Sharing and enjoying my small-town life with my darling husband, family, friends,
faith, two adorable Ragdoll cats and one very sassy Yorkie!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Holy Vastness, Batman! TRAVEL: the Grand Canyon!

Well, it has been on my Bucket List  ;o) for awhile now... the Grand Canyon.  We flew over it once on a flight to the west coast... but that only served to whet our appetites to see it "up close and personal".  A recent vacation "out west" gave us that opportunity.

Traveling with our daughter and son-in-law (hereinafter lovingly referred to as "the kids"!), we just got home from 2+ weeks in Nevada and Arizona.  We went last year and had such a good time (links: HERE and HERE), we decided to get outta the PA cold and "do it again" this year!  The kids had never been to Vegas, and Barry was VERY eager to see another Cirque Du Soleil show... so Vegas (for a few days) was our first stop.

We had a great time; we loved the show (Cirque's "O" at the Bellagio).   My boy sat as still as a stone, eyes wide, mesmerized by the show!

We stayed at New York, New York, which was very nice, and quite affordable.

Although, Travel Tip #1: there was a $15/night mandatory "resort fee", which was never mentioned or charged until check-in. Not all Vegas hotel add that charge (although many do) - so check first; it can make a difference when you are shopping for the best deal.

AND... no matter what the reservation clerk tells you, the shuttle to and from the airport is NOT free!
New York New York, Las Vegas

So, what do non-gamers do in Vegas?  We shop and dine and enjoy all the sights, sounds, and attractions of the city that never sleeps.

We rented a car, and after Vegas, we drove to the Flagstaff area to visit one of our daughter's oldest and dearest friends.  They hadn't seen each other in several years, and it was a sweet and heartwarming reunion.

From there, we drove to Williams, AZ, and after spending the night, we took the very scenic Grand Canyon Railway to the canyon.

OK, color me speechless! I knew it would be beautiful... and vast... and amazing... but really??! I just didn't realize HOW beautiful... HOW vast... and HOW amazing! Photos simply cannot capture the panoramic vista that our eyes saw... but I tried!!!



My husband read somewhere that the most common injury at the canyon is squirrel bites.  Really!
*ouch!*  Cute little buggers can actually be rather unfriendly, I guess!!!   

After our day at the Grand Canyon, we drove to the Phoenix area for the rest of our vacation.   My sister has a lovely home there, complete with a gorgeous in-ground pool. We shopped, and ate (are you noticing a vacation pattern here?!) visited, made some new friends, bobbed around in the pool A LOT, and otherwise just relished in the warm and sunshiny R and R.

A cute kitty-lovin' sign I saw at a flea market.  NOOOOO, I didn't BUY it, I just took a picture of it!!! 

A display from the (very interesting) Wickenburg Museum:

As before, I LOVED the Arizona landscape...

...and those crazy-gorgeous sunsets!

One night we went to Western Trails, a small community rodeo.  It was lots of fun.  (My sister is getting quite *south-westernized* living part of the year in Arizona.  She is even wearing cowboy boots now!)

Anwyay, it just kills me how some of those bull riders get thrown off those bulls, land HARD, come up obviously in pain, groaning, limping and... smiling from ear-to-ear! 

We were on vacation a little over 2 weeks, and we were quite successful in getting blissfully refreshed and relaxed.  Finally it was time to go -- which honestly, was OK with us.  We'd had a WONDERFUL time, had enjoyed every day... but "real life" (and our darling kitties, of course!) were waiting for us back home. 

And on that note, before I close this post, may I offer Handy-Dandy Travel Tip #2:

Take your passport, even when you are only planning to travel domestically.

Why, you ask?  Your driver's license will provide the necessary photo ID, true, BUUUUT... if you (like us) ever volunteer for a bump, having your passport can open up additional possibilities for re-routing you home.  We were considering an offered bump, but there were no other (domestic) seats available to Pittsburgh for at least 36 hours.  However, we could have potentially been routed through Toronto and gotten home HOURS earlier, if we'd had our passports.  In the end, they didn't need us for the bump after all... but it was a good lesson learned -- for next time!

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