Apr 052010

Can you believe that we had to work on Easter Sunday? And we didn’t even get holiday pay? Sometimes it’s hard being self-employed gypsies. Than again, if you have to work, we’ve got a pretty good gig going for ourselves.

We go to the places other people can only dream about, or have to squeeze in on a hurried vacation, we spend all the time we want there, they usually give us complimentary admission, and then we get paid to write about it! No wonder I can’t wait to wake up and go to work every morning!

Yesterday I got to cross another item off of my personal bucket list, when we rode the Grand Canyon Railway to Grand Canyon National Park. This is a trip I have wanted to take for a long time, and one everybody should make!


The nice folks at Grand Canyon Railway set us up with two nights at Grand Canyon Railway RV Park, and First Class round trip tickets to the Grand Canyon. Here is our car, the seats were comfortable, we had lots of leg room, and it was only about half full.

Coconono railway car

Our car had a second level glass dome compartment where passengers could get a bird’s eye view of the world passing by.

Scenic car

They even had a complimentary continental breakfast, and each car had a hostess to attend to our every need. How cool is that? I like traveling First Class!

Breakfast goodies

While we riding up to the Grand Canyon, Navajo musician Clarence Clearwater  entertained us with songs and jokes like: What do you call a camel that has lost his hump? Humphrey!

Clarence Clearwater singing

Once we arrived at the Grand Canyon, our first stop was the Verkamp’s Visitor Center. I got my National Park Passport stamped, we browsed the books and artwork on display, and picked up some brochures about Grand Canyon National Park.

Then we set out along the 1.75 mile long Rim Trail, a paved walkway that offered magnificent views of the spectacular canyon every step of the way. Most of the trail is pretty easy walking, and there are plenty of benches spaced along its length to give you opportunities to rest.

Rim Trail

A few short stretches are a bit steep, and I was breathing hard a time or two. I told Miss Terry it was because of the thin air at this high altitude.

Rim Trail steep

There was a lot of haze in the air, especially earlier in the day, and the colors of the rock formations seemed muted from what I remember in past visits to the Grand Canyon, but it sure is a wonder to behold!

Grand Canyon view 3 

Grand Canyon view 4

Grand Canyon view 5

The wind was blowing hard all day long, and some of the gusts were downright treacherous, but it didn’t stop people from going out on points where I wouldn’t have been comfortable even on a calm day.

Canyon viewpoint

Someone asked me how I could have a fear of heights, when I used to fly around in helicopters and puddle jumper airplanes, and even jumped out of a perfectly good airplane or two. The answer is simple – Back then I was young and foolish, and I had wings and a parachute!

We were both pretty tired by by the time we finished the Rim Trail, and the wind was getting even stronger, so we walked down to the road and took the free shuttle bus back to the train depot. Then we hiked back up 44 steps to the viewpoint by the Hopi House, which was completed in 1905.

Hopi House

When we got there this Navajo Hoop Dancer was performing. What an impressive demonstration of his culture!

Hoop dancer

We also got to see this young man doing his Eagle Dance. His costume reflects the Native Americans’ strong bond to Mother Earth and the animals we share it with.

Eagle dancer

We had about 3 1/2 hours at the Grand Canyon, and then it was time to board the train for the return trip to Williams. The 65 mile long train ride takes just over two hours.

We had some excitement along the way, when Miss Terry spotted a huge herd of elk out her window. I have lived in the Rocky Mountain West for most of my adult life, and I have spent a lot of time in the outdoors, but I have never seen so many elk in one herd. There must have been between 75 and 100 animals.

That wasn’t the only excitement we had. We got robbed! But unlike the robbery we had last December, this was all part of the trip. The “robber” told more jokes than the loot he “stole.”

Train robber

He and his partner had hardly moved on to plunder the next passenger car when the local Sheriff showed up in hot pursuit. But, he had to stop and tell a joke or two of his own first, of course!


We arrived back at the depot in Williams about 5:30 p.m., worn out from our long day of playing tourist, but thrilled with all we had seen and done. I just wish the wind hadn’t been so bad. I’m still rubbing grit out of my eyes.

We had hoped to drive the final 150 miles or so to Show Low today, where we’ll be spending some time visiting my daughter and her family, but the high winds have only increased. Today they are predicting gusts up to 60 miles per hour. So we’re playing a waiting game. If things calm down, we’ll make a run for it. But if the wind keeps up, we’ll just snuggle down here in Williams for another day, and wait until it’s safe to travel.

Thought For The Day – The man who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The man who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been.

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  10 Responses to “Easter At Grand Canyon”

  1. wonderful photos…sounds like a fun trip…would it be rude of me to ask how much it would cost if you were not writing an article? and do you think it is worth the money…Jil

  2. Jil
    According to their web page for two adult round trips it ranges from $170 to $430,
    I’m sure it’s a nice trip but out of our budget range.

  3. sounds like you had an awesome trip. We were at the Grand Canyon a couple of years ago and I remember the first time we saw the canyon, it was totally awesome. Those robbers on the train get around don;t they, they look like the same ones who held us up on a similair trip. the train trip sounds like a lot of fun, but we will have to take thru your eyes since the price of the trip is way to much for our poor budget, thanks for the memories.

  4. We took that same train trip a couple of years ago as part of the Escapees HOP (although not in First Class). I don’t know what we paid, since the price was rolled into the overall package, which included parking in the RV park (we were at Railside RV Ranch), a bus trip to Sedona, several meals, etc. It was a fun several days, but we especially enjoyed the train ride!

  5. Great pics and article. I hiked and camped Grand Canyon (with 10 friends) the first week of March; another great way to see and take pics of the canyon. Glad I could do it (with 30 lb pack); it was the trip of a lifetime.

  6. We’ve always passed on taking that train trip, and reading the prices above makes it certain we will still pass on that train trip! But we love the Grand Canyon, been there many times. You guys EARN those comp trips — you’ve been a major publicity voice for things to do and see in this country. So keep on getting those “paid for” trips, and show the rest of us what it’s about!

  7. We had gone up the day before you guys. It is a sight like no other, takes your breath away and I don’t mean just because of the allitude. Frank felt odd up there and i finally hit on the fact it was allitude sickness, and this is from a guy that had his own plane and flew around parts of Alaska. We are going to try and take in that new glass walk out around the Kingman area as well.By the way your in the RV park next door to us. We are at the Railside. If you stay anpother day because of the winds we are having, Doc Holidays in the Holiday Inn has great prime rib.

  8. We did that same ride 3 weeks ago, except coach (the cheapest) and it ran for the two of us…$280 That is the cheapest price there is unless you hit a special or something… I am glad we did it… Would we do it again? Maybe if I had my grandchildren with us but no other way. We have always wanted to ride it and was happy we did! Have a great day
    Travel safe

  9. My Dad worked in the Orphan Mine in the late 50’s. The mine was on the side of the Canyon and when my brother went to live with him, he had to ride an ore bucket up to go to school. He graduated High school there but Dad had moved to a house so he could ride the bus. After I graduated in California, I waited tables at a small place that no longer exists. Lots of good memories.

  10. WOW looks like fun but like so many others we could not afford it on our income. Glad you could go and love the pictures.

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