Sunday, July 18, 2010

Day 4: Grand Canyon & Vegas

We wanted to get on the road early, so we could spend time at the Grand Canyon, and then get into Vegas at a reasonable time. Turns out getting up early saved us $25! When we got to the entrance, where you pay for your car pass, there was no one in line, no one in the booth or anything. We drove up, and there was a sign that said “Closed, please continue through.” So that’s what we did.

We drove through and stopped at Desert View, Moran View, and Grandview (which really wasn’t all that grand, surprisingly Moran View was better). Then we headed towards the Visitor Center, and jumped on the free tour bus. From the Blue Route which took us to the Red Route, also called “Hermits Rest Route”. From there, we stopped at Powell then walked to Hopi, and jumped back on the bus to head to The Abyss, and back on to Pima, where we got onto the Eastbound Red Route bus that took us back to the Blue Route, and back to the Visitor Center.

There were so many people speaking so many different languages. I didn’t realize that the Grand Canyon was a tourist attraction for foreigners also! I was amazed that Adam could tell me what language many of them were speaking (of course, he could have been making it all up, and I would believe him). I asked him how he knew what they were speaking, and he told me that when he would get on the bus at DLI (Defense Language Institute, where he learned Korean for the Army), that he would hear people talking in different languages, and watch what college they got off at (French, German, Chinese, etc.) I guess I’ll believe him, besides, it sounded pretty accurate from the little I know.

From there we were on the road to Vegas, baby! Adam continued driving, of course. We were on a highway that was one lane each way, Adam had the cruise set, I was chillin’ in the passenger seat. We would pass people once in a while when there was a passing zone. But we finally got to a stretch where there were no cars in front of us, so we were good to go. Until (you know there’s going to be an ‘until’) we passed a cop heading the opposite direction. We saw him slow down, pull off to the side of the road (only for a moment), then flick on his lights. Well, crap. So Adam pulled over, and unfortunately so did the cop, right behind us.

He came up to my window, and asked for a license and registration. Adam had already pulled out his license, and I had already pulled out our expired proof of insurance, but no registration. We were looking good already! We dug through the glove box, wondering what registration we were looking for, so Adam finally asked the cop what it was. His response: “a piece of paper,” no joke. Finally, he said don’t worry about it, and told us he’d be right back, then turned back and said, “I pulled you over because you were doing 77 in a 65.”

While we waited, Adam said he always got pulled over at least once on a road trip (he’d only once gotten a ticket – in Idaho, because apparently, by law, if they pull you over, they have to give you a ticket). I asked him if he’d be able to talk his way out of this one. He said no. When the cop came back, he had a clip board in his hand, and asked Adam to sign by the ‘X.’ He just gave him a warning, telling him to keep it to 65. Thank God! :)

We kept on driving, and a short while later, near the Hoover Dam, traffic came to an almost complete stop. I could see orange cones ahead, so we were figuring it was road construction traffic. But as we got closer, we realized we were wrong. There was a sign that said “Security Check Point.” When we got there, we had our window down, and the officer said, “Minnesota huh?” “Yep,” Adam replied. “Where?” he asked. “St. Paul,” Adam said. “Oh, I have a cousin there. Stay to the left,” he pointed us onward. Adam wondered if he said that he had a cousin from wherever, to everyone.

Traffic didn’t improve any when we got through the check point. We winded our way back and forth through the switchbacks down to the Hoover Dam, slowly creeping along. We contemplated getting out at one of the overlooks, but Adam didn’t want to have to try to get back into the creeping line of traffic. When we got to the entrance of the Dam, we found out why we were still creeping along. There was one stop sign for a crosswalk. Each car took its turn stopping, some letting walkers though, and continued, at a more normal speed, winding back up to the other side of the Hoover Dam. We had lost about a half hour sitting through the traffic for the check point and the crosswalk, and we wondered why we couldn’t travel across the bridge that we saw up above. But at least we saw the Hoover Dam.

The rest of our journey to Vegas, was pretty uneventful. We arrived around 6pm, and checked into our room at Hooters (yes, Hooters, it’s off the strip by about a block, and was the cheapest deal we could find even without all their promos). We walked around the strip, and ended up at Hard Rock Café for dinner. It was so hot that I wasn’t really hungry (but of course Adam was starving), so I just had a Ceasar salad.

We went back to the hotel after dinner and decided to go swimming. Hooters has a sand area, two pools (one is colder with a waterfall, the other is warmer), and a hot tub. We started in the pool with the waterfall, but I thought it was pretty cold, so didn’t go much past my waist. A lady from the hot tub jumped in and told us that the other pool was warmer. I quickly got out and we went to the other pool, where I got all the way in. Adam decided that we needed to go back to the waterfall in the other cold pool. He said I had to go under the waterfall for at least five seconds. I told him I would jump in right by the waterfall, but of course chickened out when I was standing at the edge of the pool. So he came over and grabbed me and held me under the waterfall. He carried me out, then dragged me right back in. We got back in the warmer pool, but didn’t stay too much longer.

We went back to our room and showered, then decided to go get tickets to tomorrow night’s show at Treasure Island (at the opposite end of the strip). I wanted to see Cirque du Soleil: Mystére for my birthday. We walked all the way there in the 100º+, with my incision getting sore, for pretty much nothing. The ticket office closed at 10pm. So we grabbed a flyer, and decided that we would call the next day, instead of walking all the way back.

By the time we got back, it was after midnight. Adam wished me a happy birthday, and we fell asleep immediately (it was after 2am back home, and Adam would be just getting up for work).

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