|Stopped in Chama
and inquired at the Visitor Centre as to whether the Cumbres &
Toltec Scenic Railroad was running. Unfortunately it stopped mid
October and doesnít start again til mid May. It is our
hope to go on the Durango Silverton Railway in Colorado which we
understand runs all year.
|North of Chama we
crossed the Continental Divide.
Like cathedrals, such as the one we saw in Assisi, Italy, or
mighty castles, like those on the Rhine, rock formations here are
perched on pyramid slopes.
At 2:03pm we passed from New Mexico into Colorado.
Scenery started to change:
pine trees became common, valley floors showed where grass crops had
been harvested and we saw more animals - sheep and cattle.
Springs, we turned westward past Chimney Rock (which appears like a
chimney above the mountain top). A thousand years ago the forest at
the base of the two towers was home to the ancestors of todayís
Puebloan peoples. Today Chimney Rock serves as a reminder of the
challenges these people faced and pose the question of why these
people would embrace such high elevations and harsh conditions ...
was it a defensive move to keep safe from enemies or perhaps
spiritual? One doctor questions if it was because of the "lunar
standstill" phenomenon which occurs every eighteen years when
the moon rises between the pinnacles. It is still considered a place
of spiritual significance by the Southwestern Indian cultures and
myths and mysteries abound.
This part of the drive is similar to the one between Cache Creek
and Lillooet except as Terry says, "This road is a lot
Arriving in Durango we found that the train was not running ...
it would not start itís daily winter runs until November 26. How
disappointing. Terry has itís trip on his "Top 30 Lifetime
Things To Do" list ... so we will be returning.
|We went out to the
movies and saw "Master and Commander" with Russell Crowe,
a swashbuckler show set on the high seas. At times, Sherrie thought
she should be wearing her blue seasick wristbands.
November 16, 2003
We started off by touring old town Durango which was founded in
1880 by William Bell and the Durango Trust Company, working for the
Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. The town was a planned community
and laid out in a grid pattern with residential areas upslope and
apart from the business district. "The Boulevard" (now
East 3rd Avenue) was designed for carriage traffic with a grassy,
tree-lined median. The Strater Hotel (pictured --------) is one of
the many Victorian buildings that decorate the streets of downtown.
The name "Durango" itself conjures up memories of Western
movies when you could tell the bad guys from the good guys by the
colour of their hats.
|The clouds were
threatening most of the day but, other than a few sprinkles, held
It was amazing how quickly
the scenery around us changed from a flat table top butte where we
could see to the horizon, to being wedged within a deep gulch, then
into desert. Awe inspiring were the rock formations standing in what
would otherwise be flat lands. The route we were following was once
used by ice age hunters, Pueblo farmers, Ute Indians, Spanish
explorers as well as traders, miners, railroad builders, speculators
||It was the Mesa
Verde itself that attracted our attention before we arrived at the
Mesa Verde National Park. About 1,400 years ago, long before
European exploration, a group of people chose the Mesa Verde as home
and eventually built elaborate stone communities only to move away
again after one or two generations. It would have taken four to five
hours to do it justice. As the weather threatened and, unless we
returned to Durango, our next accommodations were some distance away
... we decided to leave it until we return to spend more time in the
rock formations were passed, but one kept looming in the distance.
It was "Ship Rock" or "Shiprock Pinnacle" . This
1700 foot geological monument standing in the distant mist made us
appreciate why it is the centrepiece to numerous Navajo legends ...
they call it "Tse Bití aí I" meaning winged rock. One
such legend is that it was a phantom ship that once bore the Navajo
people away from the far north and warring neighbours and saved them
settlers called it "Ship Rock" because of its resemblance
to an old windjammer under full sail. It remained in the
distance as we approached the centre of Four Corners.
||Four Corners is
the only place in the US where four states share a common border -
Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah. The actual location was
pinpointed by US Government Surveyors and Astronomers beginning in
1868. In 1899, US surveyors found the Four Corners monument
disturbed and broken. They marked and set a new stone at the
original location. In 1938 the Bureau of Land Management and the
Bureau of Indian Affairs poured a concrete paving block around the
monument and in 1992 set an aluminum bronze disc. The Four Corners
area is Indian lands. The Navajo Nation lies in New Mexico, Arizona
and Utah. The Mountain Ute Nation is located in Colorado.
the focal point and there is a raised platform for those who want to
get the right angle for that perfect picture.
spot is a revenue maker both in admittance fees and from the
many craft, souvenir and food stands surrounding it. Few
can pass up the opportunity to be in four states all at the
advantage of the photo op at Four Corners, visiting with other
tourists, as well as crafts people, we moved on ...
across flat lands and
high plateaus and views
of distant mountains.
||Our next stop was
Hovenweep National Monument, Utah.
