My Trip to the Grand Canyon North Rim and Zion National Park


Hi all,

Well, I am finally off again on a very brief trip.  This one is with the Sun Country Road Runners (SCRR), the RV group that Betty and I joined and went on one outing with shortly before she died.  It is a chapter of the FMCA, the Family Motor Coach Association, and most of the members live in the Prescott area.  This trip will take us to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, and on into southern Utah to see Bryce and Zion National Parks.  Unfortunately, we will need to cut our trip slightly short, and will miss Bryce Canyon this trip.

When I speak of "we", I am talking about a friend of mine I met at church, Rosemarie McBride.  We have been doing quite a few activities together lately and the latest is this trip.

The last trip report I wrote was last October covering a trip to northern Arizona and southern Utah also, but to different locations.  It was with the Ramblin' Recs from our Escondido church.  Since then I attended an international FMCA convention in Pomona, CA along with about 8000 of my most intimate friends and their 4000 motorhomes.  I made that trip with the SCRR chapter (that I am out with now).  Later, I attended a training session in Casa Grande for Volunteer Coordinators and officers of the FMCA in preparation for an area rally there this coming October.  As you may have guessed I am the Volunteer Coordinator for our chapter, and have had 39 of our members volunteer to help host the October rally.

Tuesday, September 5

Although this outing starts tomorrow at Jacob Lake, AZ, the Scholls and I decided we should start today by driving to a campground in Flagstaff for the night and then continue on to Jacob Lake tomorrow.  This would allow the Scholls a chance to meet Rosemarie and for the four of us to caravan on into the campground tomorrow.

Rosemarie and I left my place around 2:30 and were in Black Bart's Campground in Flagstaff by 4:15.  About 10 minutes after we got parked, the Scholls pulled into the space right next to us.  We made our introductions and chatted a while.  We then walked over to Black Bart's Steakhouse, right next to the campground office.  They have excellent steaks, but they also offer a very unique "program".  Almost continuously during the evening there is music coming from the stage.  Sometimes it is a solo song accompanied by a girl playing the piano.  Often it is a group of several singers, and occasionally it is music coming from the whole restaurant as all the waiters belt out their parts as they go about their serving duties.

All the waiters are students at Northern Arizona University (NAU) in the music department.  They do an excellent job.  As was the case last time I was here, our server had the best singing voice, in my opinion.  Last time it was a young lady who was taking graduate courses in preparation to moving to New York to try and get in with the Metropolitan Opera Company.  Our waiter tonight was working on his master's degree and also gives private music lessons.  When we complimented him on his singing, he said "If I could only learn to wait tables, I could master this job OK!"  The previous time I was here was last October with the Ramblin' Recs.  We stayed in this campground our final night of the trip, and then all headed to our respective homes.

Dinner was delicious and a whole lot of fun!

Wednesday, September 6

We got up early and did a number of things around the motorhome.  A little after 9 we pulled out and headed for highway 89 toward Page.  We drove this route 6 years consecutively when we were houseboating on Lake Powell.  We fueled up in Cameron, AZ, then drove up the road about a mile and stopped at the Cameron Trading Post.  It is at least double the size it was when we were driving to the houseboats.  About an hour later, we pulled off the road and had lunch. 

A few miles later we came upon highway 89A and took it.  Immediately we had no shoulders.  I guess the lanes were the standard width, but everything seemed to be so narrow.  After about 50 miles of this narrow and occasionally very winding (and sometimes windy) road we arrived at Jacob Lake right around 2:30 and the hosts helped us to find a place to park.  On the last 50 mile stretch we encountered several thunderstorms, and had anywhere from a mist to a very heavy down pour.

Tomorrow we eat!  We start with a continental breakfast at 8.  We will then individually drive to the North Rim in our cars and do some sightseeing.  We eat lunch at the lodge there at 12:30 and complete our sightseeing.  Back at camp, there is a pot luck dinner at 5!

Tonight we had a pot luck "heavy O' dourves" dinner.  We had a very good selection of dishes such as tacquitos, quesadillas, mini-weenie corn dogs, etc.  No one left hungry!


This was our campsite at Jacob Lake.  We dry camped here for two nights while we explored the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Thursday, September 7

We woke up to a light rain this morning.  As scheduled, we had a continental breakfast at 8:00.  The hosts provided us with a variety of Danishes and muffins, along with fresh fruit and orange juice.  After breakfast, we jumped into the Subaru and drove the approximately one hour drive to the North Rim.  It was raining most of the way.  Once we got to the canyon, the skies were quite a bit lighter.  As we stopped at the entrance booth, I got an even higher appreciation for my Golden Age National Park Pass.  Admission without one is now $25.00 a car!

