Alan and Jean sharing our cruising news with friends, family.

20 July 2015 | Rabi Island Fiji
29 June 2015 | Suva Fiji
18 December 2013 | Auckland
05 December 2013 | Auckland
27 October 2013 | Vavau Tonga
12 September 2013 | Samoa
24 July 2013 | Moorea, Tahiti
19 July 2013 | Papeete
19 June 2013 | Nuka Hiva
02 June 2013 | Pacific Ocean
29 May 2013 | Pacific Ocean
24 May 2013 | Eastern Pacific Ocean
19 May 2013 | Western Pacific Ocean
16 May 2013 | Western Pacific Ocean
13 May 2013 | Isla Isabella
06 May 2013 | Isla Isabella
08 April 2013 | Shelter Bay marina, Colon.
28 March 2013 | Belize
27 March 2013 | Belize
03 March 2013 | Panamarina, Panama

Las Vegas to Grand Canyon and back

28 October 2012 | Chaguaramas, Trinidad
Las Vegas to Grand Canyon and back.
October 2012

We left a humming Las Vegas, after all it goes 24/7 and headed for the Hoover Dam on the Colorado river just 30 miles from Vegas. The Hoover dam was built in the 1930s backing up the Colorado river to form the large water way of Lake Mead. The main road used to go over the dam now there is a newish bridge, an engineering feat in its own right, that takes the through traffic away from the dam. We drove down to the dam with all the other tourists…. Hang on those police behind us are not sightseeing. Their sirens were not for us thank goodness, we had been enjoying going quite quickly in our little car on the smooth highways. The edge of the Hoover Dam is apparently a popular(not sure if that is the right word) place to jump off when life gets too much. The police were here to see to the latest casualty. I am not sure how much sympathy I have for people who commit this act of suicide in front of crowds including children. It upset everyone’s day and we couldn’t get near to the barrier to look over the edge at the dam.

Just before the dam we pulled into a Tourist information office to get a map to cover our trip from there to the Grand Canyon.

“Sorry we haven’t got one for that, this is Nevada and that is Arizona, stop at Kingman and get one there, that’s Arizona.”
I left muttering that Arizona is only about 5 miles down the road but the world as Nevada knows it stops at the border!!!

Anyway the officials who decided no Arizona maps in Nevada Tourist info places did us a favour. We found the info office at Kingman and also found a delightful gentleman full of information and maps for us. We told him we had one night at Grand Canyon and another we weren’t quite sure what to do with before we went back to try our luck in the casinos again. We left armed with info about Route 66, the Grand Canyon and an alternative route back through Oak Creek Canyon and its Red Rock formations. We took our armful of maps over to Mr D’s Route 66 Diner to have lunch on pink and green vinyl over looked by Elvis and Marilyn. The part of Route 66 we travelled on is the longest existing piece of the famous road left intact, there are bits left here and there but mostly it has been swallowed up and by passed with modern 4 lane Freeways. Not sure of the exact mileage but we travelled between 80 and 100 miles between Kingman and Seligman. There are not many towns left just a few diners here and there with Route 66 memorabilia and long stretches of road with not a lot of traffic. Lots of motor bikes, Route 66 is a favourite haunt of bikies old and young. Our friendly info man at Kingman also said Route 66 was quieter than the highway which had the highest number of truck traffic in the state and he was right. When we did get back on 93 there were more trucks than cars. The Santa Fe railway line also went along beside the 93 and long train followed even longer trains one after the other. I think we saw more freight in one afternoon than travels around all of NZ in a month or more.

