Northern AZ Road Trip – Grand Falls, Snowbowl, & Bedrock City

Odometer (ILX):  214,556

Trip Distance:  475 Miles

Nerd Alert:  I have an Excel spreadsheet on my personal laptop entitled “Tyson’s Destinations.”  It has 198 locations on it, including the the state, a description, and the name of the person who recommended it.  As I visit the locations, I shade the lines in gray.  This past weekend, I shaded 3 more lines out, meaning I’ve now hit 52 which leaves a total of 146 left to see.

Completing the list could take me a while, considering the fact that I’m adding locations at almost the same rate that I’m crossing them off.  And some of them are not exactly around the corner.  For example, Key West, Florida has been nagging at me for some time.  Have a place you think I should check out?  Drop me a line; I’m always up for a new adventure.

On Saturday, I visited an Arizona waterfall larger than Niagara, named “Grand Falls” and known for its brown color.  But there’s a catch:  I missed the snow runoff season, and Grand Falls wasn’t so grand, after all.  It was down to just a trickle.  You see, Grand Falls only exists during a short window of time in the spring or after very heavy rains.  I took a gamble on the chance I might get to see something dramatic but was disappointed after about 10 miles of dirt road that it was pretty quiet out there.  At least the scenery was nice.

Here’s a picture my friend took of what Grand Falls “can” look like:

And here’s what I really saw.

The falls are 185 feet tall, whereas Niagara is 167 feet.  So you can bet I’ll be trekking back out to see the falls when the viewing is optimal.

Determined to not have the entire day be a “bust,” I proceeded to my next destination which was the Arizona Snowbowl ski resort.  It comes as a surprise to many, but Arizona actually does have a few ski resorts at higher elevations in the norther part of the state.  This one opened in 1938 and is a short drive up a fun, windy road from Flagstaff that reaches the lodge at 9,200 feet in elevation.  I encountered raindrops as I made my way up the mountainside and I watched the temperature dip from mid-50s to 41 in the matter of a few miles.

Amenities at the lodge were limited but I didn’t take a lot of time to explore.  There was still a fair amount of snow on the ground at that elevation, but it didn’t look like lifts were in operation at the time.  However, I checked the website and it said they were expected to be open at least one more weekend, through the 19th of May.  In fact, the site says that extended weekend makes this year’s season the longest in the resort’s 81-year history.  Too bad I didn’t have time to pick up a quick lift pass!

The last place on my checklist for the day was a step back in time to “Bedrock City,” home of Fred & Wilma Flintstone.  Over six years from 1960 through 1966, William Joseph and Hanna Barbera of Hanna-Barbera produced 166 episodes of the cartoon “The Flintstones.”  It became one of the most iconic TV shows in recent memory, and as a result it inspired lots of roadside Americana to go along with it.  In 1966, in Custer City, South Dakota, a Flintstones-themed 62-acre theme park was opened.  The same owner built a similar operation in Arizona in 1972, pictured here.

Both locations were sold and closed in 2019, but the buildings and some of the relics remain.

When I stopped by the Arizona version of Bedrock City on Saturday afternoon, I was greeted by a massive Fred and “Yabba-Dabba-Doo” sign.  A campground, gift shop, and restaurant were all painted in bright colors and architecturally designed to resemble the cartoon.  Luckily, despite being abandoned, it appears that vandals for the most part have left things alone in the 4 months it’s been closed.

A recent Arizona Central news article stated that the property will become “Raptor Ranch,” a showcase of birds of prey.  So perhaps there is another chapter to the location’s history as a tourist destination (or tourist trap, whichever way you see it).

I bid farewell to the dinosaur skeleton in the parking lot and headed home after a fulfilling day exploring the Arizona high country.  Thanks for coming along!

Here are a few more pics and a short video from my day on the road.

Headed out on backroads while finding my way toward Grand Falls

Puddles of Mud (isn’t that the name of a music group?) as a result of recent rains

Grand Falls, not so grand, but still a nice view

My 4×4

Better than rush hour traffic

Beginning the ascent to Snowbowl

A Yabba welcome at Bedrock City

Other updates for the last couple of weeks are below in random order.

My local Honda dealer congratulated me via email on being a member of the 100,000 mile club.  They’re only about 16 years and 460,000 miles late.

My friend Joseph picked up a sweet Acura Vigor

Which prompted me to take mine out for a spin

Jason clued me in to the fact that a street named “Acura Court” exists in LA.  I’ll be going.

I did a little junkyarding.  These Troopers didn’t have anything I needed.

A friend shared a quote from the reveal of the 1996 Legend (but named 3.5 RL in the states).

Integra outing to Tempe.