"Hovenweep" is a
Paiute and Ute word meaning "deserted valley". As we
walked through these solitary canyons we tried to imagine the sights
and sounds of a place where hundreds of men, women and children
called home. Today, archeologists consider Hovenweep the finest
example of ancestral Puebloan masonry found anywhere giving
testament to the motivation and resourcefulness of these long ago
National Monument is made up of numerous structures spread
over a 20 mile stretch of mesa tops and canyons. All of them
are open to the public but, with the help of the Park Ranger,
we selected only those we could view before sunset. Over 700
years ago, Little Ruin Canyon, was the scene of a sizable
community sustained by a small spring at the head of the
canyon and rainwater held by check dams on the mesa top ...
and they flourished in this harsh environment. Their solutions
to the challenges they faced each day reflect a well-developed
ability to adapt human needs with natural conditions. For
example, they incorporated their buildings into the natural
terrain, created dams and reservoirs, cleared fields on the
surrounding mesa tops as well as constructing garden terraces
in the steep walled canyon and practiced dryland farming
techniques to raise crops. Some evidence suggests that these
people were sophisticated astronomers, able to predict the
seasons. Such knowledge would have been as important to an
agricultural society as having enough water supply.
animals such as turkeys and dogs and had imported non-indigenous,
domesticated plant species such as maize.
The towers at Hovenweep
constructed of rock, wood and mud mortar were built in the 13th
century and incorporate a variety of geometric shapes and
architectural features seen in modern Pueblo communities. Pottery,
jewellery and clothing have been found and through these findings
archeologist recognized a well-developed and complex society.
along the canyon rim and in silent awe admired and
photographed these amazing structures. Reconstruction is not a
general practice at Hovenweep, however, some small areas of
some ruins have been stabilized when other portions of the
structure were in danger of collapsing.
|Can you see
in this picture the different structures? Some clearly
noticeable, while others seem to melt into the canyon wall.
One uses a rock formation as its roof.
|We stayed at this
wonderful place and watched the sun create a glow on the golden-red
rocks then slip behind the hill. Strolling back to the Ranger
Station we continued to learn about local plants.
Mormon Tea grows to 60 inches
tall with upright branches which are smooth and vivid green
with small scaly leaves. Used by Westerners as a
non-caffeinated tea for treating colds and indigestion gave it
the name Mormon Tea.
|BIG SAGEBRUSH (Artemesia
This shrub can grow to a height of 7
feet. With a stout trunk and shaggy bark, its leaves are gray
to silver in colour. The leaves have a pungent aroma
(especially when crushed). The aroma acts as a natural
repellent keeping herbivores from eating the plant. It is one
of the most common shrubs of the high desert from Mexico to
CACTUS (Opuntia erinacea)
Can sometimes grow to a height of 12
inches but usually hugs the ground. The fruits are called
"tunas" and are a good source of protein, vit C, potassium
and calcium. Although it is named after a small spiny plant
near Opus, all cacti are native only to North and South America.
|It was sometime
later, when in the dark we found simple accommodations in Blanding.
November 17, 2003
Starting out from Blanding, Utah. After enjoying porridge for
breakfast, we stopped to look at the pictures on the restaurant
wall. One picture that caught our attention was one of six pack
horses crossing over a natural stone bridge. They looked small and
took up only a small span of space atop the mighty platform.
|Back on the road,
we retraced the road south for three miles and turned west on Hwy 95
(known as "The Trail of the Ancients"). The sky was mostly
made up of tall cumulus-nimbus clouds but there was blue sky to be
seen. When the sun did shine through the window, it was warm and
|One runs out of
superlatives for the constantly changing vistas. "Oh Wow!"
is the one that crops up most often with "stunning" coming
in a close second. It is a shame that the cameraís eye cannot
(yet) capture the impact of distant horizons and the human
excitement of being within such awesome beauty.
passed through a red rock crevice and we stopped on the other
side for pictures. Our voices echoed. In case we might
embarrass ourselves when we tried the echo out in a louder
voice we shouted "My name LES BRYAN and I donít care
who knows it!" and received the same response back.
|Farther down the
highway we hiked out to view Horsecollar Ruins. At first glance the
canyon wall before us looked like many other canyon walls. Then the
ruins came into focus.
