back up the ramp, and there was an Exxon gas station over there.

I found the Exxon Station on the GPS app.

Instead of walking back up there in 86 degree heat, I opened the GPS app, went to the nearby places tab, touched “gas stations” and there was the name and phone number of that gas station. I touched the phone number, and the phone dialed the number. When someone answered the phone, I told them I was in the RV on the on ramp to Hwy 78 with a flat tire and needed someone to come and change the tire. They gave me the phone number for Ricky’s Towing Service. I called Ricky, and less than 10 minutes later, someone was there changing our tire. Incredible! Even more incredible when you consider that I had no idea where I was!

Ricky's towing service is great!

James from Ricky's Towing Service

James from Ricky’s Towing Service got the job done in just a little bit, charged us only $35, and had us back on the road in about forty minutes. We’re going to have to find a tire store in the morning, but I sure that Map app will find it with no trouble.

We finally got to Tom Sawyer about 4:45 P.M., and got the very last site with a concrete pad! At least that was good luck! There is only a small part of the park open right now, because the river flooded. They are working to get the sites that were flooded cleaned up and repaired.

It was still hot when we got here, so after we got set up, we went inside for some A/C and a cold beer!

New Grist Beer is gluten free and delicious

My gluten free New Grist Beer!

And just because the rig looks so good:

Jayco 32fks travel trailer

The new truck and the trailer look pretty good together.


On The Road Again, Sort Of…

The wheels started rolling about 9:20 a.m. As we pulled out of the driveway of Granite Hill, Jim looked over at me and smiled and said, “We’re late. I wanted to get out of here by 9:00 a.m” But he was smiling. It was snowing, and we were just glad to be getting out of there when we did!

We drove about 60 miles down the road, and had just passed by the exit for Business 15 off of 15 south in Leesburg, Virginia, when we decided to pull over to the side of the road and visit Mrs. Murphy. When we stopped, we heard an unusual noise that sounded like something fell off the trailer behind us, so we walked all around the rig looking for whatever it was. We didn’t find anything. We left the truck running, and went into our little trailer to do our stuff. I went first, and as I was coming out the door I heard a Slap! Slap! Bam! Coming from our truck!!!! Oh, crap!

When Jim came out the door, I told him to look under the hood because it sounded like a belt broke under there, and there were little slivers of what looked like shredded belt under the truck. When he opened the hood, it was not the belt but the pulley off the flywheel. It had broken off and slammed around under the hood.

So, there we sat on the side of the road, in Leesburg, VA, not knowing a soul to call. We just sat a minute and thought about it. Crap!

I got out my AT&T cellphone and called 411. I told them we needed a tow truck in Leesburg but I did not know the names of any. She gave me the first three numbers on her list. I called the first one and explained that we needed to be towed to the Ford dealership, but that we were towing a 34’ travel trailer, too. He said he couldn’t handle the job, but he knew someone who could and that this guy might even be able to fix the problem right there at the side of the road. Yeah, I’m thinking, we are going to get a mechanic to come out here on the side of the road on Sunday morning and fix our truck, just like that? And I believe in the Easter Bunny, too!!!

A few minutes later, my cellphone rings, and it is Jimmy Counselman, the mechanic who drives a tow truck for The Body Works Towing in Leesburg. He asked me what the problem was and where I was located. He arrived about 20 minutes later, checked under the hood to determine what to do. He said he needed to go get a part and he would be back in a few minutes.

Our Hero!

So, another 20 minutes later he is back. And in another 20 minutes, he has the truck repaired, and we were ready to go. The charge was $260 for replacing the pulley, on the side of the highway, on Sunday morning, in 39-degree weather. Not bad, if you are the one stuck there, freezing. So, yeah, I guess I do believe in the Easter Bunny now.

Thank you, Jimmy. We really appreciate your hard work, and the fact that you got us back on the road in so little time. If anyone needs any repairs done in or around Leesburg, Virginia, Jimmy is the one to call. He operates Daddy’s Garage, in affiliation with The Body Works of Virginia, Inc. Their phone number is 703-777-5727 in Leesburg, Virginia.

The Wheels Are Rolling Tomorrow

The wheels will be rolling tomorrow morning on our travel trailer. We finished our commitment to our job at Granite Hill Camping Resort yesterday. There were times when it seemed like this day would never come. It has been a long, long season.

We spent most of today getting ready to go. We are taking a good bit of Pennsylvania with us, literally. Jim got two cases of Yuengling beer. I got three huge bags of Utz Tortilla Chips, they are the best! I also went back to Hacienda Shiloh and got some garlic and some of that good Autumn Rub that they sell there, and some other things. A trip to the Rose Garden Natural Foods store to stock up on buckwheat flour, rice flour, and rice pastas since I don’t know when I will find another source. What else? Hmmm…

I have a half dozen pints of green beans, some frozen cooked turnip greens,three bags of cooked mashed pumpkin, a gallon bag of chopped sweet red italian peppers, and some apple sausage in the freezer. Some acorn squashes, and a few apples, all came from Harbaugh’s Farm. There is a large jar of sweet pickled cauliflower, two jars of apple salsa, a jar of cherry butter, and several small packages of dried cranberries, dried pineapple, and roasted pumpkin seeds from the farm market across the road from the campground. It will take us a long time to clear Pennsylvania out of the pantry.

