We've returned to Phoenix. It might have taken us a mere seven hours to get from Phoenix to Las Vegas, via the Hoover Dam[^], but it took us a lot longer to return.
We took the 'Dam Tour', as the guides will insist on calling it. The joke wears a trifle thin after a while but you can't help but admire their persistence with it. Methinks they enjoy the freedom to use a 'forbidden' word.
Boy, they do like their statistics. If I'd been fifteen I might have found the stats more interesting but as one grows older it's harder to be impressed by a long recitation of millions of tons of concrete. Hey, I have the evidence of my eyes and even I can see there's a lot of concrete there!
I was disappointed when comparing the tour as she is given in 2007 with the tour one sees in 711 Ocean Drive[^]; if the movie is any evidence (I'm not sure it is but those were less paranoid times) tourists in 1950 saw a lot more of the insides of the dam than we do now. Highly recommended nonetheless, if you're ever in the area.
When Heino and I planned this trip he was most careful to say 'you don't need to entertain me'. I even believe him. Nonetheless, when I go to Melbourne it really is true that he doesn't need to entertain me; having lived there for 48 years I know (or knew) the joint pretty well and have hundreds of places I want to go visit again.
Well, I know the theory but it ain't so easy to put it into practice. There also happen to be many well known landmarks and national parks and just plain amazing things to see here in Arizona. And a few not so well known but just as amazing things to see, both here and in Utah. Thus a side visit to Zion National Park[^]. My first time through there too.
From there to Flagstaff[^] for the night. We hadn't planned to spend the night in Flagstaff but for some reason the motels at Tuba City[^] (all two of em) were full up and we had to keep on going. Sometimes it helps to book ahead.
From Flagstaff we doubled back to the Grand Canyon. Now there's a hole in the ground! I don't care how many photos or travelogues you've seen of The Canyon, nothing can prepare you for the reality. I wanted to do the blindfold trick and guide Heino to the edge but neither Heino nor Sonya seemed inclined to play along. Spoilsports!
I record here that I had the best salad of my life at the El Tovar Hotel[^]. Blackened Pork and Spinach salad, with mandarins and toasted sesame seeds. Simply magnificent. I fear both Heino and Sonya are sick of hearing how good it was!