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Brewdude

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All-

I took a break from the board over the last week and a half due to having an old friend from the UK visit. We were far too busy for me to check in here and spent part of the time in the greater Phoenix area and then 5 days up in northern AZ based in Flagstaff and made day trips to Meteor Crater, Painted Desert/Petrified Forest, Monument Valley, and of course the Grand Canyon. All were well worth the drive times which sometimes were very long.

In the late afternoon we'd arrive back in Flagstaff and took in 5 of the town's 9 or 10 brewpubs. The quality of the beer there was impressive and we took our evening meals in the brewpubs as well as having a Curry and a fantastic Thai place.

In Flagstaff we stayed in an old historic downtown hotel which supposedly is haunted by several spirits, and not the kind you drink! Downtown Flagstaff was very noisy and busy in the evenings as it's a college town with whole loads of young folks. This old geezer couldn't cope with the late night revelry so went to bed early with earplugs! My friend managed a final tipple after I retired for the night as he's more of a night owl.

Weather up in Flagstaff was much more moderate than Phoenix, but still got to the mid-upper 80's yet cooled to around 60 at night. Sadly there have been several recent wildfires around Flagstaff, one of which we saw on the way back from a day out. And the morning we departed Flagstaff there was another wildfire just north of town which is now causing evacuations. Very sad!

We also went for a short hike in the surrounding mountain range just west of where I live before we left for Flagstaff. Temps were pretty hot even though we left for the hike relatively early in the morning, but the desert floor acts like a heat sink and radiates the heat from the previous day. The daytime temps  were around 110 the entire time here in the greater Phoenix area, and even with the low humidity it can get oppressive when one is out in the direct sun.

I've hiked this area before and it's a stunning area with plenty of cactus and other desert vegetation. On previous hikes I've seen Golden Eagles, Turkey Buzzards, and other birds as well as many lizards, rabbits, ground squirrels, chipmunks, and much else. There are rattlesnakes in that area but haven't seen one yet, although I once saw what I believe to be a king snake cross the trail. My friend is an avid hiker and was interested to see just where I've been going, although he's not really fond of high heat.

We both were impressed with the attractions in northern AZ. Meteor Crater was fantastic as well as the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest. We did this all in one long day trip.

Monument Valley is beyond awesome, but one has to be prepared for a bit of off-roading as the loop around it is not paved and is not much more than a crude and often rough track. Fortunately my AWD SUV handled it but I had to creep along in low gear at around 5-10 mph. That was a very long day as it took 3 hrs to get to from Flagstaff and 3 hrs back. The loop around Monument Valley took over 2 hrs with all the stops and was very stressful for me the driver. I was exhausted by the time we got back into Flagstaff and ready for a beer or three!!

The Grand Canyon day trip was a first for me as I've always wanted to see it, and after relocating here to arid-zona almost a year ago I hadn't made the effort before. It was an easy 1.5 hr drive from Flagstaff and very scenic.

We took in the South Rim and spent the day there taking in all the views at various stopping points. To say it's awe-inspiring is not doing it justice. One cannot get a sense of it by merely looking at photos. Rather, one has to experience it. Suffice to say I was duly impressed!!

Given more time we certainly would have taken advantage of the trips into the canyon bottom on the mules. Hiking down into it would be far more than a day and we were not prepared to do this as it's 4000' to the bottom. Not so bad going down but exhausting coming back up.

I also have interest in rafting the Colorado River at the bottom of the canyon, and a guy from an old band I was in back in Mil, WI has this on his bucket list. I told him to keep me in touch with that as I'd like to join him. Regardless, I'll be back to the Grand Canyon at some point sooner rather than later. I'd also like to see the North Rim at some point.

The guy who visited me for this adventure is like a brother to me and is one of my oldest friends. We met back in '82 at a beer festival in the UK and have been close ever since. I've been to the UK at least a dozen times since then and I always travel with him while there, and he's visited me here at least 5 times in Milwaukee, WA state, and now here in AZ. Old friends and good ones at that.



Cheers,

RR
 

Brewdude

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Forgot to add that we stopped off in Sedona on the way to Flagstaff. Fantastic and scenic. Red rock country with way great rock walls and buttes. However it was also very expensive. I once considered this for relocation but it was immediately apparent I could never afford to live there. Plus, Sedona gets snow and snow is a 4-letter word to me! Great place to visit though.

On the way back from Flagstaff we stopped off at Montezuma's Castle which is a little SE of Sedona. There is a well preserved area of native American cliff dwellings that was well worth a look.


Cheers,

RR
 

Blackhorse

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Good on ye both. Glad times they are never forgotten.
 

MisterE

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Nice BD! I'm pretty fond of AZ too. 8)
 

Ozark Wizard

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Makes me feel like I'm missing something by not seeing it! Sounds like you had a good time! :cheers:
 

Brewdude

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peanubutter":ugenqiqv said:
That sounds like a great time. Sedona is on my list of places to visit.
Wonderful area. Stunning. Totally impressive. I need to explore it further as it's under 2 hrs from where I live. Plenty of great looking hikes, but not when the temps are in triple digits!

The downtown area which is only a few blocks long, has very expensive restaurants and shops. This is the norm for Sedona unless you want to eat at a Micky D's, or BYO. No doubt the accommodation is the same. Basically double the going rate anywhere else and you'll not be far off!

Don't let that be a deterrent however. Sedona is a seductress with charms to be discovered. And I intend to sort them out!

On one of the many scenic viewpoints on the way there were native Americans selling hand crafted jewellery, and I confess to buying a sterling silver Bolo tie with native Turquoise and Coral in the form of a Bear's claw, which is supposed to bring good luck and fortune.


Cheers,

RR
 

eggman

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Sounds like a awesome trip. The wife and I have discussed vacationing out west sometime. This post makes me want to go even more.

The big plus for me is the turquoise and silver jewelry. I’ve wanted a nice turquoise ring for years. It’s one of my favorite colors even in fountain pens and inks.

Glad you two had a great time. Sounds like a lot to do there.
 

Stick

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Cripes Rande, you both packed a lot in! Recon your chum would have really appreciated that. So, when are you heading to the 'shire next? ;)
 

Brewdude

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Stick":cczasvsl said:
Cripes Rande, you both packed a lot in!  Recon your chum would have really appreciated that.  So, when are you heading to the 'shire next?  ;)
Actually we discussed activities at length via e-mail before he arrived, and we both agreed to not pack too much into a single day. With the exception of the 4-day Flagstaff lark, we pretty much just mooched around my house and took in a leisurely agenda.

Not sure when I'll get to Blighty next mate. Last I was over was '05, and used to come every year just like clockwork. And now that the exchange rate is historically in my favor it would be advantageous. We'll see going forward. It won't be this year.




Cheers,

RR
 

ftrplt

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BD et al, don't forget to add Prescott to your travel list! Prescott Brewing is right on the city square as is "Whiskey Row!" :cheers: FTRPLT
 

Brewdude

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Brewdude":5iaupaiz said:
I also have interest in rafting the Colorado River at the bottom of the canyon, and a guy from an old band I was in back in Mil, WI has this on his bucket list. I told him to keep me in touch with that as I'd like to join him. Regardless, I'll be back to the Grand Canyon at some point sooner rather than later. I'd also like to see the North Rim at some point.


Cheers,

RR
Just today looked into rafting options on the Colorado at the bottom of GC. There's quite a few to choose from-

3 day river trip starts at $1470 and takes in 100 miles of the lower Canyon. The rapids are tamer here.

4 day trip starts at $1785 and includes a night at a ranch and a helicopter ride down the Colorado before the rafting begins. Apparently the whitewater is tame on this section. 100 miles of travel.

6 or 7 day trips start at $2810. This seems like the most challenging and has the roughest rapids over about 188 miles. They say it's physically demanding so one needs to be prepared.

There also are 14 and 16 day rafting trips start at $4600 and go to just under $5K! This is the full meal deal and takes in pretty much the entire river.

All the above supply everything - food, water, sleeping gear, and rafts of course plus much else.

Apparently these are booked a year in advance since there aren't many of them and are scheduled into just 3 months of the year. They do offer a waiting list in case there is a cancellation but no guarantees on that.

I see that there are also 1 day rafting trips around Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Valley. Those don't appear to take in any rapids or white water, and are price less ambitiously.

So lots of choices. Just have to decide which one and when!


Cheers,

RR
 
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