From where we stood the ruins
were below and across the canyon. We kept having the feeling that if
we were silent and patient we might be able to see the Anasazi, who
inhabited this place between 1050AD and 1300AD, appear and go about
the trials of their daily activities.
|This sight is
unusual because it contains both round and square kivas (ceremonial
chambers) representing two different architectural styles. The round
kiva is associated with the Mesa Verde Anasazi of southwestern
Colorado and southeaster Utah while the square kiva is indicative of
the Kayenta Anasazi of northern Arizona. Pottery was also found at
this site which reflects different influences which give
archeologists an indication of likely trading patterns during this
National Monuments are part of the Cedar Mesa, a million acre
plateau that is composed of nearly horizontal sedimentary rock
layers. Wind blown sands from the north and west were deposited as
dunes and later sediments buried these dunes and with time, pressure
and moisture, they became "petrified" sand or
"sandstone". Later when the area was tilted and uplifted
the sandstone was slowly exposed by streams which carried away the
overlying sediments. These streams helped carved the bridges.
||The first bridge
(picture left) we came to was Sipapu Bridge which we were able to
view from three different outlooks. Because of its shear mass it
does not appear to be the largest span of the three bridges we would
view and it endures very little stream erosion because its abutments
stand far from the stream.
The next bridge was Kachina
Bridge, named for the Hopi kachina spirits which frequently
displayed lightning snake symbols on their bodies. Similar snake
patterns were carved by prehistoric people on the base of Kachina
Bridge. It is considered a "young bridge" as it is still
big and bulky and White Canyon waters still work to enlarge its
|The last bridge
(picture right) on our viewing tour was, Owachomo, a Hopi word for
rock mound. On the upper left side of the bridge is a rock outcrop
which suggested the name for the bridge. The Owachomo Bridge is
different from the other bridges we viewed because it no longer
straddles the streams which carved it ... but frost action and
seeping moisture could cause a fatal crack now ... or it could stand
for centuries. Owachomo was the same bridge we had seen in the
picture after breakfast. Without the sight of horses crossing over,
it is difficult to comprehend how humongous this natural structure
really is. We hiked down the canyon wall until we were able to walk
underneath it. (See Terry under bridge in picture below.)
|We have not taken
the car off paved roads often during this trip and were a touch
apprehensive about making the five mile journey on the dirt road to
Muley Point, but the dirt was hard packed and relatively smooth. The
drive was well worth it. Spectacular! Picked by National Geographic
as one of their "Top 50 Sights". As "one of the best
views in the Southwest" we were amazed by the lack of tourist
signage, etc.. In fact a simple sign out on the main highway was all
that we saw and upon arrival the only thing besides the spectacular
natural view were three other people.
signs .... no guard rails and as the half paragraph dedicated
to the site said "be careful, itís over a thousand feet
|Onward .... down
through Mokee Dugway. This switchback road was built during the
1950s to connect the Happy Jack uranium mine to the mill at Mexican
Hat. We had already dropped a fair amount in elevation when we came
across a sign that said "MOKEE DUGWAY ELEV. 6425 FT" and
one below that said "1100 FT DROP NEXT 3 MILES".
|We continued down
and down and down the three miles of winding dirt switchbacks which
offered commanding views of four states and a glimpse of Monument
Valley and the distinctive "Shiprock" some considerable
distance away in New Mexico. When we reached the valley floor ....
or what we thought was valley (Wrong! Later find that it was just
another plateau) we drove to another natural wonder Ė as if what
we had already seen was not enough fodder for the senses in one day.
State Park overlooks a superb view of the goose-necks, (four
bends weaving back and forth), of the San Juan River.
south on Hwy 163 and before reaching the tiny town of Mexican
Hat we stopped at the rock that is itís namesake. Indeed it
looked like a Mexican hat perched atop a rock head.
|As we drove
through the town that was no bigger than Yale, BC .... Terry
posed the question (Sherrie takes no credit for this
conversation), "If the locals hold a musical social on
Saturday night, do they call it a Mexican Hat Dance?"
|We moved through
Monument Valley ... they place where John Wayne and John Ford made
all those great Western movies ... and gazed in amazement at the
towering pinnacles of rock.
|As the sun
started to set, throwing shadows from the rock "monuments"
, we seemed to only drive a very short distance before
"having" to stop for another picture. We were not the only
ones playing this hopping game across the valley capturing on film
and digital cards some exceptional sights.
|We were late
getting into Tuba City, Arizona ... which was farther away then we
had anticipated plus we were held up on the highway as emergency
personnel dealt with a serious accident.
November 18, 2003
Woke to a bright cloudless day ~ have we mentioned how incredibly
blue the sky is away from heavy pollution? Itís a delicate light
blue at the horizon to a rich deep blue at the zenith which turns to
a true navy blue after sunset. Oh - and the stars!
|We drove to
Cameron for brunch, brought Terry a great leather cowboy/Aussi hat
and Tyler some polished rocks, then turned west on Hwy 64 towards
the Grand Canyon.
|Our first gawk at
one of the eight natural wonders of the world was at Desert View.
Here in 1932 construction of the tower, designed by architect Mary
Colter to provided the widest possible view of Grand Canyon and yet
harmonized with its setting, was begun. Being a perfectionist,
Colter scrutinized every detail. Each stone was handpicked and their
weathered patina was kept to give the new tower a look as though it
had been standing for hundreds of years ... even on itís opening
day in May 1933, Six of Mary Colter designed structures grace the
rim of the Grand Canyon.
pictures from the tower west - north - east - south)
|Each floor of the
tower above the ground floor is 21 steps apart. Each floor is an art
piece with walls and ceilings painted with murals including The
Snake Legend. Once to the top, tall windows provide an impressive
view of what would keep us awestruck for hours and hours.
Before we arrived at the
Grand Canyon, it was our thought that there would only be a few
sight lines into this canyon. How uninformed we were! View point
after view point .... from the ones we could drive to by car,
through the ones we were driven to by shuttle bus, to the ones we
discovered by hiking along the "Rim Walk".
We moved on from the tower to
some of the other view points that could be reached by private car.
Four thousand years ago
people first made the Grand Canyon their home .... even if
temporarily. With abundant water nearby, the Unkar Delta, a broad
sandy expanse on the north bank of the Colorado River,
provided a convenient home for prehistoric people particularly in
|There are more
than 2500 archeological sites in the Grand Canyon. Some lived
lightly and left few indications of their passing while others such
as the Hopi settled in pueblo villages on the mesa top and left
deserted ruins and remains over 800 years ago. They were hunters,
gatherers and farmers. The park is home to a museum beside an early
Hopi village which is well signed and also has an interpretive
(Two pictures left & below left
courtesy of Grand Canyon National Park Museum)
row of stones (pictured below right) outlines a kiva
activities took place here, including storage, ceremonies,
rites and festivals.
Public portions of
these ceremonies were usually held in the village plaza.
Usually kivas were built mostly underground, but the Kaibab
limestone in this region prevented digging very deep.
|At top side of
the picture (what looks like a short Eskimo style door) is the air
vent to provide fresh air to the kiva and the fire pit in the centre
(most of the smoke would go up through an opening in the roof. A
banquette (circular bench) takes up half the wall and shows holes
where roof support poles would have rested.
another view point on the rim where an information board told
us of how in the late summer of 1540, after journeying for six
months from Mexico City, more than three hundred Spanish
soldiers, four priests and with Indian allies, slaves, and
1500 stock animals became the first Europeans to see the Grand
Spaniards spent three days trying to reach the bottom of the
canyon, in vain. They went on to travel as far as present-day
1901, Grandview, our next outlook point, was Grand Canyonís
most popular tourist destination. It boasted the best hotel.
One visitor to the Grand Canyon wrote, in 1895, "No
language can fully describe, no artist paint the beauty,
grandeur, immensity and sublimity of this wonderful production
of Natureís great architect. Grand Canyon must be seen to be
because of comments like this [with which we fully
many to come to Pete Berryís (miner-turned-hotel-manager) Grand
View Hotel, and forget about the "bone-jarring, twelve hour
stagecoach ride from Flagstaff."
|In 1893 Berry
offered only crude cabin lodging and began guiding eager,
mule-riding patrons into the canyon. In 1897 he built a two-story
log hotel and later added a large frame building.
If you want to follow in the
hoof-tracks of these earlier guests for a mule ride down the canyon,
you best book ahead ... the waiting list for peak times is two
After 1901, the Santa Fe
Railroad reached Grand Canyon Village, eleven miles west of
Grandview and with suitable accommodations at the railhead, few
opted for the jolting stagecoach ride the rest of the way to
|While you take a
look at some of the over 250 pictures we took of the canyon you may
want to know a few statistics:
- At the bottom of the Grand
Canyon lies the Colorado River - the primary force in shaping
the canyon. The river is 1,450 miles (2350 km) long and flows
from its source in the Rocky Mountains, dropping more than
11,000 feet (of which 2,200 occur in the Grand Canyon) to its
mouth in the Gulf of California in Mexico.
