Sunday, April 18, 2010

Southwest Day 6 - Grand Canyon

I took the dogs out for the morning walk. It was cold. The windshield was iced over. Mike tells me to remember that we are in "high country". Mike has determined that we will go up route 89 north and then take route 64 into the east entrance to Grand canyon National Park. It seems like we are always climbing higher. The scenery is breathtaking and we have a ways to go to reach the entrance. We see an overlook and decide to stop. This is part of an Indian reservation. There are a number of women from the tribe setting up booths with jewelry, vases, blankets and assorted products. Mike goes and asks permission to enter so we can get a better view of the canyon.
Below are three pictures from this overlook. Absolutely gorgeous and we are still a distance from the Grand Canyon Park entrance. You can see the Columbia River in the third picture. We thank the ladies as we leave. Mike tells us that they often charge a fee to enter. We are early in the day and it is not yet prime tourist season.

We arrive at the park and my Golden Eagle Passport allows us free entrance to the park. We stop at every overlook listed on the guide and several not listed. This is not a place to rush. My pictures and the purchased post cards, while nice, do not do justice to the landscape that nature has painted for us. Mike takes our picture as he will do often.

At one of the many overlooks I offer to take a picture for a couple. I can tell they are from France. When they thank me, I answer them in France and haltingly explain that I have limited knowledge from school. They were pleased and I believe a little stunned. Miss Wood would be pleased that I remembered any thing from French class. During our time there, I speak to a couple from England and another couple from Marseilles. They were surprised that Mike and I had been there and Mike remembered the red tiled roofs. There were a number of Europeans there spending the "euros".

We finally reach the west and most popular entrance. We were going to go to the main visitor center, larger than the one at the east end, but after circling several parking lots we leave. It was not long after that we stopped in the first town for lunch. There was an even larger and reasonable gift shop. We enjoyed lunch and began our drive through beautiful scenery to Kingman, Arizona where we will spend the night.
Kingman is a neat town, Route 66 runs through the center. As we check in there is a small toy train on the desk (not for sale) and the clerk explains that the Union Pacific tracks are nearby behind the motel. Yes they are! We could hear the haunting train whistle often and throughout the night. I found the sound nostalgic and romantic reminding me of a long ago era.

There is a museum nearby and we walk there and spend a good hour looking at the exhibits and reading the history of the town. Here too, mining was important at one time as was ranching. The local boy who made good was Andy Devine. The part of route 66 that runs through Kingman is named Andy Devine Drive. Below is the saddle that was given to him and the one that he used for many years when he participated in the Rose Bowl Parade on New Year's day.

We were fortunate that Calico's Restaurant bordered the motel parking lot. The food was great. When I filled up with gas, I have the car washed.

No comments: