Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The “Carol’s” Debate

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Yesterday as I was planning my route for today, the “two Carols” had quite a debate.
The pragmatic, thrifty, play-it-safe part of me doesn’t always agree with the whimsical, risk-taking, adventuresome part of me.

As I looked at the map with the two possible routes, adventuresome Carol said, “oh wow! Oak Creek Canyon! I haven’t been through Oak Creek in a long time and it will be so beautiful, it’s autumn, the leaves will be colorful. Then I’ll go into Flagstaff and on up to Page.”

Practical Carol said “yes, but, you are a slow vehicle and Sedona and Oak Creek are only narrow two lane roads and someone will be behind and be annoyed at the pace. It’ll take longer and probably take more gas going through Oak Creek. Just take the easy route – up to Winslow, Tuba City and then Page – because it will be less mountainous and quicker.”

It was interesting to hear the two sides of me. I mention this because many people think I’m so brave. Sometimes getting out of my comfort zone is easy, other times I have to talk myself into it.

Adventuresome Carol won the debate.

Today’s drive from Payson to Page was beautiful. All day the sky was a deep blue with not a cloud anywhere. The first part was forestland with its tall pines; the next part of my drive went through high, scrub oak rangelands and the towns of Camp Verde and Cottonwood. The drive through scenic Sedona with its colorful mountains followed by Oak Creek Canyon in full autumn color couldn’t have been better. Once I entered the canyon, there was hardly any traffic – so I could poke along and really enjoy the beauty. I took several pictures, but only one turned out good. (see photo)

Once I climbed out of Oak Creek, I skirted Flagstaff and headed north to Page. The Flagstaff mountain tops had snow. The last hundred miles today took me through barren, dry lands that had remnants of volcano action and the gorgeous, colorful – still practically tree-less – mesas and mountains. As I passed the historic Cameron Trading Post and crossed the deep gorge of the Little Colorado River, I could see the Grand Canyon in the distance.

There were so many picturesque scenes. Had I stopped to photograph them all, I’d still be on the road! And it was such a bright day, the ones I took were quite washed out. One picture (see above) turned out pretty good

I stopped for a late lunch at Cameron. This trading post has a lodge, RV park, art gallery, and restaurant. I had the Navajo traditional “taco” while enjoying the view of the Little Colorado. This trading post has served Hopi and Navajo people. The restaurant had a huge stone fireplace and antique furnishings.

The swayback suspension bridge that was built in 1911 over the Little Colorado was the first easy access over the gorge. It parallels Hwy 89 at Cameron.

Just past Cameron, I saw a series of signs – the first one said “Chief Yellowhorse (heart) you!” And the last sign past the establishment said “Chief Yellowhorse says turn back now!” Guess he really wanted to see me – but not this trip.

Before settling into the Page-Lake Powell Campground, I drove through town. Page had its beginnings in 1959, shortly after Congress authorized the Glen Canyon Project (the dam).

Tomorrow I’ll go across Glen Canyon Bridge, through Kanab and up scenic Hwy 89 to Salina where I’ll spend the night.