Monday, September 6, 2010

Time to Head Home

Our 11-day excursion through The Grand Circle (Nevada, northern Arizona, southern Utah, and back into Nevada) is done.

Last night, after dinner, we walked through Excalibur & Luxor again while Mike was looking for a shirt. Then we drove to The Venetian and walked (in a round about way) to see the outdoor show in front of Treasure Island. The show was called "The Sirens of TI". It was nice but then we had to walk back through the Venetian and checked out a few more shops before we got the car and went back to Excalibur.

This morning, after a brunch buffet at Excalibur, we checked out of the hotel and went to Luxor to see a couple of exhibits. I saw the artifacts exhibit from the Titanic which was awesome! I even saw some of my family's names in the lists of those who survived and those who did not. I'll need to check those out soon to see if they are relations. Meanwhile, Mike, Shane & Courtney saw "Bodies...The Exhibition," an exhibit of preserved human bodies for viewing the human muscular, skeletal, nervous, respiratory, digestive, reproductive, circulatory systems, and more. They said it was cool - Google it!

We gassed up the Tahoe, returned the car and got to the airport much earlier than expected. We ate a late lunch at a nice little restaurant and here we are. We are sitting at our gate now. We look tired. We are tired. I think we are d-o-n-e!

It was very special for us to share with Shane & Courtney the places we have come to love so much and enjoy visiting time and again. I think we have two new converts! In the future, when they are ready, we can do some short trips for some specific activities. But now they have an idea of what to expect.

As I sort through the photos we took with our "good" cameras, I'll supplement these cell phone photos I've been posting and add more dialog to this blog.

Till the next time.......

Las Vegas at Night

Some photos while we were out tonight.
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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Change of Plans

Instead of camping overnight at Toroweap in the western end of the Grand Canyon, we are heading back to Las Vegas a day early for some night life, shopping, gaming and whatever else Las Vegas has to offer. We have had a fabulous time visiting the national parks, hiking, boating and sightseeing. We'll be staying at the Excalibur Hotel and attending the Tournament of Kings show tonight. Tomorrow...who knows!
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Zion National Park

We hiked The Virgin River Narrows yesterday for about 8 miles round trip. There are sandy areas with river stones in the water and on the banks where there is a bank. It was like walking on slippery bowling balls! Luckily we were geared up with river shoes & hiking sticks from Zion Adventure Co. We did not take a camera with us because we didn't want it to get wet. Here's a few pics of Zion that I took this morning.
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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Bryce Canyon at Dusk

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Grovsner Arch

Located off Cottonwood Canyon Road. It is actually a double arch.
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Cottonwood Canyon Road

A long unpaved/primitive/dirt road that we took from near Jacob Lake (north of Grand Canyon N.P. - North Rim) to Cannonville, Utah on the way to Bryce Canyon National Park. You can see the uplift of the earths layers.
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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Grand Canyon North Rim

This is the view from the back porch of the North Rim Lodge. It overlooks Transcept Canyon. We had a cabin within a very short walking distance to the rim.
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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pt. Sublime Sunset

We made it to Pt. Sublime. It only tool us 1 hour 45 min to drive 18 miles on a "primitive" road. We are very secluded and there is only one other person in the 2-site campground. Here's pics of our tents and the fading sunlight on the canyon walls to the east of the point.
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Cliff Dwellers Lodge

This is on the side of Hwy 89A.
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Vermillion Cliffs

This is the view from the car window as we zoom past Vermillion Cliffs.
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Leaving Lake Powell

We leave Lake Powell this morning and I leave you with a last look at the Glen Canyon Dam.

After breakfast and grocery shopping, we will see the slots at Antelope Canyon and the Colorado River at Horseshoe Bend. Then we'll head to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
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Monday, August 30, 2010

Lake Powell Cont'd

We beached the boat a few times to explore or have lunch. We even spent some time swimming near a beach and writing messages in the sand.

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A Day on Lake Powell

The pristine clear waters of Lake Powell in the Glen Canyon Recreation Area are a huge draw for boaters and those who enjoy recreation on the water. Today we rented a 19' Boston Whaler with a bimini top and spent the day exploring the side canyons that extend above the waters of Lake Powell.
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Sunday, August 29, 2010

More hiking!

In order to see sunrise from one of the best spots in the canyon (and there are plenty of them), we woke up at 4:30 am to jump & run to catch the hiker's shuttle at 5:00 am. The shuttle took us to the South Kaibab trailhead where we began our short hike down. Sunrise was at 5:58 am and we saw it from Oooh Aaah Point only .9 miles down from the top. We continued another .6 miles to Cedar Ridge where we had some breakfast snacks and took a rest. The sky was beautiful and the wind was blowing keeping the temps pretty cool. We made good time going uphill stopping often to rest. We got back to the trailhead about 8:30 am, making the total round-trip in only 3 hrs. Here's some pics I took this morning.

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Happy Anniversary!

We hurried back to check-in at Bright Angel Lodge so we could get cleaned up for our sunset at Moran Point, where we got married. We made it and even saw an elk along the way!

Mike & I are celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary this year! Shane was Mike's best man at our wedding and Courtney was there too! It was wonderful having them share it with us again!

We took lots of pics at Moran Point and made our 8:00 reservation at the El Tovar Hotel's restaurant. The bison strip steak Shane & I got was huge! Everyone enjoyed their food and was stuffed afterwards.

