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Jim Andrada
11-Feb-2015, 22:51
I've lived in CA and AZ for a total of over 30 years and have yet to visit the Grand Canyon.

But that's going to change next month. Our grand-nephews are going to be visiting from Tokyo and they want to go see it so we're planning to drive up.

Are there any suggestions re where to stay? I've looked into the hotels in the park and it seems they are pretty well sold out for the time we're planning to go.

Any recommendations for hotels that are outside the park but not a million miles away?

Sal Santamaura
11-Feb-2015, 23:06
I've been making quite a few trips there recently, but always plan far enough ahead to stay in the park. This isn't a recommendation based on personal experience, and I have no idea what their March vacancy rates might be, but there are a number of motel choices in Tusayan, a whopping 1.4 miles from the park's south rim entrance station. Easy commute. :)

Leszek Vogt
11-Feb-2015, 23:13
Go North young man, go North....well, at least that's what I'd do. Have you looked at St George or viscinity ? The limitation is that the N. Rim is only open mid May to Mid Oct....and only 10% of elbows to rub in comparison to the S. Rim.

Les

Richard Raymond
12-Feb-2015, 09:27
There are a bunch of hotels in Tusayan, AZ just south of the park. National chains and locals. This is probably the best place to look at this time. They have Best Western, Holiday Inn something, Red Feather. All are probably best just as a place to sleep. (St. George is over on the west side of Zion National Park on the 15 and definitely too far away...even for the north rim. Kanab would be closer during the summer for the north side.)
Ric

Jim Andrada
12-Feb-2015, 11:14
Thanks much - the kids will be here from mid-March to March 30 . I looked on the web site and it seems that all but one of the in-park hotels are sold out and the price tag for the one that's open is a bit steep.

tgtaylor
12-Feb-2015, 11:26
When I visited the area (during January) I stayed mostly in motels that were priced at ~$26/night single and were readily available. Most rooms that I stayed in were doubles but I was charged the single price. It's cold during January but the atmosphere is clear so you get an expansive view across the canyon. If you go to the south rim, be sure to follow the road (Hermit Road?) that travels along the rim for 20 or so miles. The vista's from lookouts on that road are jewels.

Thomas

John Kasaian
12-Feb-2015, 12:16
What is it that you want to do at the Grand Canyon?
On the South Rim---
You can stand on the rim and look out, do a walk around on a nice path and then hit the tourist shops/cafe.
You can flightsee (pretty cool really!)
You can take a mule ride down to the bottom(classic!)
Or you can hike down and maybe survive the hike back up (or be medivac'ed)
Or you can take a train ride from Willliams (IIRC you even get "held up" by train robbers, but I could be mistaken)

The North Rim is less crowded (cause it's a very long drive to get there) and higher in elevation (so it's closed much of the winter)

You can even raft through it down the Colorado.

I'd consider your guest's ages and abilities and how much time and money you want to budget and go from there.
There are deals to be had if you do your homework.
Just like Yosemite, anyway you choose to visit is going to be an incredibly beautiful experience.
Have a great trip!

Jim Andrada
12-Feb-2015, 13:31
Thanks John and thanks Thomas

The "kids" are 2nd year jr high and 1st year college. I don't know where the Grand Canyon idea came from - maybe my wife! She saw it when she came to the US in her 20's and spent 3 months with a group touring the country by Greyhound.

Anyhow, this trip is primarily to show the kids part of the "American West". I've only seen the canyon from the air so it will be a first for me too.

Maybe the kids will ride the mules - it would be animal cruelty if I tried it! And I wear a heavy duty leg brace these days so hiking it is probably out. Maybe I can put the 100 pound wife and the kids on mules and then roam around with the camera until they get back.

I've only seen it from the air so maybe time to go take a look up close.

Sal Santamaura
12-Feb-2015, 13:47
...You can flightsee...Nooooooo! Please don't!! In my opinion, all but emergency sub-18,000' MSL air operations ought be prohibited over national parks. The throngs of tourists disgorged from buses on the south rim are bad enough.

