I’m not the type of person who likes to be locked up in a car for hours on end so flying is my preferred means of transportation. But it’s so hard to get a good flight deal right around the holidays so we decided to do a road trip instead. I planned a 3 day itinerary to the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas and all we were missing was a car. Of course I have a car but it only gets 18 mpg and guzzles up 91 gas. Henry’s Silverado is even worse so we convinced his nice younger brother to lend us his Honda Accord. The Honda Accord is only 16 months old and already had 35,000 miles so another long trip isn’t going to hurt, right?
On day 1, we took the Needles<–>Kingman Route 66 detour off the I-40 and stopped in Oatman, a quaint and touristy Western town near the Arizona/California border. In addition to old-school saloons and shops, Oatman’s main attraction are the friendly burros who roam the street. We forgot to bring carrots to feed them (and didn’t feel like buying them food there) but they were cooperative with my excessive photo-taking, nonetheless.
After the short detour, we got back on the I-40 and had dinner in Williams before taking the lonely road up to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. We ate at a divey restaurant/bar called The Singing Pig and shot a round of pool before eating our ribs. Henry was just happy that they had canned PBR.
By the time we got to the Grand Canyon, it was after 8pm and the guy collecting the $25 entrance fee was no where to be found so yay, we didn’t have to pay to go in. We ended up staying at the Bright Angel Lodge (Buckey’s Lodge) and it was a nightmarish experience. There are nice (Holiday Inn standard) accommodations available at the park but those will run you about $200/night. Since we were only going to sleep there, we decided to get a standard “motel-style” room for just over $100/night. The room did not have a TV (not a problem) but the pillowcase had hair that wasn’t ours on it and used towels were not removed from the bathroom. The walls were extremely thin and the double beds felt too short. It was so unpleasant and we barely slept. The only positive is that the rim was just 50 feet away.
The park runs a shuttle system to get visitors to various viewpoints around the rim. While some consider it convenient, I’d rather have the flexibility of driving. In the winter, the Hermit Road shuttle doesn’t run so we were able to drive the route and park wherever we wanted to. Despite Henry’s initial enthusiasm about seeing the Grand Canyon, I agree with him that most of the views were very similar. I did like the sweeping views from Maricopa Point. You can see the rim within a few hours but hiking to the bottom takes at least two days so we were done with it by mid-morning.
On our way from the Grand Canyon to Las Vegas, we stopped at Bearizona, a drive through wildlife park there they had bears, wolves, sheep, bison and a petting zoo.
Even though we were getting pretty tired by the time we made it to Nevada, we took a quick look at the beautiful Hoover Dam before heading into Las Vegas.
We got a really good rate at the Vdara ($97+$25 resort fee+12% tax) that included a $50 food and beverage credit and $50 spa salon credit. The food and beverage credit was harder to use than we thought since the dining options at Vdara are super limited but I was able to blow the spa credit on one manicure.
After checking out of the hotel, we made a stop at the blindingly white Tropicana Hotel to experience the Mob Attraction. It’s an exhibit/museum/interactive experience with actors and holograms. I giggled every time a new door opened; it was quite fun.
And so that was it. 3 days and 1,000 miles later, we were back in LA.