The plan was to camp at one of several campgrounds in Oak Creek Canyon, along highway 89A from Sedona to Flagstaff. However in the dark we are unsuccessful at finding an open one. So we decide to go all the way to Flagstaff and motel it, and then camp at the rim of the Grand Canyon the next night (the plan was to camp this night and then do Flagstaff).

It's Motel 6 as usual - they have reasonable prices and laundry facilities. We eat dinner at a Denny's but the food is bad. It turns me off Denny's for the whole trip, even though Denny's in general is OK. There are several in Flagstaff alone; we must have gotten the bad one.

2001:03:19 20:28:10 2001:03:19 22:15:23 2001:03:19 22:15:47

A good night's sleep is not to be. Someone pulls a fire alarm. Bob peacefully sleeps through the noise and flashing lights, but I dress and look around. The firemen don't look in the mood to be pestered by some idiot with a camera, so I take a picture of the fire truck (one of two!)

2001:03:19 23:54:27

Anyway, for quite a while it is not clear whether the alarm is real or not, or even what part of the motel it comes from. The firemen stand in front of the open alarm panel, wires everywhere. A zone map is not to be found. The receptionist tries to continue taking reservations on the phone through all this. Eventually another motel guest finds the pulled fire alarm station. The firemen snap it back in place and the noise stops.

Tuesday, March 20

Next morning, I am up early as usual, admiring the beautiful San Francisco Peaks (highest point: Mount Humphreys at 12,670ft, highest point in Arizona). These are visible from all over Northern Arizona. Andrew is up early as well and we go for a short drive in search of a better perspective. These mountains are much bigger than they look though, so we don't achieve much.

Note the drastic change in climate and vegetation from southern Arizona. Amazing what a few thousand feet of elevation do.

2001:03:20 06:53:22 2001:03:20 06:56:03 2001:03:20 07:58:00 2001:03:20 07:58:10 2001:03:20 08:06:07 2001:03:20 08:06:16 2001:03:20 08:09:48 2001:03:20 08:10:34 2001:03:20 08:16:53 2001:03:20 08:31:33 2001:03:20 08:32:21

We need to pack up for the Grand Canyon. If we want to do this in the campground at the rim, today is pretty much shot because we need daylight to do it. So we decide to spend a second night at the hotel and pack up there. This means we can still do stuff today. First on the agenda is Lorraine's contact lenses. She finally gets them at an optical store south of town. The optometrists are very helpful, giving her a quick free eye exam and even an extra pair of lenses, all for $8. Lorraine is happy again!

2001:03:20 10:44:15 2001:03:20 10:49:01

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