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Friday, July 18, 2008

Yosemite, Las Vegas & Grand Canyon

This part of the trip consisted of total opposites!
After we left San Rafael we drove to Yosemite. A nice trip with no difficulties and some nice sights along the way. A little later than expected we arrived in Yosemite around 15.00. We had to spend some extra time on buying a new tent since we were stupid enough to forget the one we had in San Rafael...
We set up our tent and left for a nice 3 hour hike. But we hardly left the campground and the thunder (which was already present) became louder and the skies turned darker and darker. And five minutes later the first raindrops fell from the skies. We decided to return to our tent and wait for the rain to stop. And glad that we are that we did... ten seconds after we jumped into our car heavy rains started coming down on us. Another ten minutes later that rain turned into hail and the campground into a swimming pool. Luckily we were high and dry in the pick-up.
After the rain stopped we started a camp fire (yes, we had dry wood!!) and prepared dinner. We ate our sandwiches and drank some hot tea with rum together with our neighbour campers. But when we wanted to go to bed we found out about the worst part of the rain... our tent "leaked". Sleeping bags, pillows, tent: soaked! That night we spent in the car, a very cold car! But we survived. The next day we drove out of the park and were rewarded with some amazing views.
This day we drove all the way to Las Vegas. It was also the first time Shoshannah drove (and the first times she actually had to drive a car with a manual gearshift...). She enjoyed it and the good part of driving in this part of the USA is that you easily see where the road leads to (check the right picture!).

We booked a hotel room in the Las Vegas Club and Casino via the internet (hotels.com) for just $19.96... so we weren't expecting a lot, but after we checked in and saw our room we both were amazed. It was huge, clean and had everything in it that we could wish for! Great deal! I already started to love Las Vegas :-) And it just got better! The entire evening/night we walked around the old downtown area of the City enjoying cheap drinks, watching people and checking out the huge overhead "screen" over Fremont Street.

Later that night we took a bus to the new part and again I was amazed by the size of all the casinos and hotels. I could talk about it but if you like going out, a little gamble and a drink or ten Las Vegas is the place to be. I wouldn't mind spending a couple of more days there but we had to go on to the Grand Canyon.

When you drive to the canyon from Vegas you have to cross the Hoover Dam which isn't too bad at all! We stopped and walked around to check it out and liked it. We did not take the tour into the dam since they charged $30 per person for it... too bad. Continuing we drove through some amazing areas again. High mountains, a lot of nothing, forests and so on. A very diverse environment.

That night we stopped just before the Grand Canyon entrance at a campground called Ten-X. Set up our tent, started a fire and made spaghetti! The next day we drove the remaining 10 miles to the Grand Canyon, parked, got out of the car and walked the remaining 50 meters to the edge of the canyon. And all I can say is that it live up to its name: it is GRAND!!! We took a hundred pictures, but again it is a place you just have to see for yourself to experience its grandeur.
We hiked around the rim, but did not go down. You have to prepare for it and we weren't... Some fun facts: if you want to ride a mule down into the canyon you have to reserve it over a year in advance, camping in the canyon is allowed but permits are booked up to four months... But we have our obligatory pictures and I did was I was "asked" to do by Collin to keep his family tradition up: I peed off the rim of the Grand Canyon ;-)

But then it happened... we were all set up for a series of three pictures of the three of us made with the camera's timer, the first two were fine and then Shosh decided to swing her arms sidewards... right over my knee on which Piggy was posing... and Grand Canyon ground is hard and now Piggy is in intensive care with a broken back! Today we hope to find the necessary surgical equipment (a.k.a. superglue) to get him on his feet again :-)
Now it is time to drive all the way through the middle of the US to Memphis to see Shosh's grandmother, aunt and cousins. Luckily we will be able to drive parts of the old Route 66 which should add some fun to the otherwise pretty boring trip of 1500 miles!

Ruudje, Shosh & Piggy

1 comment:

Rodney said...

That photo with piggy in mid-air made me do the deep belly laugh!

And SHAME for pissing on one of the world's greatest wonders!!

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