Tuesday, 31st May 2011 in US Tour 2011.
Last day of May and we are going to get to Williams via the grand Canyon, which is a bit like saying you are going to New York via Canada or Suffolk via Scotland. Thought maybe it wasn’t a good idea to spend the last day off with another long drive but couldn’t get this close to the Grand Canyon without seeing it. After the painted desert and the petrified forest we didn’t think anything could move us but the Canyon is indescribable. Neil twittered – ‘saw the Grand Canyon and bought ice creams” and that just about says it. You have to go there. There is a book on sale describing the way people have fallen to their deaths and some people were taking extraordinary risks like the two guys in the photo – way out on a ridge that just didn’t look too stable. Lots of guys went really close to the edge-why do they do that?? Even though it seemed like most people on the planet were there as well as us, didn’t diminish the experience. The Grand Canyon was once under the sea which explains the weirdness of the pattern of erosion. There was a slight pollution haze, which I was told can be a lot worse and prevent you from seeing much of the canyon, but today we could see the Colorado River winding through it clearly. The colours of the layers are stunning even through the haze. We drove round getting out at every view point, finally passing dozens of Indian trading posts scattered near the road all the way to Williams. From the map we seemed to be near at least three reservations. Wondered how anyone could survive on this inhospitable, infertile land, beautiful though it was. Nothing could grow there. Looks like the only way they can survive is to make jewellery, dream catchers, wooden ornaments. So the Indians who live there are completely dependent on the passing tourist trade. I realise how little I know about it but when I go to Google and read about it, I find another example of greed and disrespect for these indigenous people. And when people tell me ‘oh but they do nothing except drink and beat their wives’– words fail.
Yvonne’s Gorgeous Grand Canyon photos
Anyway we get to Williams, in tandem with about twenty bikers to find a funky old town with big Chevys and Cadillacs, loads of Route 66 paraphernalia and Indian goods, but also a rail road with a crossing, lots of restaurants and bars. We stayed at the Grand Canyon Hotel which I saw in a photograph – looking very like El Rancho in Gallup, with a veranda on the second floor. Well now the veranda has all been filled in and looks nothing like the photograph, so it took quite a lot of ‘that must be it’, ‘can’t be, it doesn’t look like the picture’, ‘well you find it’ etc. etc. till we found it. We had the only suite in the hotel ‘The Swede Suite’, and it was tiny. All three rooms would have made one decent sized room but it smelled nice and had lovely Swedish touches – including a “Norwegian’ cup with the handle inside. Swedes make jokes about Norwegians in the same way as the English do about the Irish The large lobby was beautifully done with mats and sofas and pictures and also a gecko and a tree frog (in cases) The owner takes the gecko out for a swim now and then, and it did look like a happy gecko as geckos go. Amazingly there was a good Italian restaurant almost next door so we ate well and slept well.