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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Grand Canyon

What's the point of traveling if you don't even know what you've got at home?

I've visited a lot of other countries and I have yet to get tired of the United States of America. I'm not being nationalistic but this is a great country. It doesn't just match anything elsewhere, it offers a lot more. It's a big country with any type of landscape or cityscape you could desire.

I like Paris. I love Buenos Aires. The Alps are nice and so is Mount Fuji. The Sahara is beautiful and the Mediterranean is too. Then I come home and realize that what we have right in our own back yard is the equal for any of it.

Sure I'm going to see Mexico's Copper Canyons but it's the variety and the chance to meet new people that draws me.

The sun came up and I admit that I dawdled as I packed my bike. I had a choice to make. I wanted to see the Canyon but I also had to get to Tucson in time for dinner with friends. Should I continue on the road I was on and hope it ended at the rim? Should I cut my loses and head back in order to loop up to the South Rim? What to do? What to do?

I decided to continue north and hope for the best. I passed back into the Hualapai reservation and then, finally, into a parking area at the rim. Lots of people gearing up to backpack down into the interior. 

This was the shocker - the camp marked on the map was not on the rim but is down in the canyon! If I had continued last night I would have been stuck at a dead end with no place to sleep.

The Canyon was a thriller as always but a quick look around and I had to depart. There were many miles to go to Tucson.

Now I had to make some time. The 20-30 mile side road turned out to be 60 miles so the first hour was spent just getting back to where I started last night.

At Seligman I stopped for breakfast at Westside Lilo's Cafe. People in this area like to eat well and they like to eat a lot. I asked for eggs and bacon and was served enough for two people. Tried my best but I couldn't finish it.

Now it was time for putting on the miles.

Prescott looked really interesting but I had no time to stop. I was in a hurry. Phoenix at rush hour was tempered by using the HOV lane. Then another 100 miles to Tucson. God, my fanny is sore!

Remember that my phone is dead and I had no WiFi in Yuma? I arrived in Tucson at 6p without the slightest clue about where Greta and Meyer Street were. I had expected to use my computer to get instructions but that didn't work out. Hmmm ...

I had the state map but that was way too general for any street names. I got off the freeway and looked for a store that might have a map. No luck.

I gave up and decided to head downtown. When I drove a cab in Boston the rule of thumb is to ask for directions at a fire house. If I came to one of those I could get help. Apparently they don't have fires in Tucson, I never found a fire station.

Randomly wandering around I found the Police station. Of course it was locked with no way to ask for help. What? No crime either?

I walked around the back and a guy came out in civilian clothes. I asked where I could get help and he asked what I needed. I told him I was looking for Meyer St and he said it was only a few blocks away and pointed the way. He looked at my gear and asked if I was on a motorcycle. I told him he must be a detective. We both laughed.

I pulled up to Greta's knowing I was late and wondered how long I'd have to sit on her porch before she came home. I found an envelope taped to the mailbox with an address to meet her and her friends so I was preparing myself for another quest when this SUV pulled up. 

"Hey, what are you doing over there?" 

It was dark and I couldn't see who it was. I was mentally preparing my defense when I realized that it was Greta!! She had gone out to the store and looped back on the chance that I had finally arrived. 

Long story short, I climbed in and we went to dinner where I met her friends, Deb & Mike. A great dinner in great company that lasted into the night. Then we returned to Meyer St and talked for another couple of hours to catch up. 

Old friends are the best friends.

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