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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

soutwestern vacation part2

So, we had a good night's sleep. Heavy sleep. We got up, packed the car, and headed out. We stopped in town. We took pictures with the pink mama and baby hogs.

Then we had coffee on the veranda. This was the view.

How could you be angry or stressed when having coffee with this view? It was beautiful. A General Foods International Coffee moment.

Then we drove. And we drove. We went even higher in the mountains if possible. Miles and miles, acres and acres of pines. Christmas trees. And snow. Lots of deep snow. I would have loved to get out and make a snow angel. But we didn't really have snow boots or anything other than sneakers. Then it got a little lower, and a lot less snow. Vast plateau, because we were still high up. How do people live like this, in the middle of nowhere? No cell phone service, probably no cable in some parts. Weird. Desolate.

We got to Flagstaff, and we went to the Walmart. The FP bought a pack of ladies thermals, xl, because that was all the thermals he had. He put the pants on and threw away the shirt. We needed to eat. We had intended to go to the Arby's, but we hadn't seen it, we kinda got turned around trying to find it. So we ate at Subway in the Walmart. I never said this was a grand culinary experience! The sandwich artist was very chatty and chipper. But his sandwiches were not fine art. The bread was smushed, the toasted meatball sandwich the FP had was almost burnt...just sustenance really.

So then we had trouble figuring out how to get back on the highway, we ended up going south a couple times, on campus at the university once, then we figured it out. And we saw Arby's and KFC, and a bunch of other places that looked way better than the lunch we had just had!

Then we finally were getting closer to the Grand Canyon. We stopped at a gift shop. They had lots of animal bones and antlers and taxidermy and pelts.

Lots of touristy stuff, but this was neat to us. They had 2 dogs wandering around outside. Make that one artic wolf and one dog. The shop owner tried to make the wolf howl, but she wasn't really into it. I'm sure she gets tired of howling for tourists every day.

Then we got to Tusayan. We passed a Best Western where the Food Pimp would have liked to stay. We passed our Holiday Inn Express, which looked fine. Then we got to the Grand Canyon. We paid our $25 fee for a 7 day pass. I thought it would be more. It's a big ass park to be taking care of on $25 a carload!

So we parked. And there was snow. But we didn't have boots. And it was cold. We layered up - 4 or 5 layers of shirts and jackets, 3 layers of bottoms for me, 2 for the FP. We were going to take the shuttle to the end, but then we just decided to walk up to the closest lookout. And there it was. A big colorful jagged snowlined hole. A big beautiful hole.

So then we trudged through the 4 - 12 inches of snow and ice and walked around looking at it. And there were those outcroppings with no fences that were scary. I am terrified of heights, so I couldn't go closer than maybe 4 feet to the edge. So we walked and trudged. We passed all the lodges on site that I had thought about booking, but they were either too expensive or booked. So we got pretty far. And we finally decided to take a shuttle to the other end of the canyon. But once we got on the shuttle and sat down and realized how we had trudged several miles, we were tired. So we took the shuttle back to the car and went to the hotel, on the conditions that we would drive back in the morning to see the far end.

So, we got to the hotel and checked in. We got a suite for maybe $15 more than a regular room, and the suites were in a separate building in the back - the building where the hot tub was! So, we looked at the hot tub, very big and warm looking. So, then all we wanted to do was get dinner over with so we could get in the hot tub.

We weren't sure where to go, so we looked in the guides and on the iphone, and we decided on Canyon Star, which we didn't realize was basically across the street. So we walked in a little after 5, and we were the first customers. They sat us at this gigantic booth that could seat 10. There was this artificial rehearsed "fine dining" service there. Very weird and unnatural. The menu wasn't too fancy, but I guess compared to the 3 pizza places on the street it was.

So, meat. That's what we had. Again. We were in meat country after all. I got the buffalo brisket. Buffalo is very lean, so it needs a lot of sauce, but not bbq sauce with, ugh, pineapple in it. Canned pineapple. It was strong. It ruined the meat, which was nicely smoked. So I scraped most of it off and put A1 on it. That was much better.

The FP got a steak, of course, New York Strip. He got the blue cheese butter on it. For some reason they put it on a bed of fried onions, so the onions were soggy! We both had the same sides - red potato mash (I didn't know people still did this!) and steamed veggies. I have to say, the fresh veggies were very nice - none of that bullshit frozen vegetable medley.

So we finished our dinner, and went to the "general store" to get beer and popcorn, then we went back and got in the hot tub. It was ridiculously hot. The room was overheated, and the water was overheated. But I stayed in there as long as I could. Finally, another couple came in. They had ran in their suits and towels from the pool over to the hot tub, which was crazy since it was like 40 degrees outside! So we sat there the obligatory few minutes, and then we went upstairs to our temperate room.

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