We're getting up early to catch a 5:00 am hiker shuttle to Yaki Pt. to see & photograph the sunrise.

More tomorrow! Got to get some sleep! Zzzzzzzz.....

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Grand Canyon Hiking

So we headed back to the top. It was a long hike for everyone because I was stopping so often to catch my breath. It really was enjoyable and we had a lot of fun!

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Are we there yet?

Yes, we are! Hello Grand Canyon! We're baaaack!!

After a hearty breakfast at Old Smoky's Restaurant in Williams, and a little more window shopping, it was time to head to the canyon. We did make a brief stop in Tusayan at the Indian Market. We browsed a bit and watched two Navajo children (a boy and a girl) do the Hoop Dance. We took photos while enjoying their enthusiasm.

We finally arrived in the park about 12:30 and spent a bit of time looking over the rim before deciding to hike down the Bright Angel trail for a little while. At the Mile and a Half Resthouse we determined we had gone far enough to give Shane & Courtney a taste of Grand Canyon hiking. It was time to rest a bit & climb back up the trail.

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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Grand Canyon Hotel

This is such a great place to stay in Williams, AZ as you are on your way to the Grand Canyon National Park. It is the oldest hotel in Arizona since January 1891! Our friends, Amy & Oscar have done a wonderful job renovating & restoring the hotel since they purchased it in 2005. Check out their website for photos & reservation information

Here's a photo of the lobby to give an idea of what the inside of this quaint hotel looks like. And, it is certified as haunted!!
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Happy Anniversary!

Good morning! Today is our 10th wedding anniversary and we are heading up to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon to celebrate. I had my leftover cherry cheesecake with a cup of coffee while we are waiting or Shane & Courtney. Mike is browsing through a book of letters from past guests of the Grand Canyon Hotel.

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Friday Re-Cap

I confirmed that I really did fry my GPS unit using the car charger that came with it. I don't know why. I just plugged it in last night after we picked up the rental car and it started smoking. That is never a good thing for electronics. So much for that!

Mike & I got up early for some Starbucks coffee and a bit of exploration around Luxor. Mike followed some folks out to the pool who were doing a photo shoot while I went to the casino. I played my birthday for the first bet on electronic roulette and won $35!! Then played most of it back. Haha!

We let Shane & Courtney sleep in a bit since we were in no rush. We decided to go with a restaurant recommendation for breakfast - Ellis Island Casino & Restaurant. Steak & eggs for $4.99! That's us! And the birthday girl (that's me) topped it off with a Bloody Mary for only $3.99! It was all good! Courtney seemed to enjoy her omelet and Shane even sampled a beer from the casino's micro brewery after eating french toast. Hmmm... Doesn't do much for MY taste buds, but he was happy!

Shane has an irritated eye from work on Thursday and Mike took him to a local medical clinic to have it looked at. They dropped Courtney & I off at Fashion Show (mall) to shop while they were at the clinic. Turned out after over an hour they couldn't get the foreign matter out of his eye & suggested he go to the emergency room. They picked us up & 30 min. later we were walking out of the emergency room with about 90% of the spec removed from his eye.

On with the vacation! Mike got us on the Interstate and we were headed for the Hoover Dam. We got to see the new bridge that is going over Black Canyon. When it opens it will divert most of the east/west traffic off of the Dam.

Once we got to Kingman, we caught I-40 east and headed to Seligman, AZ on old Route 66. There isn't much left but we stopped at Delgadillo's Snowcap Inn, a crazy little place that serves food and fun! Unfortunately they had just closed and we couldn't get a snack but we walked around taking photos.

So now we were hungry!! Next stop, Williams, AZ! This is a Route 66 town off of I-40 that is alive & well in the modern age. They just don't look like anyone told them the 1960's have come & gone! We arrived just in time for the wild west shootout. We were hoping it wasn't too cheesy for Shane & Courtney, but they thought it was funny & entertaining!

After checking in at The Grand Canyon Hotel, we perused the menus of a few local restaurants before deciding on Pine Country Restaurant. Good home cooking! We ate light so we would have room for pie and there were LOTS of pies to choose from! Mike got double chocolate cream pie. I got cherry cheesecake pie. Shane & Courtney got strawberry cream pie. They were all so good!

After dinner, we got the luggage to our rooms and celebrated my birthday with some champagne provided by Amy, the hotel proprietor. Then a walk around town was in order to get rid of our full bellies! We even did a bit of gift shopping!

Its VERY late now and I need some rest too! I'll have to post todays pics when I get to a computer that I can hook my camera to via USB cable. Good night all!

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Good morning! We spent the night at the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas. We got to bed late but I was up early for to see the sunrise on my birthday. This was the view out of our hotel window which overlooked the pool in the back of the hotel. The sun was just beginning to light up the mountains in the distance. Ahhhh!! Time for coffee!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

We were almost 30 minutes early getting into Las Vegas from New Orleans. We had to sit parked on the tarmac waiting for our gate to clear. In the meantime, a beautiful sunset was just outside of our window.

Hey! Look at Shane & Courtney on the plane! LOL!

The flight was pretty good. The clouds were interesting and we even skirted a rainstorm. We got to see the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead on one side while parts of the Grand Canyon were visible on the other side of the plane.