Destination Canyon de Chelly, Arizona

Monday, March 16, 2015

I wanted to get an early start this morning, because I was anxious to see how my brakes were doing on my motorhome.  With no breakfast, we packed and were on the road by 7:15 am. 

imageDrove north on hwy 188 for 30 miles along the Roosevelt Lake through the Tonto Basin until we reached hwy 87.  My first decision was whether to go back down the mountain to Mesa and have my brakes checked or go north to Payson and see how the brakes handle.  My old “never turn back” philosophy kicked in, so I headed up the mountain to Payson, Arizona.

It was only 15 miles to Payson, but it was an all uphill 15 miles to Payson.  The motorhome did fine at about 35 – 45 mph during the climb and our reward for doing this was a stop at McDs.  Hadn’t had a McDonalds breakfast for ages, so I sprung for Yuma and me.  I had the Egg McMuffin meal and Yuma had a sausage sandwich.

It was while I was parked at McDs I learned a vital piece of information about downshifting when going down hills.  I was talking to a man that had lived in the area all his life.  I asked him about the roads to I-40 and hwy 60 from Show Low on eastward. 

I was telling him about my harrowing 5 mile downhill experience on hwy 87 from Mesa.  I told him it didn’t seem to help when I put the truck in 2nd gear because I couldn’t feel the engine pulling and I couldn’t tell the rpms without a tach.  He said be sure you take the motorhome out of overdrive.  Overdrive!  I had forgotten all about the Overdrive button on the steering column.  What a dummy!

imageAfter breakfast, we headed towards the town of Heber, 32 miles along the Mogollon Rim on hwy 260.  We were now on top of the world at about 6000 feet and it was beautiful.

We had one long uphill climb after Payson to the 6000 foot level and during the drive there were a couple of 6% downhill runs.  When I turned off the Overdrive, the engine in the motorhome would start pulling and slowing us down.   It worked great!  Lesson learned.  I am now a motorhome mountain climber.

imageWhen I reached Heber, I had to make a decision.  Do I continue on hwy 260 and go on over to Show Low and take hwy 60 east; or, do I go north on hwy 277 to Holbrook and catch I-40?

The reason I’m thinking I-40 is because in my blog comments yesterday, Al from Travel with the Bayfield Bunch mentioned that if I was in northern Arizona, I should check out Canyon de Chelly.  If I went north to Holbrook and jumped on the I-40, I would be heading right for the turn-off to the Canyon.

Since I really had no reason to travel hwy 60 and I still don’t trust my brakes, I decided to head north and stay a few nights at the Canyon de Chelly and check it out.  Thanks Al, for telling me about it.

image

After a 7 hour drive, Yuma and I are now staying at the Navajo Indian Reservation in the Cottonwood Campground for $14 a night.  No water or electricity, but they do have bathrooms.  It is a nice campground and not too crowded.  The big plus is that it is located right at the entrance to the canyon just outside the town of Chinle, Arizona on hwy 191.

I will not be publishing my blog for the next few days because I am using a network other than Verizon and they restrict my data.  So, I will write them and prepare the photos, but not publish until I am back in civilization.

 See you later.

15 comments:

  1. WoW! There you and Yuma were on top of the world! The mesa was very high. Do you know if it's the highest mesa in Arizona? It's amazing how you can learn something useful by being in the right place. I'll be awaiting pictures of the canyon once you resume your blog. See you then!

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  2. Canyon de Chelly is one of our favorite spots! Haven't been there for a couple of years, however. We stayed at the Best Western there in town. Magnificent views! Can't wait to see your photos. Look for the Indian ponies there. I did a YouTube on them once...will have to look it up.
    Cheryl Ann

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    1. It is a nice place. Got a photo of a pony here in the campground this morning. Got him for my blog header. Will be driving around today.

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  3. Heber is a nice little town. We stayed there 2 summers ago...at the Buffalo Ranch there in Overgaard. Beautiful country! Our son and his family stayed with us and the grandson enjoyed the pond there. You'll probably see antelope on your way to Canyon de Chelly.

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    1. It was a beautiful day for a drive on the rim. Sunny and bright but didn't see one antelope or elk. Did see a few cows though.

      I was surprised by all the campgrounds there were along hwy 260. Must be a nice place for a visit from the valley folks.

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  4. I personally think Canyon de Chelly is one of the most beautiful places in AZ. Have a fantastic time and I'm really looking forward to your pictures.

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    1. It does look nice. Hopefully, the sun stays out all day so I can get photos of the canyon.

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  5. We took the tour into the canyon and thought it was worth the price. I love that park, but I think it was $5 or 10 when we were there a few years ago. If you love this, you'll love Slot Canyon in Page.

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    1. Thanks Jan. I will have to put Page on my list of things to do for next year. It was a nice little park with the trees and that horse walking free. I thought it was pricey for no hookups but the location was convenient.

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  6. if you're driving on a straight And level road you engage your overdrive the rpm will drop
    If you disengage your RPMs were rise
    It's the same as shift down one gear
    It also has a relation to the torque converter lock out but we won't get into that
    If you find a reputable transmission dealer in the mountains pick there brain it'll be well worth the information they give you and the tips that you could pick up
    You're doing good just remember if you run it disengaged your RPMs will be higher also you will lose about 2 or 3 miles per gallon but in the mountain you will be low anyways so this is one more trade-offs
    You definitely have to go to One of the slot canyons. If you go to any of the slots always remember on your way out an on your way back to bring and use a baggies over your camera why because the sand is very fine you don't want that in your camera
    So enjoy.

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    1. Thanks for the info Mister Ed. My poor point and shoot camera has been dropped so many times this winter, I don't think a little sand could hurt it any worse. The southwest is one big dust bowl it seems like.

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  7. I meant to say keep the camera in the baggy except for the shot your takeing then put it right back in

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  8. That is such a pretty part of the country~! We didn't make it out that far, just into New Mexico this year.
    KarenInTheWoods and Steveio
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    http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com
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  9. This place is right on the border of New Mexico and Arizona. Time zones are driving me crazy. Maybe another time you will do the I-40 route in New Mexico and it is not far north of Gallup. Glad your Tracker is done and under budget. Have a great rest of your vacation. I am on the way home now.

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