The Grand Canyon from the North Rim is spectacular!  The low clouds and rain showers made it even more so!  We went into the Grand Canyon Lodge, found where we were to have lunch, and continued through a very large sitting room surrounded by huge picture windows overlooking the canyon.  This view alone was worth the trip.  We then continued through the room to the outside patio with excellent viewing points, and down onto the trail.  We went a ways on the trail and had excellent views of the canyon on both sides at various places.  We didn't realize just how steep the trail had taken us downward until we turned around and went back up!  We both huffed and puffed a bit. 


Rosemarie poses next to the Visitor Center Sign.  The gift shop is just behind this shot and the lodge and restaurant are about 100 yards back and to the right.

The next several pictures are from several of the North Rim viewpoints.

When we arrived back at the lodge, we headed for the dining room.  It was earlier than the schedule, but we were all eating alone anyway.  When we were seated at the last available window table, we discovered 4 of our other members at the table right next to ours.  We each had their "Teddy burger", a large hamburger with lots of special condiments.  Very good!  Before we left, we saw many of the others of our group arrive.

We made a quick stop at the Gift Shop, then back to our car.  The North Rim is laid out quite differently from the South Rim.  The South Rim has just a couple of roads which run along the edge of the canyon with numerous view points along the way.  The North Rim has several roads leading to the rim.  The one taking us to the lodge had one fairly large viewing area.  We then headed back toward camp a few miles to another road that then connected with two other roads.  We selected one of the final roads which did truly have several viewing areas and drove there.  We saw some of the most spectacular views of the canyon imaginable from these.  We started listening to a ranger talk about the history of the area, and would like to have heard it all, but it was getting time to return to camp and prepare food for tonight's pot luck.


On our drive to and from the North Rim, we drove through totally burned out forests for miles.

The local citizens are very upset at the Forest Service for just letting the Warm Fire burn unabated for weeks.  The fire was last June and July.

We (Rosemarie) made jambalaya for the pot luck.  It was the most delicious dish there (my opinion, but true!) among the many great dishes.  No one left hungry tonight!

Friday, September 8

Happy Birthday to my sister Barbara!

Today, we had breakfast and lunch on our own.  It is a travel day.  We only have about 65 miles to drive to our next park in Glendale, UT.  Since their checkout and checkin time is 1:00 PM, which is 12 noon Arizona time, we left in groups of 4 starting around 11.  We were in the 3rd and last group and left at noon sharp.  After an easy hour plus drive we pulled into the Bauers RV Park in Glendale.  We have full hookups here so there is no longer a need to be stingy with our electrical usage. 

This is a very nice park with gravel parking areas in the grass.  It is a small park with only 18 spots, of which we took 13.


This panorama of 4 pictures shows most of our rigs at Bauer's RV Park in Glendale, UT.  We had 13 of the total of 18 spaces at this park.

Tonight the park provided a chuckwagon dinner.  It was held in an apple grove behind the park.  They cooked all the food in Dutch ovens over a fire.

For dinner we had chicken, home made rolls, salad, potatoes, peach cobbler, and pink lemonaide.  It was all very good.

Saturday, September 9

We had our pancake breakfast this morning.  I told you this group is all about eating!  We had regular and blueberry pancakes, sausage patties, and orange juice.  Of course I stuffed myself!  We then individually headed off to explore Zion National Park.

After about a 30 to 40 minute drive we arrived at Zion NP.  We followed the signs to the Visitor Center and actually found a place to park, in spite of the notices that the parking filled up by 10.  We arrived around 10:30.  We then walked to the free park trams.  These are two section busses which take you to 8 different stops along the main scenic drive within the park.  There are no private autos allowed this time of the year; use of the trams is mandatory.  We got off the tram at several of the stops and did some exploring and a lot of sightseeing.  We passed on the ones involving hikes!  We could have exited and hiked 1.3 miles back to the Visitor Center which we just left!  We also could have taken some significant hikes.  There were plenty of young folks to do that, so we didn't feel a need.

We stopped at the Zion Lodge, which is just beautiful!  It is a rustic log structure with a huge green lawn in the foreground and the majesty of the Zion formations in the background.  There were also food shops and a large gift shop.

Checkerboard Mesa is one of the most famous Zion formations.
The Zion Arch will someday etch through the mountain and become a natural bridge.
Looking back up the mountain after passing through the 1.1 mile long tunnel.  You can see one of the several "windows" in the side of the tunnel in the lower right center of the picture.
The Zion Lodge is a beautiful structure with an immense front lawn.
This is the inside of one of the trams.  We are in the 2nd half looking forward at the front half.