The wide dry scrubby plains edged with high flat topped hills began to look familiar, then I realized where I had seen them before…in all the Westerns I have watched. Those flat top hills are the ones the Indians look down from at the wagon train, the plains are the ones the cowboys look from watching for rustlers to come and stampede their herds. This is Navajo, Kaibab-Paiute, Hualapai and Hopi country where everyone is more peaceably occupied these days, making money from we tourists who flock in to hike, ride, camp, tour, fly around, above, alongside and down in the Grand Canyon. We stayed at Red Feather Lodge in Tusayan just 5 miles from the National Park. Early next morning we had a Macca’s breakfast, always rely on McDonalds to be open when you need them(the first and only time on our trip we had needed them), and entered the Grand Canyon National Park. The American national parks are always well looked after, and very reasonably priced. Yosemite and Grand Canyon both only $25 US for a 7 day pass, per car. Good value even for a day.
The first sight of the Canyon is breathtaking, in fact I am not sure if you would ever get tired of looking at all the different aspects of this deep wide masterpiece. We took a leisurely stroll along the Rim path the air was clear we could see forever (which is apparently not always the case) and there were few people about. October is a good time to go, the summer rush is over and the temperatures are comfortable. There is a free shuttle bus to get visitors around the different rim tracks and prime viewing areas, so we walked a good way then got the bus back to the car. Great service. A bit disappointed we didn’t see any Condors, maybe we didn’t go to the right places to see them.

After lunch we then took our info mans advice and headed south to Oak Creek Canyon aiming for his recommended town to stay in, a place called Cottonwood. At Flagstaff we had a false turn but eventually found the road to Oak Creek Canyon and descended down a twisting road to the narrow Canyon floor. Oak Creek meandered past pretty autumn colours and we glimpsed red rock walls up above the trees. Now this was better than taking the busy truck laden road straight back to Sin City. The leafy Canyon was a nice interlude away from desert scenery. As the canyon widened out we started to see the huge red rock formations. The afternoon sun bought out the rich red against the blue sky. At Sedona ( “don’t stay there , too many tourists and its expensive” from the diner waitress at Mr D’s and the info man)we stopped for ice cream and a great view of a couple of the Red Rock out crops. Leaving the canyon behind we flew along the flat plain the 10 miles or so to Cottonwood. Where there was a laundry across the road from the motel and a Cowboy Café down the road both of which we enjoyed for different reasons of course.

Our last day on the road with our nice Volvo convertible, we wound our way up through the hills to a little town called Jerome, now a tourist destination but once a thriving Wild West Coppermine town. We continued up the little used 89A and rejoined that busy 93 again before branching off and returning down Route 66. We stopped at Seligman for lunch along with some RVers. Now RVs come in all sizes but we now think we have seen one of the biggest, a 60ft rig towing a car. The couple got out and sat with their friends next to us. We ocean cruisers discuss engines, cost of places to stay, breakdowns etc and these land cruisers do the same. The only difference is they don’t have to worry about anchor drag and getting wet in the dinghy to go ashore. The RV stays where they left it and everyone steps out of the AC refreshed, makeup and hair in place, clothes neat and dry…no sand in the shorts.

Our last stop on Route 66 was at the Hackberry diner for photos with the Corvette out the front. Then back on the busy road at Kingman, past the Hoover Dam and into Vegas. Our road trip finished. Another night walking in and out of the Casinos like the Luxor at the other end of the strip. Our flight out was not until 10 30pm the next night but we managed to fill in the afternoon in Las Vegas downtown and back on the strip. We discovered the inside street at MGM Grand that has its own sky which produces a thunder storm every hour, the rain conveniently falls over a lake.

Returning the car to Avis at the airport after dark was a bit tricky with signs disappearing just when we needed them. We managed it, just, pleased to have the Volvo returned safely no scratches after 2300ks of enjoyable top down travelling. The shuttle bus got us quickly to the terminal where we found our flight delayed a hour, ah well at least we had a shorter stopover in Miami the next morning. As we waited for our flights our thoughts turned to boat tasks and what would Tuatara be like when we returned. Not to worry Tuatara was in good shape, very little mould and quite clean on the outside. A day of cleaning and we were ready to move back on board ready to start everything that needs doing before we go back in the water.
Vessel Name: Tuatara
Vessel Make/Model: Alan Wright 51
Hailing Port: Opua NZ
Crew: Alan and Jean Ward

Sailing in the Pacific

Who: Alan and Jean Ward
Port: Opua NZ