24. Apr, 2016

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FRIDAY 04-04-08 

Last night was a bad one. To avoid the noise from cars pulling up to use the toilets close by, we moved further around the site to join the HGV’s. Unfortunately we then had the noise of their engines running on and off all night, either to maintain cold temperatures in the trailer or heat in the cab for the sleeping driver. On top of that we were really cold. In the morning the thermometer read 6C inside the vehicle. We had not run our hot air heating system overnight because when we had done so at Alvarado it had set off the fire alarm presumably because the system was new and needed burning off. 

We didn’t bother with a shower as it was too cold and just got back on the road. We were carrying 50 gallons of fresh water for our planned wild camping across country which wasn’t really happening. This added considerable weight to the vehicle and we had bottomed on a few occasions, particularly in shopping malls. 

The scenery was interesting but not too spectacular enroute to Williams, Arizona. Gallup was the only community of any size, and appeared to offer a good range of shops as we passed over it on the flyover. There we stopped to top up the fuel tank before moving the vehicle away from the pumps to a parking space to have lunch. 

Stretching my legs around the vehicle I noticed to my horror some minor vehicle damage to the rear left corner. This left a nasty taste in the mouth, I felt quite guilty as the driver yet I could think of nowhere it could have happened. We eventually concluded that we were clipped by another vehicle in the busy car parking area back at the Rest Area last night sometime before we moved to join the HGV’s. We had left it alone for a while while we went to stretch our legs. 

Rosina rang ahead to the campground at Williams to book the site together with the train ride www.thetrain.com up to the Grand Canyon’s South Rim with an overnight stay up there in a hotel. To our horror the hotel had no rooms available. We then debated the options and decided to forget about Williams and the train trip as it was not worth paying the train fare to go up and come back down three hours later as a day tripper. Instead we headed for Flagstaff where perhaps we could get a coach trip up to the Canyon, or hire a car. 

We entered Flagstaff and took an immediate dislike to it – far too commercialised, too big and too busy. I went to a DIY store and bought a tube of clear mastic ready to seal the new locks on the outside lockers and avoid any more broken keys in inferior locks, bottoming the vehicle a couple of times again. We’re going to have to keep the RV out of shopping malls as it’s not a car; we would just have to accept the vehicles limitations. 

We decided to make our way to Williams www.williamsarizona.gov as planned, and try and sort something out there. On arrival we went straight to the railway station to book tickets and enquire about the possibility of accommodation (the company which run the train also have a tie-in with the RV campground in town and the hotel at the South Rim). The staff were very helpful and put us through to their contact at the hotel and we managed to book a room there, not cheap at about $160 a night which didn’t even include breakfast. Still we’d come this far and didn’t want such things to stand in the way of enjoying a trip to the Grand Canyon. We’ve booked the train tickets and are going up there tomorrow (Saturday) and back Sunday afternoon staying at the Maswik Lodge Hotel tomorrow night and the RV campground here in Williams for three nights. 

We parked up, hooked up, and packed a bag to take with us tomorrow, together with backpacks, cameras and spare batteries. We’ve set the alarm clock for 06:00 but have no confidence in it working. 

LOCATION TONIGHT: Grand Canyon Railway RV Park, Williams, Arizona (GPS: N35.251629 W112.194234).