I was so stressed with the credit card D70 that I wouldn't have made it. We tried for an Italian place near our cheap hotel but they wanted $35 per main so we ate in a pleasant 50's diner instead. Now if the trip had gone to plan without the damn bank then I would have been in the Pyramid for 2 nights and would have happily gone to your Italian joint and really enjoyed Vegas.
Today's post, I'm sorry but also without photos till I add them tomorrow. It's stay up processing photo's for posting or hit the sack early and wake for dawn over the Grand Canyon (leaving the kids in bed) - guess which alternative is going to win.
We drove the short distance from Boulder city to the Hoover Dam, parked and walked around a bit. We all decided we didn't feel like paying $30 a head to do the dam tour since we were time poor and had only just been inside an excellent hydro scheme in last years holiday in New Zealand (the tour to the generating room was included in the Doubtful Sound cruise). I'm sorry but I was underwhelmed by the Hoover, again because it's so famous and held as a wonder of the industrial age I expected too much. I prefer my memory of Australia's Hume Dam though I'm sure the stats for the Hoover outdo it and it's just a visual or mnemonic trick that makes the Hoover appear less impressive to me.
We then did the 3.5 hr drive to the Grand Canyon to look at yet more rocks. We did bits via Route 66 to add some fun to the drive. Very spectacular and it's not hard to see the immense scale of the thing. I kept the family waiting on the cliff face for a couple hours while the sun set and I tried to get something better than a snapshot. We'll see if I succeeded when I process them tomorrow.
Capped it all off with dinner at the Yippee-Ei-O Steakhouse on the canyon side of Tusayan. I strongly recommend nobody ever eat there. It was my first experience of a US eatery where the tip is fixed and mandatory and it explains to me why some people defend the US tipping system so vehemently. The service was slow, the veggies originated as reject quality even before the cook boiled the poor buggers to death, the meal was our most expensive in the US and most significantly they overcooked each steak by at least 1 category if not 2. My medium was pretty close to well done. How can a steakhouse not understand the categorization system for cooking steaks. At no point did any staffer ask "did you enjoy the meal" or "how was it" - I know why, they'd be sick of getting a mouthful of truthful feedback in response to the question.
Edit photos added 20/5/2013
Unfortunately some places' reputations are unearned. (The restaurant). At least at Mickey D's(McDonalds) you know what you're getting with no illusions. Time for me to hit the sack. Nearly 3AM in NY. <Yawn>
Wow. $30 for the Dam tour? It's a neat dam but not worth $30. I think we paid $8-$10 (several years ago). It's not so much the dam itself, but what it took to build it. As a visual, it's not as high on the list as it was 30 years ago. It's a once-is-enough thing.
Have never heard of that restaurant...
We found that the eateries around The Canyon, especially Tusuyan, are generally mediocre, at best. Sorry I did not think to warn you, as it is a place we would just drive through. We usually stayed at The Mountain Ranch (Quality Inns) in Williams which has a decent restaurant with good pricing. At the Canyon we would generally grab lunch at El Tovar, or the Grand Canyon Lodge.
As you travel it pays to look ahead at restaurant reviews at planned stops.
Looking forward to the next pics.
I'll try and catch up a few photos tonight even if they're not properly sorted.
Today Mon 20/5/13 we drove up to the canyon again in the early morning but not as early as sunrise. It was very nice to be there before all the tourists descended on the place. We did a quick drive along the east rim drive stopping at each vantage point for more happy snaps and then moved north a bit to the dinosaur footprints at the Indian reservation of Moan-Avi 5km west of Tuba City on route 160. The dino prints were the holiday highlight for me but my son said "don't forget the aircraft carrier dad, the Midway was way cool". I'm glad he's remembering a bit more of this than I'd credit him for as he usually just tells me he most liked the last thing we do each day.
Mid morning we moved onto Sunset Crater to do the volcanic area about 50 miles south of the canyon. There's a few small but petty volcanoes there with some good and accessible lava flows. The volcano is active but dormant, the last eruption was about 1,000 years ago. It also has a few Indian Pueblos that were abandoned about 800 years ago possibly when the area dried out somewhat. I can't see why anyone in their right mind would try and settle it now with stone age technology, crickey it was hot and dry.
Capped off the day with a lightning quick stop of Winslow Meteor Crater (Barringer Crater) which was ultra touristy and basically cost about $50 to get the family to see a lookout over a bloody big hole in the ground. It was worth it for the education and interest of the kids but the price tag sure hurt for what it was.
We're staying the night in Holbrook in preparation to do the Petrified Forrest Nat Park tomorrow and then head north for the last time up through some Indian Cliff Dwellings and Monument Valley. We tried but failed to get accommodation in the iconic Route 66 Wig-Wam motel as there's a cross country motorbike meet on here at the moment.
I never noticed Billy Connolly paying an entrance fee when he was there on TV a week or so ago. :D
Originally Posted by Dread Pirate Roberts
Yeah I'm sure they paid him an appearance fee rather than the other way round.
Apart from closing the path down into the crater the Barriniger family corporation has made a self indulgent display honoring their forebears with a fairly pretentious focus on the original Barringer's achievements in their attached museum too.
I've added photos to the past 3 days posts too.
Now I'd better pull my finger out and start the trip planning for tomorrow that I should have been doing instead of posting here.
Looks like you missed the Watch Tower at Desert View (just before you exit GCNP to the East). Too bad that you are not continuing east on I40 and then veering North on I25 in Albequerque to Denver via Santa Fe, Pueblo, and Colorado Springs. A great introduction to the Rocky Mountains, and past Los Alamos (home of the Manhattan Project).
This weekend (actually next Monday) is Memorial Day, the official kick-off of summer in the U.S. Lots of do-in's including the Indianapolis 500 race. Seems you will miss the racetrack (and museum) as well. Once out of Chicago/Indy/Detroit (Henry Ford Museum) area my local knowlege is leaner, so hopefully Falcon can help there.
Glad you enjoyed bits of your journey. Enjoying your photojournal as well.
I'm not actively trying to winge we are enjoying more than just bits, the whole trip is great and the locals we've met have all been great too. If something hasn't lived up to my expectations I guess I've just been a bit blunt about it.
You may not have caught up with todays Flickr announcement. As of today ALL accounts have 1TB of data storage at full resolution!
If you are looking for back up on your travels simply create a new Flickr account (or use your existing one) and dump everything there whenever you have access to free wifi then when you get home you can delete or download as required. Instant free no hassle storage with complete security for your images.
Glad to hear it, and I have pretty much agreed with your assessments from my own trecks over the years. Most of the touristy places have been pretty well commercialized, but there are areas within each that are off the beaten track. It is hard to "do it all" within the timeline you have to work with.
Originally Posted by Dread Pirate Roberts
Wow, the photo of Lake Mead at the dam is almost scary in that the water level is very low, especially for summer.
Your photos are like a trip into the past... thanks.