Flagstaff has a few interesting tourist sites in and around the city. I have been to most of them on past visits but I find there are reasons to see them again. First of all, the places are fun to experience again, and secondly, I am building my trust back in Honda as I ride all over the area. And so when Richard suggested we meet up and ride to Walnut Canyon National Monument, I was happy to agree.
We decided to meet at Del Taco, have lunch, and then ride a back road the few miles to Walnut Canyon. It was only about 10 miles for me to our meeting place, but Richard and Dianna had a long trip from their home. We had a nice lunch and then headed down historic Route 66 going east out of town.
Route 66 parallels Interstate 40, and because it is not a main route anymore, understandably gets less attention from the maintenance crews. The road was very rough in places where the blacktop was broken and chipped. I was following Richard and Dianna down the highway when all of a sudden I saw them hit a particularly bad hole in the pavement. Richard’s travel mug bounced out of its holder and hit the road with a burst of liquid and flying parts. We came to a quick stop, parked along the road , and searched for several minutes for the missing lid. Richard finally located the lid up a bank and fit the damaged but usable pieces back together. We took it a little slower the rest of the way.
Walnut Canyon is a preserved site of ancient Anasazi cliff dwellings. The canyon is littered with dozens of stone structures built hundreds of years ago under the natural eroded cliffs. The park service maintains a walkway down 240 steps to a circular path where visitors can see close up the places the Indians lived. It is quite interesting to imagine what it would be like to live the way they did.
The problem with 240 steps down is that they must be climbed again to return to the visitors center. The afternoon was hot and I had forgotten to bring my water bottle. We all were feeling pooped by the time we reached the top. We spent a few minutes looking at the displays in the visitors center and then rode back into town for ice cream. It rained on us briefly on our way back but it actually felt good. We skipped Rt. 66 on our return and rode the busy but smooth Interstate highway.
It was a fun afternoon. Good times!