Home > Experiences, Travel > 3 Days in Vegas – Day 2: Grand Experience

3 Days in Vegas – Day 2: Grand Experience

November 12, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Last month I told you about first day of our 3-days excursion to Las Vegas  (here are the links to the Day 1, Part 1 and Day 1, Part 2) – now it is the time to tell you about the Day 2 and really inundate you with pictures. Here we go.

When I opened my eyes in the morning, the first thing I did was to grab my phone. 5:58 AM. 5:58 AM. 5:58 AM????? Our tour pickup was supposed to be at 6:10 and the concierge highly recommended to be at that lobby at least at 6:05 – which will be in exactly 7 minutes from now – and I just opened my eyes???? Did we slept through the alarm clock, actually two of them? Okay, not important now.

“Hey, we blew it” I practically screamed grabbing my wife on the shoulder. She opened her eyes – and let me tell you something about my wife – she really (REALLY) doesn’t like to be rudely awaken in the morning – not with the loud voice, and especially not by the sudden push on the shoulder. “What are” she started, and then, lucky for me, she saw the clock – and she realized that my actions were, let’s say, somewhat justified.

I don’t know, my readers, what is your best “get out of the house” time – but I can tell you that at 6:02 we were already running through the casino floor. At 6:09 we were standing outside at the Tour and Travel lobby, despite the fact that when we asked for directions to this Tour and Travel lobby, casino worker said “you need to get where ???”. And the most surprising part – we managed not to forget our ticket confirmation and the camera – probably two most important things we needed. I’m still impressed, even now, when I’m writing it.

Anyway, 10 minutes later, the small bus arrived, and it took us to the place where we were taking the big bus. We got our printout receipts exchanged for the tickets, got our breakfast, which was included in the price of the trip – and consisted of some kind of the strange dry oatmeal bar (never saw that before, it looked very different from the normal breakfast bar) and the coffee. Well, hell with the breakfast – Grand Canyon was waiting, so in the next 2o minutes, we all loaded onto the big bus and left.

Going to Grand Canyon was always my dream – and somehow it was always associated with Las Vegas – I guess it was an assumption based on the lack of knowledge. How does the saying go, “ignorance is bliss”? In many cases, it is. Grand Canyon is 250 miles away from Las Vegas. If I would’ve known that, I would probably say it is too far, and we would probably not even attempt going there. I learned of a distance only after we got the tickets (non-refundable, of course), so it was too late to change anything. But to tell you honestly, the trip was planned so well with all the stops, information and the movies, that we didn’t even feel the distance.

As we started moving, our bus driver introduced himself – his name was Frosty, and originally he was from Ohio (if I’m not mistaken), but was living in Vegas with the family for many years already. Actually, Frosty deserves the highest praise – he kept us safe, entertained and informed – what else do you want from the 10 hours drive?

We learned a lot of fun facts about Las Vegas and the life in it. Here are some of the facts as I remember them (and it’s been a while since the trip, people!).

  • Las Vegas used to be the fastest growing city in US – it is not right now, but it is still among the top 10.
  • Las Vegas gets about 2 inches of rain during the year (in a good year).
  • Las Vegas has its own water police, which is easy to imagine based on the previous fact. If you are caught washing your car on the street, you will get some serious fine.
  • Las Vegas residents don’t pay income tax – who needs income tax when you can charge $4 for the bottle of water in Casino?
  • Las Vegas is the City which Never Sleeps. Well, there is nothing new here, and we know that New Yorkers also refer to their city as “city that never sleeps” (as well as people in Tel-Aviv, who say the same thing about their town). Can you change your car’s tires after midnight in New York? I doubt so. Can you shop in the dance supply store in New York after the midnight? I don’t think so. But you can – in LasVegas.

After we learned about the life in Las Vegas, we moved to the next subject – Hoover Dam, as we were getting close to it. No, we didn’t stop there, as we were driving on the new highway, which was not allowing any stops for sightseeing – but it was also making the trip shorter by about 2 hours, so all in all it was a positive thing. Here are some of my attempts to take a picture of the Dam through the window of the moving bus (yeah, fat luck):

We also watched a very interesting documentary about building of the Hoover Dam, where we learned about one of the most significant engineering projects in the US history, and about hard work and dedication of the people building that Dam during the years of Great Depression. We learned about Boulder City, Nevada, where gambling is still prohibited even today, which only very recently stopped being a dry city – and which is considered one of the best places to retire in the US. We learned that the people who were building the Dam had to sleep for many months right on the ground without any cover, and even if they were sick, they still had to bring themselves to work – if you don’t show up for any reason, there were thousands of people ready to take your job. Seeing the video of mighty Colorado River yielding to that hard work, sacrifice and perseverance of human beings was very moving as well.