In 2011, the National Park Service began a process of tightening overflight rules beyond current restrictions, although its preferred alternative was nowhere near as draconian as mine. Congress thwarted the effort via a transportation funding bill that year. I urge everyone to avoid airtours and thereby work toward a quieter, more natural national park experience. If unable to resist a desire for elevated eyepoints of grand canyon, stroll into the Imax theater in Tusayan. Ridiculous as I find that theater's very existence, patronizing it is preferable to encouraging the airtour operators.

This post comes to you from someone whose entire life involved aviation, starting with single-engine piston planes and culminating as a Boeing engineer. I love the stuff -- but not over national parks.

Vaughn
12-Feb-2015, 14:00
When I was working on the South Rim, my girlfriend and I decided to have a romantic picnic on the rim and we picked a secuded spot (we thought). Ended up it was under where the helicopter sight-seeing tours flew over the rim for that classic close-to-the-ground-now-nothing-below-you thing. Way too distracting.

As far as riding mules down into the Canyon, they do have a poundage limit.

If you are lucky, there might be some snow on the South Rim (it is 7000 feet elevation!)

Drew Wiley
12-Feb-2015, 14:17
The nearest sizable town, Flagstaff, is quite a drive away. But there are plenty of accommodations, food, etc, near the south rim of the park itself. Probably too much. The north rim is a different story and seasonally restricted. Summer is zoo season - herds of tourists and tour buses. But you're headed there mid-Spring
which should be quite nice. You probably should make reservations somewhere, just in case. The NP Lodge will probably be way too $$$; but you might want to
eat breakfast there just for the famous window view. The rim trails are easy walking and virtually level. Most of the tour bus mobs step out onto a limited number of "scenic turnouts" and overlooks, and after a few minutes are herded back onto the buses to go gamble at Las Vegas, or in the summer, to their offical five minute view of Yellowstone, then back to Yosemite for five minutes, etc. Just walk a little ways further for some private camera time, or to so earlier or later in the day. Hiking into the canyon is obviously a different story. I don't know if there is risk of fog in the canyon that late past Winter or not. It can obscure the stereotypical view completely, but is beautiful in its own right. If someone does decide to hike into the canyon, carry LOTS of water. What goes down must come back up! I've been to both the north and south rim several times. My favorite time for the south rim is mid-winter. But I don't recall ever taking a single
picture of either! Just enjoyed the view, got some aspen shots and various desert themes in route, but left the canyon itself to the myriads of LF photographers who have gone before.

angusparker
12-Feb-2015, 15:11
Go East! Canyon de Chelle, Petrified Forest, Monument Valley. Another +1 for North Rim. Then Bryce, Zion and Arches.

lfpf
12-Feb-2015, 16:45
Many options in and around Grand Canyon. Take a look at Marble Canyon Lodge, Lees Ferry, Paria Canyon, hiking up and down the Colorado, hire a boat Lees Ferry to Glen Canyon Dam, walk the original Lees Ferry road, visit John D. Lee's Lonely Dell Ranch and orchard. Read Lees Ferry by P.T Reilly. Wet a line in the Colorado River at Lees Ferry (fishing guides available) or fish from the bank. History, geology, scenic, accessible, and a mighty good lookin' locale with no buses or crowds. Watch GC raft trips gear-up and launch. Just a thought.

Drew Wiley
12-Feb-2015, 17:00
Heck. He lives in Arizona. He can go those other places anytime. Lees Ferry and all the nearby Kanab, Coral Dunes, etc sights are wonderful too, but are a bit of a drive past the Grand Canyon. By contrast, right on the way to GC you've got places like Hovenweep, Walnut Canyon, San Francisco Pks, and a great little Natural History museum right below those peaks. Plenty to see in the immediate vicinity if the view of the Canyon itself somehow wears out. There will be a variety of light that time of the year if just relaxing and taking it in is the objective. Seeing too many things on a single trip is a good way to see nothing. Desert Solitaire
got it right.

