Just a whole of lot of pavement action today. A friend of mine flew into Vegas and stayed at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon last night. His goal: Hike from one side of the canyon to the other in a single day. It's 21 miles of steep descents and ascents in order to reach the other side. His dilemma: how is he going to get back to his car?
That's where we come into the picture of his journey. Shirley is stripped of the kayaks and bike rack in an effort to lose as much weight as possible. We are going for a 400 mile road trip today. Kayaks don't make for good aerodynamics and the cost of poor gas mileage will add up quickly. We'll pick up Eric and Adam's rental car and bring it back to base camp for them.
No Outside of the National park entrances is nothing but Navajo tribal land. The evidence that the tribes have their own laws sprinkles the highway for hundreds of miles. Every scenic pull out installed by the state or federal governmet along the highway is littered with plywood structures filled with trinkets. The only way to pull over and take in the view is to get past the peddlers on the side of the road. This is also true for a lot of the unique land features we would like to see. They are "owned" by the tribe and considered sacred holy land. Coincidentally you can take a look at their sacred grounds if you pay a fee for a guide service to show you around. One of the villages in the Hopi Reservation does not allow tourists to see the town unless you pay $150 a person for a guided tour. No thanks.
The south side of the canyon is extremely crowded and full of tour buses. I'll spare you the photos that you could easily look up online and instead show you something much more exciting. Shirley ticked over the 160,000 mile mark today and we celebrated with some full throttle action. This 4.0 inline 6 is finally broken in and ready to due some major exploring.
Eight hours into the day's drive and we need to get out for a good stretch. These precariously balanced rocks provide a place to let the Eli get out so he can tell the world he owns that rock, and another, and another...
We get back to the RV with both cars and drop Shirley off for some rest. It was a total of 380 miles and 10 hours of driving to make the trip. She pulled down an extremely respectable 27.3 mpg on the trip. Most people who know Jeeps would call BS on this. I have been tracking the mileage of every tank and without the kayaks we are getting about 23 mpg on average. Not too shabby.
The rental gets packed with our hiking gear and we set off to rendezvous with Eric at the trail head on the north side which is another 25 miles away. A quick glance around and he is nowhere to be seen. I guess we'll hike down into the canyon and provide some emotional support to complete the trek.
Just a tad over two miles down we find Eric and Adam still plunking away. They are 11 hours into the hike and nearly finished. The heat of the day made them smell about as pleasant as a musk ox. Katie and I back off a little bit further to let the breeze dissipate the stank. We breach the top of the cliff at sunset and find the car seat once more. It's back to the RV for beers and spaghetti before everyone turns in for the night. Life could be worse.