When the tram reached the end of the valley, we turned around and rode back toward the Visitor Center.  After a couple more stops we got off at the Visitor Center, walked within a few feet of my car and on to the "town tram".  This is another free tram which takes you from the NP to the nearby town of Springdale, making several stops along the way.  The park service advises you to park in Springdale and ride the tram back to the park when the VC parking lot is full.  We rode it a couple of stops to near the Bumbleberry Restaurant.  One of their features was bumbleberry pie.


As we left the park to catch the town shuttle, we crossed the Virgin River.  This is the main tool which created the beautiful formations at Zion.

According to the back of their menu  "bumbleberries are burple and binkel berries that grow on giggle bushes"  Unfortunately, after eating our lunches we had no room to try their pie.

We drove back to camp and relaxed a while.  We needed our naps!  As this is our final day of the trip, we had arranged with the Scholls to find a local restaurant and eat dinner out.  We found a place called the Thunderbird Lodge and had delicious meals.  Rosemarie and I each had "blackened prime rib".  As a daily special, the portions were quite generous and the price was less than the menu ones.  It was very tender and good, although I scraped some of the blackening seasoning off to make it less spicy. 

At the gift shop after dinner, I decided to buy some "souvenirs".  I bought 19 hematite magnets which I have seen at several places before on this trip.  They are highly polished black stones of various shapes around 1/2 inch across.  In the store display there is a tray with many of these piled in it.  When you try to pick up one or a few, a huge glob of these stones tries to come with them.  It is actually hard to pick up just a few.  When you lift them as a string, they stick very securely, allowing you to make a necklace or bracelet of them.  They are just plain fun to play with!  The reason I bought 19 was that was all I could cram into a small drawstring bag.  They sold them by the bag.


These are my hematite magnets.  They are amazingly powerful.  The larger ones will jump together if placed within two inches of each other. 

Back at camp, I hooked up the Subaru and prepared the motorhome for tomorrow morning's departure.  We need to get home.  Rosemarie has a family emergency which requires her to fly to Virginia Monday morning.  The balance of the group will spend Sunday in Glendale, then move to Hatch, a whole 26 miles up the road on Monday.  They will explore Bryce from there and attend a "hayride chuckwagon dinner".

Sunday, September 10

We left camp at 7 AM sharp!  This was 6 AM Arizona time.  We drove the approximate 1 1/2 hours to Page, AZ, a town we visited often during our houseboating days on Lake Powell.  We stopped at McDonalds there for breakfast.  Our next stop was the Cameron Trading Post again.  I dropped Rosemarie off and went down the road to fill up with fuel at the same station we used on the way up.  I then remembered to pick up Rosemarie and we headed south again.  Our final stop was at the rest stop just west of Flagstaff.  We arrived home by about 1:45.

We got Rosemarie's most important items into her car and she headed home to take care of the many things she needed to do before tomorrow's flight.

This was a short but fun trip.  It was fun traveling with the Scholls and the other SCRR members.  I really enjoyed having Rosemarie along.  Her companionship made the various activities and sightseeing so much more enjoyable!

Thanks for accompanying us on this trip  I debated whether this trip warranted writing a trip report, but decided the photos alone would make it worth my adding it to my web page.

You can see this report (and my other trip reports) on my web page along with some of the photos I took at:



I talked to Keith on Tuesday after returning.  They were in Hatch and had gone to the "hayride chuckwagon dinner".  When I asked him about it he told me the following:

The hayride portion did not include hay.  They rode on wagons pulled by horses and mules.  The lack of hay allowed Virg to go.  For some reason they were a full hour late starting!  The ride up the mountain was about half an hour.  The Scholls rode the wagon pulled by two horses.  At one point the horses decided to just stop and would not proceed for a while.  Eventually they did start up again.  One of the horses had been sick recently, so they hitched him slightly behind the other to diminish his share of the load somewhat.  A by-product of this was that the other horse tended to pull toward the center of the wagon.  Near the top of the ride, the horses went between two trees, but the wagon did not!  The off-center horses left the wagon sticking out farther on one side.  The driver could not manipulate the horses to get the wagon free of the tree.  Fortunately there were practically there.  Everyone got off the wagon and walked the last couple hundred feet.

The dinner was excellent and over abundant! 

The ride home was uneventful, except that because of the late start, it was now totally dark.  The passengers got very nervous when the wagons had to cross the main highway in total darkness!  Reviews the next day varied from "excellent" and "wonderful" to "not worth it" (It was a $45 dinner).  A couple of people were not able to go as the late start pushed the eating time too late for their personal requirements.  In all, the Scholls said they enjoyed it!

Till next time,



Dick Mason, Prescott, AZ 9/10/06