Route 66 Tour, Day 12 – Morning at the Grand Canyon

Yesterday was pretty spectacular. We took Phoebe off to get a tire here in Williams, early in the morning, and got a call from everyone while we were there to say that we had to catch the earlier train to the Grand Canyon rather than the one we had reserved. So we left the car at the tire place, with the tire guy (named PeeWee) and took off.
The train ride from Williams to the Grand Canyon Village is about an hour and a half, and they have entertainment on the train; guys walk around singing western tunes. You can pick an 1920’s era passenger car to ride up to the canyon in, or a later, air-conditioned one; we chose the air-conditioning because it was threatening to be a record heat day. We got a bus tour at the top of the canyon that included lunch, so they fed us a buffet and drove us to a couple of different points at the south rim of the canyon to take pictures.
The Grand Canyon is definitely one of the most spectacular, awe-inspiring things I’ve ever seen. The size of it is mind-boggling and almost impossible to take in. I tried to do some shots from west to east and took 10 shots that I’ll try to stitch together into a single picture later. And that’s just of the rim; I did the same thing from the horizon down into the canyon and took six photos from the skyine down to the canyon bottom.
We took pictures from Hopi Point and Mohavi Point. The bus driver couldn’t get into the Bright Angel point to stop, unfortunately. Bright Angel is where people take the mule rides down into the canyon, and would have been pretty interesting, because at that point you can watch people on the mule tours. So he took us back to the village and we visited the El Tovar hotel, which is a 5-star hotel on the south rim. We took more photos from there, and visited the gift shop.
I’m really terrified of heights, and visiting the Canyon did nothing to change that; amazing to view, but if you aren’t careful, very dangerous. A couple people here and there seemed pretty unconcerned about their kids, which made me nervous, because this isn’t Disneyland. A few months back, I heard an NPR program interviewing Michael G, the author of a book called “Over the Edge: Deaths at the Grand Canyon” that scared the heck out if me; the book he wrote was in all the gift shops so I got a copy. Between 4 and 5 million people visit the Grand Canyon every year, and they average about 350 rescue missions each year – 80 percent of those are for people hiking down into the canyon, and the other 20 percent are people falling from the top. Some years no one dies, other times it can be 8 to 10 people a year. After reading some of the book on the train home, I was more afraid after leaving.
Boy was it hot, too. We had extra water with us, and we were all still pretty scorched by the time we got to the El Tovar. I’m really glad we stopped and got prednisone in Roswell; I’d have been miserable walking around without it.
I can’t even tell you how much I enjoy being on vacation with Stephanie – she’s so fun to travel with, and I’m so lucky to get to do things like this with her. I’ve had a really great trip, even with things like the car tire going on. I love Stephanie more every day, and I never imagined that I’d be able to spend 24 hours a day with someone for weeks and still want to be around them, talking to them every minute. It’s also excellent to be traveling with this group of people; lots of really nice, caring folks who look out for one another.
We took the train back to Williams in time top pick up the car (PeeWee took good care of her) and pick a spot to watch the 4th of July parade in Williams. It’s a pretty small town, and a fun little parade. We ate dinner in town and walked over to watch the towns fireworks. Either we didn’t have a good vantage point, or they have a really small fireworks show. It’s possible they limited it because of the extreme fire danger; that was happening lots of places here in Arizona.
Still no wireless at the Motel 6, so I’ll upload the 280 pictures I took at sometime in the future, when we get to a place where I can.
Today, we’re losing some parts of our caravan; John and Laura, and Cori and her mom Verlaine have to turn around and head back to points east, and Mike and Luke are going to go on ahead to California, where they’re both from, to get home at a decent time. I think Luke is going to come back to meet us at some point. I’m not sure what the sight-seeing plans are for the next few days; all I know is that we head out this morning at 8:30 a.m. for points west.

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