14 October 2013

What to Do When Congress Screws Your Plans

The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!
  Aye, Bobbie Burns, ye had the wisdom o' the ages. Congress, aka the Gang o' Spoiled Brats and Bullies shut down the government three days before my friends from Philadelphia and Southampton, England were to arrive. They closed all the national parks, including the Grand Canyon. Our prepaid reservations for two nights in Williams, the steam locomotive into the
The Little Colorado River Gorge on the Navajo Reservation
park, and our park admission passes were rendered useless. How, you may ask, can they "close" a canyon that is 300 miles long?  Well, the government shutdown closed all of the access roads, shutting out anyone unable to hike long distances in rugged terrain. One could go through the Havasupai or Navajo reservations but the first costs and arm and a leg while the second requires some navigational skills and physical endurance. Not feasible for three fifty-year-old-and-then-some (but who's counting?) crazy ladies.

So what to do? Well, considering Northern Arizona's economy heavily depends on tourist dollars, we decided to go to Flagstaff instead and wing it from there. The result? We had a blast. We saw the Painted Desert and the Little Colorado River Gorge and purchased some lovely Navajo jewelry directly from the artists. Then we returned to Flagstaff and drove up Snowbowl to the ski lift, only to arrive a little late for their last run of the day. The views were incredible, and sharing the beauty of my state with great friends was pure joy.
Aspens changing color in Flagstaff
Sunday, we headed home to Tucson through Sedona, Oak Creek Canyon, and the mining town of Jerome where we shared a tasty meal with more dear friends. I won't bore you with all the "what I did on my Arizona vacation" details but suffice it to say we thumbed our noses at Congress and had a damned good time.

Though the best-laid plans often go awry, improvising often enhances the experience. Instead of lamenting what could have been, seize the chance to try something else. 

As another great Robert-poet (Frost) once said, And that has made all the difference.

Home again for another spectacular Tucson sunset...