Will S
12-Feb-2015, 17:22
The Grand Canyon is truly wonderful. (I also recommend Canyon de Chelly if you've never been there, but the Grand Canyon is, well, grand.) One of the really truly amazing places I've been. On the south rim, El Tovar is a great lodge if you can get in (which you probably can't at short notice) but they do have a nice pub and a restaurant. For an easier hike I would recommend the South Kaibab to Bright Angel. There are buses that can take you to the trail head. Just go down halfway and turn around, or take Bright Angel out. Both have mules on them. Definitely more traffic on Bright Angel. If you have any of AA's pictures of the Grand Canyon review them before you go. It's fun to see the same places he photographed.

Jim Andrada
12-Feb-2015, 17:30
Well, put it this way - my wife and both grand-nephews and the cat in total weigh slightly less than I do. The mules would almost certainly run the other way at first sight.

lfpf
12-Feb-2015, 18:14
Well, put it this way - my wife and both grand-nephews and the cat in total weigh slightly less than I do. The mules would almost certainly run the other way at first sight.

Jim, with your family, spring weather and options your trip will me memorable and remain on your list. Live it up!

Sal Santamaura
12-Feb-2015, 22:15
In case anyone is interested in hard facts, here are the requirements for mule riders


RIDER QUALIFICATIONS: (These apply to all mule ride activities)


All skill-levels of riders are welcome
Riders must be in good physical condition
Phantom Ranch: Riders must weigh less than 200 pounds (90 kg), fully dressed
Canyon Vistas: Riders must weigh less than 225 pounds (102 kg), fully dressed
Riders must be at least 4 feet, 7 inches tall
Each rider must be able to speak and understand fluent English
Riders should not be afraid of heights or large animals
Riders cannot be pregnant
Long sleeve shirts, long pants, broad brim hats and close-toed shoes are required
Ski caps and gloves are recommended for winter riders
Riderís height must be proportionate to his or her weight


from this page:


http://www.grandcanyonlodges.com/things-to-do/mule-trips/

Leszek Vogt
12-Feb-2015, 22:43
Jim, have you tried looking at lodging in Williams, AZ ? Sure, you'll have a small drive to get to GC, but not as far as from Tucson. There are plenty of wonderful overlook places without having to utilize the mules. As Vaughn pointed out, it will be quite chilly at the Rim in March.

Les

StoneNYC
15-Feb-2015, 02:15
As others mentioned earlier on, there's a few hotels just outside of the actual national park itself, I stayed at the Best Western multiple times, and it's just fine for doing that, it's not it all far to drive from there to the actual Canyon, just do that.

As far as actually places to see, take everyone's suggestions and then just try it yourself, you're probably going to have to come back a second time. I've hiked the whole thing in to the bottom and back twice and both experiences were wonderful and I learned lots of new things each time.


~Stone

lfpf
15-Feb-2015, 08:03
Agreed. Go once and then again many times over. E, W, N, S, by car, jeep, foot or raft. History, geology, botany, legends, rumors, sights in black/white and color, changing weather. A mile vertical from 3,000' to more than 8,000', 277 river miles with road access at Lees Ferry and Diamond Creek (Whitmore Wash road only gets close). Camp, motel, back seat when tired. Go for the entertaining crowds or see no one for a month. Options are yours. And that's just Grand Canyon! Recommend reading John Wesley Powell and Robert Brewster Stanton for starters, then the Kolb Brothers of GC Kolb Studio ( http://grandcanyonhistory.clas.asu.edu/sites_southrim_kolbstudio.html )
GC river snaps: http://wwwpaztcn.wr.usgs.gov/fscc/stanton-repeat-photography/index.php

Live it up.

Robert Langham
15-Feb-2015, 08:29
For first trip, especially with young folks and limited mobility, I would book in Tusayan, drive in for day, let the youngsters mill around in Grand Canyon Village, snack, view the scenery, ride shuttle a bit, walk out to close points, talk to ravens. Watch for Condors. Second day I would send them down the South Kaibab trail to Cedar Crest and NO FARTHER. (NOT Bright Angel.) Water and backpacks. Gone 4 hours round trip with lunch and binocs. They will get a taste. While they are trekking you can put up a camera or just scout a few locations and chill.

