I last wrote of camping at the Grand Canyon in 19 degree weather. After doing the requisite things: sunset at Yaki Point, sunrise at Desert View, pictures of the original Fred Harvey instigated train station and the Mary Colter designed El Tovar Hotel, we took stock of our situation.
No way could we sit around a campfire for the next few days reading or working on a laptop. It was too windy and cold. All we wanted was a hot shower and someplace warm! So we got on the phone to our timeshare reservations desk and asked for anything warm within a 5 hour drive and in the vague direction of home. Las Vegas had one night and Reno had several following that, so we pulled up stakes (quite literally), headed for the $2 showers in the campground, took a few last pictures and beat it! Which is why we thought it was so funny a week or so ago when we watched an otherwise forgettable movie, The Guilt Trip, in which a mother and son take a cross-country trip and pass through the Grand Canyon that she has always revered from afar. Standing at the edge of the crater, the Mom (Barbra Streisand) says:
“ I always wanted to see the Grand Canyon.”
Son: “I know.”
Mom: “How long are we supposed to look at it?”
Son: “Ten minutes? It seems disrespectful to spend any less.”
So we headed back to the Warm. We didn’t care a bit about being in Las Vegas, in fact, we were too tired to ride the hotel shuttle into the evening’s ‘hot spots’, but we did love cooking supper on a stove and sleeping on sheets!
In the morning we drove through the Strip on our way out of town. I took pictures from the moving car and then Ron got his camera out and started shooting from the driver’s side. Consequently, our Las Vegas photos have a tipsy and blurry look to them. Fitting, don’t you think, for the morning after?
Everything in Las Vegas was oversized and grandiose:
Our commitment to back roads was coupled with a desire not to repeat previous routes so we left Nevada 95 and went across the mountains to California 395 by way of Nevada route 266. . There were not
a lot of any road signs or cross streets intersecting our road so I was grateful when something we passed actually matched the map I was navigating from (a map of the whole US, very general in its markings and sketchy on some of the details I would have appreciated.) At one point we found ourselves back in Nevada when we thought we were actually in California.
Ironically we got closer and closer to snow in our pursuit of warmth. I found the frosty isolation of Mono Lake very beautiful as were the mountain peaks thinly outlined in black against the white-gray sky. Yes, I did think that the sky color was one of impending snow and we were the only fools out on the road. And there were some snow flakes falling….
But we made it to Reno after nightfall. We perched here for a few days reading and catching up on projects. In the afternoons we walked in the glorious sunlight around the downtown Truckee River area.
We had one last day to spare on our way home and came up through parts of Oregon I hadn’t seen: Christmas Valley, Fort Rock, Summer Lake and Silver Lake. We stayed our last night in a fishing and hunting motel (Don’t clean your guns on the bedspreads) and had the sole attention of the proprietors. And so to home! (I’ll show you those pictures tomorrow.)