It was that last one that worried me most, because one of the side trips I’d planned for my time in Vegas was a visit to said canyon. Turns out it’s not that far away, despite being in a completely different state. (Now that I live in the DC area, jaunting from state-to-state isn’t nearly as exotic to me as it seemed when I was a kid. Growing up in Wisconsin, out of state license plates are cause for excitement. Until you realize it’s just Illinois. BEARS SUCK.)
So I spent August and September haplessly planning for my once-in-a-lifetime 30th birthday trips to the Grand Canyon and the Hoover Dam. Tra la freaking la. Then the government shut/slimmed/sequestered down and I would say I was up a creek without a paddle except the National Parks Service had barricaded off the entire creek. Closed for business.
But wait! Turns out that not all of government shut down, for reasons many and varied. In my specific case, both the Grand Canyon* and Hoover Dam** were open. At which point I stopped paying attention to the news because GRAND CANYON.
The West Rim is operated by a Native American tribe, and they do their best to make you feel like you’ve stepped onto the set of a John Wayne movie. Complete with western village:
In my opinion, the orange safety cone just adds to the ambiance.
And wagon rides. Oregon Trail, anyone?
You have died of dysentery.
To be fair, my favorite part was the meal:
Not pictured: The rest of my chicken, and all of TheBoy's chicken, which I also ate.
Shuttle buses moved us from lookout point to lookout point. And though it was cold and windy, at least I got to see the thing.
It was so cold, the Hualapai were selling a boatload of Grand Canyon hoodies. I toughed it out, but barely.
In part 3: The Candyman can ‘cause he mixes it with love. And cacti. Also, David Copperfield blows my brain. Figuratively.
* The West Rim of the Grand Canyon is operated by the sovereign Hualapai Nation.
** The Hoover Dam is funded by fees, and so is not subject to authorization by appropriation. Real life West Wing is boring.