It’s a familiar story by now — wake up, get some work done, then go. I grabbed lunch on my way out of Twin Arrows, then made the short drive to Flagstaff. I stopped at Walmart to resupply, and very nearly didn’t find enough room to park. The lot is unusually small and cramped for a Walmart, but I made it work. With a gas stop on the way out of town, I took US 180 north out of town. It was a pleasant drive through the Ponderosa pine trees of Coconino National Forest.
US 180 ends at US 64, where I turned right to continue north. This part of the drive was less pleasant, stuck behind two RVs doing 50 in a 65 zone. I didn’t mind the slower speed, but everyone behind me did, which led to some dangerous passes people made, or tried to make before cutting me off. As much as I enjoy being able to maintain a reasonable speed, it gets dangerous when vehicles like trucks, RVs, or me can’t go that fast, and people start making stupid aggressive moves to get by. I couldn’t enjoy the scenery with one eye ahead of me to match the speed of the slow RVs, and one eye on the mirror to see what the idiots behind me were going to try next.
Finally, though, I rolled into Tusayan. I took the turn for Long Jim Loop Road where I planned to look for a camp, only to find the road closed as soon as I turned off it. Fortunately, there was a turnaround where I could do just that, drive through town, and turn at the north end of the loop instead. The town is quite small, but it has everything you need in a tourist town — hotels, restaurants, groceries, and gift shops. Kaibab National Forest surrounds it on all sides, and it doesn’t take long to leave it all behind and get into the forest.
The dirt road was easy, and soon I found a suitable place to set up camp. It even had two trees the perfect distance apart to set up my hammock. Starlink was hopeless because of the trees, but my Verizon service was pretty good, and T-Mobile was excellent, so I was set for the internet. After exploring on the bike a bit, I discovered that Long Jim Loop Road isn’t really closed on the south end, but the sign is there, as well as numerous speed bumps, to discourage campers from driving through a snooty neighborhood to get to free camping. It must really grind their gears that they pay out the nose to have a small condo in a place like this, while people like me pay nothing to camp just up the road from them.
I’m not sure how long I’ll stay. I’m allowed to for up to 14 days and with good weather, good internet, and a town that has everything just a few minutes away, I’m tempted to stay the whole time for simplicity. People have already been telling me I should visit the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, as well as the South Rim where I am now, camped just a mile from the entrance to Grand Canyon National Park. It’s quite a drive in the opposite direction of where I intend to go, but it might be worth checking out.
I made a drastic decision to splurge for something tomorrow that will help me make that decision, as well as cross two items off my personal bucket list in one fell swoop.