A freezing sunrise at the Grand Canyon and road tripping through the wild west
Day 14 – Grand Canyon National Park to Las Vegas
Like most people staying at the Grand Canyon it was an early start this morning to watch the sun rise. We were up at 5am in the freezing cold ready to head for Mather Point. We arrived at 5.30 and there was only one other person there, which was lucky as I had a bit of a disaster falling down the concrete steps and seriously injuring my ankle (it was almost doubled in size by the time we got to Las Vegas). The bystander abandoned setting up his camera and came over to see if he could help. After a couple of minutes, to get over the shock, I managed to get up and sit on one of the rocks while Richard set up our camera.
Word of warning for sunrise and sunset. It’s very cold and very dark at the view points, your reactions won’t be as quick and you can’t really see where you’re going before the sun is up. Take your time and be careful!
Watching the sunrise over the Grand Canyon really is a spectacle. We were so distracted standing a the railing we didn’t notice that a lot of people had gathered behind us until the sun came over the horizon at 6.25 and they started cheering!
We went back to Yavapai Lodge for breakfast and seen a roadrunner on our way to the car park. Breakfast was ok, you won’t go hungry. We made a quick stop at the gift shop here as well – plenty of choice.
It was time to say goodbye to our tent. When you leave Mather Campground there are large containers where you can donate your camping equipment, which is what we did. We found it a good option camping even though we bought all the kit, it allowed us to keep costs down on some nights to allow us to splurge on other things over the trip.
Our first stop after leaving the park was at Kingman where we bought some more fuel – another $25 and also paid for a car wash, the car was looking pretty dusty by now having travelled through the desert.
From Kingman we returned to Route 66 travelling over Sitgreaves Pass to Oatman. This is a very windey road, much more so than the Pacific Coast Highway. They views are great though but the driver does need to concentrate a bit more on this route.
Oatman is a cool goldrush town, we were expecting a shootout but it was cancelled today which I was really disappointed by. It was still worth the trip though and we got to see all the wild burro’s walking the streets. The burro’s are a relation of the donkey, they were used in mining operations but when they ceased the burro’s were released into the hills.
We had lunch at Olive Ann Oatman’s restaurant which was ok, I had yet another grilled cheese, none came close to the one I had in Portland, and Richard had a chilli dog. We had an ice cream from the Oatman Hotel after this on the way back to our car. The Oatman Hotel is also where the Clark Gable – Carol Lombard honeymoon suite is which we had a quick look at.
We were soon back on the interstate straight to Las Vegas where we would be returning the car. When we arrived in Las Vegas we drove down the strip in awe of the massive hotels and resorts. We would be staying at the Vdara for the next three nights which is located between the Bellagio and the Aria on the strip. When we arrived at the Vdara we were totally unprepared for the valet and we had things all over the car which we had to quickly bag up to be taken away by the bellhop who would bring them to our room.
We had a room on the 43rd floor with a view of the Bellagio fountains and the Eiffel Tower at Paris.
After resting my ankle for the rest of the afternoon we headed over to the MGM Grand where we had dinner at Wolfgang Puck and it was great. I had the Ricotta Gnocchi in a sausage sauce and Richard had a veggie pizza. It’s perfectly located if you are going to see Cirque du Soleil’s Ka like we were.
We had tickets to the 9.30 performance of Ka. Our seats were in row D which were good seats, not too close but close enough to see the performers faces. It’s a great show and well worth trying to see a show while you’re in Las Vegas, we had never seen a Cirque du Soleil show before are were really impressed.
A very long last day of our road trip but can’t wait for another one!