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Archive for December 10th, 2019

Fall Road Trip Loop, Part 2: Now This Is a Canyon

December 10, 2019

Picking up where I left off last Trip Report Tuesday, the fourth day of our trip found us waking up in a retro fabulous hotel in Page, Arizona with a view of Lake Powell. Unlike chain hotels being built today where right angles rule, this place was awash in acute and obtuse. The doors from the hall to the rooms weren’t set flush with the hallway walls; they were tucked into one side of a sawtooth shape cut into the wall (this made getting a luggage cart in rather more difficult than if there’d been a straight path but okay). The balcony was a triangle rather than a rectangle. The toilet and shower part of the bathroom was in a rectangular room but that rectangle was set at a wonky angle to the bedroom area. Definitely more interesting than the usual boxes I’m in on nights on the road. The exterior architecture matched, with columns in what probably felt like futuristic shapes at the time it was built and angles added where straight lines would usually suffice, like on railings. I’m so glad they’ve kept these touches over the years and not taken away the personality of the buildings.

Space age hotel

On our way out of Page, we stopped at Horsehoe Bend, a spot in Glen Canyon where the Colorado makes a hairpin turn. Even though it wasn’t prime tourist season, there were plenty of tourists here walking the sandy trail to the canyon rim and back. There weren’t so many people as to make it hard to get an unobstructed view if one was patient and willing to be flexible about the exact vantage point. Still, it was a lot of commotion.

Horseshoe Bend




Then it was on to the the Grand Canyon. I’d never been there; it’s been on my list for years. Mr. K had been both as a child and last summer as a kayaker for 18 days so had personal stories to share with me as we toured. We couldn’t stop at every overlook and point of interest, so I’ll have to go back one day and get more than a taste, yet the taste I got was wonderful. Grand Canyon National Park is so vast that the people were more spread out and I didn’t get the same agita as I had at Horseshoe Bend. As we did at Bryce, we stayed until sunset.

Did I mention the colors?


Sunset approaches



After dark, we visited a couple of the lodges, then headed out of the park. When we came to the tourist-focused town beyond the boundaries, we decided to stop at the IMAX theater showing the Secrets of the Grand Canyon film and found we were there just in time to catch the last showing (as in, we missed the ads before the film and crouch-walked to our seats in the darkened theater). Our lodging for the night was a hotel on historic Route 66 which was quirky in a different way than our Lake Powell retro-futuristic one the night before; the building our room was in had two stories on the front side but only one the back. It was here we saw the first palm tree of the trip.

The next morning we made our way to Grand Canyon West, the collection of attractions run by the Hualapai Tribe. We paid for the shuttle bus (you have to take the shuttle bus to the three sites; you can’t drive to them yourself) and the clear-floored Skywalk; we skipped the zip line and horse riding and helicopter rides. There are no cameras or phones allowed on the Skywalk, though they will take photos of you on the Skywalk for an additional fee (we passed). The first stop, at a faux old Western town, was fairly uninspiring and had no Grand Canyon views, though I did get to stand inside a casket, which is not something I’ve done before. The second featured the Skywalk, which was nowhere near as scary as I thought it would be. First, it has solid railings. Second, the floor is only clear in the center of the walkway; it’s opaque on the sides, so if you don’t want to stand on air, you don’t have to. Sure, I felt it in my gut when I leaned over the railing slightly and looked down, but I wasn’t crawling along the floor with my eyes closed like I feared I might be. The Skywalk is over a side canyon, not the Grand Canyon itself, but the views were still impressive, though the colors in this part of the canyon aren’t as varied as they were in the sections viewable from the national park. The third stop at Guano Point proved to be the most scary, with a railing-less trail around an outcrop that had me nearly frozen in place at several points. The views were great, but I missed out on some of them as I chose not to climb higher than I already had because I was in a “the wind might blow me off the rocks” headspace.

Skywalk side view


Slanting sun


On the way out of Grand Canyon West, the scenery was dotted with Joshua trees and some interesting rock outcrops. I wasn’t driving, so I took some photos from the car but also asked Mr. K to pull over in a couple spots so I could take more.

Sunset glow


Joshua tree


This concludes the canyon portion of our trip. Tune in next Tuesday to find out where we went next.


On this date in 2018: I Love the 70s
2017: What Passes for Excitement Around Here
2016: Offline
2015: And We’re Off
2014: Let’s Go Red Wings
2013: No entry
2012: No Nail Pak for Me
2011: File Under “Old School”
2010: Winters Past
2009: Copy ‘n’ Think ‘n’ Share
2008: Not Quite OCD
2007: WDW, Part One
2006: Just Another Bummed Out Sunday
2005: Tastes of the Season
2004: No entry
2003: It’s the Pants
2002: I’m Back

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