It is a Grand Canyon

Trip Start Oct 22, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  ,
Wednesday, February 7, 2007

As a kid, one of the major things you learn and hear about America is the Grand Canyon.  We finally managed to hire a car for a good price and headed back to the airport to pick it up.  On arrival at the desk we were told the computers were down and we would have to fill in all the paperwork by hand.  This took a bit longer than normal.  It also meat the price went up as they didn't have our quote in the computer.  We were quite annoyed and tried to insist that they honour the original quote, but they refused and we needed the car so really had no choice.  The other thing we found amusing was that they needed three phone numbers for each driver.  Not just three though, three unique numbers each.  Considering we live together and have the same number at home (which is actually not connected whilst we are traveling anyway), we are unemployed so have no work phone numbers either and Rick does not have a mobile phone we found it a little difficult to come up with enough.  After we ran out of real numbers we just made up the last few.
Finally the paperwork was done and we headed over to pick up the car.  It had just been returned by another customer and so was being cleaned (apparently though it was really dirty inside and out) but we waited a few minutes and it was ready.  They had offered us a free upgrade so we found the Ford Explorer and jumped in.  That was where the fun began!  In order to make the car easily visible they had very kindly turned the hazard lights on.  However we had a bit of trouble finding the switch to turn it off.  We searched and searched but could not find it.  After about ten minutes Megan pulled out the car handbook and found the dash picture.  It was there right in front of us hidden by the steering column.  Once that was done we were ready to go, just had to turn the hand brake off and we could leave.  Hmm the hand brake? Not in the middle like at home.  Where could it be?  Oh there it is by the brake pedal just push on that and we will be off.   Strange it doesn't seem to be releasing "Push a little harder" Megan and Carlie were yelling at Rick.  Nope that wouldn't work.  He was pushing the pedal so hard he almost broke the back of the chair but still not working.  Weird.  Rick was considering having to head inside and ask how to turn it off but Megan ran around to the driver's side and found the release which looked like the hood release handle.  Finally we could leave but no we noticed that the fuel tank was only three quarters full.  That's not fair we thought we have to return it with a full tank so Rick ran inside and asked if they could fill it properly.  They agreed and we drove around to the bowser and the guy attempted to fill it, but alas it was full the gauge was just stuck.  Finally we were ready and only an hour and a half late we left for the Grand Canyon.
As we headed to the canyon we drove down the road towards Hoover Dam, which spiraled down down down towards the huge wall.  All of a sudden, as we were chatting and driving, a loud thump made us all jump as something hit the windscreen.  Then we noticed the massive chip.  Some bastard had just flicked up a stone and wrecked the windscreen.  "Great!" we thought there goes another 500 bucks.  We couldn't do anything about it so we kept driving and tried to forget about it until we had to return the car.  We arrived at Hoover Dam and spent a bit of time exploring before heading onwards to the canyon.  The drive was kind of boring for a while but eventually we headed out of the desert and into a more country landscape which was a bit nicer.  Outside we were very excited to see snow for the first time in the USA, even if it was just little patches on the ground.   Finally we arrived in Tuyson and found a hotel for the night.  As you have to buy tickets into the park we walked to the Grand Canyon store and found that the IMAX movie was playing in five minutes so we settled in and watched it then headed back to the hotel.
After a restful night sleep we found our way into the national park.  We got our first glimpses from a little lookout just by the entrance along with many other tourists and boy is it cool.  You can see the canyon walls change colour as you follow it down to the base where the tiny looking trickle of water is actually the massive Colorado River.  There was also a visitor centre to check out which had heaps of information on the different hikes you can take (if you have enough time) and also on how the canyon was formed.  After a quick run through we headed out along the edge of the canyon for a few miles, stopping every so often to take in the ever changing view.  All too soon it was time to leave the park and head on back to the bright lights of Vegas and onward to our next stop - Michigan to see Terry and Dana.
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