The Grand Canyon and ever so much more...

Marigold standing nowhere near the edge

Marigold goes to the Grand Canyon and a few other places as well. 

Not a real condor, but just outside our hotel so closest we will ever get to one

Let's start with our trip to a great big hole in the ground.

 

Marigold Says...

 

We still can’t add photos to the blog as well as G would like. Perfectionists are never happy. The man from the site says they're sorting it. Soon.

I decided I had better start to write something for the blog as G has done all the driving and most of the bag carrying  on this trip, like every other trip, actually, so I said to him ‘leave the blog to me and I will write three days in one.’ He was impressed, I think. 

When I showed him what I had written – I insist he checks whether my stuff makes sense – he said ‘is that it?’

I said ‘if you think there should be more, you write it. You listen to me rabbiting on all day, just write what I would have said.’

So, some of othis is me and some (most) is G in the style of Marigold. He says it’s  much easier writing as ‘Marigold’ as he doesn’t have to worry about including any research as I would never do that. True.

 

The Grand Canyon

 

What a place.  Hard to do it justice.  I couldn't go near the edge and kept shouting at G to "stop there, don't go any further".  There was a stupid girl who kept walking backwards doing a selfie.  Nearly shouted at her too, especially when she had her heels resting on the very edge of the rock. Her friend took lots of selfies as well, but she didn’t even bother to include the Grand Canyon in them. 

The colours and size were a surprise.  We went on an on-off bus where you get off, look at the view and then get on another one to go somewhere else. A Chinese couple with a baby, who kept crying, kept on getting on ‘our’ bus. Someone said ‘that child needs a pacifier, and the Chinese dad, who was lovely, said ‘he’s thrown three of them into the Canyon already’ and everybody on the bus laughed. Even the baby stopped crying and started to laugh.

We went on one of the trails which was partly covered by trees so not as hot and it was lovely. It was me who wanted to go as it led to Ooh Ahh Point and who could resist that. I fancied Skeleton  Point too, bit spooky, but G looked at the map and said, ‘no chance.’ 

There were dire warnings about stroking squirrels as they all have fleas and so carry diseases. No idea why people always want to try to stroke squirrels and the warning notice said many people every day were bitten by squirrels. Leave them alone or you’ll catch bubonic plague. That’s my conservation message for today. 

 I was already worried because there were warnings about rattlesnakes and something called a tarantula moth. It stings tarantula spiders and lays its eggs on the spider. I told G he was making this up and he showed me a leaflet and it’s true. Blimey, killer squirrels and moths that can kill a tarantula. Wish now I had got some big tough boots on like everyone else seemed to be wearing. There’s also something about a kangaroo  rat. Honestly, I’m not making this up. At least they didn’t say that was a killer. Told G he may have to carry me along the trail as his big tough feet can take a bite or two. He didn’t seem keen. 

Felt like an African explorer when we got back to the bus collection point, until I noticed it said on the information  board that our hike was rated as ‘moderate,’ not even ‘intermediate’ and it was only one and a half miles. Well, it felt like a lot more than that to me. I said this to G and he pointed out, not very kindly I didn’t think, that it had been one and a half kilometres and so less than a mile. 

‘Yes, but we had to get back as well,’ I said, crossly. Just as well we didn’t go not very much further to Skeleton Point as the notice board said ‘if you walk as far as here you will probably die,’ or something very like that. 

One of the young things who was walking near us whinged all the way there as she said her toes hurt. She was wearing knee length boots with quite a high heel and looked like a stupid fashion victim, not a real hiker, like me.  Her boyfriend told her to shut up. Don’t think they’re in there for the long haul. She kept looking at her phone and saying ‘No signal. Why? Why?’ 

G muttered ‘you’re not walking around the Mall,’ and the girl’s boyfriend, soon to be ex boyfriend, grinned at him. Think they both agreed she was a hopeless case. I hardly complained at all. Just a bit on the way. And quite a bit more on the way back. Don’t think this long distance hiking is for me. Wish I never suggested it now. No, really, it was good fun and everyone should put Ooh Ahh Point on their list of things to do before they die. Or, if you just want to die, walk a bit further to Skeleton Point. 

