Day Twenty Four – Tuesday September 13, 2016

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This morning, we checked out of the Rio Hotel a little after 10 AM, said goodbye to Las Vegas after our 3 day stay, and got back to our “on the road” routine, which we were both looking forward to. We realized as we as we left Las Vegas, that today we did something on our way out of town that we have never done before…we drove by the Las Vegas Airport Rental Car Return facility!

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Yesterday I told you about visiting one of our favorite places, Red Rock Canyon, a place that has become a Vegas tradition for us. Well, this morning we made a slight detour to Boulder City so that we could have breakfast at what has become another Vegas tradition for us, The World Famous Coffee Cup Cafe! Ever since we first saw it on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, about 5 years ago, we have stopped every year for one breakfast. Located in Historic Downtown Boulder, the Coffee Cup is a favorites of locals, and they graciously let us tourists enjoy the food too! They have a huge breakfast menu, but the star of the menu on Triple D, and in our minds is the Pork Chili Verde. Susie had the Huevos Rancheros, which promptly features the Pork Chili Verde, and I had Papa con Chili Verde! We had planned to take food pictures, and have to apologize, but as soon as the waitress put the plates down in front of us, all we could think of was eating it! All we have for you is some pictures of the cafe!

After breakfast we headed south on US 95 towards Needles, California. Soon after getting on the road, we passed huge fields of high tension wires, bringing the power generated from Hoover Dam to the outside world.

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The trip through the rest of Nevada was easy and the road was a nice 4 lane divided highway. After about an hour, we crossed into California and suddenly the road went to a 2 lane country road. We were only in California for about 25 miles or so, but it was another state on our list.

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Our purpose of going to Needles was to meet up with Historic Route 66, and to get to spend a little bit of time on the Mother Road. Back when I was 10 years old in 1960, my Mom and Dad and I drove from the mid-west to California, the majority of which we did on Route 66. Being 10 years old, I only have fleeting memories of the trip, so I wanted to experience a little of what’s left of the historic road. My point of reference for this portion of the trip was a blog, https://adventure2016web.wordpress.com/author/adventure2016web/ , written by Walter Pratt. It’s a great day by day accounting of a trip on Route 66 from end to end, and it is the result of my cousins Jeanne and Walt’s trip this past spring. Thanks Walt for the guidance!

As I write this tonight, we are in Kingman, Arizona, and have done better than 50 miles on Route 66. For the first 20 miles from Topock, Arizona I think we might have passed 5 cars. This is a desolate section of the road, where you drive through washes that have obviously brought lots of mud to the road, because it looks like they plow mud here, in much the same way we plow snow at home! The next “town” along the way was Oatman, Arizona, which seems to be known for burros and tourists wandering on the main street, which is Route 66. We had to dodge the jackasses…and the burros!

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Then it was time to head into the “mountains”, where a switchback two lane takes you into the Hualapai Mountains and over Sitgreaves Pass. All along the way, we saw evidence of businesses that once existed on the road, but when Interstate 40 opened, and bypassed them, died. Some have been repurposed and still exist, others are just rubble or big empty lots.

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As I said, we are staying tonight in Kingman, Arizona, in a Best Western Hotel. Today we only drove 187 miles, but again we are not on a mission to reach a destination, but to enjoy getting there. Almost as soon as we got into Kingman, we stopped at the Kingman Visitors’ Center and Route 66 Museum. We spent over an hour touring the museum and watching a film about the parts of route 66 we have, and are going to travel on. It was interesting to hear their perspective on what Route 66 meant to the country, how it helped development in this part off the country, and ultimately destroyed many lives when it was delisted as a US Highway. Another nice small museum, that at $3 admission was definitely not a rip off, and was a worthwhile place to stop.

Tomorrow, we will head along Route 66 for as long as we can, until we get to Williams, Arizona, and then head north to our destination for the next two nights, Grand Canyon National Park. We will be spending two nights in a Bright Angel Lodge Rim Cabin, enjoying the sunset and sunrise over the canyon (which is just feet from our cabin), and seeing what is truly one of nature’s wonders. In that trip I talked about before, we did stop at Grand Canyon, but all I have is a 10 year old’s memories of our visit. Susie has never been, and the two of us are very excited to check off this Bucket List stop on our Big Adventure! Susie just looked at the weather, and tomorrow night in the Grand Canyon it’s going to be in the 30s and 40s…a big difference from the 101 it was in Vegas yesterday!!  Also, the state of Arizona is the one state that doesn’t observe Daylight Savings time.  Right now, we are in Mountain Standard time, which works out to be the same time as Pacific Daylight Savings time.  Because of this, it got dark tonight very early!  Cool temps and early sunsets….we may have to dig out our Pikes Peak Summit clothes at the Grand Canyon!

