GART – Leg 3(b) Holbrook to Grand Canyon

We woke early and headed to the Petrified Forest National Park. A great park that you drive through with lots of stops. It wanders through part of the Painted Desert, which has some beautiful views. The park is about 20 miles east of the Holbrook KOA.

After visiting the park we headed to Holbrook to hook up and head west, to the Grand Canyon, about 180 miles away. We got back to Holbrook, hooked up the car, unhoooked the utilities and headed out. We hit the road about 10:30am on Wednesday. We planned a shopping stop in Winslow, Az which has a Walmart that is easily accessible from I-40.

We arrived in Winslow about 11:30am and hit the Walmart. We got an ice-cream cake for Little CurbCrusher’s birthday which was the following day, and she was planning on waking up on her birthday in the Grand Canyon. We headed back out on the frontage road and found that I-40 was closed due to high-winds and limited visibility. There are apparently no alternate routes from Winslow to Flagstaff, so we headed to a nearby Texaco and filled up with petrol, the parked in the northwest corner of the Walmart parking lot. And there we would stay
until 6:40 am the next morning. The winds blew all night long and the dust was thick. The parking lot filled up with 18 wheelers, other RV’s and cars just looking for a place to park. By nightfall, just about all the flat areas around the exit were packed with semis.

After a night of being buffeted by winds that were reported at 35 – 50 mph, with gust to 70, we woke to the sound of trucks pulling out of the parking lot. We ate breakfast, had Little CurbCrusher open her gifts, and then hit the road. After making about 15 miles west on I-40 traffic came to a complete standstill. We sat still for about an hour to an hour and a half until the traffic started moving again. It is times like these that it is nice to be travelling in a motorhome. At least we had all our facilities with us. The winds were still blowing at around 30 mph, so the 50 some odd miles that we had to drive on I-40 were tiring.

We exited I-40 at MM 201 and headed up US-89. We did this for two reasons, one was to approach the Grand Canyon from the east entrance, and the other was to stop and visit the Wupatki National Monument. If we had been smart, and not following the GPS we would have driven by the Sunset Crater NP also. As you head up US-89 (a very nice road to drive by the way), you get to a sign that says turn right to go to Sunset Crater NP and Waptuki. If you look at a map, it shows that this road is a loop (approx 35 miles) and it appears that Wupatki is
right next to the north end of the loop. Actually, Wupatki is 13 miles in from the North end of the loop, which means that if you follow the sign (and not the GPS) you get two parks for the price of one.

We toured and photographed Wupatki and finally departed and headed up US-89 to AZ-64 and turned west. As soon as we did this, we encountered snow. I checked the outside temperature and it was 30 degrees F. We had not expected this. The snow was intermittent, and after a while we came to the NP entrance station. We continued the drive along the south rim until we reached the Grand Canyon Village and it’s full hook up RV park, Trailer Village. We checked in and pulled into our site around 12:30. Our 180 mile trip from Holbrook had taken approximately 14 hours. If we keep this rate of speed up we may never finish this trip.

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