55 mph winds on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon

Trip Start Apr 02, 2010
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Trip End May 01, 2010


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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Day 27, April 28, 2010 Williams to Grand Canyon National Park

Greg's Version:

The morning started off cold and windy and got worse from there but we did not care.  We were on vacation.

Our package included the breakfast buffet in the hotel restaurant.  The buffet was much better than the night before.  There was so much good food that I forced myself to pick and choose instead of loading up my plates.

After breakfast I took some pictures around the station before we made our way to the Wild West Show. 

As the show began one of the outlaw apologized for the cold weather and wind.  If you were cold he had a nice pile of hand warmers ( there was a small pile of horse droppings in the show area along with a couple of horses).  If there were not enough to go around, a few more could be produced in a few minutes.

The premise of the show was that the four outlaws had spent all their money the night before drinking and playing cards so they needed money for breakfast.  They were going to get the money by playing poker with one of the tourists.  They picked a young man from the audience telling him to leave his camera and stuff with his widow but make sure he had his money.  One of the outlaws asked the man if he had ever played poker and he replied that he had but another outlaw said that he had not played poker like this.

The cards were dealt.  The dealer asked everyone if they wanted to exchange some cards.  Meanwhile one of the outlaws took off his hat and placed his cards inside and took out another hand. He said he didn't need any cards. 

What! How can you not need any cards?

Look here I won! I have five aces.

You can't have five aces!

BANG someone shot him.

The remaining three outlaws started to argue over who would take the tourist's money. BANG! a pistol shot from stage right.  The sheriff had arrived. 

The tourist was sent back to his seat while the outlaws fanned out to get the sheriff.

BANG! One of the outlaws dropped to his knees and fell over dead.

The sheriff yells: "Hey, get back up this lady missed the shot."

The outlaw gets up and BANG! the sheriff shoots him again.  He drops to his knees and fall face down in the pile of horse droppings.  The audience groans. The outlaw gets back up on his knees and falls the other direction.

The other two outlaws draw on the sheriff who yells: "Wait, we need to go over the rules."

"What rules? There are no rules for a gun fight."

BANG! BANG! The sheriff shoots both outlaws.

"Yes, the rules are that I win."

The show is over and we get our pictures taken with one of the outlaws and his horse.

As we walk towards the train, I notice that the drumhead says: Williams Flyer.

The outlaw walking next to me says: "Williams Flyer? I've never seen this thing fly."

We rode the parlor car up to Grand Canyon.  As we are leaving the station the car attendant tells us that we should wave to the people lining the tracks.  It makes the paid wavers feel needed and the unpaid wavers happy.

When we reached the Grand Canyon Station we left the train and boarded a bus to tour the canyon rim west of the station. We visited a half a dozen view points.  I spent the time taking pictures and talking with our tour guide.  He had studied geology. He talked about the theories of how the canyon was formed and just how big the canyon is.  At one point he was talking about rapids that we could see on the river and pointed out that the rapids were about one mile long.  I think I have a picture of those rapids.

After the tour we learned that our room was not yet ready so we ate lunch then began riding the shuttle bus around the south rim.  It was cold and windy so we did not get very close to the rim but still got some great pictures.  At one point we were waiting for a connecting bus and a herd of deer began feeding near us.  I shot 20 or 30 pictures.  I hope a few of them are good enough to show.

The cold and 55 mph winds wore us down so we headed for one of the restaurants at the El Tovar for dinner. My impression of the dinner was OPUG, over priced and under good.  Both Mary and I were disappointed in the food and the service. I guess this qualifies as a high-end tourist trap.

We went to bed with the wind slamming against the cabin so hard that it made the whole building shake.

Mary's Version

I do remember that it was really cold and windy when we got up that morning.  And the gunfight was really a "fun fight." Such silliness.  The outlaws and sheriff started talking to the crowd even before the show started.  Making jokes about the wind, and I got the feeling that they were making jokes about whether or not we tourists would make it out alive.  Pretty darned funny.  All that Greg said, he remembers it well. 

Our tour guide was indeed a student, and did a great job on the tour.  You could tell his enthusiasm for The Grand Canyon, and for his favorite subject, geology.  The scenes, I'm sure you know, were spectacular.  As Greg said, it's so hard to realize just how far away things are.  It looks like you could reach out and touch the opposite cliff from where you are standing, and it's twenty or thirty miles away.  Amazing.

The El Tovar restaurant was over priced and under good, however, the ambiance.  The building was one of the original buildings. High ceilings, lots of wood, arches, it was a really elegant place, in a very rustic setting.  The lobby of the hotel, (we had to walk through it to get to the restaurant), had support poles made out of tree trunks.  Everything was wood, dark, and heavy, but definitely not depressing  In other words, historic and gorgeous!   It was one of those times that you just had to visit and eat at one of the most historic places in the park.  For nothing else than getting to say you'd done that! 

At night, in our cabin, I can't remember what it was, but I had to lock down, or tighten something so that it wouldn't bang in the wind.  Not sure...Greg?
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