Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Slide Show - Las Vegas

Las Vegas

This was my first trip to Las Vegas and, of course, it was Richard's first also. We mostly walked around, taking in the sights, drinking water, and listening to the quickly familiar sounds of slot machines, bells and whistles. There were street musicians (I guess you could call them that), pan handlers, characters and side shows. The night lights were great to see and thankfully, it was also a bit cooler then. We didn't really plan to do anything special here although we did get a chance to ride the roller coaster in New York New York, went to the M&M store and had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe. Our stay at the Excalibur was interesting; it is a cool hotel but in need of a facelift (and a bit of maintenance). We learned our way around on the last day...it is a very large hotel. The pool was okay but 1/2 was roped off, the part with the water slide; bummer! We actually drove most of Las Vegas Blvd, from the new to the old and back again. Crazy busy place, lots of people and very loud, quite different from the peaceful, serene national parks we just spent 5 days in. But I'm glad our flights put us into Las Vegas, it is an interesting city. If I go again, I would like to see a show or two and visit some of the bigger hotels...but, that's for another day. For now, Richard and I had a new experience and a lot of fun.

Well, this is my last post for this blog, promise. I think I covered what we did and where we went pretty well. I enjoy spending time with both of my grandsons so taking this week and having some one on one time with Richard was very special. I don't know what we'll do on our next adventure, I'll have to put some thought into that. For now I'll relive a great vacation through warm memories...and when memory starts to deceive me, I'll have this blog to reference. 

Thank you for following along and commenting on our journey. It made it all the more special because it could be shared with our friends and family. Until next time...

Susan and Richard

Slide Show - Seligman and The Pawn Shop

Seligman and The Pawn Shop

Richard and I flew into Vegas and then we had to drive back there to fly home. It's not such a bad drive, especially if you make a cool stop along the way...like to Seligman, AZ, birthplace of Rt 66! Actually, this was a kind of accidental stop, Richard needed to use the facilities. He had good timing as we were very near the exit to Segliman at the time. You can tell by the pictures that the area depends on us tourists who are interested in seeing what "America's Main Street" looks like. Elvis is around every corner, Marilyn Monroe (or look-alikes) are eerily present and the familiar Rt 66 road sign adorns every building. Souvenir shops abound full of this 'n that; photo albums made from license plates, t-shirts with the Rt 66 logo, motorcycle vests, mugs, etc. I made a purchase I don't usually make in souvenir shops, I bought a carry-on for the airplane! Actually my carry on was a blue bag that was a. too big to lug around, b. had no wheels and c. broke 2 zippers on the flight to Vegas. I intended to toss it when I turned the rental car in so would need another. Well, didn't I find the coolest little carry-on in one of these stores; it is covered in Rt 66 logos!! It's a subdued color so not too obvious but it was a good deal and I thought it was something that would always remind me of our great escape. So I rolled my new carry-on down America's Main Street to the car...much to Richard's amusement. He just shook his head and smiled!

Richard's one request in Vegas was to see the Pawn Shop of television fame. We didn't make it here the first couple of days but on our last day, before buying a few more souvenirs and getting to the airport, we found our way here. It is located in the old part of Las Vegas. Thankfully it wasn't that busy at all, we were able to walk right in and look around. I bought Richard a t-shirt to mark the occasion and took a few photos of him to prove he was there. The real owners (from the show) weren't on the premises but Richard had his picture taken with the cutout in the back room. I guess that will have to do for now. There is a huge difference between the old and the new Las Vegas, markedly different. The buildings are old, the signs are faded and the buildings are in disrepair. I'm kind of glad Richard wanted to come here else I would not have seen this side of the city. When going to areas you've never been to before, it is important to see as much of it as you can, not just the touristy areas.

Anyway, I hope you like the photos. These are much different than the mountains and canyons of rock we photographed previously.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Slide Show - Mather's Point, South Rim Paved Trail Walk