- The canyon is about 277
miles (450 km) long measured along the river.
- The south rim averages
about 7,000 feet (2130m) above sea level while the north rim
averages about 8,000 feet (2440m).
- The rims are about 5,000
feet (1520m) above the river.
- Although the rocks exposed
in the canyon are hundreds of million years old, geologists
estimate an age of 6 million years or less for the canyon
In picture above
the tower we first visited is visible near crest of rim at
skyline just right of centre.
|We made phone
calls from the Grand Canyon Information Centre to secure
reservations in Tusayan, which is located just outside the park, so
we would be close enough to return to the canyon tomorrow to do some
|The shadows were
creeping at a quick and steady pace up the steep canyon walls as the
sun began to set. We drove to Grand Canyon Village to pick up some
libations before heading south on Hwy 64 to Tusayan where we settled
into our room before heading out again for dinner. We looked at a
few restaurants outside the hotel but ended up returning to the
hotelís dining room for a nice dinner.
November 19, 2003
|Drove back into
Grand Canyon National Park and left the car in a parking lot where
it could be left for more than an hour or two. In some parts of the
Park private vehicles are prohibited (except for handicapped). We
boarded a free hop-on-hop-off shuttle that makes stops at most of
the view points in the restricted area. The shuttles come by every
Rest the interpretive boards informed us about Canadian-born
prospector Louis Boucher who staked claims around 1891.
Louis carved a trail into the Canyon and for years lived alone
at Dripping Springs. He was described as a kind and gentle
soul. Though not a true hermit, Louis is the
"hermit" for whom Canyon features are named.
|After arrival at
the Grand Canyon Village train depot, some Santa Fe patrons traveled
nine miles by open-top touring stage to Hermits Rest. A mule ride to
the river and an overnight stay in a tent at Hermit Camp completed a
two day adventure at a cost of $18.25.
|Not to make it too
uncomfortable at these exorbitant rates the tents included stoves,
glass windows, real beds and wooden floors covered with Navajo rugs.
Cabins eventually replaced tents and luxuries included telephone
In 1928, the US government
gained control of the rival Bright Angel Trail at Grand Canyon
Village and stopped tolls. With free use of the more convenient
Bright Angel Trail, the Santa Fe Railroad abandoned Hermit Camp.
spectacular view at todayís Hermitís Rest is another of Mary
Jane Colterís structures designed in 1914. It was originally
designed as a resting place for stagecoach travelers taking the
tours. It melds into the hillside and purposefully conveys a rustic
appearance as if hewn by a "mountain man" out of natural
timber and local boulders.
The focal point within the
lodge is a fireplace within an enormous stone shell. Colter again
took particular care of details that added substance and charm to
the interior ... wrought iron wall candelabra, the chairs made from
hollowed-out logs and the medieval-style andirons.
|She even saw to it
that by opening day the room was complete with soot, dust and
cobwebs all adding to the image that this special abode was
It was a place one wanted to
settle into. Resting in one of the log chairs in front of the great
fireplace with a hot chocolate in hand, we could have been tempted
to stay until spring.
Returning, we got off at Hopi
Point and walked the rim trail back to the Village (approx. two
|It was below Prima
Point, after a daring boat run of the Colorado River, that geologist
John Wesley Powell wrote in his journal on August 18, 1869, "I
climb up the granite to its summit, and go away over rust coloured
sandstone and greenish yellow shales .... I climb so high that the
men and boats are lost in the black depths below, and the dashing
river is a rippling brook; and still there is more canyon above than
below. All about me are interesting geological records. The book is
open, and I can read as I run." By "the book is
open" he is referring to the vertical cross section of exposed
rock layers that make up the canyon walls.
|At another view
point we looked over to a peak named after Colonel Claude Hale
Birdseye. Does this mean we had a "birdseye view"? ....
along we could see a stark, metal frame rising above the
canyon rim. It was once a part of Orphan Mine ... one of the
last operating mines within Grand Canyon until the National
Service gained ownership and ended mining in 1988. Orphan
Mine produced copper, uranium, silver and vanadium. Around
1905 men used wooden ladders to traverse the face of the
canyon and to access the mines in the early days meant
descending 1500 feet. Not for the faint of heart.
placed on the rim of the Grand Canyon is a memorial monument
to the early explorers.
end of our rim trail walk, an outlook point afforded us an
opportunity to overlook the Grand Canyon Village and the
Bright Angel Trail as it zigzags down the canyon toward the
Colorado River. The Bright Angel is Grand Canyonís most
heavily used trail with hikers and mules (who have the right
of way) sharing the trail.
