Posts Tagged ‘Highway 89A’

Road Tripping

If all difficulties were known at the outset of a long journey, most of us would never start out at all.” – Dan Rather

Nothing beats a lonesome scenic backroad for a peaceful drive. This scene is just west of the Navajo Bridge on Highway 89A, — Photo by Pat Bean

The Last 500 Miles

            Day 12: Jean and I were on the road by 7 a.m. After being together almost constantly for 12 days our attitudes were both a bit crusty. We are not anything alike. And with so much time spent in each other’s company, our individual trifling quirks had become major annoyances.

Jacob Lake Campground: Peaceful and soothing.

So it was that the 10-hour scenic drive home was made with little conversation. This was OK for both of us, I think. I enjoy driving in silence, preferring not even to listen to music, and Jean could peacefully enjoy some awesome scenery she had never seen before.

After leaving St. George, we would head to nearby Hurricane, Utah, where we would hook up with Highway 59 that would turn into Highway 389 when we hit the Arizona border near the infamous Colorado City. The town was formerly called Short Creek and had been founded by polygamists when the Mormon Church abandoned the practice.

We didn’t make the turn off to the town, but back in the early ‘70s, I had driven through it – and it had been creepy. My car was followed until it was well past the town limits.

Our drive then took us through the Kaibab Indian Reservation almost all the way into Fredonia, where we would hook up with Highway 89A. This scenic backroad is one of my favorites.

Navaho Bridge

We stopped for a break to walk our dogs, Scamp and Dusty, in Kaibab National Forest’s Jacob Lake Campground located near the turnoff to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon I had stayed here a couple of times during my RV-ing years, and found it pretty much as I remembered  it: Peaceful and uncrowded with the scent from the Ponderosa pines that towered above soothing my soul.

Back on the road, we would cross over the Navaho Bridge that sits high above the Colorado River. I had floated beneath this magnificent 44-foot wide, 447-feet high bridge twice during the first days of my two 16-day rafting trips on the river through the Grand Canyon. I had also driven across the older 18-foot wide bridge before the new one was built. That one is now a footbridge across the river.

This section of today’s drive was filling my brain with vivid memories, and they continued as we passed the Vermillion Cliffs, where the first California condors born in captivity had been released. As a reporter, I wrote several stories on the recovery of this magnificent bird, whose population went from 27 in the 1980s to over 500 today, including 300 that are once again flying free in the wild.

Scamp and Dusty were eager to get home too. — Photo by Jean Gowen

While today’s drive may have been the longest of the trip, it didn’t seem that way. Soon we were on Highway 17, that would take us into Flagstaff, and then into Phoenix, where we picked up heavy traffic again, and finally onto Interstate 10 that took us into Tucson.

There is no place like home.

As for the uncomfortable tension and any unresolved issues between Jean and I, we got over them. About two weeks later, we had a good talk, and our friendship is even stronger now than it was before. This was the trip’s silver lining – the one I’m always trying to find.

Bean Pat: Living Life Graciously https://imissmetoo.me/2019/08/22/your-table-is-ready/ My kind of dining room table.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, enthusiastic birder, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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