Friday, February 22, 2013


I'm in Scottsdale, Arizona now. The drive down through Utah went well, I had a feeling I was dogging bullets. Dark clouds seemed to be to the right and left as I slipped through the middle on clear roads. I stopped in Kanab for some lunch and pressed on over the north rim of the Grand Canyon. Here is a shot of the Kanab plateau looking north.

As I drove up in elevation the skies over the canyon began to take a turn for the worst. They said it was moving in from the south and I was heading straight into it. Here is a shot from the rim at 7000 feet.

The roads were still clear over the top and I descended down towards the Colorado River, watching the clouds build up.

As I got to the junction of 89A and 89 the road over to Page, Arizona had collapsed, the police and news people were all there with the road blocked off. I had chosen the right road in this case. If I had decided to go over Page to this very spot I would have been forced to back track 80 miles. 
I continued on to Flagstaff and started to climb in elevation again, the snow began to fall and stick to the highway.  The ice built up and traffic began to slow down. I was in it.  From then on it was a slow crawl through the high altitude mountain town.  I was hoping that all this would vanish as I dropped in elevation off the plateau.  I was so wrong in that assumption. 

I found out later that they had closed the interstate, but since I was on it, I was unaware. The highway descended down to Camp Verde at some 4000 feet in elevation and that's when it hit. The snow began to really come down, visibility dropped to less than a hundred feet and I passed by cars that were spun out left and right off the road. Several had slid off the side and down the ravine.  It looked like carnage all over the place.  I was glad I outfitted the Subaru with new tires, as I drove on past. Maybe it might have been the fact of more experience in snowy weather living in Utah.  Most of the cars I saw were two wheel drive with summer tires. I pushed on along a single laned path through a foot of snow; an eighteen wheeler was behind me. We drove through the valley and up the other side, where the weather let up a little. The roads cleared up a bit and we could relax for a while.  

Little did I know they were getting a half inch of snow in Scottsdale, something unheard of at this time of season.  Traffic was back up to the normal 75-80 mph when it hit again; another section of highway obliterated with snow and wreckage from automobiles.  

I finally pulled up to Ron Bailey's house at eight in the evening, the car covered in snow and salt.  

1 comment:

  1. Nice photos, Richard.

    The drive to the North rim is quite enjoyable -- when the weather is good, of course.

    I did it a couple times when I lived in Utah and once (twice if you count the return trip) when I lived in AZ.

    The drive goes right by the mouth of Paria Canyon, which is an awesome hike.

    -- Larry Darkness