They will have a real trail experience they will talk about for years, while not getting over their heads. You'll get an intro overall survey. Two nights at hotel. While the kids are out take the Mrs to lunch at one of the big rim lodges. Everyone happy.

I'd go heavy on binocs and hats, make sure the iphones are charged fully. You'll love it and so will they!

No mule trip for first timers. Trust me on this.

StoneNYC
15-Feb-2015, 08:52
Agreed. Go once and then again many times over. E, W, N, S, by car, jeep, foot or raft. History, geology, botany, legends, rumors, sights in black/white and color, changing weather. A mile vertical from 3,000' to more than 8,000', 277 river miles with road access at Lees Ferry and Diamond Creek (Whitmore Wash road only gets close). Camp, motel, back seat when tired. Go for the entertaining crowds or see no one for a month. Options are yours. And that's just Grand Canyon! Recommend reading John Wesley Powell and Robert Brewster Stanton for starters, then the Kolb Brothers of GC Kolb Studio ( http://grandcanyonhistory.clas.asu.edu/sites_southrim_kolbstudio.html )
GC river snaps: http://wwwpaztcn.wr.usgs.gov/fscc/stanton-repeat-photography/index.php

Live it up.

Where can you go in with a jeep? I didn't think that was possible?


For first trip, especially with young folks and limited mobility, I would book in Tusayan, drive in for day, let the youngsters mill around in Grand Canyon Village, snack, view the scenery, ride shuttle a bit, walk out to close points, talk to ravens. Watch for Condors. Second day I would send them down the South Kaibab trail to Cedar Crest and NO FARTHER. (NOT Bright Angel.) Water and backpacks. Gone 4 hours round trip with lunch and binocs. They will get a taste. While they are trekking you can put up a camera or just scout a few locations and chill.

They will have a real trail experience they will talk about for years, while not getting over their heads. You'll get an intro overall survey. Two nights at hotel. While the kids are out take the Mrs to lunch at one of the big rim lodges. Everyone happy.

I'd go heavy on binocs and hats, make sure the iphones are charged fully. You'll love it and so will they!

No mule trip for first timers. Trust me on this.

I agree, the mule ride could be very tiring and expensive for a first timer and you definitely don't get to stop and take pictures!

For those that can make it half way down on their feet, the Indian Gardens overlook area is a must see! I was there the first time and didn't go out to the overlook area, what an idiot, I can't believe I missed one of the best photo opportunities, I must go back as I only had a chance to catch the evening light the second time.

Roger Thoms
15-Feb-2015, 10:59
Jim, have you tried looking at lodging in Williams, AZ ? Sure, you'll have a small drive to get to GC, but not as far as from Tucson. There are plenty of wonderful overlook places without having to utilize the mules. As Vaughn pointed out, it will be quite chilly at the Rim in March.

Les

Williams was my thought and then take the Grand Canyon Railroad up to the Grand Canyon. The train is super relaxed, enjoyable way to get to the Grand Canyon. As Drew pointed out, lots to see here in Northern AZ.

Roger

biedron
15-Feb-2015, 11:47
Where can you go in with a jeep? I didn't think that was possible?

Toroweap/Tuweap on the north rim. Unique view right down to the river 2000-3000 feet below. Camping only, at the end of a 60+ mile gravel road that turns into a high-clearance required track (4 wheel drive recommended) for the last 5 miles or so.

Unforgettable. Don't fall...

Bob

StoneNYC
15-Feb-2015, 12:50
Toroweap/Tuweap on the north rim. Unique view right down to the river 2000-3000 feet below. Camping only, at the end of a 60+ mile gravel road that turns into a high-clearance required track (4 wheel drive recommended) for the last 5 miles or so.

Unforgettable. Don't fall...

Bob

OMG in going!! Although I probably won't drive out there in my current vehicle so I'll have to fly and get a rental, but it would be cool to drive all the way there from CT! :)

lfpf
15-Feb-2015, 14:36
[QUOTE=StoneNYC;1217372]Where can you go in with a jeep? I didn't think that was possible?


Where can't you go in a jeep? Start in St. George, bring extra time, extra gas, boots, binos, shovel, spare spare tire, tow-strap to pull-out unsuspecting tourists, compass and head south in general direction of Mt. Trumbull, Grand Canyon-Parashant, Whitmore Wash, Toroweap/Tuweep and enjoy the sights, dusty days, quiet nights, volcanoes, lava flows and petroglyphs. http://www.blm.gov/az/st/en/prog/blm_special_areas/natmon/gcp.html
Post pics.

Jim Andrada
16-Feb-2015, 09:49
Not sure what I'll be driving. I have a 17 year old Land Rover that we got when we had two Great Danes (We had a Dane as an apartment puppy in downtown Tokyo, but that's a different story) - it's been a great car but stuff is wearing out and falling off - seats are coming apart, one door doesn't open, windows open and close sometimes, plastic cracking etc. It lives outside and the UV really does a job on paint etc. Good mechanical condition, "only" 140k miles, but starting to show it's age. Not sure it's up to the trip. Car is sort of in the same condition as me, come to think of it.


We have a new one on order but it looks like it won't get here until after the kids have gone home. We usually drive cars 15 to 20 years.

StoneNYC
16-Feb-2015, 10:14
Not sure what I'll be driving. I have a 17 year old Land Rover that we got when we had two Great Danes (We had a Dane as an apartment puppy in downtown Tokyo, but that's a different story) - it's been a great car but stuff is wearing out and falling off - seats are coming apart, one door doesn't open, windows open and close sometimes, plastic cracking etc. It lives outside and the UV really does a job on paint etc. Good mechanical condition, "only" 140k miles, but starting to show it's age. Not sure it's up to the trip. Car is sort of in the same condition as me, come to think of it.


We have a new one on order but it looks like it won't get here until after the kids have gone home. We usually drive cars 15 to 20 years.

That sounds like my 2001 Saab 9-5 Aero, got it at 83,000 miles and drive it till 249,000 miles, could have fine the extra 1,000 miles but needed new tires and it was time for a newer car, one window didn't work, the heat only worked for the driver, transmission needed time to warm up before it actually would work, always smelled like there was oil burning, the rear wheel would always go flat, same wheel, change the rims and still happened so it must've been something with the camber pulling on the edge of the wheel and letting air out or something, but the seats were actually in pretty good shape, the backseat didn't look like it had been touched and even the dealer that I bought my new car from commented that he was amazed at how pristine the seats were, I always took care when I put something else back there and they used good real leather in the older Saabs. So I decided it was time to get a "brand-new" to me 2008 Land Rover LR2 with 111,000 miles. I'll certainly have it another 100,000 miles, but cost a heck of a lot more from the dealer than the 2001 Saab did from a private seller...

The sad part is the gas mileage is the same! Lol.

Unfortunately for me it appears the previous owner also used his Land Rover for his dogs, as there are remnants of them stuck in the seats back from the trunk side, I can't get the hair out no matter how hard I try, it's right at the edges and it just sticks in there, hopefully all the dander will go away from open windows in summer as I'm a little allergic lol! The backseats are in as good condition as the Saab, and the front seats aren't as much real leather as the Saab either, that's really my only complaint, because I buy leather seats on purpose because of the comfortability, these fake leather or half fake leather seats make me sweat and I don't like it, I'll probably have someone reupholster the driver seat in summer.