There was a film about the Canyon at The Visitors centre which was really interesting, must have been as neither of us nodded off. Two mad brothers were sailing canoes through the rapids, not very well, and hanging upside down from ropes over the sheer drops from the edge. They were two men who first attracted visitors here as most of the early explorers said it was just a hole in the ground and no use at all. Some of the rock you can see is millions of years old. I got a million year old stone in my shoe. 

G had been talking to a big load of bikers on Harley Davidsons. They were a club from Florida and had 66 members as they did the whole of ROUTE 66, there and back, for their first trip. There are really 64 of them, but they had the jackets labelled Club 66 anyway because it sounded better. Only about half came on this run as they were worried about the hurricane which was rumoured to be heading their way. 

G said to one man, ‘is your house okay And he said,  ‘I’m okay, my wife is okay and my bike is here with me. The rest doesn’t really matter because I can’t  do anything about it from here and we’re on vacation.’ Great attitude.

 I didn’t even realise the person with him was a woman, never mind his wife. She said to G, ‘under this riding gear is a gorgeous  woman’ and the man said, ‘no, there ‘aint’ and we all laughed. Lovely people. Perhaps we should get a bike next, if I promise not to go to sleep on the back.

I told the bike woman about me falling asleep and she said she did it all the time in long trips, but she didn’t ever fall off because the Harley has big panniers and they ‘keep my butt wedged in tight.’ Not so sure I like the idea of that. 

On the way back we were picked up by Randy who drove the shuttle bus. When we got on he said, 'hi, I'm Randy.'

'Good for you,' G said, making me giggle.

He lives in an R.V. and had been in the military. I asked him if many people fell into the Canyon, still thinking about Selfie girl.He said "yes ma’am.  Only last week a young man jumped from one rock to another and missed.  They had to scoop him up in a rubber  sheet."   

By now he was in full swing.  "Don't ask me about suicides, loads of them. They dive off head first, usually. Reckon they want to make sure they do the job right and proper.  It has been worse this year, must be the Trump effect.  If Hilary had got in I would have jumped myself. That woman is not to be trusted."

Randy has a 32 foot R.V. A six wheeler or may have been 26, couldn’t hear him very well as he was revving the engine a lot, with a washing machine, 2 freezers and an en suite as well as a full bathroom with all the trimmings. Whatever bathroom trimmings are! The bed fold down, to make more space  They also have a 40 inch tv,  another in the bedroom and two 12 foot slide outs from the living room and the dinette.  They are going to sell it for a bigger one.  He said they have to have a big camper to get all their stuff in.

  I said "like what".  

"Well ma’am, my wife collects dollies, a lot of dollies and we both like practicing our dancing in front of the tv ready for the shows."  Marvellous.

He told me about what a great cook he was. He said " I make the best Lasagna. Everybody in the family says so.  I don't put in tomatoes like those Italians, or use pasta.  I do my own gravy sauce, sprinkle graham crackers over and cover with cheese." 

I didn't write the recipe down, as I would rather forget it.

He dropped us off and said " you folks have a good one."  We waived him off and he tooted his horn rather loudly.

The hotel we stayed in did a homemade brekkie with hot scone things, loads of fruit and porridge, so we were well away. A lovely Indian, Native American, made me a brilliant omelette. He said ‘just say what you want in it or leave it to me, but be warned, I’m very adventurous when it comes to omelette.’ That was a bit scary but the omelette was fantastic. 

We saw two condors flying over the canyon and a ranger, a bit fat to be a ranger really, said we were lucky as they were only just re-establishing themselves. They were flying high so didn’t  look all that big, but they are massive with a wingspan of ten feet and weigh up to three stone.

She said she was very hot in her very tight uniform and suffered from perspiration rashes. I think Rangers should stick to telling people about condors and kangaroo rats, not bother us with how sweaty they are. I may write to Donald Trump about this. 

When we got back to the hotel the boy who’d made my omelette said hello. He was walking outside with a shovel. G suggested he had been sent out to clear up the mess where a condor had flown over and done a dump in the swimming pool. Don’t think the hotel should be sending a talented omelette chef out with a shovel, but I suppose he has to do other things once breakfast is over. Hope he washes his hands before he makes another omelette after he has finished mucking out the stables or whatever.

