2 Grand CanyonLast month, I wrote about the trip to Sedona from Vail. In this part 2, I will address the trip to the Grand Canyon and back to Vail, AZ.

On the morning of the 19th, Wednesday, we went north on 89A to Flagstaff, to the south side of the Grand Canyon. Continuing north, we stopped at Cameron and shopped at the Indian Trading Post. At the post, there were a number of other motorcyclists, some of them Europeans on a motorcycle tour, with rented Harley-Davidson’s.

After shopping, we headed to 64 West to the Grand Canyon. We drove along the South Rim. We made several stops along the rim; and at the visitor’s center, we watched a program on the formation of the Grand Canyon. It is well worth visiting the center and watching the program.

Interestingly, we saw a number of motorcycles again to include a pair of three wheeled motorcycles touring all the way from the Midwest. The Grand Canyon and nearby Route 66, is a very popular tourist destination; we encountered many visitors from many different countries. By our own experience, it seemed that 2/3rds of all the people we encountered were international tourists.

Our riding companions ride a 2015 Indian Chieftain motorcycle. This particular motorcycle alone was the recipient of many admiring glances, discussion, and even photos. The Indian motorcycle brand dates back to 1901 and was in operation until 1953. After a series of attempts by different companies to revive the brand, in 2013 Polaris Industries, an American company, started producing Indian motorcycles again with particular emphasis towards a design long associated with historic Indian motorcycles.

Somehow, I suspect that my BMW is commonplace in Europe, so my bike got few looks. One man who came over to look and discuss the Indian, was riding his own Harley; his bike flew an American flag, and he was fully dressed for the road with a black 1/2 helmet, “Doo Rag” and appropriate denim vest. It was a bit of a surprise when he spoke and out came halting English with a heavy French accent!

As hinted at in my previous articles that talked about Route 66, many European visitors want a taste of American! They want to experience the open roads, scenic views, and the freedom of riding down the road Harley.

Leaving the South Rim, going on 180 South, we stopped for lunch at the RP Stage Stop Café in the town of Tusayan, where the food was excellent. Continuing down 180, towards Flagstaff, we took 17 South and cut over on 179 back to Sedona. We were hot, tired and wore out, and called it a day.

2 Tlaquepaque Sedona DecThursday the 20th of August, we all drove to a shopping center called Tlaquepaque. Here were over 40 shops to include restaurants, galleries, specialty shops, jewelry, and such. A businessman named Abe Miller, who had a vision of an old Mexican village, developed the area. Accordingly, the area has plazas, verandas, fountains, stone arches, cobblestone bricks, overhanging balconies, heavy wooden doors, and iron grillwork. The whole area is unique and very much worth a stop. We had lunch at the Oak Creek Brewery and Grill. After lunch, we returned to our room and prepped for our return trip home.

Early Friday morning, the 21st, we left at 0630 and took 89A to 179 and then 17 South to 260 East to 87 South towards Payson. After Payson, we stayed on 87 South until we came to 188 South, going by Roosevelt Lake, where we stopped at the visitor’s center again. It is a good reminder when driving in Arizona, especially in the summer, to carry some water as well as a tire repair kit and a tire inflator or “Fix a Flat,” as you never know when and where you get a flat tire (I took a large nail in the tire on this leg of the ride).

Continuing on our trip, we drove south on 188 to Globe taking the roads in reverse of our first day. After Globe, we took 77 South to Oracle and stopped at the town of Mammoth for lunch at La Casita (a good restaurant). After lunch, we headed out on 77 South and took a right on Tangerine and a left at Twin Peaks where we intersected I-10, going east to Vail. We arrived home at 3:30 in the afternoon. It was a fine trip and a great way to see Sedona and the Grand Canyon.

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Lucretia Free