Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Ouray III Experience Tour Part I Antelope Canyon

Sometimes when one goes on a journey, we leave with pre conceptions packed right next to our socks. For me I am always pre disposed to believe that places where bus loads of German Tourists go do not need my lense and story out there. This could be attraction arrogance on my part or the fact that I don't enjoy hustling with the guy from DusselDorf to get a picture at the South Rim of the Canyon.

To be fair, I have been trying to convince the Park Service to grant me Tommy Neuman exclusive access day to the Grand Canyon as obviously I can add something to their marketing strategy. I do have hopes that they come through for me someday.

Another touristy think is Antelope Canyon, which is about 5 miles from Page that a lot of Europeans flock to. For most people in Arizona it might as well be in the Gobi Dessert cause they have no clue it is there.

The Navajo's own it and run private tours almost every hour, all year long. To park you have to pay the Navajo government $6.00 All this gets you is a porta pottie and a parking space on a semi dirt lot. Once there, you wander down to a booth pay another very nice Navajo woman $25 dollars to have a guide take you down the sandy wash to the entrance of the slot canyon. It is worth every penny.

Jesus again is not happy that I must go out on the road.

But the GT has new shoes and a top case which I have to ride. 

So just after 5am (the GPS is on Mountain Time) Off I go on a new adventure. 

The ride is great with temperatures sitting around 70 almost all the way up to Flagstaff. Stopping for breakfast with Brian Campbell, a friend from the office who lives in Flafstaff for breakfast makes for a great way to start the trip. We get so wrapped up in the food and conversation I don't turn the camera to take any pictures and just like that I am off again. 

Now I know that some of the local BMW guys are riding up to Utah for a Rally, and sure enough who do I run into at the Cameron Trading post leaving.

Arizona Al and his bike is working!!!

I run into a few more folks inside but nobody is heading up the way I am so I quickly leave and ride the last few miles up to Antelope Canyon listening to the IPOD and just feeling wonderful to be outside instead of in an office.

The GT is running like a champ! What a great way to see things and my gas mileage is just under 50MPG.

Sometimes you have to look past 1st impressions I guess.

The process of loading is interesting to me. Peoples names are called out and then you board a truck. Because I am a single, I manage to get lucky and get to ride up front with the driver. I also think the fact that I have about $2000.00 in cameras, and ride a BMW may mark me as someone who is willing to pay for special access. 

My driver is a character named Bubba who I immediately bond with as we bounce up the road looking for adventure. The first topic he brings up are the two French girls in the truck in front of us. We chat about growing up in Page and the fact that many years ago I was friends with a Navajo Artist from Tuba City. He promises me that he will make sure that I get great shots in the canyon and we hatch a plan to get me away from the folks for a while so that my pictures are free of the Paparazzi tourists. 

My man Bubba tells the folks the rules of going through the Canyon before we are allowed to enter. . Now it is 90 degrees plus out here and the minute you walk into the canyon, it drops to about 68 degrees. It is amazing.

The Photo Paparazzi who I quickly get rid of as Bubba takes me aside. Even when they are around he makes sure I get a few moments of solitude to get shots. He works almost like my assistant setting up shots, tossing sand, making sure that Mr Fuji from Yokahama is out of the frame. He earns a big tip from me and I will not forget his help the next time I head out there.

Below are some pictures for you to look out. I don’t think they need much commentary other to say…WORTHY

The light is getting out of the direct angle needed and I still have 200 miles to ride to get to Torrey before calling it a night so we go outside to wait the return of the trucks. It is hot out here even in the shade. 

Like a mirage, the truck finally shows up and I bid farewell to my buddy and hand him a Jackson for helping me out so much. We agree to meet again somewhere down the road.

Having to ride to Torrey is like riding home. Seeing Killer is great and we are going to watch some Soccer , have a good dinner and my job is to get him out the door in the morning for Ouray. 

Getting up the next morning Bob still has some “things that must be done” before we can leave. That leaves me some time to go see some of the locals.

My Man Fletcher in his full summer coat is happy to see me (well at least the Celery I bring with me).

I dig the new haircut he is sporting

Not a bad trip so far and I know there is great things left to come!!

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