“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming: Wow! What a ride.” — Hunter Thompson
My canine traveling companion, Pepper, and I took off in my RV, Gypsy Lee, this past week for a 1,700-mile roundtrip from Tucson to Ogden, Utah. It’s the first road trip we’ve taken since I kind of put roots down in the Arizona desert city in January– and then promptly broke my ankle.
Being on the road again feels wonderful. Even Gypsy Lee, who has over 135,000 miles on her, seemed happy to be traveling again.
The plan for one day of travel was to spend the night in Page, Arizona. That plan went awry when I came upon a road block at Highway 89’s junction with Highway 89A. I had driven Highway 89 into Page many times and I suspected a landslide had occurred somewhere along the scenic route.
Later research showed my suspicions exactly right. It had happened in February, but I hadn’t heard the news.
The detour didn’t really add miles to my drive, but did mean that I would spend the night in Kanab, Utah, instead of Page. What made me a little grumpy is that it meant I was traveling Highway 89A, which goes over the high Navajo Bridge, beneath which flows the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, near Lee’s Ferry.
It was not an unfamiliar route, and even one that I had planned to take on my return trip home so I could double my landscape viewing. Twice, in my younger more fit days, I had floated beneath this bridge at the start of a 225-mile, wild, white-water raft ride through the Grand Canyon.
What I was grumpy about was that I was hitting this stretch of road late in the afternoon and wouldn’t have much time to linger long along the way to gaze in awe at the awesome landscape. I don’t drive after dark.
I did, however, stop briefly at the bridge’s overlook for a view of the magnificent Vermillion Cliffs that lay to my north on the Arizona-Utah border. They were brilliantly bathed in the evening light showing why they had been named.