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Published: August 17th 2012
Parts of America have big spaces…..& this was one of ‘em!
The drive to Yavapai Lodge was “only” around 150 miles, but much of it was through area’s given back to the “Native Americans” in a deal many years ago. Of course you could see why it would be given away: dry, hot (car showed 90-101 degrees most of the way) and really nothing much to say for itself. Thank goodness for SAT Alt Nation rock on the radio - a fabulous find !
Bordered by impressive plateau such as the Vermillion Cliffs, the land itself was just a loooong road punctuated by many stalls propped up by the road with Native American gifts. We stopped at a couple: pleasant chats & a few gifts bought, but the finest was the last, where the nicest Navajo chap struck up conversation. He worked in IT security in the mornings, then took over his mum’s stall in the afternoon: seemed genuine, even though you know you are kinda being sold to !
Told us a bit of history around some of the nuance of Navaho, as well as some WWII tales….& then told us how he found the Italian’s the most
arrogant of his customers…but how the Navaho had names for different countries: the first Italian who visited had a "speech challenge" with his English, so they are collectively now known as “the Stutterers”. Nothing like tarnishing an entire nation in one simple brush stroke! We British were simply “people between waters” – or at least that was the nice version he shared with us. I’ll let you guess who the “iron helmets” were….
Finally we arrived in the park…although still 30 miles from our lodge. We had our first view of the Canyon at Navajo Point (big, really
big….but not as nice as Bryce, we all agreed!), and then continued, Chevy Chase style, through the park (“Hey Kids – look, the Grand Canyon” at regular intervals).
Checked into our nice room, & then strolled out to just catch the last of the sun disappearing over the horizon. A saunter about was followed by a hour long Ranger Talk at the outdoor amphitheatre on the Spanish “Discovery” of the Canyon centuries before. A nice tale well told....although he did explain why it was called the Grand Canyon - after all, it's not the biggest, longest, deepest or widest. The
answer ? Because of us. All of us that visit it. The early prospectors failed to find anything of value, but realised there was silver to be mined...in our pockets. Yup.
Finally, a snack in our room to the backdrop of King of the Hill (“brought to you in association with GetInGetOut burgers, when you need snacks real fast, but don’t need them to be real good”)
Day 13 was looming to be a long drive (around 250 miles), so an early night was needed. Shame no-one got it. Day 13: On through Route 66 to Lake Havasu City
We rose for some cereal and then headed to take a morning look at the big ol' crack in the ground.....yup, still there, still HUGE....so a few more snaps, a few more "yup, it's big", and we left.
Onwards south, we had to pull into the Flintstones Campground for a quick shot before later dropping off the Interstate to the Mother Road.....Main Street USA......Route 66: the original US Highway. A quick photo opp' in Williams, then later we looked for the Roadkill Cafe
- "You Kill It, We Grill It". Nice place, great food, worth a stop
We decided to take in more of Route 66, despite TomTom wanting us to head back to the I-40......it was strange, having so little traffic and so little to see. There were odd signs sponsored by Burma-Shave
, urging us such wisdom as "If daisies / Are your / Favorite flower / Keep pushin' up those / Miles per hour".....you can't make this stuff up!
Finally we drew into Lake Havasu City at around 5pm with over 100 degrees heat showing.....our friendly Travelodge host joked about folk not realising how hot it was there in summer (no wonder it cost £34 for the 4 of us, including breakfast!!). This was confirmed when we flicked through a magazine about "things on" in LHC year round: July & August have zero entries !!
He recommended a local park where we (okay, I
!) could swim. We had a rest, then headed out to pay our respects to ye Olde London Bridge. A fine edifice, slightly bodged on reassembly judging by the lines....but amusing nonetheless.
On to Rotary Park, where I had a dip in the water: more like taking a warm bath, not the most refreshing. Then we
happened upon some beach volleyball. 2 full matches in play, but then 7 youngsters started up.....they could see I was keen, so invited me on as an elder stateman.....and play we did. Obviously I did the decent thing and fluffed my first overarm serve to lull them into thinking the old fella was nuts, but then we took charge and, in a nutshell, took the match - thanks kids !
Back to the cool of the room, and a check confirmed the temperature wasn;t likely to drop below 90 all night, and in a moment we're off to see the Bourne Legacy.
Next stop: Vegas!
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