May 4-7, 2010 - Williams, AZ

We left Prescott on Saturday morning and drove about 90 miles North to Williams and are staying at the Grand Canyon Gateway RV Park. Route 66 runs through the middle of Williams and the downtown area is full of 50’s era diners and motels. We had great burgers, fries, chocolate shake and beer at Cruiser’s on Route 66 in downtown Williams. This 60’s era diner is in a former gas station and is decorated with old gas station memorabilia. They had a 60’s radio station playing – it has been a long time since we heard some of the songs.

We drove South of Williams to Sycamore Canyon, which is the 2nd largest canyon in Arizona. We hiked the rim trail for a while and then hiked to Sycamore Falls.

Along the way a number of lizards ran across the trail in front of us. Here are two that posed for us:

Western Fence Lizard

Regal Horned Lizard

We drove about 20 miles North of Williams to the town of Valle where we visited the Planes of Fame Air Museum. This is the smaller of two museums; the larger one is in Chino, CA. At the entrance was the remainder of a wing and engine from a Japanese Judy fighter plane.

There were a number of different kinds of planes and hundreds of models of planes. This is a B26C Invader.

And a German Messerschmitt ME109.

On the way back to Williams we drove a 15 mile section of Route 66 – get your kicks on Route 66!

We rode the Grand Canyon Railway from Williams to the Grand Canyon on Thursday. We were disappointed to find out that they discontinued using steam engines in 2009 so our train was pulled by a electric/diesel engine. They did have one of the steam engines on display by the depot.

Before we boarded the train we were entertained by a wild-west gun fight. The Cataract Gang had a shoot out over cheating at cards. They were playing cards with a tourist to win money to get breakfast at McDonalds. After one gang member was shot, the sheriff came and ended up shooting the rest. It was kind of corny but we enjoyed it.

The 65 mile train ride was very enjoyable but the scenery was mostly high desert sage brush until we got close to the canyon where it was more forested. A banjo player entertained us with some railroad songs. Once we got to the Grand Canyon – WOW – this is Nancy’s first time to see the canyon and it is spectacular. Pictures do not do it justice; you have to see it firsthand.

We only had 3 ½ hours at the canyon so we had lunch at the Bright Angel Lodge and did a short hike on the rim trail. We also looked at the Hopi House, Lookout Studio and Kolb Studio.

On the ride back to Williams an accordion player played old time songs for us and then the train was robbed by the Cataract Gang, the same gang that performed the shootout earlier (they didn’t stay dead very long). The sheriff captured the gang but they got away by dropping a donut. When the sheriff stopped to get the donut they slipped past him and escaped.

We had a great time and are looking forward to returning to the canyon on Saturday. We are taking the 5th wheel and staying for 3 nights in the RV park at the canyon.


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