Day 2 : 30th September

Photography

After a restless nights sleep, I got up at 4am to get ready for our trip to the Grand Canyon. We didn’t leave until 7am and I don’t take 3 hours to get ready but I had enough of endless tossing and turning.

We drove for a couple of hours whilst our tour guide told us about the day ahead. We travelled through Boulder City. This was built for the workers in 1928/29 to build the Hoover dam. Originally, it was just meant to be a camp for the workers to live in and then leave once it had been built. However, because of the Great Depression people came with families and their belongings, so a last minute town was built for them to live. The dam stopped the Colorado river and created a lake. Lake Mead, which is the largest artificial lake with the most water in the USA.

Gambling is forbidden in Boulder City, and the rule still remains here, if you want to gamble you have to go into Vegas. Way back when, people came to Nevada to find minerals, gold and silver, hence why it is called the Silver State. People were getting richer, so they built casinos with the money. This was an easy way to take money from people without stealing.

We then stopped at Williams which is one of the towns on Route 66. Route 66, also called the mother road is 2500 miles / 5200km long and runs through 8 states. This is a relatively small street running in two directions, so they built highway roads and closed Route 66. Tiny towns and businesses died as the large roads didn’t pass through them.

Angel Delgadillo, was a barber from Seligman, Arizona and has been dubbed the ‘guardian angel’ of U.S. he went out of business for 7 years and then started a petition to reopen Route 66. This initially got declined by the government but after more signatures, the petition was accepted and Route 66 was declared a national monument in 1987.

It is now a tourist attraction and people travel this for fun. Angel transformed his barber shop into a gift shop selling souvenirs. If you book in advance he will even give you a shave at the grand age of 91!

The director of Toy Story, also drove round Route 66 collecting stories from people living here. These stories are referenced in the film Cars.

We had a wander around Williams, browsed the little gift shops and saw the old railway station, they had an old steam train which used to take people from Williams to the Grand Canyon. This was the only means of getting to the Grand Canyon before the roads were built.

We then made our way to the Grand Canyon. First stopping at Mather Point. It was very busy, as you’d expect with people taking endless selfies. However, words just can’t really describe what you see and no photos did it justice, which partly upset me, as loving photography I wanted to capture the perfect frame. I decided however, to just take it all in, and enjoy it, rather than continually looking through the viewfinder. It’s so vast, with the sun and clouds casting beautiful shadows upon the layers of rusty reds and burnt orange sandstone.

After this we headed to Desert View, where we went up a tower for more beautiful sights and saw a man do a craft demonstration. Intricately painting a small figurine.

We sleepily made our way back to another hotel. We popped to a Safeway (throwback!) and grabbed some snacks for the next day and were so tired all we could muster was a subway. Not exactly a gourmet delight and sadly not as fun as the Texas bbq, but none of us had the energy to socialise. We clambered back to the hotel, climbed into bed and finally had a good and well needed nights sleep.

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