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Old 12-01-2016, 11:14 AM   #1
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Mather Campground, GC-AZ

We arrived at Mather Campground, Grand Canyon, last Wednesday. Site 17 is a left side pull through, forces you to park with your trailer doors facing the paved road. No hookups, that’s fine with me. Plan was to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner at El Tovar, the oldest lodge/restaurant on the rim of the Grand Canyon. An original Harvey House built back in the nineteen twenties, it has a totally charming interior, all rustic black logs and mounted deer heads everywhere.

Mather sites are nicely paved within a forest of trees. I decided to park the trailer with the doors facing the picnic table and fire pit. This took serious K-turnings but got it done. Now we were facing the wrong way off a one-way road. Meant when we leave I had to drive out the wrong way because of the narrow turning radius. That was fine with me.

This was our second day on the road. Our first night was at the Homolovi State Park a few short miles outside Winslow, Arizona. Homolovi must be a well kept secret because every time we have stayed there many spots were unoccupied. Twenty dollars, full hookups. Dinner that night was at the La Posada, another (restored) old Harvey House railroad hotel that has an exceptional kitchen. Breakfast next morning was in the trailer, toast and sausages. Then, I did drive over to get a picture of me standing on the corner in Winslow Arizona.

For the drive out when we had left home I put the fridge on propane but found again it clearly was not cooling. At Mather site 17 after de-hitching, setting up, I opened the trailer door and was immediately met with an overwhelming smell of propane gas. Good thing we brought along that backup ice chest. Naturally, my first thought now was the fridge is causing the gas leak. But how could that be? We opened all windows to air out the cabin. Then, totally flummoxed, I lit a match over the stove top. Big whoosh!

The knobs on my factory stove top click and lock when you shut off the gas but that click/lock is barely noticeable. That morning in Homolovi after breakfast we did not notice that although the stove top flame did shut off, gas was still coming through. Very discouraging. Yes for the rest of the trip we paid close attention to this troubling issue. Not fine with me.

Thanksgiving dinner at El Tovar then became the next issue. The place was packed with visitors. Parking there was insane. Did not expect that. We had been told it would be first come first served for Thanksgiving, no reservations, but we had our hopes. Began thinking our big, romantic, dream dinner would need to be had at a nearby lesser lodge, cafeteria style.

Thursday morning we did the tourist thing at the rim, bought stuff at the gift shops, then I said look, let’s drive by the entrance to El Tovar, you go in to see what’s what, I’ll go hunting for a place to park. Maybe we’ll get lucky.

Saw a parking spot adjacent to the Kachina Lodge for residents, fully expecting to get a ticket for illegal parking but it was that or nothing so I took it. Walked to the big lodge, through some servants entrances and hallways, found the lobby, Nancy waiting with the news: ten minute wait! We were in. It was a great dinner with great service in a charming room where old Stephen Mather, the first Director of the National Parks system, probably ate once.
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File Type: jpg Winslow1.jpg (133.6 KB, 66 views)
File Type: jpg GranCanMath.jpg (132.9 KB, 66 views)
File Type: jpg GCdin1.jpg (128.5 KB, 56 views)
File Type: jpg GranCanWa.jpg (154.7 KB, 60 views)
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Old 12-01-2016, 12:31 PM   #2
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Glad you lucked out!
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Old 12-01-2016, 01:11 PM   #3
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Had to be a bit chilly in Mather this time of year, Myron. We used to go up in the fall cause no one much was there and it was great, but the parks heavily market Thanksgiving and winter discounts now so a bit more crowded.
Interesting, that many folks don't know that Mather campground is open year round. However, weather can be brutal on the S. Rim from now until middle of May. Lots of temps well below zero and major snowfall. We were there 3rd week of April one year to get our permit to go down in the big hole and it was 20 below while camped on the rim waiting.
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Old 12-01-2016, 02:05 PM   #4
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Luv the Winslow pic....
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Old 12-01-2016, 06:43 PM   #5
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Thanks, Jim, Ruthe. Weather on the rim was nasty-windy-cold. Didn't seem to bother the mules, maybe because no one wanted to go for a ride. Nice having a good furnace for the two nights, Greg. We watched DVD movies on our TV and the 6-volt twin batteries never broke a sweat.
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Old 12-01-2016, 06:50 PM   #6
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We were in Mather campground about 30 years ago but it was summer time. I cried when I saw the Grand Canyon -- it was that amazing -- no picture could have prepared me for what it was like. We've never been back, but I feel it calling me.
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Old 12-01-2016, 10:39 PM   #7
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Fond of the El Tovar and the Hopi House shop. Hope to go back as we were pre-trailer. Good that you could get in for dinner. I really liked that place and have thought of it many times. Casual classy. We did not see the campground. It looks great.

Sandstone horse by a Native American from the Hopi House.
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Old 12-02-2016, 06:45 AM   #8
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Back in 1985 we were in a tent in Mather campground with two children, 5 and 2. In the early mornings, when cars were not allowed along the rim and before the hours when the buses would start running, Terry and I took turns leaving the tent and riding our bikes along the rim, stopping at the scenic spots. During the day we just sat at the edge and fed our kids raisins so we could watch the view in peace. The nights were so-o-o quiet -- Until the one time -- middle of the night -- when our son woke up sick and started to scream -- nothing would console him for the longest time -- and then dogs started barking, people started stirring -- we'd woken up the whole place. Oh, the joys of camping with children.
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Old 12-02-2016, 07:51 AM   #9
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re: joys
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File Type: jpg elTovar1.jpg (132.1 KB, 22 views)
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Old 12-02-2016, 10:34 AM   #10
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Hi Myron
Was there a girl, my Lord, in a flat bed Ford and did she slow down to take a look at you? I had to read up on Winslow after your reference.
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