May 20 -22
We went to the Grand Canyon and Hover Dam on the way to Sonoma.
Our flight routed through Las Vegas and so we decided to stay an extra few days to have some fun. We rented a car and drove to Boulder City. We stayed at the Boulder Dam Hotel, which included an excellent breakfast each morning – cooked to order.
Saturday May 21
One morning, we jumped in our rental Prius and headed to the Grand Canyon West Rim. Note: wear loose pants and bring a sweater & sunscreen. I know you think it is the desert, but it is much colder than you think it should be due to the extreme winds.
We parked at the visitor center and picked up our tickets (Gold Package). There is a constant flow of buses from site to site and you get food vouchers for lunch. The first place we stopped was the Hualapai Ranch, which is a remake of a western town with a trading post and a saloon. You can also stay there in the cabins.
We then went to the Skywalk. It is a large glass bridge that cantilevers over the canyon. You are not allowed to bring a cellphone or camera to take a picture, but they do have people who will take your picture for a fee.
The amazing views of the canyon
Finally, we went to Guano Point. There are no railings, just the sheer drops down to your immediate death. So don’t let your kids run wild. There is an old mining setup where they used to harvest bat guano from a cave and run it over the canyon by a pulley system. You can climb up on the rock formations for amazing views of the canyon. There are examples of Indian tepees and other housing structures.
We spent the whole day doing this and were massively sunburnt (its a word… probably) at the end. That night we ate dinner & had prohibition-era cocktails at The Dillinger. This was a really fun place and only a short walk from our hotel.
Sunday May 22
The next morning, we drove to the Hoover Dam. You want to buy tickets there because they might decide to not do tours on a certain day due to “safety concerns.” Also, go early because it is first-come-first-served. And be prepared to walk. These tours are not as in depth as tours in the 90’s, but you still get to see what is inside the dam and how it works. I was impressed at the amount of effort put in to make the work-space attractive because they couldn’t imagine workers having to work in an unadorned environment.
We ate dinner at the Centurion Lounge at the Airport before we headed to Sonoma that night. We have been to airport lounges, and this is one above and beyond. The food is good, the drinks are good, and it is all free – You just need an American Express card.
Don’t go on a tour to these places if you want to spend time exploring these places. The tour groups pushed people through at an insanely quick pace.