Tuesday, April 13, 2010

DOWN SHIFTERS' DIARY: The Grand Canyon to Vegas, BABY!

After spending several hours drinking in the sights of the Grand Canyon, we got back on the road and headed toward our next overnight destination: VEGAS!

We would be spending the night in Vegas not to gamble but so we'd be in a good position to get a jump on the crowds the next morning at nearby Hoover Dam. But we were in no rush; we're determined to enjoy the drive as much as the destination.

Heading south from the Grand Canyon, the first town we came to was Williams. The "historic downtown Williams" sign was enticement enough; we passed the on-ramp to westbound I-40 and continued into town.

The first thing that caught my eye was a brightly-painted railroad caboose which, as it turned out, was one of the "rooms" one could rent at the Canyon Motel. In a way, it's too bad it was early afternoon when we passed; otherwise, we'd have been tempted to spend the night.

Historic Route 66, which we'd driven along in Albuquerque a few days earlier, also passes through Williams. To its credit, the town has tried to maintain the buildings along the route in more-or-less original condition, as it has with this old gas station. It doesn't sell gas these days - just souvenirs - but the look is authentically '50s!

Shortly after resuming our westward drive on I-40, we came to the town of Seligman, Arizona. Although a couple of miles off the Interstate, I thought the photo of the diner at left made the diversion worthwhile. No, I don't know the origin of the name or whether they actually boast, "You kill it, we cook it." Frankly, I'd rather not know; that would take some of the fun out of it.

Exiting the Interstate for State Highway 93 that leads across Hoover Dam and into the Las Vegas area, we saw the reader board that warned of "LONG DELAYS CROSSING HOOVER DAM." Spring break was just winding down -- though apparently not by much -- so we opted to go through Laughlin, Nevada and head north to Vegas from there. The next day, we learned the delay crossing the dam had been upward of two hours; obviously, we'd made the correct call.

Neither my wife nor I had been to Hoover Dam since we were kids, so we were excited to return and see this man-made marvel through the eyes of adults. We were not disappointed. More in my next post.

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Photos by Carl Dombek
Click on photos to view larger images

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