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STORIES FROM THE ROAD


April 13, 1993

GRAND CANYON

I had a pretty good night camping out in the National Forest down a fire road. It would have been pretty expensive camping out in one of the campgrounds in the area. Around eight in the morning, I headed north to the Grand Canyon. I wasn't really expecting to ride through it but just to get a glimpse of it.

I was sort of surprised when I came to a toll booth just beyond Tasayan. I had thought that AZ 64 went around the Grand Canyon and not really through it. I was floored when I found out that it would cost me eight dollars to pedal through the park. This would leave me with around two dollars to my name.

I really didn't have any choice but to pay the money. I needed to stay on AZ 64. If I didn't pay the fee, I would have had to travel almost one hundred miles to Flagstaff through the San Francisco Mtns. and then cycle another fifty miless to the intersection of AZ 64/ US 160 and US 89 to get around the National Park. To get to that intersection through the National Park, I would only have to cycle 56 miles.

When I got passed the toll booth in the Park, I became quite disappointed with the roadway. It went from better to worse. The payment was really cracked because of all the traffic and there was really no shoulder to speak of on my way along the South Rim. I couldn't ride along the roadway because of all the traffic. The only thing that I could do was to walk through the Park.

I wasn't really enjoying myself. It was a disappointment to see that most of the rock spires were given names of false gods (like Krishna and Vishnu). I also was surprised at meeting my first mennonite family that traveled around in an RV. By four in the afternoon, I had made it to Desert View, which is the easternmost tourist town in the Park after cycling short distances and walking around twenty-five miles. I spent a few minutes talking with some other tourists.

I was really happy that when I finally got out of the National Park the roadway became quite improved. In fact, this section of AZ 64 had been repaved. About four miles from the East gate of the National Park, I got stopped by the couple who I had talked to at Desert View. They said that they were impressed at what I was trying to do and they wanted to help me out a little. I was quite surprised when I got slipped twenty dollars.

I got back on the road and traveled about twelve miles farther before I found a place to camp out in the Painted Desert and the Navajo Indian Reservation




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