Getting the Lay of the Grand Canyon Land (Apr 27 2014)

GrandCyn3.JPGWoohoo! There’s sun! (Okay, and some clouds, but…) It’s still cold but not miserable like the day before.

Deciding to walk around the Village, we drive out to the Vandercamp Visitor Center. Vehicles over 20 feet are not allowed in the parking lot but Sprockets manages to wedge into the last available parking space.

An old curio shop doubles as a historical museum of sorts with memorabilia and time lines of the Grand Canyon. Hopi House near by is another Mary Colter creation – she must have been one busy architect here. Hopi House is a gallery-shop of lots of very cool authentic Indian crafts and jewelry – and maybe a few made-in-China knock offs. The building is not as cool as the Desert View Tower, however.

El Tovar is the original lodge and all dark wood and curved shingled roofs outside, dark wood, fireplace and trophy heads on the inside. Right outside is the terminal for the Grand Canyon train.

GCtrain1.JPGThere’s a mid-century type two-story complex and the Bright Angel Lodge, a log cabin-y lodge with a few individual cabins. On the rim, the Lookout House and Kolb Studio are perched right on the edge. The Kolbs were brothers who made films and photos back when the park began and a film shows you how challenging it was to do what they did – carrying tons of big, heavy gear on mules and so on.

GrandCyn7.JPGSome parts of the Village are fine – and the vistas are always dramatic – but a lot of it is very tacky. There are shops in every single building selling nearly the same stuff. Food and beverages are way overpriced. And, of course, the mobs of tourists. They are the same types we’ve been seeing everywhere.

North Americans, all types of Asians, tourists from the Middle East, South and Central America, and of course, tons of Europeans.

Who’s NOT here? The very original residents and uranium miners, I guess, although they are trying to bring mining back into the Grand Canyon, of all things!

But, this is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, so it should come as no surprise that this would be a sort of UN with so many languages, so many tourists from so many countries.

Some things you can only find in America… Like the “no guns” sticker.

From the Village, we walk the rim as far as the Yavapai Geology Museum with its grand lookout view.

GrandCyn11.JPGBack at camp, I make rice with creamed shrimp for dinner.

While washing dishes in the bathroom, I meet a couple of French girls, changing clothes.

“It’s too cold to change in our tent,” they say. They’re on a roadtrip from Miami to San Francisco and tent camping here. Their English is impressively good and they are even nice enough to speak English to each other while I am there! Now how many Americans can do that in France? (Or Mexico… Or…) Language opens all sorts of doors. The more you have, the more doors you can open!


Author: ontheroadwithsprockets

I've been traveling since I was born -- the first big trip was before I was two, across the Pacific, from my native Japan to Los Angeles on a cargo ship. There have been many journeys since then, through many continents and cultures.

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