From Seligman lay ahead of me probably the toughest part of the drive climbing to approximately 7000 ft in elevation Flagstaff. The stretch alone form Ash Fork to Williams climbs more than 1600 ft, and we already know that Betsy is not a fan of hills. Yep, it sure was a good day to piss off a bunch of truckers on the I-40!
Somehow we made it to Williams! The gateway to The Grand Canyon! At this point my confidence was quite shaken. A feeling of gentle terror had set in when big rigs were passing me at 65 mph, while Betsy struggled at 30 mph in 2nd gear up the big climb. When I glided into town, I was seeking a sense of relief that never came. Betsy started sputtering a bit from a stop when I pressed on the throttle in first gear. I came to the conclusion that it was probably the carburetor running too rich since we were at a much higher altitude now. I must of stopped and parked her 3 different times in town to fiddle with the idle speed and the fuel mixture each time thinking I had fixed the issue. I did meet an wonderful woman who said she used to have a late 60s Ford and it was the most reliable vehicle she had ever had. Talking to her maybe gave me some minuscule amount of oomph back, or maybe I’m just as stubborn as the dumbest mule ever born, but I decided to fill up the tank at the last gas station in town and make the most thrilling drive I will probably ever make in my short futile existence.
I made it to The Grand Canyon.
I parked Bets, got out, took this picture, and proceeded to break down cry like a newborn baby on the side of the road.
The engine that got me there was sitting in my drive way just a few short months ago. When you set small goals for yourself, like baby steps, it really helps you focus and get to the finish line, where ever it maybe. But when you’re in it, you’re so focused and so worried about the little stuff you sometimes forget about what you’re all doing it for. I was so stressed and worried about Betsy the whole way up I pretty much forgot that I was going to the friggin’ Grand Canyon. I was focusing so hard on not stalling on some big hill and not rolling backward and not hitting a bunch of cars and not dying. But when I got parked and saw the picture I had taken of Betsy, I lost it. It was surreal. I was snapped back into reality, in to the present moment of where I was. It was like a beautiful slap in the face.
“Be present!” Betsy shouted at me. And I was.
After having some tea and a snack to try and calm my nerves and excitement about my accomplishments for the day as well as trying to take it all in, I headed towards Flagstaff.
A dear friend had serendipitously put my in touch with her friend, Tom, who has an incredible place just north of Flagstaff. It backs up onto National Forest Service land, which was the best of both worlds, like having wifi and running hot water but also with incredible views like this one:
In Flagstaff, I tracked down that oil pressure switch I need which wouldn’t come in until the next day, so I was stuck in this idilic landscape for a few days! What a bummer! Tom was an incredible host, we became instant friends. For my last night there we even had a bit of a guacamole and Black Russian party to send me off the right way!
Pro tip: if you ever get stuck anywhere, make sure you’re stuck with good people! Or just bring booze and avocados!