Train in Vain

Did you stand by me? No not all…

Ok, so maybe social distancing wasn’t what Clash meant when they wrote the lyrics to this song, but it certainly sounds fitting during these times.

After a planned weekend trip had to be canceled at the last minute due to a summer cold (no proof one way or the other if it was COVID) and an extended period of time waiting for the bedroom AC unit to be repaired (it still isn’t), we were very excited to get back into the camper.

We had a trip planned earlier this month but had to cancel when I got sick. I didn’t get tested and never got severe so I’m not sure if it was COVID but I quarantined just in case.

We also got stuck with the camper in the shop. The bedroom AC never worked when we picked it up and the part is on order. Getting these things repaired, I hear, can be a long and drawn-out process. We finally picked up the camper and asked them to let us know when the part arrives.

July 30th, 2020

Our camping site at the Circle Pines KOA was a little snug for our liking but we still had enough room to enjoy everything. The campground itself is very nice and offers a lot of great activities for families.

Everyone is super friendly (while social distancing) and just loves Oreo. She’s a great icebreaker dog.

July 31st, 2020

When planning out this trip, I was looking forward to another bucket-list item. I’ve ridden trains in New York from the airport to Long Island before but I’ve never really ridden a historically accurate train. The Grand Canyon Railway offers traditional Pullman cars in their 2 hours and 15-minute train rides from Williams, AZ to the Grand Canyon. And, since it was my mother-in-law’s 78th birthday a few days ago, what better way to help her celebrate than give her an experience she’s never had!

What I never expected when booking the tickets on a train without air conditioning is that we would be at the end of the hottest July on record! It was a very warm 95 degrees. Fortunately, the open windows provided just enough breeze to make it so it was not terribly unbearable.

On the train ride, we were serenaded by a traveling musician.

Once we finally made it to the Canyon, we enjoyed a socially distanced lunch at El Tovar. The same architect that designed this hotel and restaurant back in 1905 also designed the Riordan Mansion in Flagstaff. In my college days at NAU, I volunteered at the mansion on a regular basis.

While there, we tried not to interrupt Momma and Baby Elk hard at work keeping the grounds nicely manicured.

And, of course, there were the ever-present breathtaking views of the canyon.

After a long train ride back, we treated the “rents” to dinner at the camper. I fixed the kebobs again but the meat wasn’t very tender this time. One thing you’ll quickly learn about me, cooking is NOT my zone of genius!

August 1st, 2020

You’ll also discover that Jeff and I tend to be more relaxed, go-with-the-flow types of people. We may or may not do something on any given day and we try to only have a schedule when it’s necessary.

After a wonderful breakfast of French Toast and bacon (Jeff loves to cook breakfast), we set off to downtown Williams, AZ. I was hoping to get a map of the “Downtown Historic Walking Tour” as advertised on their site. But such a thing didn’t really exist.

Plan B, create our own walking tour!

We really LOVED walking around the town with Oreo who was welcome in many of the shops. Well, the signs said 4-Legged Friendly so we had to double-check to make sure O’s with her 3 legs was also welcome. 😉 Fortunately, no problems there.

The downtown area only took about 90 minutes to walk up and down (and the roads were getting hot for poor Oreo’s paws. So we decided to go on one of my favorite kinds of hunts. The hunt for all things abandoned!

I had seen these train cars from the highway so it was just a matter of discovering how to get there from downtown.

As the evening began to cool off and the storm started to roll in, we found a little hiking path behind the campground.

These wiki-ups seem to be popular around campgrounds!

August 2nd, 2020

The next day, we got up early so Jeff could go fishing at Kabab Lake (really just a large pond). I had a choice, fish with him or go hunting for more abandoned things? Hmm… tough call. Since I don’t eat fish and don’t find fishing to be relaxing at all, I chose the later!

Jeff and Oreo had fun as well.

August 3rd, 2020

I’m committed to being totally independent on these trips after a while. While I’ve only ever towed something once in my life, and that was a small car trailer with a small car, I knew I wanted to learn how to tow this thing as soon as possible. I managed just about 10 or 15 miles on backcountry roads on our second trip. This time I made it a full 70 miles on a state route and through a small town with stoplights and roundabouts! Soon I’ll be taking my besties on girls’ trips.

Another trip in the books. We already have a few more trips in the planning stages. Yep, we are hooked.

4 thoughts on “Train in Vain

  1. I loved hearing about the days in between our days together.. I am sure you are going to have many wonderful days with your new home-away-from home. Thank you again for including us in the wonderful train trip to the Grand Canyon. Many memories were made that day!

  2. What a lovely trip! Thanks for sharing – I had almost forgot about the train and it’s a great reminder for a little side trip. Looking forward to living vicariously on your travels!

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