Arizona Desert Camping

Wild Camping in the Arizona Desert

Sat by my tent in another covert location next to a dirt road somewhere in the desert, I’ve just realised that it’s only been two weeks since I picked up the bike in Vancouver. Canada seems such a long time ago that the memories of Chilliwack and Vancouver now mingle with the memories of dreams, but it’s been a great two weeks and it’s safe to say that I’ve settled back into the rhythm of the open road.

Nevada is done, and I shall miss it. Hanging out in the UFO-saturated town of Rachel and taking in the huge desert vistas was a hoot. That said, Arizona is not exactly a lush-green mountainous area either, and the blood-red sunset today was beautiful.

A quick overview of the recent route:

Rachel Nevada > Las Vegas (that was a weird place to be on a bike, but probably a fun place to party) > Hoover Dam > Kingman Arizona (where I picked up Route 66) > Grand Canyon National Park > Cameron Arizona > Somewhere in the desert

The Grand Canyon initially looked set to leave me feeling somewhat deflated. The National Park is where all the tourists go, and if you need a McDonald’s burger or toilet facilities while you’re taking in one of nature’s grandest spectacles then that is definitely where you should go.

Sooooo many tourists taking photos with their iPads. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – it’s just not me, and more than a little overwhelming when you’re used to the isolation of wearing a motorcycle helmet all day and hanging out in small towns in the evenings.

Note: Something behind the shrubs in the desert just ‘grunted’ – a big, low-rumbly sort of grunt. I hope I don’t smell too tasty (I can assure you that I don’t smell tasty at all today).

Heading east out of the National Park towards the town of Cameron was much more my cup o’ tea. One is slightly elevated on the AZ64 and the views were absolutely tremendous. I can’t imagine what the early pioneers heading for the promised California must have made of the Grand Canyon, approaching it with only simple covered wagons and a collection of horrible diseases. It must have been daunting to see such a harsh (but stunning) landscape snaking its way to the horizon.

Oh, and this is most definitely Navajo country. Lots of little Navajo pottery stalls dot the highway offering local crafts and buffalo jerky, but I’m not tempted to part with my cash for either of those. Just give me apples, cheese, water and gasoline please 🙂

Note: That ‘thing’ just grunted again 🙁

It’s been a pain-free fortnight with the bike until today – there is, once again, a grinding noise. It sounds like the noise it made in Turkey so I suspect the chain is starting to give-out. A good bike chain usually lasts for ages, but then I don’t usually ride over 10,000 miles in just over three months while leaving the chain exposed to sea air for two of those months.

Flagstaff tomorrow, and a new chain.

Not too painful, not too expensive – I just hope it’s not too hot when I come to do the work.

Note: The grunting seems to have stopped. That’s good, right?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *