Sunday, May 29, 2011

Trip Report Part 4


May 14--Saturday: We got up at a reasonable hour to take our Hummer tour, and I polished off Lana’s leftover duck from Rene’s for breakfast. The tour was great. The ride itself was cool. We actually went onto the Navajo reservation and the only road was a rough trail made by the tour itself. The driver had fun terrorizing us but ‘most’ of the time kept all 4 wheels on the ground. The slot canyon was amazing and Lana got many awesome photos.

After, we had a nice lunch at a western themed restaurant in Page with a tour-bus full of French tourists. After that we went to Horseshoe Bend, a very sharp curve in the Colorado River with a huge bluff in the center. It was a long walk to get there in intense heat, with no shade, and both of us were exhausted when we got back to the car. But again Lana got great pics.

We then drove to the Cameron Trading Post where we got a room. I was absolutely floored by how lovely the place was. Our room looked out on a little courtyard laden with flowers sweet little benches to sit on. The restaurant was excellent. I had a “Navajo Taco,” which was so huge it filled the plate. It was pretty much taco fixings on a flat piece of fry bread. As Lana will tell you, I’m a professional eater, but I could not finish my whole meal this time. We then bought some stuff at the gift shop. I got a few things for Josh, and a cool Navajo belt for myself. My only regret was that we went to bed very early, around 8:00 in the evening and didn’t get to sit out in the courtyard. But we wanted to get to the Grand Canyon for dawn. Despite our early retirement, neither of us slept terribly well. Lovely as the room was, the walls were quite thin and there was a lot of noise. It didn’t matter. We were excited about the Grand Canyon.

May 15--Sunday: Up a little after 3:00 and Lana drove to the Grand Canyon, which was about an hour from Cameron. She got some great morning shots of the gorge with the sun coming up, but it was freezing cold. Lana was shaking and her teeth were chattering. She’d warned me it might be cold and I had reluctantly brought a thin windbreaker. I was glad for it, and glad for an extra t-shirt later. We watched two elk feeding on the green grass outside one of the lodges, and we also saw a ‘huge’ centipede that I thought was dead until I touched it with my foot. Turns out it was just really cold. We ate breakfast at one of the lodges and got way too much food.

There’s actually a little town right on the edge of the canyon, a tourist town with hotels, restaurants and shops, and even with its own mass transit system. We rode the shuttles around quite a lot, stopping here and there along the rim for photo ops. By now it was much warmer and there were a LOT of people. I enjoyed the canyon immensely but the crowds were a little much for me. We stopped in the visitor’s center for a movie about the canyon and I bought a couple of books at the bookstore there.

We left around 1:30 and drove a good long ways into Show Low, Arizona. Lana saw a dead elk along the road as I napped. We also saw many large dust devils whirling through the red-dust landscapes. It was a bit eerie. We finally stopped at the Holiday Inn Express in Show Low, which was the cleanest place for the most reasonable price that we’d found. Close by was a New York Pizza place and we pigged out.
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42 comments:

Richard Godwin said...

This is an absolutely breathtaking account both verbally and visually of what sounds like a fantastic trip. I am sure you had a great time.

Oscar said...

Nice post and entertaining, too. You have to watch out for the elk on the highway through the mountains any more. Too many of them.

Charles Gramlich said...

Richard, thanks so much. Glad you enjoyed.

Oscar, I appreciate that. I tried to comment on your blog yesterday but blogger has been giving me fits.

Deka Black said...

Wow... if someday i become blind, the last image i ever saw wan to be the one pf the Colorado River with my girlfriend in it!

Ron Scheer said...

Yeah, this is lovely country. I saw the Grand Canyon in October; great time of year to be there; maybe not quite so many tourists and the colors of that vast panorama breathtaking. I remember finding an out of the way lodge with a massive stone fireplace that was nice and toasty as the afternoon waned and the chill set in...Thanks for identifying that bend in the Colorado. I have a pic of that view but never knew what it was...That Navajo Taco sounds good enough to come with bicarbonate of soda...Oh, and slot canyons; I've seen photos and the the light on the curving surfaces make them look otherworldly; hope some day to see one for real...

Heather said...

Looks like an amazing trip. Gorgeous photos. What I'd like to know is...did you have any epiphanies while sleeping at the Holiday Inn Express? LOL :)

laughingwolf said...

ab fab, charles and lana!

too bad you couldn't bring the wapiti [aka elk] home, mighty fine eatin', them thar critters ;)

Charles Gramlich said...

Deka, you could do worse man!

Ron, we saw several just otherworldly landscapes. The Horseshoe bend image is amazing when you're looking right off the edge. Made my knees weak.

Heather, that is for another post! Just my epiphanie post. :)

Charles Gramlich said...

Laughingwolf, I've never eaten elk. I sure would like to try some.

ArtSparker said...

The Southwest is an amazing place, I visited it a number of years ago myself. If you would like to read a wonderful overview, try Alex Shoumatoff's "Legends of the American Desert, it is splendid.

The Golden Eagle said...

It sounds like an amazing trip!

I love the picture of Horseshoe bend.

Evan Lewis said...

Wow.

David J. West said...

Charles-I just noticed your comment -you've never eaten elk!!!

YOU ARE MISSING OUT!

This has to be remidied sometime-it is not just a big deer, way better than beef.

Cool trip pics too.

David Cranmer said...

Those are some really majestic shots, Lana.

Ty Johnston said...

Wow. Awesome scenery and photos!

Cloudia said...

Awesome post. This will be my road trip for now...



Aloha from Honolulu

Comfort Spiral

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Charles Gramlich said...

ArtSparker, one of my favorite books on that world is "Desert Solitaire" by Edward Abbey

The Golden Eagle, it's an amazing feature.

said...

It sounds like an amazing trip!

Evan Lewis, indeed.

David J. West, I see I'm gonna have to find myself some elk from somewhere.

David Cranmer, good thing she was along. Else you'd got no pics or just ones out of focus.

Ty Johnston, yep, Cool stuff to see.

Cloudia,I still have to see Hawaii too.

Lana Gramlich said...

The Hummer tour was really cool & I'm glad we suffered through the hike to & from Horseshoe Bend. The Cameron Trading Post was SO lovely!

Lana Gramlich said...

Thanks for the kind comments on the photos, everyone. :)

Ty Johnston said...

Charles, by the way, finished "Swords of Talera" today. I honestly can't say enough good about it. The best S&P novel I've ever read. Better than Burroughs, in my opinion, at least for the modern reader.

Charles Gramlich said...

Lana, no you lovely. :)

Ty, I appreciate that, man. I'm so glad you liked it. I put a lot of time in on that one, but really had a lot of fun with it. Those were some of the first real fight scenes I ever wrote so I was glad they came out decent.

Angie said...

Mmm, fry bread! My old college used to have a powwow every year and I always went. Not just for the fry bread, but I'll admit that was a major attraction. :)

Also great elk pic. Sounds like you're having a good time -- thanks for sharing!

Angie

Charles Gramlich said...

Angie, I don't think I'd ever had fry bread before but it was awesome

Richard Prosch said...

I used to eat fry bread when we lived in Wyoming. It sounds like the food on your trip was almost a hybrid of Mexican and Native American. Is there a name for this kind of cuisine?

Randy Johnson said...

Great pics! The account makes me wish I could make the trip. Good reporting.

X. Dell said...

Lana gets spectacular shots. She's got an amazing eye for composition. Between her photography and your writing, this indeed has been a fun series.

BTW, how much do you make on the professional eating circuit these days?

Barrie said...

Sounds like quite the trip! Thank you for sharing!

pattinase (abbott) said...

Sure would be nice to have Lana take pics on our holidays! They blow me away.

eric1313 said...

Looks like a lot of fun. The canyon shots look gorgeous, and the places sound interesting, as does the food! The Navajo taco sounds especially awesome, which seems to be a very fitting word for what you described.

Carole said...

I love the pictures. You make the trip sound quite fun. You need to quick take another vacation so you can continue to entertain with your photos and hotel/restaurant critiques.

Travis Cody said...

I was bothered by the crowds too, when I visited the one time. Despite that, the canyon is gasp-worthy.

ivan said...

Excellent vacation report!

Funny we should be talking about the Grand Canyon even up here in Canda.

Tired of my own company, thinking that Sartre was right when he said "hell is other people", I finally asked a lady to accompany my to a pub crawl. I think I ended up embarrassing her.

Whom should I I meet tat the pub but a construction worker who had just come back from visiting the Grand Canyon and he couldn't get over being a awed, especially the account of him being drunk not only by the view from above, but almost falling down a mile when he got too close to the rim of the chasm, saving himself only by hanging onto a juniper bush.

