Aztec was fun, but it was time to move on. The plan was to head straight to Silverton, passing through Durango. It’s only a two hour trip so I hung around the RV park in Aztec as long as I could before hitting the road. Stopped for some shopping as I left town too. Then stopped again in Durango at a big box store. That all helped to kill some time. Have to do that so I wouldn’t arrive at Silverton to early. Some RV parks, (not many), are strict about check in time. Actually want to charge you an extra night if you get there too early. Doesn’t happen often, but travelers like me just plan to arrive at our next RV park after 1pm.
After Flagstaff, I traveled north then east to visit some of the country in that area that I’ve missed over the years. I’ve been to Shiprock and such, but lately I’ve traveled North/South in this area and this time I was going West/East. Since I was on a ‘this is the year of the train’ kick, my ultimate destination was Silverton, Colorado where they have a interesting train trip from/to Durango that I wanted to take. The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge RR has been running passengers up to Silverton for 131 years in cars behind a steam engine and I wanted to take that trip…but also, I wanted to visit Silverton. Seemed, from the internet, like an interesting town. And it appeared it had a nice RV park.
But first, I planned on visiting Aztec, New Mexico, because of the ruins of the ancient pueblo peoples village there that had a large restored kiva. And since it was almost exactly on the route to Durango, which led to Silverton, it wasn’t a hard decision to decide to stay there a few days while the weather improved in Silverton. It was fairly cold there at the time as it is up in the mountains and all.
On the way to Aztec (just 5 hours from Flagstaff), I passed a couple of places along the road that I vaguely recognized. The area seemed familiar so when I got to Ruins Road RV Park and set up, checked my stored photo albums, I found some pictures Nephew Paul had sent me just a couple weeks before that were taken at some of the tourist stops on this very road. Hah. It had been so long ago, I’d kind of forgotten about taking this route. It was kind of funny that, unsolicited, just a week before I made the trip, Paul would have sent me all those photos of a trip the family had all taken decades before in the same area where I was now enjoying a second visit. Maybe I mentioned the trip on Facebook or something.
We, (my son and me, brother Dan and his son Paul, sister Terri and her son Bruce, and our much loved family friend Maria) had made this tour in 1984 or so, stopping at the White House ruins, and the dinosaur track place. Here are a couple pictures:
It only takes a couple hours to drive from Williams to Flagstaff, and I’ve shown pictures of that trip before so I won’t do that again here. I headed back to Flagstaff to have a little more work done on my RV at my favorite repair shop, Northern Arizona Diesel. And to visit an ancient Indian settlement that just happens to be a quarter mile from the RV park I usually stay at, Greer’s Pine Shadows. I never make reservations, usually, and this park has made me shorten my stay occasionally. This time I stayed for a couple weeks. The first week was spent goofing off, bike riding to town, and having that work done on my RV. Fairly minor stuff on the RV so I won’t even mention what it was.
After spending several hours enjoying the GC, riding my bike around the area, it was back to the train, load my bike, and up to the vista car to wait. While waiting for the train to depart, I was a little unhappy with myself for not trying harder to find a place to stay up there overnight…much better opportunities for good pictures at sunset or sunrise. Maybe next time.
Quite a few people only had one way tickets so the 1st class cars were nearly empty. If I remember correctly, there are buses that take people back to Williams later in the day. Or a family member can drive up and collect everyone in their group or they had reservations at one of the hotels. Lots of ways to do it. I chose to ride the train back the same day so…off we went.
The train arrives at GC at 11:45Am and after retrieving my bike, riding around the area for a while, then climbing the hill to the visitors center, it was already 12:30 or so. I ditched my bike along side a fence (locked up of course) and started hiking east along the rim side trail. When I started out, thought I’d just walk a couple hundred yards and return for my bike. Never did though. View is so spectacular, with so many places to stop and take pictures that I sort of dismissed the bike idea. This is a trail to walk so as to not miss all the various scenic opportunities. If you zip by at 5-6MPH you’ll miss a lot. I didn’t think about all this when I’d brought the bike. Two miles later, I caught the shuttle bus back to the visitors center and wandered around there for a while. Did wander around the visitors area before my hike. Love these old buildings.
Then off on my hike along the rim.
As I mentioned last post, I parked my rig at the Grand Canyon RR RV park and since my train trip wasn’t for 2-3 days, I got to wander around Williams several times with my bike enjoying the historic towns downtown and various old-timey and newer restaurants. It’s morphed into a tourist town since the RR started to get popular so nearly every shop was filled with tourist crap. But since it was early in the season, I did have a comfortable time wandering around in them without having to jostle with thousands of other tourists.
Weather was very nice in early May. I shudder to think how hot it would be in mid-summer. Glad I missed that.
After spending a couple months in Mexico…it was time to head on back to the dull old boring US of A. But I had a plan. I was thinking of visiting the Grand Canyon. But first, I spent a few days in San Carlos enjoying the weather and fairly good WiFi at Tontonaka RV park.
The weather was hot so I had to throw on my sunshades right away. Started out getting right on WiFi and planning my next adventure. I had been thinking that it’d been a long time since I’d been to the Grand Canyon and during my web searches for places to stay, found a newer RV park right next to the GC RR terminus. Huh. Cool. Wasn’t that expensive for the ride so I bought myself a ticket and actually made a reservation at the RV park, one of the few times in 9 years of full timing I’ve made one. With that all done, I made several trips downtown San Carlos for shopping and stuff. Nice little town.
Next morning at the motel outside of Divisadero was bright and clear, did require a long sleeved shirt early on but by 10AM it was short sleeve weather.
Here’s my room.
True, it’s kind of plain, but spent most of my time here sleeping anyway.
Nice, clean shower with plenty of hot water. But, hardly any room between the shower, stool, and the sink. So had to contort myself to be able to shave.
Wandered back over to the lounge for a visit and a nice breakfast.
I didn’t get any pictures of them but there were several old timey photographs of the owner’s family going back to the 1890′s. Very interesting stories of how the family fared here over the years.
I arranged, with the RV park owners help, a taxi to take me out to the train station. It’s about 3-4 miles from El Fuerte. Had an overnight bag all ready since I planned on spending the night (or three) up there. Had a couple leads on hotels and the one I’d chosen lists WiFi, had a nice view and a restaurant. But it was kind of spendy. So I was going to be looking around when I arrived at Divisadero. The ticket was purchased on the train, amounted to around $60USD and takes ~6 hours. Here’s an on-line map that shows the trip and the gained elevation: Copper Canyon Train.
The last few days in Mazatlan, I spent doing internet searches for info about the Copper Canyon train trip. For the curious, this was in late March, 2013. Yeah, I’m a little behind in posting.
Naturally, I avoid ‘tours’ as those offers are always much, much more then if you just travel by yourself. A guided Copper Canyon trip is a minimum of $895. That doesn’t pay for most of your other expenses, like an RV space. I can see the need of some people to have their hands held on trips like this because you can make some bone headed mistakes and end up in a ‘situation’ but I’ve been pretty successful avoiding problems by myself on trips like this. I do a lot of internet searching, read blogs of people who’ve done the trip and things like that. I also have a pretty good idea of places to stay, internet access, cash needed, etc. The Copper Canyon train is something I’d wanted to do for several years and after a couple days of research, I thought I had a good handle on it all.
My plan was to head north up the coast to Los Mochis, spend the night at the RV park there that bills itself as the Gateway to Copper Canyon, then up to a nice RV park in El Fuerte where I can catch the train and avoid a long boring section of the trip.