Flagstaff, Arizona (Grand Canyon)

Flagstaff KOA Holiday

November 28, 2020

The drive to Flagstaff marked the second half of our marathon weekend trip from Oklahoma, through New Mexico, and into the heart of Arizona. Coming in at nearly 500 miles, the trip to Flagstaff from Tucumcari was an all-day-long slog – and the scenery didn’t do much to alleviate our boredom. This stretch along I-40 is dominated by desert, with little to differentiate one area of New Mexico from another.

As mentioned in the previous post, the surprise snowstorm overnight in Tucumcari delayed us by about an hour. Sadly, this meant that we weren’t going to make it to Flagstaff before sundown, and therefore, that we would have to set up the trailer in the dark (something that we had managed to avoid up to this point). Fortunately, this wasn’t too difficult, and we were able to delay some tasks until the next day (sewer hose, water hose, etc.)

Our campground during our stay in the area was the Flagstaff KOA. If you’re a long-time reader, you’ll know that our very first campground (during our “trial run” in the Cruise America camper) was a KOA. This history, combined with my experiences staying at KOA’s while traveling with my grandparents when I was a kid, has led us to develop an affinity for the brand. Sadly, this particular KOA location did not live up to our expectations. The campground was a pretty standard RV park in terms of quality, but when you factor in the higher KOA prices, it left quite a bit to be desired. Our biggest gripe was easily the laundry room – we had issues with both the washers and the dryers. The spin cycle on the washer never activated, so the laundry was soaked when I went to change it over to the dryer, which was also worthless and hardly seemed to dry the clothes at all. We basically paid five bucks to get our clothes soaking wet, forcing us to find any crag or crevasse within the trailer that could be used as a drying rack for an article of clothing.

To make drying even more difficult – this was the coldest weather that we had experienced in the trailer up to that point (or anytime after). It was friccin’ chilly here! When we thought about Arizona, we thought about warm weather year-round. Not the case for Flagstaff, apparently! Although it was sunny nearly every day, the temperature rarely got above freezing and regularly got down into the teens at night.

The frigid temperatures also created another issue that we had not foreseen – condensation. We woke up that first morning to ice on the inside of the windows and water dripping all over the place. We quickly learned that when there is a large temperature differential between two areas (cold outside/warm inside), any moisture in the air will begin to condense where hot and cold collide – the windows, in our case (and the walls, to a lesser extent). This needed to be addressed, and fast, if we wanted to avoid mold issues, or any other moisture-induced problems. First things first, we zipped over to Home Depot and secured a few rolls of reflective insulation for the windows. This definitely helped, but didn’t alleviate our moisture problems entirely, so we turned to Amazon in search of a dehumidifier (which didn’t really help, but that’s a story for another day).

Because we arrived in Flagstaff on a Saturday, we had the entirety of Sunday to do some touristy stuff, and what could be more touristy than the Grand Canyon?! However, we did break from the tourist mold somewhat by deciding to do a hike down into the canyon (only one percent of visitors actually go below the rim, pretty crazy stat). After doing some research on AllTrails, we decided on the South Kaibab Trail, which is accessible from the South Entrance of the park (about an hour and a half drive from Flagstaff).

As our apparel suggests, it was a bit cold when we first hit the trail that morning, and it didn’t help that the trail was all downhill to start out as we weren’t able to generate too much body heat. Fortunately, the temperature followed the sun’s lead and began to trend higher, allowing us to shed some layers as the morning progressed.

The most notable landmark along our hike was the famous Ooh Aah Point. Located about a quarter of the way down the canyon, this vantage point allows for a more immersive view than from the rim without sacrificing the vastness that one feels from the canyon’s edge.

Although this trail continues all the way down to the Colorado River at the floor of the canyon, we decided to call it quits at Cedar Ridge, about a third of the way down. We would’ve loved to continue further down into the canyon, however, the cold wind was starting to get to us and, if we’re being honest, we were out of shape. It had been a few months (and a few meals) since our last real hike, so let’s just say we were feeling it at this point. But all in all, we had a great time during our quick trip to the Grand Canyon and we will definitely be back sometime down the road.

We were pretty boring the rest of the week in Flagstaff, mostly just hanging inside trying to stay warm. In hindsight, we wish that we would’ve done some more exploring while we were in the area, it really seemed like a cool little city. However, we did manage to get out one evening during the week to grab dinner. The restaurant we picked out was Criollo Latin Kitchen, which was a delight. We would recommend that you go check it out if you’re ever in the area, but sadly, they have since closed down due to COVID (aka, due to Fauci and our other medical overlords).

After dinner, we went on a little excursion to the south part of Flagstaff in search of a niche RVers’ destination – the KYD cabin. If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you’ll know that we are big fans of the Keep Your Daydream (KYD) channel on YouTube and make it a point to watch their new videos each Sunday. Well, as it turns out, the Leaches (of KYD) happen to have a cabin in town which they rent out to followers when they aren’t staying there – so we decided to go search it out. Not only did we manage to find it, but the Leaches were actually staying there! We knew this because their rig was parked out front (yes, we are creepers). This was the equivalent of seeing RV royalty! After fanboying out for a minute, we decided to stop loitering and head back home before someone called the cops on us for being suspicious.

The last order of business while in Flagstaff was picking out office chairs for our new desk! We did a little window shopping online and concluded that Amazon had the best options when it came to price (some of these chairs are friccin expensive), so we decided to go ahead and order them to an Amazon pickup location in town. For a bit, Amazon had us worried that they were going to be late and we that we would leave before they were delivered, but fortunately they came in the nick of time and we were able to scoop them up the night before we were to leave.

Speaking of leaving, tune in next time for our review of the new chairs and more as we continue our trip out west towards Boise. Next stop: VEGAS BABBBYYYYY!