Walter and Sara Let the good times roll
In Part III we left off as we headed to Phoenix for 4 days of wedding festivities. It was hot (104 degrees) in Phoenix but the wedding went beautifully and we spent most of our time during the day indoors at homes of family.

On the Monday after the wedding, we hit the road by 8:30—a new record. It was 86 as we drove by Avondale on the freeway. We had a little rain in Flagstaff and stopped to have lunch in the parking lot of the trading post at Cameron. It was full of high school kids and lots of other RV’s having lunch. A ways north of Cameron it started to rain in earnest occasionally letting up but raining most of the way to the north rim of the Grand Canyon.

But since I hadn't taken pictures of the Vermillion Cliffs on the way down we stopped off and on to do it on the way back. As you can see, it was a wee bit wet.
 Vermillion Cliffs AZ

We arrived at the campground at 4:00pm to discover that I had made a mistake when I made the reservation! It was for Tuesday and Wednesday! But good news, someone had just decided to leave and we got their spot and since they had already paid we didn’t have to. By the time we got things set up it was 44 outside, brrrr. The trailer wasn’t too bad because it had been warm earlier in the day. We didn’t have to turn the heat on until later in the evening.

We had lots of rain and thunder all evening. At one point, the lightening was so bright it woke up me up and the thunder was really loud with those!

It was still only 43 in the morning and we were both awake pretty early. We decided that we’d eat breakfast and break camp and if the folks in the spot we’d reserved were gone then we’d just check back in. No dice. They were still there when we rumbled out at about 8:30. So we drove to the Visitor Center’s parking lot and walked along the rim taking photos.

We went from there to the Lodge and I took photos from the porch on both sides and from the promontory point to the east of the Lodge.

The clouds would come and go (as would the rain) which made fun to watch and interesting to photograph.

Here's a panorama shot from the promontory near the Lodge.

Panorama North Rim Grand Canyon near Lodge

At one point the sun came out and lit up one of the distant features.

View of Grand Canyon from North Rim Lodge

The trail down to the promotory point on the right is lovely if a bit windy.

Panorama of Grand Canyon from North Rim Lodge

Every once in a while the clouds would lift a little and you could really see the canyon.

North Rim Panorama Lodge

There was a ranger talk about Brightie, the donkey, and the history of tourism in the Canyon that I listened to to pass the time until we could move the trailer back into its spot in the campground. 

North Rim Grand Canyon Bronze Mule

Personally I thought this old radio was pretty cool too.

North Rim Grand Canyon Lodge Radio

When the clouds lifted the view from this sitting room overlooking the Canyon was really great.

North Rim Grand Canyon Lodge

The talk was done at about 11:15 so we went back to the trailer and checked in. We set up camp and made a picnic lunch and then set off to drive the road to Cape Royal.

The aspens along the road had started to turn and I happily took pictures all over the park until I got a few that I really liked.

Aspens in fall color North Rim Grand Canyon

Fall Color at North Rim of Grand Canyon

Then we stopped at Roosevelt Point and I took spooky photos of wispy clouds in the canyon.

Roosevelt Point North Rim Grand Canyon

Roosevelt Point sign North Rim Grand Canyon

Don't you just love the way the clouds hand on the sides of the formations?

Roosevelt Point Panorama North Rim Grand Canyon

Then the sun peaked out and lit up just one formation amongst the cloud draped ones.

Roosevelt Point Panorama North Rim Grand Canyon

Here's a close up of that shot.

Roosevelt Point North Rim Grand Canyon

At Walhalla Overlook I got my photos in just before it started to pour again and we had our lunch.

Walhalla Point North Rim Grand Canyon
Then on to Cape Royal where it was raining. There was a patch of blue heading our way, so we waited and when it stopped raining, Walter decided to stay in the car while I took the hike out to Angel’s Window and Cape Royal.

Here's a view from along the trail to Angel's Window.

Angel's Window Trail

And here's Angel's Window itself.

Angel's Window North Rim of Grand Canyon

I took a panorama shot of the camera from out near Angel's Window.

Angel's Window North Rim Grand Canyon Panorama

And then I went on to Cape Royal.

Cape Royal Trail North Rim Grand Canyon

The clouds and rain may have been frustrating but the sun breaks made for some fun photos.

Cape Royal Trail North Rim Grand Canyon

Here's a panorama shot from Cape Royal itself.

Cape Royal North Rim Grand Canyon Panorama

If you look carefully out in the distance you can see the river at the bottom of the canyon. Folks with binoculars said they could see folks rafting.

Sun and Colorado River from North Rim Grand Canyon

I hoofed it back and even managed to get back to the car before it starting pouring again.

We drove back to the Y in the road and then decided what the heck we still had lots of time so we drove out to Imperial Point, the highest point along the North Rim.

Point Imperial North Rim Grand Canyon

Out on the point the weather was really interesting. If you  looked right you got a view of the canyon.

Point Imperial North Rim Grand Canyon Panorama

If you looked left this is what you could see. It was socked in.

Fog and clouds at Point Imperial North Rim Grand Canyon

Along the same drive I shot this photo at the Mt. Hayden viewpoint.

Mount Hayden viewpoint North Rim Grand Canyon

We stopped at the general store and bought a copy of USA Today so we could check the weather and make plans. We got back to the trailer at about 3 and it was 44 outside (still) and 55 inside. So we ran the furance for the first time in the middle of the day. The forecast for the Bryce area wasn’t good. In fact, it sounded as if it might rain all 3 days we were supposed to be there. So we decided to sadly bag it, and slowly make our way towards John Day for Sunday when it looked like it might be nice.

We re-planned our stops and decided to go back to the KOA campground in Beaver for Wednesday night.

I woke up at 7 am and it was 43 outside. I rolled over and went back to sleep—no hurry we had a relatively short drive that day. At 8:30 the temp was 38! We had breakfast and broke camp. My hands were like ice by the time we had the trailer hitched up again and everything ready to go. We checked out and missed the dump station where we were going to fill up on water. Ah well, we had enough.

It sleeted much of the way on the 42 miles of road out of the park. You go back up to 8,800 feet and while the stuff wasn’t sticking it sure was slushy on the windshield. That only confirmed the wisdom of our decision not to go to Bryce as did the black clouds over the mountains where Bryce is.

We stopped to change drivers in Colorado City AZ and the sun came out! It was out much of the rest of our drive including lunch in Apple Valley UT.

As we drove north towards Beaver it was raining up ahead but the sun was out. The hugest, most amorphous looking rainbow appeared and stayed visible for a good 20 minutes. Walter got some photos of it through the front windshield as I drove.

Rainbow on highway going north to Beaver UT

In Part V we'll visit Bruneau Dunes in Idaho.