We woke this morning to a heavy snow fall ( Bathroom even colder at -16 C outside) but our thoughts were on where we were heading next. Monument Valley, an area in Navajo country in Utah. Monument Valley is a bit like Sedona, towering red sandstone structures, all typical of Cowboy Movies. But alas it was not to be. There are two possible short cut routes from the Grand Canyon National Park, but not that day, too much snow. After a quick telephone call to our lodge in Monument Valley, they confirmed our fears, no, not possible today. Even so, it took us 3 hours to drive over packed snow on a direct road to reach Flagstaff ( 80 miles away) We had the foresight to re-book our Flagstaff hotel, and just as well we did, Swirling snow and ice meant that even the mall was shut!! And it seemed like there was no room at the Inn, ( well we had ours). The only other time I had found a shopping mall to be closed, was in San Marcos Texas, Winter 1998. An ice storm hit Texas, my girlfriend ( visiting from Belgium) and I were en route to an outlet mall, driving from Houston to San Marcos, about 4 hour drive. As we headed down I 10, it started to rain and it quickly turned to ice. If you ever see signs saying “BEWARE OF ICE ON BRIDGES” take careful note! The average Texan seemed to ignore this warning, hit the bridge at full speed, spin around and oops, crash. There were at least a couple of thousand crashes that evening, in and around San Antonio and San Marcus, the roads and streets were a sheet of ice. I’ve just looked up the traffic reports for Texas 2016 and is makes for scary reading, 265,000 injuries in traffic accidents, 1 crash every 57 seconds! And we thought a road trip a good idea!
Back to Flagstaff, our hotel a new Courtyard by Marriott was across the parking lot from an Italian restaurant, which as you can imagine proved to be very popular that night. We staggered across the ice and propped ourselves up at the bar ( always entertaining) and had dinner, perfectly adequate, and perfectly nondescript, but I seem to remember the wine being drinkable. Unfortunately, the hotel had no dining facilities, which meant a trip to the closed mall, for breakfast, where there was a Denny’s, and yes, it was open ( open 24 hours). Denny’s proved to be the cause of our only “Domestic” during our three-week trip. And so it was Denny’s for breakfast! Willowy brunette comments that himself has no right to be a slim man as in reality, he is a bit, of a gannet!
The Tale of Two Breakfasts, a His and Hers!
After, this wonderful breakfast, and the to be avoided cup of stewed coffee, we set out on what would have been Route 66. It is for the most part no more, occasionally, one sees a sign” Historical Route 66 but we did not bother with a diversion, we were headed to Las Vegas. Actually, we had no intention of visiting Las Vegas, but it is convenient for the Hoover dam. The Grand Canyon, which is 277 miles long, has Lake Powell( named after a one-armed civil war veteran ) at one end and the Hoover Dam at the other along with Lake Mead. Both lakes are in fact reservoirs but serve as recreational areas.
Our sylph like blond, had recently spent a long weekend in Las Vegas, and had fun, but commented that ” one haemorrhages money” Still being very close, we had to at least see The Strip. It can be seen from miles away, after all it is in the middle of a dessert surrounded by mountains.
We cruised the Strip, along with the rest of the world, the neon lights, the honking of vehicles and the crazy pedestrians, but we did not stop and were glad to escape back to our hotel and yet another Mexican restaurant.Tex-Mex, Arizona-Mex, or Nevada-Mex, they are all the same, not Mexican. One can decided before setting foot inside what to eat and it all comes with refried beans and Mexican rice. My order always “Hold the Beans and Rice”!
The following day, we took another “Pink Jeep” trip to the Hoover Dam, quiet amazing and well worth the visit. The nearby town of Boulder was built in 1931 to accommodate the workers ( 5, 000) of them who came to build the Dam. It was government-owned and run and as such they did not allow Alcohol, Gambling or Prostitution, all of this could be done in Las Vegas, a mere 23 miles away, which was run by the MOB. The Boulder Dam hotel has had many famous people stay, including Clark Gable, who stayed there whilst waiting news of his wife, Carole Lombard. She died in a plane crash on nearby Potosi mountain.
On our little tour, we met an older couple from Boston, who munched on their Doritos, in our Jeep, and bought more junk food at the way station. Unfortunately we were unable to descend to the generator room in the Hoover Dam, as 53 people were stuck in the lift !
I asked the aforementioned couple, what other plans they had whilst in the area ( meaning, really what else are you going to visit/see) I have to admit to being taken aback with the reply. ” Well tonight we will just stay and have the Buffett at the Biagio and last night we saw the volcano erupt at the Mirage !!! Umm is this where FAKE NEWS came from?