After visiting the Sedona area, we wanted to move closer to the Grand Canyon! Neither of us had been to the Grand Canyon before and it was one of the first things we put on our “must-see” list once we knew we were going to do this RV thing!
For this leg of our journey, we decided to stay at Railside RV Ranch (railsiderv.com/) which, you guessed it, is right beside the railway line that runs from Williams to the Grand Canyon. Luckily, that railway is strictly a passenger line and doesn't run late at night like the one in Williamsburg!
Williams is a very cool little town right along historic Route 66. There are plenty of shops, restaurants, and breweries and, of course, we frequented a bit of each.
The Grand Canyon
Our first full day, which was a Sunday, we made our first trip into the park. We headed straight for the visitor center which, in retrospect, wasn't the best idea. Even with a huge parking area, it was packed! Being a Sunday, it was wall to wall tourists, most of which came on large tour busses and really didn't care who they pushed around to get where they wanted to go!
Aside from the overbearing tourists, the visitor center is very nice. Once we made it past the center and to the overlook, we were absolutely amazed at the beauty and grandeur! But, we knew it was time to get away from the chaos and see the canyon from a less crowded perspective.
We drove east from the visitor center along Desert View Drive (route 64), stopping at several overlooks. This was a much better option to see the canyon. It was still very busy, but nothing like the visitors center. While there are pedestrian guard rails in the most common areas of each overlook, it's also very easy to go over or around them to areas where there are no rails. This is very exciting and frightening at the same time! However, it does provide the rawest and least obstructed view of the canyon.
Desert View Watchtower Ride!
The weather wasn't great while we were there (winter was still hanging on), but we finally got a day that was ride-worthy! So, we headed out on Lucile (our 2017 Indian Roadmaster), headed to Desert View Watchtower.
The ride over to the watchtower is very nice! Much of it is through the forest, with the canyon peaking out here and there to the north. Even when the park is busy, traffic moves along at a nice pace with plenty of places to pull off and park at overlooks along the way.
The Watchtower is a seven-story stone tower at the very east end of the portion of Desert View Drive that hugs the canyon's south rim. Facing west, it's a favorite for watching the sunset over the canyon. It's also one of the best locations on the south rim to see the Colorado River.
Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour!
Since the day we started planning our adventures out west, we knew we wanted to take some kind of air tour of the Grand Canyon. Since our visit to the area happened to coincide with Tara's birthday, that seemed like the perfect time! I took a seaplane ride to the Dry Tortugas on my birthday, so fair is fair! ?
We picked Maverick Helicopter because that's just a really cool name (and they had great reviews)! ?
They are big helicopters, holding about 8 people each with great views in both the front and back seat. Luckily, we got a front seat! The tour takes off from Grand Canyon National Park Airport just inside the park on route 64. The first few minutes are fairly uneventful while flying over the forest. Forest mannligapotek.com…forest…forest… BAM!! The bottom of the world just drops out leaving us thousands of feet over the canyon! That was AMAZING! The entire flight, we were completely overwhelmed with spectacular views in every direction! There's just not much I can do to explain it in words. Good thing this is a video post! ?
We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Williams and the Grand Canyon. Next up in our travels, we have our first long term true boondocking stay on Lone Rock Beach in Utah! Stay tuned! ?