May 21, 2008

Hello Family & Friends

The local sheriff warned us there was no place between Page Arizona and Cameron to bed down along the road and besides it was just plain not safe.  Laws are different on the reservations and besides we now have a mission..... the end to the bike trip is in sight.  

However,  we did enter the reservation and found our Navajo's a peaceful tribe when we joined them on a 'tour' from Page to the spectacular Antelope Canyon.
In a four wheel drive open vehicle we sunk deep into a very thick red dusty river bed to reach this famous slot canyon.

                                                                       ANTELOPE  CANYON

Walking inside the narrow passages we were mesmerized by the orange colored rolling walls of rock,

white sunlight beams shining down,

rivers of sand cascading off layers of glowing rock, orange, red, and deep hues of purple.
 It was magic



Gary & Naylah from Oregon

This time, back at the campground, out from one of those big 'motor homes' comes a man and his wife, curious about our little Bike Fridays and how we could be traveling so compactly. 
Within hours we were 'inside' their very plush transport rolling down the hi-way in style.  We did not even have to ask,  we think sometimes people feel the need to 'rescue' us! 



The Grand Canyon....what can you say about this wonder of the world?  


We biked miles along the rim, watched the newly introduced condors soar overhead,


delighted in watching the Indian dance performances, nightly talks on history and geology,

and warmed up with big bowls of hot is still down in the 20's at night.  

Like everywhere we met some fun and interesting people, here mostly hikers.  

There was Ray from New Orleans and 'ultra light' hiker. 

He made his stove from the bottom half of a coke can, surrounded by chicken wire and topped off with foil insulation.

Ray the 'ultra light' hiker

His tent was a tarp stretched over a rope on top of a thin sheet of Tervix used in new housing insulation.  The back of his backpack was a waffle insulating foam pad which doubled as his sleeping mat.  His molting jacket was actually an ultra light Frog Togg and he wore Croc's on his feet.  If he got any lighter he would probably be floating.  

  We met Jim a thrifty 70 year old who bikes his three wheeled Trike 2000 miles a year in Thailand because there he spends only half his social security check, gets the best and cheapest medical and dental care and puts the other half in the bank for his next 4 month trip.  

 Then there was Patrick, recently retired from the movie and TV industry with loads of money, who was just realizing how much more fun it is to live simply.  He turned us on to an amazing link & web site    Jim the 'thrifty trikster'

I met 70 year old Jean a first time tent camper.    Recently widowed, she decided to do all the things she had always dreamed of doing but never did. 

She was in the rest room plucking duck feathers from her neatly coiffured hair do, by-product of the down comforter she had bought at the thrift store.   I did not have the heart to tell her about using a sleeping bag in a tent. 

I did tell her about Jim the Trikster, perhaps they will meet. 

Jean the 'feather plucker trekker'

 Then Gayla the 'Bikin Girl' meets the 'Hiken Girls' Judy and Connie. 

Their mission is to hike the Arizona Trail which runs the entire length of Arizona from Mexico to Utah.  They were almost done, just one last leg to complete, down the Kaibab trail into the Grand Canyon and up the North Rim. 

Their web site tells tails of menopausal women out doing their own thing, while dealing with weirdo's on the trail and age related obstacles like forgetfulness.                                                                                   Bikin Girl meets Hiken Girls       

  We too had the entire length of Arizona to cross.  But we were too close to home now and the pressure from family was mounting.   We were near Flagstaff where my niece was graduating on Saturday and they wondered why we couldn't  just BE THERE!  

 There was this train 65 miles from the Grand Canyon to Williams Junction a town 30 miles from Flagstaff. 

We could make it... we took the train.

The Santa Fe train whistle that was heard here on September 17, 1901, signaled the end of Grand Canyon's frontier days. 

A $3.50 train ride then replaced a $20.00, full-day, jolting stagecoach ride.


 Packing up Bike Fridays in their Samsonite suitcase for the 65 mile train ride to Williams Arizona


   It was one of the most exciting adventures of our entire trip. 

As we click clacked down the track at a mere 40mph
we were suddenly aware of a pair of masked bandits on horseback galloping along side the train.....with GUNS!  

Soon they were bursting through the door demanding we unload all our valuables and money! it turns out it was all part of the fun when taking this train in an effort to re-enacting the old wild west.  What a HOOT!  

And what a way to end our trip.  

Well almost.


The family was surprised and thrilled we had made the effort to join the family and celebrate the graduation.

Our parting shot in our wild west adventure was setting off across the desert heading to Tucson, me squeezed in my sisters pick up truck with another niece and her two kids in car seats.  Steve ended up lying flat, wedged between all the luggage and Bike Fridays on his air mattress covered with a tarp in the  


Niece Amy Graduates NAU
Niece Amy NAU Graduate

 And finally...... we are back in Tucson having biked almost 1000 miles from the sea to the desert, through giant redwood trees and vineyards, over high mountain passes, along rivers and paved bike paths, across endless deserts and surviving many freezing nights in our little Hubba Hubba tent.   We got a taste of being in our own country and enjoyed visiting old friends and meeting loads of new ones.  In the end we feel quite fit and healthy and ready to kick back at the cabin in New Mexico.  
                                                          Love Gayla and Steve the Biking Boaties
Home Away from s/v Ariel

The Cabin in New Mexico
        Visiting  Gayla's Family                                                Steve's Family Reunion                          



     Our bike Friday's were our passport to adventure and our biking achievements an opportunity for discovery.