Skip to main content


Showing posts from July, 2008

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas

Time flies by very fast and before I knew it, the fabulous week came to its end. We boarded the bus at Zion Park and after ride of about 2 1/2 hours, we arrived in Las Vegas. The tour was just supposed to take us through Vegas, en route to the McCarran International airport; no halts in between. Within minutes after entering Vegas, we were soon on 'The Strip' and passing by various hotels that adorn their main street, Flamingo, The Stratosphere and the crazy roller coaster rides right on top of it, MGM Grand, Ballagio, etc. After bidding adieu to fellow Caravaners at the airport, I soon took an airport shuttle and headed off to my hotel.

In the evening, I checked out a Cirque De Soliel show 'Ka'. Magnificent show and a great experience. Later in the night, I took a walk on the Strip - their main street where all the action happens. The best way to tour Las Vegas is to take a walk on the Strip and go inside as many hotels as possible. All their hotels have casinos that …

The Canyons - Day 6 - 20 June 2008

This morning, we drove to our final park on this tour, the Zion Park. All parks in the states of Utah, Arizona and Colorado that we visited were unique and different from one another. Both, in terms of scenery and what they had to offer and also in the form of rock formations. For instance, if Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon is to viewed from up, above the mountains, Zion Park is viewed from the foothills of its tall, monolith rock formations. There are also several walking trails at the Zion National park and also a horse ride alongside the river trail. I missed the horse trail as they were out of horses by the time I reached there, but I took two walking trails.

If you are lucky (or unlucky, depending on which way you look at things), you could also spot a rattle snake or two in this area. I missed mine by just a few minutes on one of the two trails I took to explore the mountains. The Zion lodge where we stayed was fabulous and resembled a wooden cabin of sorts. It's lawn is so m…

The Canyons - Day 5 - 19 June 2008

After camping at Lake Powell for two nights, we said bye bye and left for Bryce Canyon. If Antelope Canyon and Grand Canyon were sandstone rocks. Bryce Canyon is full of limestone rock formations. All canyons are unique in their formations, but Bryce Canyon's rock formations are the best. The 'Hoodoos' (as its rock formations are famously called) offer a bright variety of red, orange and pink limestone spirals. Unfortunately, unlike Grand Canyon, here we stayed outside the canyon park, so we first visited Bryce canyon and then proceeded towards our resort outside the park and at the foothills of the canyon range. The amphitheatre (this particular area's rick formations form a semi-circle mountain structure that resembles the shape of an amphitheatre) at the Bryce Canyon was absolutely splendid and quite unlike I've ever seen.

The Canyons - Day 4 - 18 June 2008

Today we took a tour of the Navajo Indian nation and the Monument Valley. This is a restricted area and also extremely rugged. So buses are not allowed in here; we had to get off the bus at the Gouldings Lodge and hop onto a jeep. The drivers of these jeeps are locals who also double up as guides. Bruce, our Caravan guide, took a backseat for a change!

Monument Valley is the site of many a famous John Wayne western movies like 'The Searchers', 'Stagecoach', etc. I am not a John Wayne fan and i can't even recognise him. So I just ignored this part of the history - the movies - and instead feasted my eyes on the magnificent rock formations of the area. Monument Valley turned out out to be a very very unique area with its superb rock formations donning the landscape. It is amazing how these rock formations can take place naturally. Later, we had a traditional lunch at the Goudings Lodge and took a short tour of Hollywood museum dedicated to the films made in Monument …

The Canyons - Day 3 - 17 June 2008

After enjoying a very sumptuous breakfast at El Tovar lodge - a European looking up-scale hotel on the Grand Canyon rim - we set off along a scenic east Rim drive to the famous Desert View Lookout. Here we made a brief stop at the Tower View Cedar Point. One more look at the magnificent Grand Canyon river.

Our next stop was the Navajo and Hopi trading post. This was the largest shopping & gift centre I visited on this tour that had artifacts, gifts and collection items manufactured and painted by local Indians. My favourite amongst them was the exquisitely painted clay-pottery. Soon we were passing by the painted desert. This was one of the three deserts on this tour and by far the most beautiful desert I have ever seen. Nature was at its best here as the mountains and rocks along this desert road were in varying colours like blue, black, pink, orange, green, etc. You'd be amazed to see mountains and their rock formations in all these colours, but then they are and no wonder t…

The Canyons - Day 2 - 16 June 2008

Breakfast at Kokopelli suites, Sadona, was a dissappointment. They were quickly out of bananas, milk was over too and we had to do the refill ourselves, the hotel staff couldn't care less, no tea bags in my room, Rusimama tried calling from Detroit at 7.00 am but couldn't get through - a luxury hotel where phones don't work is nothing short of a disaster in my books - the breakfast area wasn't well - maintained either.

Anyways, we were soon in our bus and driving through the Oak Creek Canyon where rock formations were different from what we saw earlier. Americans take their tourism very seriously and go to great lengths to make us feel comfortable. They can also be very creative when it comes to promoting tourism. For instance, they give names to rock formations in the Canyon area that resemble - albeit coincidentally. So rock formations in Oak Creek Canyon, for instance, resemble tea pot, coffee pot, submarine, snoopy dog (in Sedona), and many more! We were now passin…

The Canyons - Day 1 - 15 June 2008

Today was the first day of my guided tour of the Grand Canyons and surrounding areas. Yesterday I had checked into Phoenix, Arizona where I met my tour guide Bruce and fellow Caranavers. We had a meeting late in the evening as we chalked out briefly the dos and the donts of the tour and some other discussions.
So after an early morning breakfast at Double-Tree suites, we set off in a large, air-conditioned coach. Very soon we passed by Camelback mountain - a mountain that resembles a camel that is lying down - and a beautiful town called Scottsdale. We didn't stop at Scottsdale, but we were given a bus tour through its various streets, its river-front - its actually a canal - and its various Art shops. If you are an Art aficionado, there are plenty of shops in Scottsdale that sells art. This region of Arizona is the only place where you also get a lot of Saguaro Cacti plant. Although the place is a dessert, much of it has a lot of greenery, even if the greenery means cacti plants …