John Kasaian
16-Feb-2015, 13:25
That sounds like my 2001 Saab 9-5 Aero, got it at 83,000 miles and drive it till 249,000 miles, could have fine the extra 1,000 miles but needed new tires and it was time for a newer car, one window didn't work, the heat only worked for the driver, transmission needed time to warm up before it actually would work, always smelled like there was oil burning, the rear wheel would always go flat, same wheel, change the rims and still happened so it must've been something with the camber pulling on the edge of the wheel and letting air out or something, but the seats were actually in pretty good shape, the backseat didn't look like it had been touched and even the dealer that I bought my new car from commented that he was amazed at how pristine the seats were, I always took care when I put something else back there and they used good real leather in the older Saabs. So I decided it was time to get a "brand-new" to me 2008 Land Rover LR2 with 111,000 miles. I'll certainly have it another 100,000 miles, but cost a heck of a lot more from the dealer than the 2001 Saab did from a private seller...

The sad part is the gas mileage is the same! Lol.

Unfortunately for me it appears the previous owner also used his Land Rover for his dogs, as there are remnants of them stuck in the seats back from the trunk side, I can't get the hair out no matter how hard I try, it's right at the edges and it just sticks in there, hopefully all the dander will go away from open windows in summer as I'm a little allergic lol! The backseats are in as good condition as the Saab, and the front seats aren't as much real leather as the Saab either, that's really my only complaint, because I buy leather seats on purpose because of the comfortability, these fake leather or half fake leather seats make me sweat and I don't like it, I'll probably have someone reupholster the driver seat in summer.
Ask one of the homicide inspectors from your local PD. They know of people who professionally clean up gory crime scenes. Dog hair would be an easy job.

Jim Andrada
16-Feb-2015, 21:43
Yeah - I didn't mention the part about our "little" female Dane taking exception to being left in the car for 10 minutes and chewing away the back of the seats, all the door liners, and the rear seat belts. Quick work.

She was delicate little thing at 190 pounds. Of course at the same time we also had her uncle who was a svelte 225 and 42 inches at the shoulder. But he was so gentle he never did anything bad - well except unintentionally when my wife (100 pounds,"nearly" 5 feet tall) was brushing him off and he flipped his head up and got her in the chin and knocked out her front upper tooth and a piece of her upper jaw bone. 2 1/2 years of surgeries to rebuild her mouth during which she couldn't even bite toast - had to cut it up.

@Stone - do Land Rovers get gas mileage? Might be more like gas yardage! I think my '98 gets 10mpg on a good day downhill with a tailwind. It's aerodynamics absolutely suck - sort of like pushing a brick through the air. But we like the big square box design so we're getting an LR4 before they redesign it to look like a Ford Explorer jelly bean. If it were up to me I'd get a couple of more Great Danes to ride in it but my wife wants to take a break from dog ownership - not because of her injury though.

I'm going to get a heavy duty rack on it so I can do the Ansel Adams car top thing.

StoneNYC
16-Feb-2015, 22:37
Yeah - I didn't mention the part about our "little" female Dane taking exception to being left in the car for 10 minutes and chewing away the back of the seats, all the door liners, and the rear seat belts. Quick work.

She was delicate little thing at 190 pounds. Of course at the same time we also had her uncle who was a svelte 225 and 42 inches at the shoulder. But he was so gentle he never did anything bad - well except unintentionally when my wife (100 pounds,"nearly" 5 feet tall) was brushing him off and he flipped his head up and got her in the chin and knocked out her front upper tooth and a piece of her upper jaw bone. 2 1/2 years of surgeries to rebuild her mouth during which she couldn't even bite toast - had to cut it up.

@Stone - do Land Rovers get gas mileage? Might be more like gas yardage! I think my '98 gets 10mpg on a good day downhill with a tailwind. It's aerodynamics absolutely suck - sort of like pushing a brick through the air. But we like the big square box design so we're getting an LR4 before they redesign it to look like a Ford Explorer jelly bean. If it were up to me I'd get a couple of more Great Danes to ride in it but my wife wants to take a break from dog ownership - not because of her injury though.

I'm going to get a heavy duty rack on it so I can do the Ansel Adams car top thing.