We made a quick 15 minutes first stop – here is another picture for you:

And after the stop we continued driving. We watched a movie, so the time went mostly unnoticeable, then we stopped for lunch – the lunch was done in the buffet style, of course, but it was very tasty! Note to self – take notes during the trip! By now, I don’t remember the name of the town where we stopped (the only thing I know-  it was in Arizona), and I don’t remember the name of the restaurant – but the food was perfectly simple, and perfectly delicious in a home-style way.

Once we were done with lunch, another 4o minutes ride, and we entered Grand Canyon National Park and arrived at the South Rim of Grand Canyon. And then the awe-inspiring view was all we could focus on for the next hour if not longer (it is hard to believe how short that hour appeared to be). No, my pictures unfortunately don’t convey the grandness of the experience and phenomenal range of emotions which those views impose on you (besides, I should’ve done better job preparing – at least some lens filters would do a lot of good). But for what it’s worth, here are the pictures:

As you know, I love taking pictures of flowers – here are some at the Grand Canyon:

Is this the grand view or what?

Not a flower, but still fascinating:

I have not idea what kind of plant is this, but it looks so good, I think it is holiday card-worthy:

Do you think this branch was an alligator in the past life?

Was this an hour already? Ahhh, too fast! We got back to the bus and drove a bit more, then made another stop for about an hour. We stayed still at the South Rim, but at this stop there were few other “entertainment” options – small museum dedicated to the exploration of the Grand Canyon, an Inn, a restaurant, very big gift shop and so on. And here are more pictures:

What do you think attracted my attention in museum? Many things, of course – but particularly, the bottle from Kentucky Bourbon:

Those two hours, one on one with the Grand Canyon were really memorable – Grand Canyon definitely should be on everyone’s “must see” list.

On the way back, we continued learning interesting things. For instance, an interesting fact about human psychology – at the South Rim there is a man-made barrier along the edge of the Canyon, which should protect people from falling down. Every year, 6 to 8 people die falling off at the South Rim. At the West Rim, which territorially belongs to the Indian tribe, there is no barrier – and so far not a single person died there. And outside of this sad fact, you should definitely consider visiting West Rim of the Grand Canyon, as it has recently built whole glass Skywalk, extending above the Canyon at about 4,000 feet above the floor – I can’t even imagine how you should feel there, suspended in the air and surrounded by the timeless beauty.

We also watched the documentary about the trips down to the floor of the Grand Canyon. Do you know who can help you to get to the bottom of the Grand Canyon? If you thought of mules, you are correct! Those are specially trained mules, and they can carry people and all the load along the path which leads town. Sometimes this path goes along the edge, and the mules are taught to handle it – all humans should do is sit straight and not to get in the way. Among interesting facts I can tell you that during many years of those journeys, they didn’t lose a single person. Excited? Imagining yourself in the mule’s saddle taking a journey of your life? I don’t know how much it costs (I’m sure it is not cheap), but get in line – there is about one year wait for those tours.

The trip was winding down. We made two more stops on the way back, and then as we were getting somewhat close to Las Vegas, I tried to take a picture – of course in the dark and from the window of the moving bus:

As you know, I love quizzes, so here is a mini-quiz for you – what do you think I was trying to take a picture of? You might find an answer closer to the beginning of this post, but if you will not, I will tell you in the next post.

We got back to the hotel at about 10 PM, and after such a full day, the sleep was the only thing we really needed.

And before we will part, I want to thank our driver Frosty again (may be he will come across this post somehow), and I want to mention that we book our trip through the web site called Best of Vegas – this site is definitely recommended if you are planning your own trip. Our actual tour company was called Grand Canyon Tour and Travel, just in case you want to check them out.

There you have it, folks – our Day 2 Grand Experience in Las Vegas.

Next time we will get together on this subject, I will tell you all about Day 3 – and rest assured, there will be more pictures…

  1. PSsquared
    November 12, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    I love your description of the canyon and the experience of seeing it. It’s such a fundamental part of Arizona’s identity, even if you and others associate it with Las Vegas. We don’t mind. 🙂 Next time, you’ll have to hike down and experience it from a different perspective. It’s incredible. And I think your unnamed plant is a juniper. Thanks for sharing!

    • talkavino
      November 12, 2012 at 7:09 pm

      See, ignorance is bliss! It was truly amazing. I never saw Juniper, so I will gladly take your word for it : )

  2. November 12, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    Fantastic photos! I think they do as fine a job as possible capturing the canyon!

    • talkavino
      November 12, 2012 at 10:22 pm

      Thank you! I really tried!

  3. November 13, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    Very nice Grand Canyon pictures 🙂

    • talkavino
      November 13, 2012 at 11:08 pm

      Thank you!

  1. January 4, 2013 at 10:56 pm

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