Monday morning I got up to get our second rental car. I rented it at a place I thought was on or near the strip. However I didn't look closely enough. I thought the rental place was at the Tropicana, but in fact it was just on Tropicana Ave a little over two miles away. Luckily the walk wasn't too bad since I had my iPod with me and the weather was still cool and below 70. I did finally get the car a Chevy Malibu (same platform as last one) and I will comment more on it later as well. I went back to the hotel and got Kelly and checked out.
We drove out of town about 10 AM heading for the Hoover Dam. The Hoover Dam is actually really close to Las Vegas it is only about an hour and it only takes that long because of low speed limit roads and security checkpoints. Kelly laughed at me when I said I remember it exactly from the Transformers movie but it was true. We walked around the outside a bit and then went in to take the tour. They take you down to see the pipes that take the water from the lake to the generators and then actually into one of the generator rooms. You can see it in the below picture.
After the tour we did some more walking around the top of the dam. We took a few more shots that are in this set. We then continued on to the Grand Canyon.
Between the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon there is whole lot of nothing. I mean desert like nothing, there are houses and other buildings every now and again but no real cities along the way. Definitely not a time and place you want to run out of gas for sure. It took another 4 hours or so to get to the park itself. We got their about 6 PM and paid the $25 entrance fee. We stopped to look into the canyon almost immediately and then headed to the visitor center. While there we decided that we would do a ranger lead walk into the canyon at 7 AM the next day. Since we were going to be hiking into the canyon we went to the general store to get some supplies. We went and checked into the hotel and then walked over to the rim near our hotel. We caught the tail end of the sunset in the canyon. We headed back to the hotel and unpacked the car. Lastly, we got something to eat before turning in. We went to bed pretty early since we planned to get up early the next day.
We got up close to 5 AM to begin getting ready for the hike. Kelly headed off to get her daily dose and I packed up the car. We had planned to catch the shuttle bus over to the information center but thanks to a bus policy of no drinks and Kelly's coffee we ended up driving over instead. We then caught another shuttle to the hike location. We got there about 6:45 and met up with the ranger and the other visitors for the hike. As we hiked down into the canyon the ranger stopped several times to point out different aspects of the canyon or its plants and wildlife. We even saw a big horned sheep as seen below on the walk.
We made it to the end of the hike in about 90 minutes. We stopped and ate some of our snacks and drank lots of water. We also took some more shots in the canyon. After hanging about for 30 minutes we then had to start the task of the trip back up. It was not nearly as fun going up as down (and down wasn't easy either). We saw another or the same big horn on the way back up. I think the best way to illustrate the way back up is this picture.
If you look closely at the sign you will see the warning below. Which says don't hike to far or you might get ill or die!
It took almost 2 hours to make the hike back up and that was with going without stopping other than resting. On the way down it took longer since we kept stopping and waiting for others to catch up and for the ranger to talk. You can see the hike we did (from a distance) in the below picture.
After making it back to the starting point we walked along the rim path back to our car. Before leaving the canyon we went to a few more sites. All the photos from our visit to the Grand Canyon can be seen in this set. About 2 PM we started back to Las Vegas. The trip back was uneventful but just long. We also found out if you need to go to the bathroom there aren't many chances anywhere near the Hoover Dam.
For our last night in Vegas we stayed at the Luxor in a fancy spa room. Unfortunately a combination of tiredness and some pretty bad sun burns meant that we couldn't enjoy the room too much. I went and returned the second rental car then we went down to the new Luxor More buffet. Kelly went to bed and I went and played a few more slots before we left Vegas. The next morning we got up and flew back to Baltimore. The flight was even better on the way back. We actually landed over an hour early and got off the plane about an hour early. So ends our trip to Vegas for Memorial Day 2008.