I almost got the roof rack version but the dealer wanted too much for that one, but now that I own it I realize it wouldn't do much good, shakes too much, it's a stiff ride but when turned off and just sitting on it, it really shakes from side to side easily, so setting up on the roof might not work.

The LR2 is the only one I would get because it gets 17 city and 23mpg highway so it's not bad, the Saab 9-5 had the same exact mileage so I'm used to it. The other Land Rovers (all of them) are much worse than the LR2. My version has an in line 6 engine that will basically go forever, the newer models are like the saab, a 4 cylinder with turbo so it's got the same power but gets about 18 city and 26 highway, however the straight 6 engine will endure a lot more based on design factors.

The LR4 is a beast, much bigger engine and costs a lot more, at that rate you might as well just buy a Range Rover Sport instead. They both get terrible gas mileage and the Range Rover has the body on frame design, not sure the LR4 does, I know my LR2 is a unibody design, but it's still pretty hearty. The my straight 6 engine is Volvo and the platform is based off of the BMW X5 design, the transmission however is sadly Japanese and doesn't have the best reputation in that the rear tends to totally fail... But that's no different than my 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee which had the same issue.

I'm not a dog person for those kinds of reasons, just unaware of themselves, my cat knows to retract his claws even if afraid and trying to run away he won't open his claws to climb away if he's in my arms, only after safely away will he use his claws for stability. Not to start a cat vs dog argument which is as arbitrary as Nikon vs Canon lol.

Glad to have a other way to see the Grand Canyon when I'm old or feeling lazy haha!

Jim Andrada
16-Feb-2015, 23:35
The BajaRack is rated for 600 pounds - should be enough for me and a camera! As long as it isn't a big camera.

Sort of exaggerating - nowhere near that big, but most racks seem to be rated for 100 pounds or something equally useless considering that a 4 x 8 (actually 49" x 97") sheet of 1" MDF is over 100 pounds,

StoneNYC
17-Feb-2015, 10:54
The BajaRack is rated for 600 pounds - should be enough for me and a camera! As long as it isn't a big camera.

Sort of exaggerating - nowhere near that big, but most racks seem to be rated for 100 pounds or something equally useless considering that a 4 x 8 (actually 49" x 97") sheet of 1" MDF is over 100 pounds,

I wasn't saying that the rack couldn't hold me, I was saying that because the car is not planted and is on springs, it will rock with any wind and or movement from your body, making it very difficult to take any shots that are below about 1/15th a second, that's all I meant.

I have no idea how heavy the rack is actually waited for, but I would assume more than 100 pounds for sure, I'll check.

Good luck!

Drew Wiley
17-Feb-2015, 11:57
I'm pretty wary of random "jeep" roads unless you're in a convoy where another jeep can pull you out. Sand can be a real devil. On the other hand, there are many relatively good graded dirt roads where garden-variety 4WD is a distinct convenience if you encounter a washout, need higher clearance etc. It helps to inquire at local BLM or FS offices about road conditions. Some of these longer dirt drives can be awfully washboardy, so kinda rough on front-end alignment and tires. More than one spare can be helpful. The other distinct problem is dust getting into everything. I have a truck shell and use wide blue masking tape over the perimeterof the rear window and gate to keep dust out. And if I take a roadside shot, I always like to get well away from any potential blowing dust. But in such situations, you can usually see any car coming from their own dust trail. But yeah, I've been stuck in the middle of nowhere more than once. Not fun.

Drew Wiley
17-Feb-2015, 12:01
Gosh, Stone.... Cherokees have an abominable reputation. Nobody in this part of the world buys them, or makes that mistake twice!

StoneNYC
17-Feb-2015, 16:54
Gosh, Stone.... Cherokees have an abominable reputation. Nobody in this part of the world buys them, or makes that mistake twice!

That's why I bought a Land Rover

It's even got "sand mode" haha!