Speaking of the Grand Canyon, an advisory for all of you who are following along with us via this blog. If you remember back 2 weeks ago, when we were in Yellowstone and there were no posts because there was little or no internet, I fear the same situation will probably exist in Grand Canyon National Park. So, if you do not see a post for day 25 tomorrow, understand that I will be writing the blogs, but may not get to publish them. After Grand Canyon, our next stop is the View Hotel, in Monument Valley, on the Navaho Reservation. The same situation may exist there too, so please understand if there is a “data dump”, once we are back in the 21st Century on Saturday the17th!

PS – We followed our usual pattern tonight, and dined at a local Kingman establishment. We found this book on our table…are they trying to tell us something???

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Day Eight

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Our first thought was, “Oh my God…how did it get to be day eight already????” To say that this first week on the road has flown, would be an understatement. When you think of the miles we have traveled, the places we have seen, the great meals we have had, and the experiences we’ve shared, you’d think that these past 8 days would have seemed like an eternity, but it really hasn’t. The daily drives have been very manageable, the hotels we’ve stayed in have by far been fine, and the things we’ve seen have really been spectacular. How could we ask for anything more!

This morning we woke in Cody, Wyoming and here’s a secret of our travels…we don’t wake to an alarm! We get up when we get up. Both Susie and I have spent too much of our life needing to wake up with an alarm, and we refuse to do it on this trip…unless we absolutely have to! So we got up, went and partook of the free breakfast at the hotel, and then got in the car and headed the 50 miles to the East Entrance of Yellowstone National Park. Now Yellowstone is the first, and therefor, the oldest National Park, and since we are still in the NPS’s 100th birthday weekend, again there was no charge to get in…another day without being able to use my Senior Pass!!

DSC_0196We were less than 2 miles into the park when the traffic stopped dead. We had no idea why, until we rounded a curve and found out why. Coming down the double yellow line in the road, like he was doing a sobriety test, was the largest bison we’d ever seen. He continued to amble down the road until he passed about 3 feet away from the car, and we all went on our way! Talk about seeing wildlife!!! Then we continued to Yellowstone Lake, which is huge! We are staying for 2 nights in the Yellowstone Lake Hotel, and it is both old (it opened in 1891) and beautiful…but more on that later.

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DSC_0226Our destination this afternoon was Old Faithful Geyser. As we traveled from the Lake area of Yellowstone to Old Faithful, we passed over the Continental Divide, twice in each direction. Amazing to think that rain on one side eventually drains to the Atlantic, and on the other side, the Pacific. I actually thought the first time we’d see it was in the Rockies, but Yellowstone has it all!

I don’t know what’s the more amazing thing about Old Faithful…that it erupts about 130 feet in the air, and has been doing it since it was first discovered in the 1800s, or that it does it with such regularity that they actually have a schedule for it!! 3:02 plus or minus 10 minutes was what it was scheduled for this afternoon, and right on the money at about 3:04, erupt it did! Crazy! The other crazy thing is how rude and selfish some people are. We went out to the viewing area and grabbed a front row (benches) seat at about 2:30. By 2:50, the place was full of people, but minutes before the eruption, here come a bunch of folks who decided they should sit on the ground in front of us. Yeah, I really want your head in my picture folks!! Guess what…most of them were not English speaking tourists! Ugly Americans my ass! We are some of the nicest, considerate folks you will run into, but watch out for the tour busses of foreigners! Rant over!

imageAfter the eruption, we returned to the hotel and got changed for dinner. We had 5:30 reservations in the Lake Hotel Dining Room, and felt we should get out of the shirts and t-shirts befitting eating in a nicer venue. This hotel has a real old school elegant feel to it, imageand we wanted to feel like we were upholding the history of the place in our dress. We felt good about what we did, but obviously some folks didn’t feel the same, as we saw every mode of dress! I’m sorry, but there is just something about someone eating dinner in a wonderful, historic dining room like this hotel has, in a baseball cap, that bothers me. Oh well. We had a wonderful dinner, starting with an excellent charcuterie plate, and then had an excellent Bison Filet. A nice bottle of bubbly and a couple of scrumptious desserts rounded out a really excellent meal!

IMG_4217.jpgAfter dinner, we sat on the front porch of the hotel for a bit, looking at the lake, then came inside and sat in the lounge. We had a couple of drinks, listened to the lady playing the piano, had a nice conversation with a couple from the UK, and wrapped up our day in a great way!

Tomorrow we may have to set an alarm (oh God, no!!!) because we have a cruise on Lake Yellowstone at 9:15 AM. Then we have the middle of the day to explore the park, and we end our day with a Yellow Bus Sunset Tour! Looking forward to another great day!!

Susie just commented that this is a first for us this week. We have a very nice room, but there is no TV and no air-conditioning! In addition, there’s no Wifi, but then we are in a National Park! If I get to post this at all, it will be via my cell phone’s hot spot, and there is no way I will be able to get pictures loaded. So if you see this sans pictures, know that once we are back in wifi territory, I will share some of the great ones we took today with you!

See you tomorrow!