July 22-26: Another quick update for those who are more tired of waiting for me to get up to date.
Updated: Jul 28, 2019
July 22 - I leave Williams at dawn to drive to the Grand Canyon and start the hike down into the canyon on the South Kaibab trail at 7:30 am.
There is no shade at any part of this trail, except minisule blots at the backs of a few rocks positioned just so. Several times, I curl up in one of these shade puddles and power-nap for 5-10 minutes. Once I wake up to the very soft chittering of two squirrels perched on my pack on which I too am leaning. They rush away, certainly disappointed not to have liberated the nuts they can smell in my pack.
I get to the bottom at about 2 pm. I am dangerously hot and must lie in the Colorado for several hours. By 6 pm, it is 120 degrees in the Bright Angel campground. (This Instagram image says the trip was 5.5 hours, but it really was 6 - 7 hours.)
The ranger recommends I sleep in the Bright Angel Campground, get up before sunrise, and be on the trail by dawn.
July 23 - I am up before sunrise and on the Bright Angel trail by dawn. This trail is longer but has shade in parts. I remember the last section as unmitigated hell, from when I hiked it when I was 8, and my sister and another friend confirm this.
However, this time it turns out to be somewhat manageable. The day is cooler than yesterday, only 80's and low 90's As Ben Franklin said (supposedly), "Expect the worse, and when it does not happen, be pleasantly surprised."
In the late afternoon, after I charge the Blue Frog, I drive back to Williams.
At 9 pm, I go to the walk-in clinic to have red and sore bump on my hand (from the bottom of the canyon) checked out. We suspect a staph infection is starting. I get a script for an antibiotic. I blame an unseen spider but a later internet search for a possible culprit lifts blame from the bug. Though spider bites look like staph, the medical site cautions, unless you see the spider, do not say it is a spider.
July 24 - I drive from Williams to Flagstaff (charge) to Winslow (charge), where I wait for Chip who has flown into Albuquerque and is taking the Amtrak train that runs from Chicago to Los Angeles. Apparently the long haul passenger trains have the lowest track priority, in line behind freight and commuter trains, so his train is 4 and a half hours late and he almost misses the stop because he is asleep. Good conductor, he says.
Chip says he was thinking, "It's a girl, my lord, in a car with a cord, slowing down to take a look for me" the whole time he was on the train to Winslow.
We stay at La Posada, a Fred Harvey establishment which saw its heyday in the 1950's but was almost torn down in the 1970's. It has been lovingly restored by 3 investors. Everywhere are pictures of, and the rooms are all named for, famous people, mostly actors, who stayed there at one time or another. Chip likes that John Wayne stayed there while shooting John Ford movies. We are in the Janet Napolitano room. (This really makes me want to laugh, but I not sure why.)
July 25 - We hop to the Petrified Forest (charge). The car goes 74 miles on one charge. We hike around the rim looking down across was a vast vista. It is hot, like all the days before. Yesterday, according to the two rangers at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, the southwestern monsoon season started. A monsoon season in the arid Southwest is news to me. We watch dark clouds mass, lightning flash, and hear the thunder of clouds rubbing together. In the distance, we can see rain falling.
July 26 - From Gallup, up over the Continental Divide, down along the real old 66 (not 40, the fast high way that follows and sometimes obscures old 66), we come to the Acoma Reservation headquarters, called Sky City. It is 10 miles away from the oldest continuously occupied pueblo in the US. The Acoma built their pueblo on the top of a mesa in the 1100's. (They are still pretty upset about the Spanish conquistadors.) We visit the Pueblo in the afternoon and ignore the casino in the hotel where we are staying in the evening. Clean living only for us on this trip.
Chip leaves for Maine from Albuquerque tomorrow.
In the Near Future
Tomorrow, I will drive Chip to his plane, charge the car, and wander Albuquerque's Old Town. Then, Blue Frog and I will hop to Santa Rosa where I hope to swim in the Blue Hole, a very deep sinkhole filled with very clear water. (It is supposed to be cold.) On to Tucumcari if I can that night.
The next day I will leave New Mexico for Texas, lots of cows, and the Cadillac Ranch.