Mather's Point, South Rim Paved Trail Walk

Since we got up so early on Monday, I told Richard we could sleep in late on Tuesday and get a later start to the Canyon. Since we would be there all day so as to watch the sunset, I thought it worked out well. We began at Mather's Point, the first place everyone goes to see the Grand Canyon on the South Side. We took the shuttle to the paved trail to walk the rim.The South Rim trail can be fairly busy but it wasn't too busy this day. The sunset looked like a lot of people walked the trail but most came in on the shuttle bus about a half-hour prior. The photos of the bikes at the beginning were our attempt to ride along one of the trails near the rim...but the directions weren't so great about where you could and couldn't ride...so ended up taking them back after one hour...but not before my chain slipped. Richard fixed it for me...I was ready to walk it back. The colors prior to the sunset were gorgeous...you can kind of tell by the photos. I'm not much of a sunset/sunrise photographer...but you get the idea with the one I put in. I hope you like these as much as we enjoyed being there.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Hummer Adventure, Page, AZ
These photos are from part 2 of our trip with the Colorado River Discovery tour group. Richard and I and a couple visiting from Israel boarded a white hummer in Page which took us out to the Reservation and land owned by a Navajo family, the Mansons. We had a calm ride initially then did some hummer climbing, pipeline, kind of stuff before we came to a stop at the Secret Canyon. The secret canyon is actually a slot canyon discovered on the land kind of by accident. It is smaller and less crowded than the more well-known Antelope Slot Canyons...but it gave us a good idea of how they are formed and the dangers they can pose during a flash flood. No danger of that on this 110 degree day! The canyon photos aren't so great but they are okay. Lighting was difficult and hand-holding the camera in that setting was not easy...but still they give an idea of what the canyon looked like. The area surrounding the canyon is so beautiful, so open and untamed, I loved it. On the way out, the cattle gave us a lot of hearty laughter. It was great fun.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Slide Show - Glen Canyon River Raft Trip

Glen Canyon River Raft Trip
We had a great time on Monday when we spent the morning on a leisurely ride down the Colorado River through Glen Canyon. The day was absolutely beautiful, the scenery was, as expected, incredible. Our trip began with a 4 mile bus ride to the bottom of the canyon via a 2-mile dark tunnel which let us out at the base of the dam. Hard hats were required for the short walk from the bus to the raft because we were in a work zone. We learned much of the history of the Glen Canyon Dam. One interesting fact; the bridge was built elsewhere, disassembled and re-assembled here. They began on opposite sides and met in the middle...only off by 1/4"! (I'm guessing they filled the gap somehow.) We meandered 15 miles from the Dam to Lee's Ferry passing the famous Horseshoe Bend in the process. We saw some wild horses (well, actually they use to belong to someone but now roam free), blue herons and fishermen. We did not see bobcats, cougars or mountain goats. (Heavy sigh.) The ride back to the Colorado River Discovery store took over an hour...but the scenery we viewed outside the bus window was so beautiful it didn't seem that long. We needed to get up 3:30am (me) and 4:00am (Richard) to make the 2.5 hour trek to Page, AZ...but I'm glad we did. It was a morning to remember for sure. (Yes, more rocks but the element of water and some archeological history (petroglyphs) has been added to 'spice it up'!!) Hope you like the show.

After the bus ride back we had a 'Bistro' lunch (Turkey sandwich, chips and water with a few snacks) and then embarked on our Hummer Adventure. Those photos will be in the next slideshow.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona

Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona
Richard and I drove south to Sedona on Sunday. We had planned the trip there so that we could go horseback riding...but that didn't pan out; bad timing. Instead we walked around the main street 'to get a feel for the area', took some photos and then traveled north again. The rest of our day would be spent in the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest. It was incredibly hot this day, you can tell by looking at the photo of Richard outside the ice cream shop. Some of the stores had mist sprayers which cooled you a bit as you walked by, you may get a little wet, but it evaporated quickly! We had to drive through Oak Creek Canyon to get to Sedona. When I first rounded the bend entering the Canyon, my breath was taken away. This gothic cathedral of rock soared overhead and all around you! This was a very impressive ride. Some of the shots were taken by Richard through the car window as we drove through, there were few places to actually pull over..and when you did you were taking your life in your hands; the locals drove the winding roads a bit speedily. Photographs cannot do this place justice, you have to see it to appreciate it, and to appreciate what a beautiful country we are privileged to live in. I lost count of how many hairpin turns we maneuvered to get down into Sedona. This made it a very fun, kind of exciting ride. Sedona's surrounding landscape and the imposing walls of the Oak Creek Canyon made for a breathtaking little side trip.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Slide Show - Grand Canyon Caverns

Grand Canyon Caverns, Arizona

Richard and I decided to make a slight detour on our way to Flagstaff and traveled up Route 66 to visit the Grand Canyon Caverns. They boast the largest dry caverns in the country, located about 250 feet below the surface. The only way to get there is by elevator escorted by one of the guides. I was a bit skeptical when I pulled into the parking lot. The place was nearly deserted, it is situated about a 1/2 mile off the main road and, like almost all the establishments on Rt 66, is a few steps back in time. But the folks running it were very friendly and there were a couple of other families just finishing up the tour. It was actually a pretty neat place, the guide was knowledgeable and there was this somewhat hokey laser show at the end of the tour. What I found most interesting was the number of folks the guide said had signed up to spend a night in the cavern for the economically reasonable cost of $700. (Well, you can have up to 6 people so I guess that's kind of reasonable. Where else can you sleep 250 feet below the earth's surface in a huge hole surrounded by paranormal activity?) Anyway, Richard really enjoyed it (as did I) and I'm glad we made the detour. If you're in the area, it's worth the stop. My photos aren't so great; hand held in a dark cave doesn't work well, especially with all the odd lighting...but you'll get the general idea.