12 – A ‘Grand’ Vacation

This year, for our annual summer vacation, we decided to make a trip to the Grand Canyon – by rail.

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We took advantage of the AAA deal and drove to Williams, AZ, stayed overnight at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel, then took the train from Williams to the Grand Canyon. It was a great experience and the kids enjoyed our “First Class” accommodations and views…and we arrived in style with our tour bus waiting for us.

Obviously, we came to see the Grand Canyon…and honestly, pictures can’t capture the immense depth and sheer scale of everything.

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Unfortunately, the haze at the Grand Canyon was pretty thick, so even though I captured several panoramas, the exposure differences between each frame made stitching the panorama difficult. This is the one panorama that worked.

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I’ll work on some other panoramas when I get the chance.

Some other pictures from our trip:

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Most of the viewpoints on the Rim Trail had guardrails, but there would occasionally be gaps in the guardrails to allow for the odd tree or vegetation to grow:

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We tried to use the guardrails properly, but every now and then, a head would pop through.

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We managed to take a family picture on one of the rocks at a viewpoint…and lucky for us, there wasn’t a strong wind at the time – there were no guardrails on the rock!

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We stayed overnight at the Maswik Lodge at the Grand Canyon and walked around the Village. Unfortunately, if there was one thing that could have been improved during the trip – it would have been the food. Perhaps the elevation just made everything taste…less? Or perhaps it was the fact that the average age of the average patron was the combined age of my family…and they couldn’t make the food have any recognizable taste?

Oh well. Lesson learned.

After an evening and another full day of exploring, we then boarded the train back to Williams.

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On the train ride back, we were ‘robbed’ by the “World-Famous Cataract Creek Gang” and we discovered that Matty would be the perfect victim when it comes to robberies by local actors.

We finished our trip with a visit to Bearizona, which was actually an unexpected surprise. I filled up the Odyssey’s tank in Williams and drove all the way back home on a single tank!

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We averaged about 24.5 MPG coming back…granted, it was literally a downhill drive – we went from 6800 ft back to about 30 ft above sea level. I also had the Odyssey on cruise control most of the way back.

We could have spent another day visiting the Hoover Dam and staying overnight in Las Vegas, but we all really wanted to come back home.

I’m not sure where we’ll go for vacation next year…it was pretty hot at the Grand Canyon but luckily, the shuttle bus was air conditioned and it was a nice temporary retreat from the heat every time we went from one viewpoint to the next.

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