I asked him about all the dams along the Colorado River.
He said, "What dams? There's just this MF gorge."

I said Hoover and he said, "Oh yeah...But that's nearly at the end. Keeps Las Vegas all lit up."

High and vainglorious on six drinks I tried to show my awesome sophistication by saying that the Grand Coulee dam was there as well.
"You ignorant bastard. The Grand Coulee is way up north in Washington. Wrong church. Wrong pew. Wrong river, that's the Coumbia you're talking about. I was at the Colorado River gorge.
"You don't know f*ck all."

Damn.Confused over dams.... Trouble with having kept to myself so much. Sitting at the computer thinking you know it all. Certainly not getting out enough. And really confused over American parks and geography.

I gotta get out more. Upbraid a fool. Upbraid not a fool and he will become vain in his ignorance. I was upbraided!

I almost gave myself a detention.

I will not confuse the Colorado River with the Columbia River, (which is way up, all the way up to its headwaters in Canada).

Oh dam it all.

I guess I'll have to visit the Grand Canyon for real, and not virtual.... It's been a while since I was told I was full of shit. 'Bout time, I suppose.

The professor was intellectuallly flattened by a construction worker.

Well, at least I had a date with me. I said in a drunken burst of hubris, "You've been to the Grand Canyon, but at least I have a date with me. Where's your honey?"

The vanity of it all-- after ten drinks.

"Don't eat any,"he laughed.

Dare he toy with me? I had been to rhetoric class. I had been to the school of repartee.

There was a drum roll.

My answer was awesome.

F*ck off.

Then the lights went out.

I now have mixed feelings about getting out more.

Felt this morning liked I'd hit the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Certainly the nadir of what I now laughingly calll my intellect... And the sore jaw. Oh rowdyman!
Sometimes you need a crack on the head.
Heh. Durn eastern European. Don't know nuttin'.

Finally a reality Czech. :)

Charles Gramlich said...

Richard Prosch, There was definitely a big native American influence in much of what we ate and it was delicious. I don't know if there is a particular name for it.

Randy Johnson, it wasn't that expensive but there was a lot of driving.

X. Dell, she does have a wonderful eye. After all, she picked me. As for the pro-eats circuit, as we in the biz like to call it, the pay is all gravy.

Barrie, about time I had some such pics to show.

pattinase, She'd probably be pretty expensive to hire. :)

eric1313, I wish I had another Navajo taco right now.

Carole, lol. I need a bit of time to recover.
Travis Cody, definitely. when you stand on the edge and look down everything else is forgotten.

ivan, that was an awesome little essay in its own right. Really liked that ending. A nice...punch ending.

Erik Donald France said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erik Donald France said...

That comes across as *really* cool. Zowie!~~

Harry Markov said...

Now that whole trip does sound like a blast. I don't like the heat, so I don't know I'd fare there with no shade, but it's certainly something worth seeing.

Merisi said...

Thank you for sharing your travels, it brings back so many memories!

I have the fondest memories of camping at the Navajo reservation, with the full moon rising and bathing everything in a warm glow at two o'clock in the morning.

We went to the North Rim, which was not as crowded and offers great views of the Canyon. I shall always remember the ride over that bridge high over the Colorado river. The wind was blowing so hard, I was worried we'd get blown into the Canyon.

I loved the fried Navajo bread, but don't remember any toppings.

BernardL said...

I enjoyed your fourth installment very much. Beautiful pictures.

Charles Gramlich said...

Erik Donald France, hte best vacation I've ever had.

Harry Markov, I'm not big on heat either. there, at the time we were there, you need to do most things in the morning. It's kind of similar for our home area, although there is shade.

Merisi, The north ridge was another hours drive for us so we didn't go, but it sounds like it might have been nicer. I did have fry bread by itself another time and it was good all by itsel.

BernardL, I thikn just one more to go. Probably will go up today sometime.

Kate Sterling said...

Wow, these are just beautiful. I'm so glad you and Lana were able to get away for a nice time.

Charles Gramlich said...

Kate, it was amazing

Jodi MacArthur said...

That second photo... you write Slot Canyon, but I'm wondering if the driver took you and Lana to Mars and back. Amazing, amazing photo. Wow.