Route 66 - Day 16 - Grand Canyon to Page, AZ
Google mileage: 139 Actual mileage: 159 Total trip miles: 2252
Our 66 detour continues...We got up early to get a good start on the day. By eight we were breakfasted and ready to ride. Before we set off we made a quick call to Antelope Canyon Tours - we get booked on 3.30 tour, the only one with space left that day, which was great because it was the one we had wanted.
We drove back through the Grand Canyon park via the south rim. This time there were no stops for photos and we covered the 56 miles in good time despite the 45 mph speed limit.
Fueling up in Cameron, we turned towards Page, Arizona on highway 89. The road was fast and we experienced some pretty horrendous overtaking on the bumpy road, including a pickup truck towing a huge speedboat who passed us and we were doing 85.
About 20 miles outside Page the road climbed steeply covering about 1500 feet in height within a mile or two. This means that we were about 7,000 feet above see level. As we rounded a corner a huge vista and conveniently situated stopping place came into view. It gave us some time to stretch our legs after the frantic highway driving.
Just 25 miles later and we arrived in Page, Arizona. With little to stop for and fast highway driving we were at there by noon. This meant that we had time to relax, check into the hotel and get lunch at DamBar, a bar themed after the Dam at Lake Powell, which is the reason for the existence of the whole town.
At three we arrived at Antelope Canyon tours. The tour involved getting into some specially adapted 4x4s for a twenty mile ride out of town. The first ten miles were on asphalt and the next ten off-road across a sand riverbed.
Antelope Canyon is formed by regular flash floods which carry sand through cracks in the rocks which then becomes a deep crevice. Antelope is famous because its extremely photogenic, but it also provides a test of a photographers skills due to the wide range of exposure levels for each shot. I put the camera on 'manual' and then 'time value' modes then used the age old technique - shoot as many photos as possible and hope that some good ones are among the many bad.
After the tour we rode the bikes out to Lake Powell to catch the sunrise and grab a drink at a bar overlooking the water before heading to a local Mexican restaurant, 'Fiesta Mexicana' for dinner. I ordered the house special, Tampiquena. The food was great but the portions were massive, (a regular theme on our trip).
Given the short mileage day we managed to pack a lot in, and were tired out by nine in the evening.
So far, our side trip off route 66 is proving to be a great idea...