13.08.2010 - 13.08.2010 40 °C
Today all became a day full of calamity and errors, rather than a visit to the great Grand Canyon National Park. In fact the day was error strewn, something about Friday 13th maybe, but I managed to correct it just in time.
Well I picked up my car at about 11am and moved over to the Riviera hotel to check it. Checking in took some time and it meant that I didn't get on the road to leave Nevada and get into Arizona until almost 12:30. This was far later than I was hoping for. Why? Well the drive to the Grand Canyon take a minimum of five hours from Las Vegas, so I always knew it would be a long day. Things got to a bad start very early. I stopped off at a Nevada information centre to pick up a road map a mile or so from the Hoover Dam. There, I was told that because of construction works there were delays of at least an hour and a half. An hour and a half! This would really push getting to the Grand Canyon whilst there was still daylight and thus rendering the trip meaningless. I was shown a diversion that would take me quite far south, just skimming California before cutting back up to hit I-40. This in itself would add an hour to the drive. I took the diversion only to be lost getting away from the Hoover Dam and perhaps losing another twenty minutes. Then after sometime heading south and then cutting east I got lost in a town just into Arizona, adding at least another twenty minutes to my journey. This was fast become a disaster and a pretty useless endevour. Eventually I found I-40 and, with time rapidly running out I made my way east. I still had another three hours of driving to the Canyon so I couldn't afford to appreciate the barren scenery, populated only by cacti. After roughly two hours travelling east on I-40 I came to the north turnoff and from that turn off it was another hour to the entrance to the Grand Canyon National Park entrance - this pressurised drive was not the most enjoyable! My pressing concern was making it to the south rim whilst there was still light in the day.
I needn't have worried. I got to the rim at Marther Point, after buying some postcard, and found a cliff overhang where I could appreciate the Canyon's majesty in the dying hours of the day. The low sun turned the dark cliffs orange and cast long shadows all over. I took photos and wrote postcard from my perch and watched the dusk come in. All together I had about an hour at the Canyon - although I have to say I think its the best hour of the day to see it as the colours as the sun dies are so varied.
After about half and hour into dusk and the orange and blue hues turned black I climbed out of my spot and got back to my car. Today I had a PT Cruiser. It's probably the worst car I've had so far; it's incredibly ugly, handles like a tank and doesn't have cruise control (this makes covering large distances late in the day substantially more difficult!). I got back on my way; driving south, west and then cutting north more directly to the Hoover Dam as the traffic had gone. I crossed over the Dam at about 1am Mountain Time and back into Nevada at 00:00 Pacific Time. From the Dam I had another hour into Las Vegas. I chose to drive the length of the Strip. Even at 01:00 in the morning the road was rammed with cars and the pavements heaving with humanity. The drive was slow and arduous. I didn't get to my hotel room until about 02:00 and pretty much as soon as my head hit the pillow I was fast asleep.