Saturday, May 30
There are a couple of rustic cabins, with rustic porches, that sit right on the edge of the canyon at Bright Angel Point. Let me tell you, that is the way to see the Grand Canyon! Sit on your porch with a cool drink with the entire swath of the Canyon at your feet, and watch it change as the light moves across the canyon as the day goes by. I wonder how many years in advance you have to reserve those cabins? Or are they only for super-VIPs? Gawd, I want to rent one for a day or two in the worst way.
Let me tell you something that should have been obvious to a thinking traveller. Do not attempt to cross the Navajo Reservation with less than a quarter tank of gas and an urgent need for a ladies-room. It was a tense, tense 2 hours. I was a-twitter which would happen first, I would run out of gas or I would flood the driver's seat. Fortunately I did make it to the next gas station, by the skin of my teeth, after crawling along at 45 mph for the last stretch in order to conserve on gasoline.
After the reservation, somehow I managed to miss the turn for the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. By the time I realized that it must have been a ways back, I was practically to Flagstaff and I decided not to turn back. To tell the truth, a roadside stop where some Navajo women were selling handmade jewelry had whetted my appetite for shopping, something I have done just about none of this trip; and the notion of arriving in Sedona early and indulging in a shopping orgy followed by a civilized sit-down dinner was very seductive. My dinners have tended to be on the order of carrots, jerky, cheese, and nuts nibbled while driving through yet another batch of can't-miss-it-gorgeous scenery.
Sedona, like the Grand Canyon, was absolutely crawling with people. Where'd they all come from? The rest of my stops on this trip have not been crowded. Then I remembered something from my long-ago youth in Arizona; schools here let out for the summer by Memorial Day. The vacation season is in full swing and best not to wait another month or the heat will be too much! So they are all here, swarming over the place like fleas on a stray dog.
I swear the town's business section has doubled in size, a mix of fancy tony establishments, tourist schlock, and tourist schlock masquerading as fancy tony establishments. It's a shopper's dream town. I am daunted by the sheer number of shops and the obvious overpricedness of many of them, but I will be sure to hit some galleries. I hope they have the good sense to be open on Sunday morning! I have to hit the road before it gets too warm tomorrow, unless the day is overcast again. That's the problem with travelling with dogs, you can not spend an hour browsing galleries while your dogs turn into Crispy Critters in the car in the sun. I can't even enjoy a liesurely dinner until after dark, because of worrying about whether the dogs are getting too hot.
Pat would say that God was looking after me when I missed the turn to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, because I felt completely exhausted by the time I reached Sedona, and I could not have handled another 3 hours of driving today. It seems I got a mild sunburn at the North Rim, and I am one of these pale Northern flowers who are absolutely metagrobolized by sunburn. I get feverish and uncontrollably sleepy. I have learned through unpleasant experience never to attempt to drive anywhere after I have been sunburnt. Another dose of sun at the South Rim would have been a killer.