 

Monument Valley

 

On the way to see Monument Valley, we went through miles and miles of Reservation Land, Which seems to be land which is useless for any purpose. It was a bit depressing actually. There are hundreds of really scruffy, untidy shacks lining the ‘fields’ but they aren’t fields, more like the surface of the moon. Tiny places, two rooms at most and yet almost everyone had lots of cars and trucks parked outside. I counted 14 parked up by one tiny little hut. 

Indian jewellery stalls line the roads. It all seems to be the same stuff. Dream catchers and necklaces, so hard to see how they make much of a living. They’re usually women or young girls, hardly saw any men. G talked to a couple of them who pulled up next to us on big motorbikes. No helmets, no leathers, just a tee shirt and shorts. G said to me, ‘like the good old days when I first had a bike.’

One of the men smiled and said ‘too many rules these days.’ I asked him if the police ever stopped him for not wearing a helmet and he grinned and said, ‘their laws, not our laws.’ 

Monument Valley is fantastic. The only problem is people who stand in front of you just as you are about to take a photo. G had been waiting for ages to take the perfect shot of a deserted road with rock formations in the background and just as the road became empty a couple of people rushed past right in the way. When they moved, two cars had appeared. He took the picture anyway and came back to the car. Sweaty and cross as it said the temperature was 107 degrees in the shade and he was in full sun.

I got talking to a man riding a Honda Goldwing, one with three wheels, and he said he had ridden through the night from somewhere a long way away, forgot where, and it had rained all the time. Hope we’re  not going there as we haven’t seen a hint of rain on this trip. He used to go to England to visit his friends, but has only ever been to London, four times, and Eccles, three times. Bit of a mixture there. 

It was getting on for six o’clock by now, but we were still seeing lots of yellow school buses with Indian kids inside. One stopped in front of us and a young girl, about nine or ten, with jet black hair in long braids got off. An old pickup truck was waiting for her. Either her dad or grandad, also with long hair in two braids. They didn’t speak, there was a big dog in the front seat next to the man so the girl threw her rucksack into the back of the truck and sat on the tailboard with her legs dangling as they drove off. 

Next time the bus turned off onto a dirt track with no signs of houses, but at least a dozen kids, including some little ones, still to be dropped off. Long school day as they must have to travel miles to go to school. Hard to imagine there are many jobs waiting for them, unless they get a job in a casino.

We went through Mexican Hat, loved the name, called after a rock with a hat on, which G found but wasn’t sure photo would be any good as it was getting pretty dark. . Tiny little place, which is odd because we’ve both heard of it. We turned off soon after, nearly dark now, and drove for an hour through a complete wilderness, no people, no houses, no other cars and a dead straight road that went on for miles with 55 mph speed limit most of the way. 

When we got near Cortez there was a big casino owned by the Ute tribe. Hundreds of cars parked up. Bet the tribe leaders don’t live in a two room shack, but they could easily own 14 cars. We bought ‘gas,’ very cheap and I went inside to the Restroom. The men had to go, ‘out the back’ where there were half a dozen porta loos. G said they were vile and it was pitch dark as well. I asked the woman who served drinks if there was a hotel near here as was going off the idea of looking for the one we booked by now. 

‘You can stay at the Casino,’ she said, looking at G. ‘A lot of gentlemen stay there. You can even rent a room by the hour.’ She cackled and winked at G. I wonder if she works over there after she finishes her shift here. We decided, well I decided, we’d go on a bit further.

Next hotel should have been one we’d pre booked, but the directions weren’t very good, our sat nav machine hates us and we faffed about so much it was now pitch dark so we took pot luck. It  was the Tomahawk owned by a lady called Nina who had left Poland 35 years ago because it was not safe. She owned two Great Danes, who slobbered and looked you in the eye as they  were as big a ponies. The place was a flea pit, 1960's style but price reflected.  

The best bit was you put money in a slot and the bed vibrated.  Of course I had a go.  Only thing was the case and stuff was on the bed which jiggled off, bits of me were jiggling and I lay there clutching my bag hoping it would hurry up and finish. G came out of the shower and thought I was having a fit.  Will never want another go.

