Day 9 - 29 April 2003
Albuquerque, NM to Williams, AZ - 347 miles.
Woke up to find Paul's car in the parking lot and problems solved by a local Chapter mechanic. Quite a job this time too. A carb overhaul, distributor rebuild and sundry other items, all for $100.00. Studebaker folks are always very dependable.|
Left ALQ on one of the longest legs of the trip - Destination Williams, AZ for a 2 day tour of the Grand Canyon
We worked out way out of town amid rush hour traffic without a problem. Made a couple pit stops along I-40. There isn't much left of the actual old Route 66 in New Mexico, so we opted to take it easy on the interstate. Much to our chagrin, the winds and trucks flying by at almost 90mph make for a very uncomfortable experience. We plod along at 55-60mph (the minimum is 50), the locals make it up to 75, in fact, the minimum in the left lane is 65. The semi rigs are merciless and often come right up on your bumper.
Along the route, the climb into the mountains is gradual, the scenery is fantastic and every time you crest a hill, there's another picture.
Stopped at the Continental Divide, at an altitude of 7250 feet for a group Picture. Topped off the gas and calibrated the altimeter on my digital navigation pod
Approaching Flagstaff, the crosswinds were bad, almost 40-50mph. I had to hold the wheel at a 45' left crab to hold the car straight, then get blown right by the bow wave of a passing truck. As soon as the rear end of the truck passes, you get drawn left into the slipstream. White-knuckle driving was the order of the day.
Passing Flagstaff, you start seeing signs for Los Angeles (486 miles) and begin a gradual descent.
It was 3 miles short of our destinaton when "destiny" struck once more. Our WagonMaster, Dave, who had some seemingly minor problems on the starting day, revisited them. His car overheated ( on the way down the hill) and we had to pull over and assess the problem.
It was deemed worthy to refill and continue to the Hotel, to re-evaluate the next morning before taking the train to the Grand Canyon
Arriving at the town of Williams, we were greeted by another phenomena....regular gas was $2.19 a gallon (yoiks)
|Road pics as we climb westward leaving Albuquerque|
|.... higher and higher|
|A pit stop and we're back on the road|
|The Continental Divide|
|The Continental Divide II|
|You always see a lot of this|
|The topography is changing rapidly|
|Crossed into Arizona around 12:00 Noon|
|First sighting of WigWams...|
|On the road again|
|Second Sighting of Wig Wams|
|Now West of Flagstaff|
|This is the first sign showing Los Angeles...486 miles away|
|It was a short distance after that last picture, on a long downhill run, that Dave's Lark spewed the contents of its radiator all over I-40. We all pulled onto the shoulder of the busy road and had to stand around for a while. It was pretty hot! Shortly after, we gathered all the water we could find from our trunk supplies and filled the radiator. Dave decided to make a run for Williams, just a few miles ahead. We made it without any further incidents.|
|Finally at the Fray-Marcos Hotel in Williams|
| Dave, again, scored a nice one. This was a pretty posh place for the area. We got settled in our rooms and then had a meeting in the lobby, where Dave & Nadine handed out our tickets and coupons, explaining the coming events for the next 2 days. Dinner was in the restaurant over by the train station|
The package was 2 nights at Fray-Marcos and one night over at the Grand Canyon, which gave us almost 2 days of touring there.
Later that evening, I went down to the store at 'hi priced' gas station and after a small purchase, asked the attendant " why such high prices"?.....the reply, accompanied by a very serious look was, " Well sir, our gas is much better than what you get in town".......(right!)