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Unread 31 Mar 04, 07:14 PM  
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Join Date: Jan 04
Las Vegas, Anaheim, etc. - Day 4 - Ah, the Grand Canyon!

An early start this morning as we were booked on a SUV trip to the Grand Canyon’s North Rim, with an off-road trip down the Colorado River and lunch at the Hualapai Lodge on the Indian Reservation as part of the day.

The day didn’t start off too well as we woke up to find our toilet was blocked – so not the way to start the morning! However, I called hotel maintenance and a guy was there within five minutes (I was very impressed) and we left him to fix it and went down to the ‘Desert Passage’, i.e. the mall at the Aladdin, to find some breakfast. We finally found that ‘Cheeseburger in Paradise’ (I think that was the name) had something we both liked, so Kat had a bagel & cream cheese (how American) and I had toast with bacon. Complete with orange juices for us both and coffee for Kat, I think the bill was around $12, not too bad.

We eventually found the tour pick-up point at the hotel (way off in an area that looked like a dungeon, but was actually only a couple of minutes walk from the valet parking area) and waited for the tour bus… and waited… and waited some more. I eventually used my mobile phone to call the tour company (too lazy to walk back to the hotel and use the payphone), as the guy was now more than a half-hour late and we were thinking we’d been forgotten. I was assured that there had been a problem with the SUV and the driver was on his way, but it was still another 15mins before he arrived. He was very apologetic and seemed a nice enough guy, so we forgave him; however, the late start came back to bite us later in the day. I’m also thinking delays and broken vehicles are Kat’s fault – when I took my cousin to Connecticut in April we got an upgrade to Premium Economy on the London – Boston Virgin Atlantic flight, so it must be Kat that’s the bad luck charm

We went to a couple of other hotels to pick up some more people and discovered that everyone on our trip was British – how typical! We stopped somewhere along the way for a ‘comfort stop’ and then it was on to the Colorado River. We passed by the Hualapai Lodge and went down Diamond Creek Road to the River, i.e. through the Indian Reservation.

When we got to the river, I have to admit I was pretty disappointed as it was extremely murky and you really couldn’t see that much. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t that, especially after such a long, bumpy road to get there. I think it would have been better in a small off-road jeep rather than a 12-seater SUV, but that’s just my opinion.

We all piled back into the SUV and drove back up to the Hualapai Lodge for lunch. This is where there were yet more delays. Usually, the tour driver would stop before heading down to the river and submit everyone’s lunch orders, so that they’d be ready for us coming back. However, we were so late that he didn’t have time to do that and we just took our chance when we got back ‘up top’. We submitted our orders and took our seats, with the group split over two tables. The driver assured us that the food was fantastic and the service was always good, but unfortunately it wasn’t on that day. A large party of ‘Native Americans’ arrived not long after us and the place got busy, with us pretty much being forgotten about. We got our food eventually, but only as they brought out Kat’s veggie burger did they decide to ask her if she wanted “fries or chips”. She requested fries and they promptly forgot to bring them until everyone else was almost finished – though one of the others was still awaiting his salad – I figured they must have been trying to catch the chicken for him to eat! Needless to say, we weren’t overly impressed by the service, but it was probably due to the fact that the routine had been interrupted by the late start to the tour. The Lodge itself was nice and the food was really great, with huge portions.

Our stomachs filled, we were back in the van and heading for the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Both times I’d been before, it had been the touristy South Rim I visited – after this trip, I’ll never go back to the tourist haven.

Arriving at the Canyon Rim and watching the faces of the ‘first timers’ was fantastic. The weather was glorious, with very little cloud cover, so we saw the Canyon in all its glory. The tour driver said that he would take everyone down into the Canyon a little so that they could see it better but, since I have a bad knee, I couldn’t go. I sat on a nicely positioned bench at the top and watched them all climb down. There were only a few other people around and, once they left, I was on my own for about 15 minutes, which was heaven. I sat back, snapped about a reel of photos (yes, more ‘rocks’ for everyone to see!) and relaxed. It was incredibly peaceful and gave me a great opportunity to reflect on things that I don’t normally get the opportunity to do.

We passed through part of the Joshua Tree Forest on the way back and, after an 11 hour day, we finally got back to the Aladdin (around 7pm I think) and, being incredibly dusty, we both grabbed showers before deciding where to eat dinner.

It had been a tiring day, so we agreed the best option was to try out the Aladdin buffet. We knew that the ‘slot tournament’ in the hotel was a good deal and decided to do that before dinner. The deal was that it cost $20 (I think) to enter the tournament, but you got $10 back in slot play on a player’s card and got $20 in vouchers or gifts. We opted for the dining vouchers, meaning we could eat at the Aladdin buffet for about $2 each. Neither of us did particularly well at the slot tournament, not coming close to the high score of the day, which meant we didn’t win anything, but we were happy enough with our meal vouchers and slot play.

The buffet was magnificent. We had about a ten minute wait to get seated, but it wasn’t that bad, considering how busy it got later in the week. There were all the ‘usual suspects’ food-wise, such as Chinese, American, Italian and even some sushi, but the best bit was that they had a ‘Middle Eastern’ section, which had numerous things that a veggie could eat. Kat filled up big-time, while I made do with a bowl of soup and a little bit of rice, as the long day caught up with me and I really felt ill.

We then decided to make use of our slot play and hit the $0.25 slots for a little while, until I felt too tired and ill to stand up anymore.

Coming up... An ATV Adventure in Red Rock Canyon
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Unread 1 Apr 04, 07:30 PM  
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Tartan Tigger
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Another great report. I loved the Grand Canyon, your comment on the amount of photos you took has given me the urge to go and get mine out to reminise.
All Star Music, All Star Movies, Pop Century, Art of Animation, Caribbean Beach, French Quarter, Riverside, Coronado Springs, Swan, Dolphin, Wilderness Lodge, Royal Pacific, Hard Rock, Cabana Bay, Beach Club, Contemporary Tower, Yacht Club, Boardwalk, Bay Lake Tower, Old Key West
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Unread 3 Apr 04, 10:07 AM  
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Oh I just love the GC. Shame about the delays you had. At least the dinner buffet was alot better mmmmmm.
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Unread 3 Apr 04, 10:07 AM  
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