Odometer (Legend): 529,074
Odometer (ILX): 72,728
Trip Distance: 306 Miles
How would you like to walk out on a glass platform and look at the ground nearly 4,000 feet below? Would that give you a little bit of vertigo? (photo credit: Hualapai Indian Reservation)
This weekend’s adventure was a visit to a hole in the ground that’s neither the deepest nor the widest in the world, but is nevertheless famous due to its size and colorful landscape: The Grand Canyon. My friend Brad flew in from New York to enjoy the view at one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
Despite the fact that I live in the Grand Canyon state, I sure haven’t spent much time there lately. I’ve only been a few times that I recall. One was was eight years ago, in March 2006 when my Legend had 211,000 miles on it.
Keen Acura fans’ eyeballs will notice those 2004-2006 Acura TL 17″ wheels I was sporting at the time.
Another trip to the Grand Canyon was a railroad trip to the south rim in May 2011. To a lot of people (both Arizonans and otherwise), the G.C. is a “see it once, never go back” type destination. What they don’t realize is that the canyon offers a vastly different perspective depending on each of the various viewpoints available.
After enjoying brunch on Saturday morning in Tempe, Brad and I quickly hiked to the summit of Arizona State University’s “A” Mountain. A gigantic yellow A, there since 1955, proudly communicates Tempe’s school spirit.
Later that afternoon, we headed northbound on Interstate 17 in the ILX toward Flagstaff, Arizona. Along with the elevation gain from 1,100 feet to 7,000 feet, the temperature dipped accordingly. 87 degrees became 67 degrees by the time we arrived at historic San Francisco Street in Flagstaff.
We wandered around for a few minutes and stumbled across the community’s oldest pizza place – Alpine Pizzeria which first opened 41 years ago. Dessert was served up at the Galaxy Diner, a Route 66 relic that I visited on my Twin Arrows drive back in September 2012. The hot fudge sundae was every bit as tasty as I remembered it being. After indulging, we hit the road once more and tuned in to XM channel 74 – we’d had enough pop music for the day. Instead, our playlist was opera. Brad’s a big-time opera fan and a frequent flyer of the Metropolitan Opera in New York. I’m making an effort to diversify my musical interests, so I enjoyed a sampling of some of his favorite pieces.
It took us about two hours of driving westbound on I-40 across the pitch black night to arrive at our nightly destination in Kingman, exhausted but satisfied from a successful day. The next morning, we would be wowed by one of Mother Nature’s most amazing features in scenic panorama view.
For that, check in tomorrow. It’ll be worth your while.
Here are a few pictures from Saturday’s fun.
Brunch at NCOUNTER in Tempe. I recommend the “loaded” omelet.
The 1918 Hayden flour Mill has served as an area landmark for nearly a century. Tempe’s main street is named “Mill Avenue” for it.
Admiring the view of Tempe from the hike on “A” Mountain.
At the summit – only around 1,400 feet but it was a stair-stepping experience and still left me a bit winded!
Flagstaff, Arizona. Home of the Northern Arizona University Lumberjacks.
So, Brad accidentally dumped an entire shaker of peppers onto his slice of cheese pizza at Alpine. And then he STILL ATE IT.
Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church on Cherry Street – love the architecture here.
Galaxy Diner, a great spot for food since the 1950’s.
Our waittress’ response when I ordered a hot fudge sundae: “We’re out of ice cream.” My disappointment reached epic levels. She must’ve seen it in my face, because soon she cracked a grin and said she was kidding. Sundaes for all!
Giving this XM channel a whirl for a change. I didn’t even know it existed. Look at me being all cultured.
Come back tomorrow! The fun’s just getting started.