Grand Canyon and start back east

Trip Start Jul 22, 2008
Trip End Aug 06, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Saturday, August 2, 2008

This blog is a bit late. It seems that there was no internet or cell phone service out where we stayed at the Grand Canyon (it drove Christian crazy).
Well, in Vegas, we did make that last stop in the morning. We had avoided driving anywhere in Vegas, but Terrible's was on the same street as our hotel, and on the way as we drove out of town. I had heard that they had a nice (and cheap) breakfast buffet, and they gave away a hat or tee shirt for slot club sign up ( we already got backpacks and necklaces from Ceasar's). Free is the best kind of souvenir! So we did this. All went well, and we were on our way. Trip on to Grand Canyon was uneventful. We stopped for gas and potty break at a "trading post' outside of the GC. As soon as we got out of the car, we all noticed how nice and temperate it was here. Temps in mid 80s and a breeze- really nice. The 'trading post' gift shop had all sorts of cool stuff, and I couldn't resist the sales pitch of the 14 y/o Indian boy who was running the place at the time. So we picked up some souvenirs. When we got to the Holiday Inn, our room wasn't ready yet, so we drove on into the park. The Grand Canyon is indescribable, all the pictures and videos really can't do it justice. It's just so awe inspiring. I wish however that I could say that I enjoyed all of it, but my two boys kept joking around and getting close to the edge. It's amazing to me that they don't have walls/railings all along the top rim, but they don't. At least a dozen people fall to their death here every year. It made me nauseous watching them. I'll give them a strict talking to today before we go back. When we came back, our room was ready. We were all very pleased with the room. There is a bedroom with tv and bunks for the kids, a king size bedroom with tv for I and Jose, and a separate living room with tv fridge and microwave. We rested for a while. Christian, who has been talking and texting his girlfriend several times a day is really having a hardtime with the fact that there is no signal out here.......OMG!!!! He did find out that they sometimes have free wifi in the small lobby, so he sat in the lobby, and spoke with her online. Do you suppose I could get hin to do something like that for me? We went across the street for dinner to the Grand Hotel. They had a older guy up on stage playing banjo and singing old cowboy songs. I asked for a table right up front. Jose was like a little kid. A lot of the songs we knew, so we sang along. We could have stayed longer, but I needed to do laundry, because the princess was out of clothes (she 'wasn't ready for me to wash any of hers in El Paso). Beth sayed and watched tv, Christian went to go sit in the lobby, and I and Jose had to go 2 hotels away to find laundry facilities. All went well, and we came back for a much needed sleep. Bethany had said that she wanted to see the sunrise over the GC, but she's always the last one out of bed, and with an I don't see that happening.               
Of course I can't sleep, and it's 5am, but I really don't think that they'd appreciate me waking them. Today we have a free breakfast at the hotel, then we're back to the canyon. We saw the west viewpoints yesterday, so today we'll visit the east, and drive the east rim trail to go to a town called Page where we are scheduled to take a float trip on the Colorado inside the east end of the canyon. No, it's not rafting (I'm not crazy), it's more like a pontoon boat ride. I hope all goes well, and my boys start behaving.
On the way in the park we saw several deer. Then, right at a stop sign, we saw this huge elk up close. That was very cool. We walked along the rim for a mile. It's still very amazing. Then we started out on our drive to go to Page for the river float trip. We drove right along the canyon rim for the longest time. Views remained outstanding, although un-nerving to be driving on such curvy roads right on a cliff.   : O
We also stopped along the way in The Navajo Nation. The reserve there is huge, and they sell lots of jewelry by the side of the road for income. At the place where we stopped, they were right along the top of a cliff into the canyon, and you could go right up to the edge. Again, I was fearful about my fearless boys. We continued on to Page to get to the boat trip. From the office, we took a short bus ride to the Glen Canyon Dam. It's the second largest dam in the US, and is also on the Colorado river. The lake formed north of the dam is Lake Powell. We had to take the bus into a tunnel under the mountain to get under the dam. From there we got onto our motorized rafts. We sat on padded benches in the middle of the raft. This was not a white water type raft. It was more like a pontoon boat ride down the river. Our guides name was Brian, and you could tell that he loved his job. After seeing the canyons from the top down, it was very interesting to see the   canyon from the bottom up. Seeing the cliffs up close was beautiful. It was hot out in the sun, but Brian tried to keep us in the shade as much as possible. At on place we stopped to take a short hike to see Indian petroglyphs. It was neat to see, but hard to appreciate due to the heat (100). At the beach area, they encouraged folks to swim to cool off. Christian was the only one in our group to take up the offer though because the water temp is only 47 degreess! (because the dam pumps it out from the bottom of the lake). At the end of our raft trip down river, we had to take a 2 hour bus trip back to our start point. Then, we still had to drive back to the hotel 2 hours away. Driving through the open desert land at night is very dark and scary. Driving the curvy road right along the Grand Canyon rim in the dark was even scarier! I told Jose I think that I was holding my breath the whole time. I was sure that a deer or elk was going to jump in front of the car, and we'd go careening over the edge! Finally got back to the room, tired as anything.
Next morning went for one last view of the canyon, and to see the EL Tovar Hotel, Train Depot, and Hopi House. Then, on the road again. Right now I'm typing as we are on route 66 on the way to Albuquerque. We'll make a few short stops today along the way, and hopefully get this loaded onto the site tonight.  While on the highway, we were able to see several route 66 landmarks including Twin Arrows, Two Guns, Jackrabbit Trading Post, Geronimo Trading Post, the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest National Park. We stopped for gas in Winslow Az, and I took a picture of Bethany 'standin on the corner' (Eagles reference). We stopped at the Yellowhorse Trading Post right on the border of AZ/NM. We picked up some great Native American souvenirs. Near Grants NM we crossed over the north end of the El Malpais National Park we drove across lava flow outcroppings, very unexpected and cool.   
We just got to Albuquerque. I chose the Econoldge because it was closest to the Old Town section. It's really not a great place (understatement), But it's only $50, and only for one night.
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