June 27, 2017
We enjoyed our dinner at the VFW and should have worn our sidearms but Peggy wouldn’t let me. No Alien abduction last night. It was still hot at 6:30AM and I managed to find a place with a breakfast in the gigantic Beatty candy store. We were on the road an hour later. We knew we couldn’t leave Death Valley and not visit one ghost town. Rhyolite flourished briefly in the early 1900’s. A railroad was built that connected it to Tonopah and the rest of the Bullfrog mining district. Rhyolite boasted a train station, a three story bank, a stock exchange and most importantly a glass bottle house. An Irishman built his house with glass bottle walls. That was a lot of bottles even for an Irishman. It is ironic that the most lasting monument of Rhyolite’s glory days is a small house built of bottles. The railroad, except the empty station and a rotting caboose are all gone. The bank and hotel are but shells. The extractive industry that created them is long gone.
Down empty highways to Las Vegas. The almost complete beltway highway scooted us around the outside edge of Vegas. It is much recommend. The Virgin River Canyon is an impressive entrance to Utah. We made our first stop of the day in Hurricane. Despite the name, it is pleasant enough. We avoided the Zion traffic by heading towards Colorado City, former home of the Polygamist sect that Warren Jeffs led. Despite my interest in a 17 bedroom,16 bath house, we charged ahead to Fredonia. We discovered that fresh food is unavailable in the Arizona Strip between the Utah border and Grand Canyon. In desperation for an apple, we stopped in a health food store tended by a number of young women and a matriarch dressed in “Jeff-like” outfits.i was tempted to ask questions but limited my inquiries to produce. They told me that we would have to cross the border to Utah to find fresh food.
We left the flat lands and headed towards the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. We found a General store with expensive apples imported from California. The highway became busy but not sluggish. We were not alone when we reached the Grand Canyon. Now we have been to the South Rim a number of times. This is the first North Rim experience. We were not alone but not crowded anything like Yosemite. We have a cute “Frontier” log cabin with an en suite shower. We are about 50 yards from the historic lodge. It would be more historic if the original, designed my the same architect as the Ahwahnee, had not burned down.
I am currently watching the sun set over the canyon while Peggy pops up and takes a picture or two of the sublime surroundings. I watch my glass of wine disappear and enjoy the cool breezes. Peggy has checked the bed for the “log cabin soft ticks”. None found so far. Let you know in a week of we come down with malarial fever. Other than possible ticks, the cabin is great.
We did manage to do the easy hikes and get some photos of us posing in seemingly dangerous locations. We and others were in good spirits. Not too warm. We looked at the mule rides for tomorrow but I know that afterwards you smell like a mule for a week. I think we will be content walking and exploring without animal power. We can see the hotels on the South Rim from here. Naturally, the man made structures are insignificant to the point of irrelevance. Naturally, that is the point. Rhyolite was built for a moment in time. The Grand Canyon is timeless despite the continuous efforts of man to control the flow of the Colorado River.