I just got back from a five-day vacation adventure in Arizona and I’m delighted to report that I made it back in one piece! I’ve been to this neighboring state a few other times before, but never in an RV and it was quite an experience! I enjoyed the freedom that you get when renting a motor home; you can decide to stop anywhere you like in the middle of nowhere and still have the comfort of a bathroom and an equipped kitchen (with refrigerator, stove, and microwave oven, among other things). You can move around while somebody is behind the wheels (although this is not recommended in winding roads), take a nap on one of the beds, or read without getting a headache. The view is also better, as RVs are higher than other vehicles. BUT, on the downside, it is quite noisy (all the pots and pans and things stuffed in the many cabinets tend to sing along and create a soundtrack of their own), also, if you want to save on gas and say, not turn on the AC for a while and drive with your windows open, you might seriously get a heat stroke. I managed to avoid that, but Arizona in the summertime is like the burning Sahara desert and you have to carefully choose your options and organize your trip accordingly. Say, drive in cooler hours, refill the water tank, and empty the water waste. I was surprised to see that an RV runs pretty fast, but it consumes a lot of gas; so, it can become quite pricy unless you go with a party of friends and share the costs. That said, RVs are fun and the real American way to explore the country. Since we wanted to visit the quintessential U.S. destination, the Grand Canyon, what other better way to do so than in a recreational vehicle? We packed our beloved dog and part of our royal family and started our journey.
Along the way we passed different flats which, with the exception of the towns near the Colorado river, were mostly desert-like, especially in Arizona (not necessarily landscape-wise, but also in terms of isolation there is land, land, land as far as the eyes can see). For our first lunch in our RV, we stopped in the middle of nowhere, and parked right next to a building shaped like a giant golf ball. At first, we thought it was some sort of creative space or store open to the public, but it was actually a private residence boasting small UFOs, space shuttles, and unicorns as garden decor. The real store sits in a trailer and has all Area 55 paraphernalia. We wondered why everything UFOs is so big in this state and we came to the conclusion that some areas resemble the surface of the moon or Mars, making them a desirable place for ET’s landing! Ah, just kidding!
About 100 miles into Arizona, we took Route 66 from Highway 40 in order to experience some of the “On the Road” thrill. We stopped in Seligman, a fun town that could easily be the right setting for a David Lynch/Spaghetti Western movie. Seligman doesn’t have more than 20 buildings on each side of the road; some of them are colorful and filled with all sort of tacky souvenirs and vintage classics, other ones are so dusty and run down that you’d expect some old drunk cowboys emerging and cause some trouble at any time of the day.
Williams is only about 40 minutes away from Seligman and still on Route 66, but couldn’t be more different. It’s a picturesque mountain town with an Old West charm (a rodeo performance was on the way when we pulled into town), but overall more polished and touristy. Each side of the street is decorated with flowers and flashy neon signs; there are cute restaurants and at least a dozen of different stores carrying Route 66 paraphernalia and tons of native American and Arizona art. Since Williams is the very last town before the Grand Canyon, we decided to spend the night here and check into an RV camping ground.