Friday, November 6, 2009

Vacation, Part 1: Erosion is Beautiful

I landed in Vegas at 10am; my fiancee didn't arrive until 8pm as she was flying in from Boston. After a quick spin down the Strip to see what was in store for us later in the week, we got to our brand spankin' new Comfort Suites to get some sleep before our road trip.

About 30 miles south of Vegas is the Hoover Dam. Many statistics are thrown out there about the enormity of this thing. My two favorites are:

1. The dam was finished in 1935. Some concrete deep in the heart of the dam is STILL curing.

2. The dam contains enough concrete to build a 2-lane highway from San Francisco to New York.

It's big. Them are cars up on top.

I pushed our rental Sonata pretty hard; we didn't see the legal side of 90 mph for much of the trip. The speed limit was 75 and we were mostly just keeping up with traffic, so I didn't feel I was being reckless or anything.

The scenery through Arizona got progressively nicer as we approached the highway that would take us to the south rim of the Grand Canyon. We got to our Best Western (quite nice - I would recommend it), relaxed for a moment, then made our way into the park.

There are no words to adequately prepare you for the first time you walk up to the rim and see the vastness and colors and shapes come together. There are no pictures to do it justice, which doesn't stop me from posting some anyway.

You really have to go. Everyone should see this at least once in his or her life:

Here are the layers of rock, all of which are exposed at certain points in the canyon:

The canyon:

You must see the canyon, especially at sunset:

Eventually it looks like this:

We finished our evening with a lovely meal at El Tovar, a lodge next to the canyon that was built in 1905.

More to come...


m.v. said...

can we skip to the part with strippers?
nice photos :-)

Craig said...

Did you do the clear bridge that extends out over the canyon?

JJSKCK said...

m.v. - All in due time.

Craig - We did not. It's about 3 hours from the national park portion of the canyon, costs $71/person, requires you to drive 14 miles down a dirt road, and you can't bring your camera onto the skywalk. Add all that to my general queasiness for not seeing land beneath my feet, and we passed on that.