  G said it is for when the men entertain hookers and the casino hotel probably had one in every room. How disgusting I said, who would ever want to use one of these and we both laughed at the thought as the bed kept on jumping around like a spin dryer with wobbly legs. 

We both decided I would be rubbish as a hooker as I would not be able to stop laughing when they took their clothes off, never mind if they suggested a vibrating bed. 

Saw Nina at breakfast who was telling us how she missed Polish food, especially stuffed cabbage and sauerkraut.  Judging by what she had laid out for breakfast she didn't miss that. There were banana cereal bars and a sort of doughnut with red stuff in it, but not like any jam I have ever seen. As it was all at dog level, we gave  it a miss, thanked her and ran past the dogs in case of spillages.

 

Moab and the Arches National Park.

 

Next, we went to Moab which is like a frontier town with red hills all around it. Met a fabulous woman in Moab who dyes all her own wool.  It was soaking in onion skins and beetroot and hanging out to dry.  There were two big containers outside in the sun and she said she was ‘solar stewing my vegetable dyes.’ 

She also made felt dresses, which looked a bit itchy, but maybe she sold them to worthy people who only ate fruit and berries. There were even felt slippers with huge buttons on. No I wasn't tempted.  Might get some for G for Xmas. He’ll hate them if I do, but it would make me laugh a lot on Christmas morning. 

We crossed the Colorado River again. Much smaller here, but it’s a long way from Moab to the Grand Canyon. 

Went to The Arches National Park, 18 miles of lunar landscape.  Impossible to explain but fabulous.  Millions of years of sandstone shapes. Took lots of photos. The best one, so everybody said, was the Perched Rock but nobody was allowed near it for a while as it may fall on their head. A man standing next to us said he’d heard it fell down years ago and they replaced it with a fibreglass replica with a bolt through the middle to hold it in place. He seemed to think this was the funniest thing anyone had ever said, had tears in his eyes, and got even worse when the woman with him said, ‘always with the conspiracy theories, Norman.’

You have to drive round on a one way system and right in front of us were four couples, each pair in a different coloured Lamborghini. They’re  so low they nearly touch the ground so they drove everywhere very slowly as the road isn’t very good in places. They were a real pain, blocking the road so they could take photos of all four cars together, not even bothering much with the rock formations. We cheered when they went down one of the roads that said ‘warning, road surface damaged’ and we carried on past. Bet they have to reverse all the way out again.  

Met a couple from Manchester celebrating their anniversary. Don’t know how many years as they had such strong accents. Bet Americans don’t understand a word they say as they all seem to find what I say difficult. That makes me laugh a lot so there’s no chance from then on. G says, ‘do excuse my wife, she’s got a syndrome,’ and they look very sorry which makes me laugh even more.

They gave us some very nice cherry sweets, and went off on their way. Fancy having cherry sweets on your anniversary. 

Tomorrow we are going North, heading for Yellowstone National Park where we will spend a few days. We’re stopping off on the way as it’s a long way, at Vernal. We’ve had to make another time change again as we’re now on Mountain time and have gained or lost another hour. Not sure which, G remembers stuff like that. I don’t bother. As long as it’s light in the morning I get up. Who needs to know any more than that?

 

 

Could this tree be any more dried out and still be alive?

We walked all the way to Ooh Aah Point. Ignore that map saying it’s only 1.5 kilometres. Obviously a mistake

She said ‘under this riding gear is a gorgeous woman’ and the man said, ‘no, there ‘aint’

Monument Valley

Everybody tries to take this view. At least there’s only one car in view, tiny dot. Empty road? No chance

We gave this one a miss

Ended up here for the night

‘Room 20 is available.’ Actually, they all were, apart from us only one person here

Breakfast. Yum yum

Motel owner

That’s not Marigold

Drive in bank in Moab. Far too hot to get out of the car

One of us had to walk back to the car in 100 degree heat to bring cash while the other sat in the shade with a free drink

Wouldn’t dare sit in Jim’s seat

The ‘famous’ Back of Beyond book shop in Moab

Vegetable dyed yarn

Marigold demonstrates she’s not much good at this sort of thing in the Arches National Park

At least she takes her failures seriously