Day Fifty-Four: Grand Canyon Silliness

At 0452, I bolted out of the host site on my bicycle to the Flagstaff train station. I wanted to catch a glimpse of the Southwest Chief before I left the town. The train, scheduled to arrive at 0506, was ten minutes early. I saw the first passenger train I’ve seen in some time: two Genesis engines, a baggage car, and eight very shiny, very well maintained Superliners. Upon the train’s departure, I waved at the engineer, who rewarded me with two short blasts of the horn for my effort.

I decided to take a small detour today. At the bicycle shop, one of the employees showed me a topographic map of the area. The San Francisco peaks, just north of town, are a dormant volcano with a peak above 12,000 feet. Snow Bowl Road goes from 7,500 to 9,500 feet in 7 miles. Naturally, I took the detour, adding 14 horizontal miles and 2,000 vertical feet to the day’s ride. Awesome.

After some time trialling, I caught Jane, and we rode into town at a comfortable pace. The Grand Canyon posed a logistical challenge. Bicycles were $12 each, but getting the van into the park was $25. The rangers were unwilling to just wave us on, so, we had to load the bicycles into the van to sneak by the gate in repeated trips. What silliness.

Grand Canyon National Park is an international tourist trap. It’s very developed and very busy on a summer weekend.

After dinner, Jane and I managed to get to the rim and look over the edge. The view inspired Jane to do a hike tomorrow. The second time she asked, I obliged. We spent most of the evening making the preparations for our hike, including arguing with the other riders to be considerate and let us sleep.