I would say that if any of you gets a chance to visit or workamp in the Gettysburg area, it will be a real treat. It is a rural area, with lots of agriculture, so there is an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, with farm stands down almost every road during the summer and fall. We have certainly enjoyed our stay here.

But, as the song says, I can’t wait to get on the road again…

Get a cup of coffe and a donut, this could take a while…

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This past week has been really busy for us. It started with Thankgiving. I cooked Thanksgiving Dinner for Fabgrandpa’s family. Well, most of it. I made Sunday Best Roaster chickens, dressing, gravy, butter peas, creamed corn and sweet potato casserole using Linda’s recipe. It was all good, and the other family women brought things too. Let’s just say it was “challenging” to pull this thing off.

Then, on Friday, we worked again for a half day. On Sunday, we went for a long drive around the mountains with Gary and Faye. They had never been to Brasstown Bald, the highest point in Georgia, so we drove up there. We were all excited about being able to take the shuttle to the top and being able to see 4 or 5 states from up there, but, no, the place was closed for the Thanksgiving holiday so we did not get to do it. But, the drive was nice and had a nice long afternoon to visit with our friends.

On Monday, we went down to Gainesville to file an unemployment claim. They said we would hear something from them in 14 business days, but to go ahead and file for the week until we heard from them one way or the other.

We worked a half day again in the morning on Tueday, then we decided we needed to go to the grocery store. We did that and spent a ton of $$, but now we have everything we need to eat like pigs for at least three weeks, maybe four. On the way home from the grocery store, Fabgrandpa’s mother called to tell us that his Dad was admitted to the hospital. They were at the doctor’s office and they sent him to the hospital in an ambulance. One of their friends took Nana to the hospital since she does not drive, so we headed down there to see what we could do for her and to wait with her until she was ready to go home. She decided to stay, so we went home.

On Wednesday morning, she called us and told us they had not found out what was wrong with Poppa yet, and would be doing more tests, so there was no need for us to come to the hospital, so we went ahead with our plans to go to Douglasville.

We went to Becky’s shop to get haircuts, which we both desperately needed. After the haircuts, I went to my mother’s and Fabgrandpa and Becky went to the mall to hang out and go to a movie.

I had a very good visit with my Mom. She was nice and sweet and we had a nice conversation. She gave me a ham sandwich and one of Linda’s mince meat cookie bars and didn’t say anything about me being fat or anything. She gave me some home made pound cake with chocolate fudge frosting and some apple butter to take home with me. It was a very nice afternoon. Dick and Donna came by and I got to finally meet her. She is very nice and I am glad he has found someone to love and to make him happy. He deserves that in his life. When I got ready to leave to go and meet Emily and Spencer, Mama hugged me tight. It felt good.

I met Emily and Spencer at a place called Monkey Joe’s. It is an indoor playground-party place. It is full of things to jump on, slide on, run around on, crawl through, etc… for kids. Spencer was running at top speed, like a short cute little bullet. He is very fast and seemed to never run out of energy. I felt a little bad for Emily, because every few minutes she had to run like a mad woman to catch Spencer jut before he snatched an ice cream or candy bar from the counter and ran away with it. I brought him two little turtles (toys) and a glow in the dark t-shirt from Unicoi State Park. He took an instant attachment to the turtles. He named them Ned and Ted.

From there, we went to Fabgrandpa’s favorite barbecue restaurant, Hudson’s Hickory House, for dinner. There was me and Fabgrandpa, Becky, Emily, Tommy, and Spencer. It was nice to sit down as a family together and eat dinner. (It was also nice to have my favorite bbq ribs! Yum!)

We left Douglasville about 6:30 pm and drove to Gainesville. We stopped at the hospital to pick Nana up and take her home. She announced that she was going to stay another night, and Poppa said if she did then he was going to sign himself out of the hospital. He said it very loudly and with a lot of expletive deleteds. She got
her feelings hurt, but I do understand that he did not want any company. He was still in pain, and they had filled him up with laxatives in preparation for a barium enema on Thursday, so he was not in the mood for company from anyone. We took her home and stayed with her a while, and finally got home around 11pm.

Thursday, we worked a half day again, then went to Nana’s house and stayed with her until Mike got there to spend the night with her. He is taking her to a doctor appointment today, then down to the hopsital in Gainesville to visit Poppa for a few minutes, before he brings home. He is supposed to call us if he decided not to spend the night again so one of us can go over there.

So, that has been our week, very hectic and busy, some fun, some not,
but life is like that. I hope all of you are doing well, and having
some fun along the way. I am waiting to hear from you all.