|An impassible barrier|
Today we see things a little differently and the Grand Canyon is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world. We did not actually stay in the Grand Canyon, but camped instead in Williams, "The Gateway to the Grand Canyon" and took the train. We had done this before, about 5 or 6 years ago, but it was a fun enough day that we decided to do it again. After all, it's only money.
|A disagreement over breakfast|
|The train goes around a bend|
|The Colorado River a mile below us|
|It just goes on forever|
|The El Tovar Hotel|
On the way back we had a modicum of excitement. Thirty minutes into the trip, one of our pair of diesel engines blew up and had to be shut down. We stopped for about a half hour while they figured things out. It is mostly downhill from the south rim to Williams so the remaining engine was able to get us moving again, mostly coasting. Meanwhile, they sent another diesel from the roundhouse to meet us. About 20 minutes from the station they stopped to hook this onto the train to help haul us the last uphill portion back to town. At about this time the same cowboys we had seen in the morning, some of whom were supposedly shot dead, decided to rob the train. We were terrified. Fortunately the sheriff showed up to haul them all off to the hoosegow. We were glad that justice had been served, but I was mostly glad I didn't have to walk 40 miles back to town.
|Second trip to the canyon by car|
While we were in Williams, Vicki had to send some hard copy paperwork back to the home office in Riverside (don't ask me why) and FedEx is not a thing to be found in Williams, so we drove the 30 miles east into Flagstaff. While there we stopped to visit the Museum of Northern Arizona, not realizing we had been there before some years ago. It is a nice facility, but this time around about a third of the space was closed down, presumably for updating or maintenance or something. The pride of the hall is the skeleton of a locally discovered dinosaur, Nothronychus graffami, a member of a dinosaur group previously known only from China. This animal is related to T. Rex but based on it's teeth, had evolved into a plant eater. It retained, however, a set of enormous claws on the end of each upper limb. Strange critter to look at.
The museum also has fairly extensive collections of Indian pottery and jewelry and was showing a traveling exhibit of area quadrupeds from the National Geographic Society. It serves as a pretty good introduction to the Colorado Plateau if anyone is interested.
As far as entertainment in Williams, unless you really enjoy watching cowboys pretend to shoot each other, the pickings are pretty slim. There is a gas station museum where you can look at a couple of old cars and some old style gas pumps and that's about it. The town does have a large assortment of restaurants of varying quality but if you are ever in the area, do not miss the chance to dine at the Red Raven. This is an upscale eatery that we had sampled on a previous trip and were eager to return to. This time around I had duck, which was delicious, and Vicki got a lamb kabob. Somewhat more expensive than the Pine County Restaurant up the street, but definitely worth it.
|Duck at the Red Raven... yum.|
|Grand Canyon Railway in flight entertainment|
|Another view into the abyss|
|Schnoodles visit the canyon|
|The Gas Station Museum|
|Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff|