Along route 66
Heading out from the Grand Canyon we made one more stop before heading to Los Vegas. We stopped to visit the famous Snow cap diner along route 66. After a brief exposure to such snow cap humor as the cheeseburger with cheese or dead chicken, we took some group photo’s and then hit the road for Vegas.
Dave and Jimmy warned us about just how big Vegas is, and I’m glad they did. Starting out at the Excalibur we went south to Mandalay bay and the Luxor where we ate at the buffet. We then hiked along the strip going North as far as Caesars palace. By then it was getting near time to get back on the bus and we’d had more than enough walking for one day so we headed back to the Excalibur. We did stop to enjoy one more song as the fountain in front of the Bellagio danced. At the bus once more We discovered that Matt and Phillip were having so much fun they decided to stay in Vegas another night or two. We began to worry though when it was time for the bus to leave and Elsa still wasn’t there, just then she came running up with a napkin clutched to her face and blood all over. Turned out the dry Arizona air had finally gotten to her and caused a spontaneous nose bleed. She explained that she’d called the Green tortoise office to let them know what had happened, just then Jimmy’s phone rang and it was the office calling to make sure she made it alright. With that we were all loaded up and we headed out on the final leg of our journey.
Bright lights on the Vegas strip
I had already got my bags stowed separately as I was getting off the bus early in Bakersfield to visit Family that lived there. At 430 or so in the morning I left the big green bus that had been like home for the last week and headed into Denny’s for some pancakes before calling for someone to pick me up. I was glad to have had such a great experience, though also sad to be leaving all these wonderful people. I look forward to riding the Green tortoise again.
Snow and Elk, are we in Alaska?
I awoke early and glanced up at the windows of the bus, strangely every thing was completely white. It took me a moment to realise that I was looking at snow. I levered myself up on my elbows and stared out the window, the trees, road and everything around us were covered in a blanket of snow which continued to fall as we drove into the Grand Canyon National park.
We parked outside the permit office to wait for it to open so Russ and Mat who had decided to camp in the canyon could get a permit. I walked over to a nearby lodge to get a cup od coffee while we waited. By the time I came back. They were getting the permit and we drove over to the campground to find our camp site. Several of us headed out to the visitors center. We then went to catch the shuttle to view the canyon from the rim. We decided to ride out to Hermits rest, see the view and then walk back along the rim trail.
Grand Canyon - Clouds starting to clear.
We arrived out at hermits rest amidst a complete white out! So much for the view. The weather was pretty chilly so we headed into the little gift shop for some hot drinks to warm up. Luck was on our side as by the time we finished our drinks there was a patch of clear sky opening up. Soon we were able to see almost completely across the canyon. The clouds and snow only making it appear even more beautiful and majestic. We began hiking along the rim trail and continued enjoying the view for quite a while before another snow storm came blowing in causing us to run for the shelter of the shuttle bus. We spent the remainder of the day enjoying the luxury of hot showers and laundry facilities at the campground before have another wonderful dinner alongside the bus. After dinner Phillip and I set out at a brisk pace and just managed to reach the rim in time to watch the sunset.
Grand Canyon sunset
That night we all opted to sleep in the bus since the snow everywhere was a pretty good sign we were in for a cold night. Will, Beth and Holly prepped themselves to get up extra early as they had decided to hike all the way to the bottom of the canyon and back the next day. They departed sometime around 4am at which time I rolled over in my nice warm sleeping bag and went back to sleep. After a nice breakfast we decided to also tackle the Angel bright trail going down into the canyon. We wouldn’t be trying to go beyond Indian Garden though.
The most dangerous animal in the canyon
The trail was icy so the going was slow but we enjoyed fantastic views and it wasn’t long till we stopped by the ranger station for lunch. On the way back up we were passed by Matt and Russell who had camped at the bottom, followed shortly after by Will, Beth and Holly who had hiked to the bottom and back again. After another wonderful dinner -who knew you could fix lasagna over a camp stove with a couple of cast iron skillets? Several of us hiked back to the rim to watch the sunset again then stopped by the ranger talk on endangered species in the grand canyon. Here we learned that the most dangerous animal in the Grand Canyon is – The squirrel, carrying rabies and possibly plague you sure don’t want to get bit by one of these.
We returned to find that the drivers had planned to drive us to warmer climes that night but the bus had other ideas, due to the cold the diesel engines didn’t want to start-up, so we spent another night at the grand canyon till the generator could be started up in the morning and with its help the bus was started. We were on our way out of the grand canyon. Hated to leave but we were definitely looking forward to warmer weather.
Grand Canyon sunset
NSS western regional 2008
Guess it’s official- I finished editing all my summer pics this morning. After returning from Florida I did a little scuba diving in
Monterey. Then it was time for the
Western Regional gathering of the National Speleological Society.
Since it was being held in southern Cal. this year near Bakersfield, Mom and Dad drove up to join me.
After that I was off to Mexico again, this time my friend Eileen agreed to come along and so we drove in her diesel vw jetta.
The drive down was a long one but we enjoyed the sites at Gila Bend and Organ pipe Nat. monument. Finally we arrived in Puerto Penasco for a wonderful week of white sandy beaches and plenty of shrimp. I especially enjoyed a trip out to bird island to see the fish and sea lions out there.
Monterey/big sur sunset
Sunset at big Sur, see the rest of my pics from Monterey here.
Sea lions at Bird island, see the rest of my Puerto Penasco pictures here.
Captain Nemo’s home