From desert to snow storm in 24 hours

We set off from a sunny LA on Sunday April 7th just before midday, with our eyes and Google Maps App set on Williams, Arizona, to then go on to Grand Canyon.

We stopped off for a quick toilet break and to stretch our legs somewhere along Interstate 40 in the middle of the Mojave Dessert. Although there wasn’t much leg stretching going on for us. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and it was around 38-40 degrees Celsius with no wind what so ever, it was so hot that we ran back to the car – soon after we had eyed up and photographed the Porsche 356 Speedster parked up next to us.

As the evening was closing in, we stopped off for dinner before we reached Williams. By pure luck ended up in this little village called Seligman on the infamous Historic Route 66.  We parked up in front of a place called Roadkill Cafe on Route 66. It was an awesome classic American Saloon Bar, full of stuffed animals, wood clad walls, all types of paraphernalia hanging from the ceiling and dotted around on shelves, complete with people wearing Wrangler jeans, cowboy boots and plaid shirts.  Next to the bar outside, there were a few old fashioned western style building fronts and also an old county jail, a small wooden building which had been there since 1860. We were so happy that we happened upon this by pure luck, it’s exactly the kind of place we had wanted to see.

By the time we arrived to the motel in Williams it was 9pm, we were both really tiered and cold, the temperature had dropped down to only 8 degrees Celsius and the wind had started to pick up.

We woke up the following day and we could already hear the gusts of wind hitting our motel window, when I opened the curtains I saw dust and gravel blowing across the road outside and the huge flag outside the petrol station opposite, was flying like crazy in the strong wind. We headed to the tourist information centre in Williams to buy our Grand Canyon National Park tickets. The park ranger who served us, advised us that there may be snow and that there would be very strong winds and last but not least he told us to stay well clear of the canyon rim.

Williams is a very cute small town, it has Route 66 running straight through the town, which is probably why it is so ‘classic old Americana looking’. There are a lot of cool neon signs going on, old fashioned diners, motels and bars along with some classic cowboy western style shops. In a way, we kinda wished we’d been able to stay there  a bit longer. But we had to push on towards Grand Canyon.

Once we had driven out of  Williams, through the forest and on to the flat, we were driving on a long  straight road, in what looked pretty much like a desert. We could already hear and feel the wind gushing outside and we saw a fog thickening ahead. We soon realised that this was not fog, but snow. It came upon us fast and the heavier and the thicker the snow fall became and the stronger the wind got, the more cars we met, driving away from the National Park. We started thinking that, perhaps it wasn’t such a brilliant idea to drive up to Grand Canyon in a snow blizzard with summer tires on. But having done my fair share of snow driving, I just slowed down and took it easy. By the time we got into the park and parked up the car, the snow fall had eased off, but it was freezing outside and the front of our car was covered in snow.

It was a bit weird to have stood in the middle of the desert in the sweltering heat only 12 hours earlier and now we had dug out all our winter gear again, for the first time since Japan!

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