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2008 West Vacation - Southern Utah and Colorado, Part 6


My 2008 West Vacation. 16 days, 4596.3 miles.
Day 10, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area to Grand Canyon National Park

Day 10. End of day miles: 2539.3. Hotel: Maswik Lodge, Grand Canyon Village, Arizona.

Check out of Lake Powell Lodge. Gee, look at all the taxes. Lots and lots of taxes. a 6.75% Arizona sales tax (even though the AZ sales tax is 5.6%) or a 6.9% Utah tax (even though the UT sales tax is 4.65%), depending on the venue.

At the hotel, I was charged Arizona sales tax, $6.48/night for a "Infrastructure Program", and $6.00/night for a "Utility Surcharge". At the restaurant, I was charged Arizona sales tax, a $1.54 UPT Tax, and a $1.15 CSA Tax. For the boat tour to Rainbow Bridge, I was charged Utah sales tax, and a $6/person "Energy Surcharge".

But I think you have to be a guest at Lake Powell Lodge to get on the boat tour. So you're sorta stuck. But I did lower my rating of this hotel based on the extra charges. At no other place did anyone try to play this sort of game.

Page, AZ - September 21

Stop for gas at a Shell station on the way out. I have enough gas to make it to Grand Canyon, but there isn't another gas station between here and Cameron, over 80 miles away. Breakfast at Denny's is... pretty good. I don't know why I found that surprising. Might be because nobody outside the Midwest knows how to cook a decent egg.

The check engine light goes out. Are things looking up?

Jo needs another 12-pack of Coke Zero, so the next stop was to a Walmart. Big sucker. I'll bet the entire population of Page could fit into the store.

Stop at overlook on US-89 where you can see the front of the dam. It looks so small from here. Heh. Stop again where the road emerges from Antelope Pass. The Navajo have their tables set up, selling jewelry, pottery and other trinkets for the tourists.

Our next stop is about 60 miles away, and in that distance, there are 10 sets of Navajo souvenir selling stalls, 6 of them open, even this late in the tourist season.

Page to Cameron, Arizona
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Little Colorado River Gorge - September 21

We get to our destination, the Little Colorado River Gorge, a Navajo Tribal Park. When we get to the "Park", I get charged $2.00 to park. I don't think we paid anything in 1997. You still get to thread your way through the selling stalls to get to the Gorge.

Being at so many different places now, the Little Colorado River Gorge doesn't seem as impressive as it did in 1997. Probably my fault, having seen so much of the rest of the country.

Little Colorado River Gorge
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Grand Canyon National Park, Day 1 - September 21

We made it to the Grand Canyon! Again! We stop at the Entrance Station where the Ranger gives me a map and the newsletter (standard at pretty much all the parks) and grants me access. First stop is at Desert View, where we hope to get lunch. After messing around in the Watchtower, we do get lunch at the only food venue here. Not only a slow line but it is completely forgettable, you could do better at a McDonalds. If there was one around here.

It is also very crowded. Parking lot isn't close to full, but if it was, this place would be insane.

While stopping at other viewpoints along the way, we collect numbers 2 & 3 in a series of why you should never believe a photograph.

Grand Canyon National Park, Day 1 Part 1
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Grand Canyon National Park, Day 1, Part 2

We never stopped in at the Tusayan Museum in 1997, so we did this year. These are ancient ruins of the Pueblo, from around 1000 years ago. These ruins aren't as well preserved as say, Hovenweep or Mesa Verde, but it does give you an idea of what a village looked like then.

As I mentioned at the Anasazi site on Utah-12, these ruins are very similar.

We stop at Moran, then Mather point, and the place is a zoo. The new Visitor Plaza is open, but the roads to said new Visitor Plaza are not. So your best alternative is to park at Mather Point, and walk. The side effect of this, is to make parking a mess. There are cars parked on the side of the road for a 1/4 mile beyond the legitimate parking spaces.

We've had it. This is the perfect illustration of why Grand Canyon isn't in my favorite places to go. It's already almost 4pm, so we decide to bypass all the other viewpoints, and go straight to Maswik Lodge.

Grand Canyon National Park, Day 1 Part 2
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Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon National Park, AZ at Sunset.

Grand Canyon National Park, Sunset - September 21

We check in at Maswik Lodge. Reasonably fast.

There is no wi-fi or in-room internet service. They have pay-as-you play internet terminals if you need access, but I refuse. :-)

There's a cafeteria at Maswik, but we elect to go to the rim. We did dinner at the Arizona Room as walk ins. We were seated immediately. I had the 10 oz strip steak, Jo had the 8oz Prime Rib. Prime Rib was blackened, sorta ruined the taste of the rib, but these days it seems if it's not blackened, put in a boysenberry-vinegarette. But I digress. The strip steak wasn't prime, but it wasn't select either. Vegetables watery and overdone. Mashed potatoes that came with Jo's prime rib has bacon in it (which makes it Ranch Mashers I guess) and the baked potato I had was fine. Had the Kokopelli, which was cranberry juice, something else and tequila. It was okay, could have done without the salt around the rim, though. View out the windows can't be beat. Final judgment, 3 of 5 stars. For one of the premier restaurants on the rim of the canyon, it's sorta disappointing that the food is so mediocre.

Took a walk down the rim trail during another just-okay sunset, but at least the peaks in the canyon are lit up with that warm evening magic light. Look at all the people taking pictures of the canyon with a flash. Sad.

The Grand Canyon might be one of the top 10 parks/wonders of the world, but I just can't place it in my top 10, though I might have in 1997. It's far too crowded, and having been to literally dozens of other parks now feel that Grand Canyon fails to offer a more intimate and varied experience.

That doesn't mean I think you shouldn't visit the place. It is unique in its grandeur and majesty. But this might just be my last visit here.

Grand Canyon National Park, Sunset
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Grand Canyon Village, Maswik Lodge Interior - September 21

Roaming service only on my cell phone, probably a captive cell service. Local calls on the land line in the room is fifty cents. If you don't leave a credit card number with the front desk, you can't make a call, even with a toll-free calling card. Hmmm... As convenient as it is to stay within the parks, the vendors that contract with the government to run these facilities should really stop nickel and diming the tourists.

Still, room is nice, double beds, ceiling fan, didn't need the air conditioning, but I didn't know that when I reserved the room now, did I?. Double glass door in the back, with a screen door so you can get some fresh air and nighttime sounds. (Crickets, not cars.) From some of the reviews on travel sites, there seems to be two opinions of this place, good and horrible. My guess, is the more expensive, air conditioned, newer rooms are the good reviews, the less-expensive, non-air conditioned, older units are the "horrible" ones. Just a guess, I haven't seen the other type of room.

We step out the back door, and it's dark enough to make out the Milky Way, something you can't see any more in a light polluted city.

The shower's okay, but poor water flow, as is usual with environmental/conservation places like this. 7 of 10.

Maswik Lodge Room Interior
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End 2008 Southwest Vacation - Part 6.

Jump to: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 10

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