Jim Andrada
17-Feb-2015, 16:56
Land Rovers have a somewhat checkered reputation as well and the newer models are too full of fancy nonsense to really suit me - the number of computers sort of scares me, but the undercarriage is still built pretty solidly compared to most. Not sure how the 3 liter supercharged engine will hold up compared to a 5-liter V8, but it accelerates faster than my old one when we test drove it.

I'm thinking of having the camera on a Ries with extension legs - just me on top of the truck to minimize bouncing around.

StoneNYC
17-Feb-2015, 17:09
Land Rovers have a somewhat checkered reputation as well and the newer models are too full of fancy nonsense to really suit me - the number of computers sort of scares me, but the undercarriage is still built pretty solidly compared to most. Not sure how the 3 liter supercharged engine will hold up compared to a 5-liter V8, but it accelerates faster than my old one when we test drove it.

I'm thinking of having the camera on a Ries with extension legs - just me on top of the truck to minimize bouncing around.

Yea, LR's have a bad rear differential just like the Jeep, no off road vehicle is perfect.

This is the in line 6 so I'm not worried, there's no engine design better than a straight 6 for longevity except maybe a rotary engine. IMO.

Good luck!

Drew Wiley
17-Feb-2015, 17:27
... maybe if Ries would come out with a tripod with a geared center column, so it would do double duty as a car jack!

Gadfly_1971
20-Feb-2015, 13:48
A few quick notes:

* As others have mentioned Tusayan should have some available rooms if nothing is available in the park. My experience as a former resident/worker (Fred Harvey 1991-1992 woot!) is that Maswick or Yavapai lodge are pretty affordable if you can swing in-park accomodations.

* Mule rides are not as easy as they look. Also, they tend to be booked up more than a year in advance. You might be able to swing a ride on standby, but you've gotta get to Bright Angel at oh-my-god-it's-early and pray.

* Williams to GCNP via train is a nice alternative. Packages should be available that get you hotel and train.

* There are absolutely no jeep trails or tours within the National Park boundaries. There might be some in areas outside the park, but you're not really going to see much.

* Havasupai is wonderful but access is dicey. Access is either by foot or horseback (I believe that there's a helicopter charter that operates, but it's gonna be expensive).

* Beginning in March, the Hermit Road (formerly known as the West Rim Road) is closed to private vehicles. Free shuttles are provided by the Park service for access to viewpoints along the Hermit Road as well as Hermit's Rest itself.

* Bring warm clothes and rain gear. Storms can roll in quickly and leave you a frigid soaking mess even when it's not monsoon season.

I think that cover's the basics. :-)

Sal Santamaura
20-Feb-2015, 18:30
...Yavapai lodge...pretty affordable...That was then, this is now. The National Park Service recently entered into a separate concession agreement with Delaware North Corporation (DNC) for operation of Yavapai lodge, cutting it out from Xanterra's previous agreement. Apparently as a result of DNC's cost to obtain the new concession, rates at Yavapai are now much higher than they were even very recently. With sufficient advance planning to book accommodations in the village, I'd opt for Kachina or Thunderbird at not a lot greater expense than Yavapai.

Sal Santamaura
20-Feb-2015, 21:49
Jim, I keep forgetting to mention something that would probably be of great interest to you. Be sure to take the ranger-guided tour (no charge) of Kolb Studio. Last we were there -- also off season -- it was offered once each afternoon. I traded our Colorado land for something similar but lower in New Hampshire because it didn't seem like a good idea to relocate up at 7,700' when elderly. Nonetheless, I'd jump at a chance to move into the Kolbs' residence/darkroom if it were available, despite its similar elevation. :D

Jim Andrada
21-Feb-2015, 18:47
Hi Sal

Thanks - good suggestion. Not sure I'd want to be in NH right now though. I'm originally from Boston and I have friends there and in NH and they all want to give up and leave - even my 13th generation New Englander friend - you'd think it would be in his blood by now!

I went to a good talk by one of the geophysics profs at Uof A and she said that the East Coast will be having weather like this or worse for a long time - maybe permanently. Their long term models are also showing Arizona having 100 degree plus weather from March/April through October/November.