Ten legs to sunset, Day 5: On the leash at the Grand Canyon

I’m always safe with Murphy and Billy, especially in public places, to keep them on their harnesses. Beyond the obvious – protecting them from slipping out of their leash and chasing a squirrel into the street – it protects them from people. You know, the one or two out of a zillion who don’t like dogs. And though I know Murphy can look a little scary with those awesome eyes of his and his size and leaping ability, he’s about as sweet as they come.

But when we arrived at the Grand Canyon about a couple of hours before sunset, I learned quickly another reason: the leash will keep Billy from jumping into the abyss.

Billy bounces into the Grand Canyon, almostYes, the world famous Chi-weenie immediately jumped onto the first unguarded rock he could find and started to …. JUMP!

What are you thinking (rhetorical with Billy, unfortunately)? It was a riot. Murphy had butts and other things to sniff when we arrived, so he was a little late to the “danger” party on the South Rim of the Canyon.

Now here’s where I need to say the most important thing to those who have read along. I wish Nicole were with me. I love my daughter more than anything in the world, and loved exploring every adventure we shared in the years when she was a kid and we spent every vacation planning some new place to visit or thing to see. But she’s a grown woman now, and I wish she and her lovely Hannah could have been here with me. Instead, I get my boys, Murphy and Billy… and they are gifts from heaven in their own right. But I missed Nicole for this one.

If you’ve never been to the Grand Canyon and you live in the USA, you must. If you drive in Arizona, Utah, west Texas, California, anywhere west of Oklahoma…. you aren’t that far. And even for my friends in Oklahoma and Alabama and Georgia… its worth it, and I barely even saw it. Words, pictures – even IMAX – can’t do this place justice.

Wide South Rim

We had to cut our trip short, as you know, because I was fortunate enough to get a call about a job interview. So we couldn’t spend the night – and that gives me something to look forward to when we go back.

For travelers, let me just say if you can afford it, stay in the nearby little town of Tusayan or the Grand Canyon Village. I know they are pricy and you have to make reservations far in advance. If you have an RV, hell, just pull it in and park (which will cost you a pretty penny to get in, but since its a 24/7 National Park, why leave? My pass was good for seven days and I wish we could have stayed the whole time. Know that even if you are just going in for a few hours, it takes forever to get through the gates and park, and it costs $30 for a regular car entrance. But it was worth that – and more.

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Don’t be fooled by the sunset. It takes a while, and if you pay attention on the South Rim, shutterbugs will flow from the parking lot and set up their tripods all along the choice spots just as the sun begins to make its final, far away, resting place. At first you think you saw the sunset, but that was a tease. Keep waiting…. and there… it … is…

 

We were there just a couple hours – until it became pitch black (it was a cloudy night after sunset so the stars weren’t as bright) … and we met some amazing people. People from Düsseldorf, Germany, from Switzerland, Korea, Japan, England, and many, many other places with languages that amazed me. And yes, there were some Americans, too. I met a father who was there with his daughter, driving across the country…. so glad they stopped. They petted the dogs and we chatted about the importance of not letting these things slip from us as parents – and citizens of the planet. I shed a few tears, thinking of all the great adventures I’ve had with Nicole and my family, too.

Some of the best photos weren’t taken by me, they were taken for me. The two girls from Switzerland were my favorites (ok, ok). When I asked them how long they would be in the States on their holiday, they looked at each other and started laughing. “We are supposed to go home tomorrow, but we quit our jobs to come here, so maybe not!” That’s my kind of world traveler!

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The boys and I stayed south of the South Rim, in a nice Days Inn in Kingman, AZ and what I liked best about it was the most OBVIOUS thing in the world for a hotel that promotes being let friendly: the floors were tile! Thank you! No gross, nasty, “couldn’t get the carpet clean of the idiot who let his/her two dogs shit and piss everywhere” to deal with. Makes sense, right? Stays cleaner – if there is an accident, easy to clean up. And its the friction’ desert any way. Nobody is staying there for the pool, it’s for the stop over. People were nice, in and out was easy…

Our new bed - again!
In A place to rest! the morning we headed west – with the boys rested and anxious to see PawPaw and Grandma, Barb and her little dogs Keiki and Nini, brother Bob and Erica. And for the rest of the ride – no leashes!

 

 

Here are a few links:

national geographic

thetrain.com

http://www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm

http://grandcanyon.com

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