I got ahold of a rare OEM rubber cargo mat for the SLX.

Also found out that one local dealership still has Isuzu signage, despite the fact that Isuzu stopped selling passenger vehicles in the states 10 years ago.

I built a little bookshelf for my service manuals.

My friend Jack copied my pic from Baker at the World’s Tallest Thermometer.

I found some 1950s car ads.  Zoom and read some of these gems.

I sorted through my collection of “Style” magazine, which is now out of print.

I found out I still have a copy to the ignition key to my original 1989 Prelude Si.

And last weekend, i visited my friend Vlad’s garage, complete with RLX, Integra Type-R, and NSX.

Have a great rest of the weekend!

21 Responses to “Northern AZ Road Trip – Grand Falls, Snowbowl, & Bedrock City”

  1. You know, sometimes trips don’t quite go according to plan, but making the best of it is key – and you certainly did with this trip! You trip to Grand Falls reminds me of my trip to see the eagles’ nesting grounds in CT, only to have missed all the birds by a few weeks. Still, the drive to Snowbowl and Bedrock City seemed really cool! And you’re far braver taking your ILX off-road than I would be with my Accord…

    Speaking of the ILX, how is it holding up? Anything needed, repair- or maintenance-wise?

    That Prelude key brought back memories- the key to my ‘84 Accord I had in high school was the exact same design. Have a good week!

    • Love those old keys! I’ll never forget the Legend meet in Vegas one year when one of our club members had locked his car while it was running. Another Legend owner tried his key, and voila, easy entry. Apparently there are very few Legend key combinations, haha. ILX seems to be doing awesome. Still at 50% oil life. Honestly that car is so reliable it’s effortless.

  2. I grew up near Niagara Falls (lived in the actual city for about six months in 3rd grade) and so imagining the Arizona Grand Falls being larger than that fall puts it into perspective for me – and how interesting that it is only full running part of the year – makes sense tho – and hope you get to see it in full force one day.
    also did not realize arizona has skiing – so learned a lot with your post here. (and cool that you got the cargo mat…)

    • Haha, thanks for reading! And I know, I haven’t tried AZ skiing so I can’t vouch for exactly how good it is, but it’s here! And I’m always on the hunt for nice / rare accessories for my cars, so when a friend sent me that cargo mat it was like solid gold! Hope you’re having a great weekend.

  3. Do you have the ILX back full time? I was very impressed with that car when you took it to Alaska and back.

    • Yep I brought the ILX back to AZ last September when my brother found a new car to use as a daily driver. I’ve enjoyed having it back. How is your TSX doing?

  4. Nice little random Saturday adventures. We should go to Cali and do that Acura/Lexus street when I get another Lexus. ;-P

  5. Too bad Grand Falls became “Grand Fail…” LOL it needed to be said 😉

    Surprised you didn’t take the SLX for this one. Is it up to spec yet?

    BTW nice find on th carrgo mat!

    As for the Showcase solicitation I wonder how they plan to stock parts for our vintage cars or will their technicians “love” be enough to carry the day!?

    Have a great week…

    • This trip was a little far for the SLX. Up until now, the farthest I’ve driven it was over to Tait’s for a once-over. I have a trip this coming weekend to Bartlett Lake so I’m thinking of taking it out there since it’s just a little bit northeast of town. I know, I was pretty thrilled to get the cargo mat! Hope you have a great week.

  6. I love that red Vigor! I’ll guess the seller had at least a little bit of regret seeing it drive away.

    I wonder if the houses on Acura Ct are affordable? hmmmm

  7. Quite a Yabba post! Too bad for missing the falls in action, but beautiful scenery regardless. The only time I almost skidded off the road doing stupid stuff was when I had my RSX going up to the Snowbowl. Good memories. I hope I can make it up to Bedrock too sometime soon before it’s bulldozed! I think if I lived on the corner of Acura Ct/Lexus Ln, I’d have to showcase a TL and IS in the driveway. Haha!

    • Haha, now there’s a thought. I’ll have to check Zillow and see if any properties on that street are available and what the pricing is like. The road to Snowbowl was wet so I didn’t get too crazy, but I can see it being a great place for spirited driving.

  8. Unfortunate about the falls but it looks like it was a worthwhile drive anyway. Congrats on finally making it into the Honda 100k mile club! 😀

  9. Lol! you see that’s the sort of thing I’d do -drive all that way to see a dry river bed… In fact I might have done something similar! Hey at least you got to go and see Fred and Wilma.
    Some excellent photographs on this post as always!

  10. Tsx is going good. Speaking of Tsxs , have you seen or heard from Josh? He has not posted in Clymer’s Garage for several months now. I also miss his old webpage TSX Travels. 😟

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