July 2, 2011
We are all packed up and ready to go today. Our destination is Paige, AZ located on the northern most edge of Arizona. In fact we will be staying at the massive Lake Powell which is shared by Arizona and Utah. We wanted to visit Petrified Forest, a national park which has one of the largest known deposits of petrified wood dating back to the per-historic. It is located very close to I40 en route as we leave but we will not make it there as the heat in the desert regions is just too intense this time of year. Maybe if we head this way again during the winter months. Just before Flagstaff we pull into a rest area to stretch the legs and have a bite to eat. Now and then some of these prove to be picture worthy and this one fell into that category. It is difficult sometimes to explain what triggers the inspiration. Sometimes it is the buildings, other times it is the landscape. This time there really wasn’t any really one thing we could put our finger on that screamed capture a picture of me…..it just did.
As we head further north of Flagstaff, which we will be staying on the return trip, we notice off in the distance massive cloud formations. The highest mountain range in the state of Arizona is Humphreys Peak, with the highest point in Arizona at 12,633 feet (3,850 m), and is located about 10 miles (16 km) north of Flagstaff in Kachina Peaks Wilderness. This is where our travel cross the vast darkness we see before us.
Not liking what we see see forming we put the foot to the pedal trying to put as many miles as we can on the ole’ speedometer as quickly as possible in hopes to out run the storm brewing. And we almost made it too. With the flat land in view the Skies and Heavens opened up and suddenly we found ourselves driving to the beat of thumb sized hail pounding on the truck and camper. With not a single bridge or shelter of any type our only hope was to keep driving and eventual pull in front of the storm. I think we were both a little relieved once we finally pulled out of the hail and I can only say that I am glad Andrew was driving because I don’t think I could have done it. It got a little too intense for me just being in the passenger seat. Let alone trying to concentrate on driving while wondering if the next hail stone that hit the window would smash it.
The terrain from here on in is much like when visit Arizona the year before when we visited Monument Valley. I am still in awe envisioning the early settlers navigating their way through this terrain with wagons.
We drove for most of the afternoon today and pulled into the Lake Powell late afternoon. This is a very large campground with over 200 sites to accommandate both full and no hookup. The lady before me at the check out obviosly did not do her homework before coming. She was trying to change to a tent site to one that offered shade (which I don’t think there really was any that did in the first place) but this place stays pretty booked and you need reservations. It sounds like the hostess was trying to relay this to her but finally ended stating that if something else came available she would let her know. All I know is I would not want to be in a tent without cold air when it is 106 degrees in the shade.
After setting up camp it was time to locate the veterinarian clinic that we had Shyla booked for the next few days and then off to find something to eat. Shyla has been out of it for a few days and we were a little concerned about leaving her in the place we booked but we definitely will not be able to take her with us. We are planning to visit the Grand Caynon north side and take a boat trip across the lake. The clinic is called Page Animal Hospital and we are greeted with a warm reception, even though we are an hour early than when our appointment was scheduled for. Shyla was very eager at first to be there but quickly decided she had changed her mind when we walked into the kennel where she would be staying. This is the first time we have left her while traveling and so it is causing us almost as much anxiety as her. We might as well have been new parents leaving our baby at the sitters for the first time. I did research this and the next place she will be staying and even spoke to both on the phone. We know she will be in good hands and it will be good for us to leave behind the responsibility for a couple of days.
Shyla taken care of it is time to tend to our grumbling stomachs. Page is fairly small town with a main road that travels a semi-circle overlooking Hwy 89. We find at the southern end of the road Canyon King Pizzeria. The ambiance was fantastic, a restaurant created from a flatbottom Paddlewheller boat where you can walk over the glass housing of the engine, and the food will definitely win you over. When we arrive it is still fairly early, before five, and we have our pick of booths to pick from. We choose one next to the windows and settle in ordering a large pizza. As you can see there is plenty to each here.
This by far is the best pizza we have ever eaten. The booth behind us was a group of Italians on holiday. The little boy you can just see over my shoulder spent most of the time flirting with us. They ordered pizza also and affirmed our appraisal by telling their waitress the same thing. Now that is a compliment coming from an Italian. We finished off the pizza sharing a chocolate mousse…..I shared one spoonful I believe.
On the way to the site we stop at the Glen Canyon Dam. I was so proud of myself. This bridge is a very high up putting it mildly and I walked not only across it, but across it with huge semis crossing sending vibrations like an earthquake every few minutes or so.
With the light beginning to fade and the appearance of a storm brewing south of us we decided to head to our site and call it a night.