We left the Park about 3:00 in order to reach Kingman not
long after dark.
Left Kingman driving west on Hwy 40 and started to see an
abundance of cacti and a few palms as the hills rose in the
distance. It was not long before we were in the hills and saw the
landscape change dramatically as we headed towards Lake Mead and the
||We parked the car
on a hill in Arizona and then walked over the Hoover Dam into Nevada
where we looked around for a plaque with the name of Terryís
great-uncle who was one of the 98 men killed during the construction
of the dam.
After walking back to the
car, we drove back across the dam into Nevada and set the clocks to
Pacific time (back to home time).
|We made a quick
stop at the Lake Mead Information Centre where we were able to take
pictures of the end of the lake where Terry and Mike Haines had come
in the 1960s and strolled through their sample garden where we were
able to identify some of the plants we had been passing.
Teddybear Cholla is most attractive. It may look fuzzy like a
teddy bear but it is covered with wicked spines that are
painful and difficult to remove. Pack rats transport the
prickly joints (how we do not know) to use as a protective
barrier in and around their nests.
|Down the road a
couple of miles we dropped into the Nevada Welcome Centre and
browsed through their literature, made some phone calls and booked a
room at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
|It wasnít long
before we were driving down "The Strip" past familiar
hotel names like Circus Circus, Casino Royale, Treasure Island,
Harrahís, Mirage, Flamingo, Caesarís Palace, Bellagio, Aladdin ,
Monte Carlo, New York-New York, Excalibur, Luxor, Tropicana and
arriving at the MGM Grand.
The lobby, the welcome was everything one could expect from a class
The Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer decor
has a vintage appeal and carried into our spacious room with a
king-size bed, swoop back lounge and art-deco wooden furniture and
headboard. Pictures on the walls, and throughout the hotel, are of
1930s, 40s and 50s movie stars. My favourite hangs
above the desk in our room and is of the MGM lion working with a
camera man and sound man.
| Speaking of lions, after we put away our
things (since we plan to stay a number of days) we took our first
tour of the MGM Grand and paused with other tourists around the
hotelís lion habitat.
|We had dinner at
the hotelís buffet - a sumptuous fare with everything imaginable
from crabs legs and steaks to sushi, tacos and ribs, plus rows and
rows of vegetables and salads not to mention the dessert isle we
only walked past.
A few dollars into the slot machines and we called it an early
night in the city that never sleeps.
November 21, 2003
A lovely morning .... no packing up .... just lounging around,
reading, journaling and taking time to "just be". That all
lasted until noon when we finally emerged from our room.
|We toured more
of the MGM Grand with itís Hollywood film theme before crossing over
"The Strip" on the pedestrian bridge to ...
| New York-New York with
itís scaled version of many New York landmarks and eateries.
| Again using
a pedestrian bridge we went the Excalibur and were transported back to the
days of knights and fair ladies and grand castles ... Sherrie even got to
be a part of a stage act ... and then ...
| onto the Luxor
where we were immersed into its Egyptian environment. At the new Mandalay
Bay they are in the last throws of finishing work bringing together its
Eastern ambiance. We returned to the MGM Grand via tramway and sky-walks.
All that walking ... all the sights and sounds to remind us of the
excitement of Las Vegas ... and not once setting foot on a ground level
After supper we joined most of the other guests doing what people do in
Las Vegas ... gambling. There would be no note-pad gambling as Sherrie had
done at the horse and dog tracks. This time we were using cash. We set
ourselves a daily-able-to-lose-limit and went off to experience. At an
empty black-jack table we started asking questions. The dealer and the pit
boss, a lovely lady named Hazel, were both informative and patient. They
allowed us a lower ante limit than the table limit and guided us through
some of the finer points of playing casino black-jack. Lessons were harder
learnt by Sherrie who parted with her daily limit (and some of Terryís)
while Terry made a little on the evening.
|Time passed so quickly and we didnít get back to our room until after
|November 22, 23, 24, 25
and 26, 2003
The week we spent in Las Vegas was
definitely a departure from the norm. A week was just about
the right amount of time ... enough to enjoy the rich experiences
(one of the highlights of our trip), but after a wonderful week we
were ready to move on. Appreciating that our journey northward
will bring us into colder weather ... we are comforted by knowing
we are also
getting ever more closer to home's hearth and family.