Well Reader, here is the Exciting /Adventurous part of the Vegas trip. The unnamed one and I are both anxious to get to the Grand Canyon. Many years ago, I had been on a road trip from LA to Michigan with husband #2 but I had only glimpsed parts of it as he put pedal to the medal in that classic Riviera . The unnamed one and I hurriedly dressed mindful of the searing heat that promised to abate once we arrived in Arizona.
According to the website, the Bus would leave at 6:15 a.m., stop at the Bridge leading to the Hoover Dam, make a rest stop in Kingman, Arizona at the Mickey Ds, continue on to the Natl Geographic Museum for lunch and optional IMAX. Then on to the GC with two stops along the South rim and lots of photo opps and trail climbing time. The return trip would include dinner at Mickey Ds again (they must have the hookup) and then back to the hotel by 8 p.m.
The Bus arrived promptly at 6:15 and every seat was taken. Once we got underway, however, the driver announced that he was Not taking us to the GC, but instead he was transporting us to a site where we would be divided into groups to board the actual Bus to GC. Huh? The early hour and heat prevented most of the passengers from doing anything but grumble, but certainly no one had expected this twist in the plot. This is what I like to call a bonding moment…like in the movies…when the actors realize their/our fate lies in the hands of someone’s Employees. The Bonded Bus Riders all exchange an anxious, half smiling, querulous look.
After about 30 minutes, we arrived at what could only be described as the cattle pen. Hundreds of people were lined up in front of a building boarding/waiting for buses. We sat on our Bus another 20 minutes before being herded into a huge building and told to form two lines: the West rim and South rim groups.
A perky employee launched into her presentation and soon the West rim group was on their way to the buses wearing the important red tag. I overheard their perky presenter say their 8 hour trip included a skywalk, helicopter ride and pantoon boat. Our group was given a green tag and advised that unlike the West rim people, our trip was going to take 10-12 hours. The entire group simultaneously turned to their partners/significant other and repeated..did she say 12 hours? In the background, perky employee droned on…But Guests, I always save this for last because I want you to know YOU are getting a much better experience than the West rim people. She must have bumped her perky head!
Normally, my legal training kicks into gear when I am booking anything online and unlike most people, I do read the small print and the terms and conditions. Never did I recall reading that the trip would take 12 hours. Bait and switch strikes again. We consumed the sumptuous breakfast of oj and mini honey buns while listening to perky presenter extol the wonders of the IMAX presentation that would be held during lunch. I mean, who needs to see the real GC when we can watch it in IMAX. Finally after another 45 minutes, we were allowed to board the real Bus to the Grand Canyon.
Our driver was a frustrated actor who was determined to narrate the entire trip in a droning, robotic voice that sounded worse when amplified by the speakers. Oh, did I mention the website said it was a deluxe double decker motor coach. They must have removed the deluxe and double decker before delivering our bus. Nevertheless, the droning continued despite the early hour and our need for sleep and the fact that half of the Riders were non English speaking.
Does anybody speak English? How long before we get there? Oh, we will be there in 5 minutes. Really? No 5 hours…
After stopping on the bridge to view part of the Hoover Dam, we’re finally on our way. Kingman, Arizona and the Mickey Ds stop took up considerable time as it was packed with other bus passengers. We finally reached the lunch stop just as the IMAX was starting. The lunch was a choice of pizza, hot dog or rice bowl. We were told by Security we could NOT take our lunches in the theatre. The IMAX was supposed to have been award winning…maybe the photography was, however, the acting was poor and offensive to the Native Americans who made the GC their original home.
By the time we arrived at the first stop on the GC, we were already 2 hours late. Madam driver said we could only go down to one spot and under no circumstances were we to go down Any Trails because it took twice as long to come back up. And she was NOT waiting for Anyone.
We stumbled out of the bus into the 90 degree heat awed by the raw beauty of the GC. Cameras snapped, brave men/women stepped over the guard rails to perch precariously on the edge..it was a sight to behold. In a matter of minutes, it was over and we were herded back on the Bus headed to the second stop.
Again, the warning Do Not Go Down The Trails…but That’s were everything worth seeing is..and the website specifically said Trails included. A young man lamented and whipped out his ipad dashing off a complaint letter to corporate no doubt.
Oh, did I mention, the unnamed one was in Rapture at all of this Nature, snapping pictures and even pulling up a purple flowered plant that he carefully put in his Dasani bottle for the trip home. Huh..really? Did you Not see that sign about desecrating the national park and what about the Airport baggage check?
After about an hour, we boarded the bus for the return and were matter of factly told by Madam Driver, we would Not arrive at 8, but closer to ll p.m. The non English speaking people had to have that bit of information translated for them and there was much swearing in multiples tongues throughout the bus. One couple pleaded with the driver that they had to get back before 11 because they had purchased $150 tickets to a show and the bus company had assured them they would be back in time.
Madam Driver was adamant..11 or later…take it or leave it. Her attitude had changed into one of near hostility and I was glad I had brought a Xanax so I could retreat into another world on the ride home in the dark, already scary, multiple S curve mountainous terrain.
As we neared the strip, Madame Driver announced that she would have to Stop Driving as soon as she reached the Boulevard because she had used up All her Driving time. However, she had radioed the company and another driver was being sent to meet us and transport us back to our various hotels. The Bonded passengers all exchanged looks of how did we get here…and as soon as she pulled into the parking lot of the Excalibur everyone jumped ship following the bright lights, speeding traffic, winding parking lots back to their respective hotels.
Finally. The day was over and if I could just hold my nose and make it down that long, dank corridor, surely tomorrow would restore some balance to this crazy, up and down trip. Safely in the room and drifting off to the land of nod, I felt someone poking me ( No Reader, get your mind out the 50 Shades book…lol). The unnamed one nudged me awake and pointed to a growing sea of red welts down his arm…mosquito bite? too much tomato juice on Delta? stamin from the liberated purple prairie flower? What the hell?
Thanks for Reading…comments Always welcomed…Stay tuned for Part 3?