Day 17 didn’t really start the way we expected it would. Today was supposed to be the drive to the grand canyon, which is about 4 hours, and our western cowboy ranch right next to it..
But sometimes plans change due to circumstances..
On paper our trip is meticulously planned and so far we have been able to follow it most of the time. But sometimes things don’t work out the way you want them to be. Our extreme adventure from the day before was haunting us when we woke up. Our legs, arms and chests were really sore.. We’re not used to that kind of excersize so it took it’s toll when we woke up.
There was a Chik-Fil-A ( Its similar to KFC ) right next to our hotel and even at 10AM, the double (!!) drive-in was packed with cars.. Crazy 🙂 Kevin walked to the dunkin donuts for our morning coffee and breakfast and arranged a late checkout at the front desk. Perhaps a good breakfast would help heal our muscle pain.
Off we went and we drove the legendary route 66 for a while going west. About 2 hours later we had to make a decision. Would we go east for the Grand Canyon rims, and add about 3 hours to our trip, or would we go west to our Ranch and possible go to the Grand Canyon skywalk? We decided to go west and head into the direction of the ranch already. We were really not feeling that energetic today.
Eventually we decided that we would do a daytrip to the Grand Canyon during our stay in Vegas and just relax at the cowboy ranch instead today. The trip was really relaxing with some amazing views. We also drove through Dolan Springs, which is a really small rural town right before the Grand Canyon, and it was really cool to see the style of life in such a desolate area.
We finally arrived at the ranch and it was exactly like we imagined. It reminded us of the western movies you see on TV. We got the keys to our historic lodge and it was really authentic. No TV, no WiFi, .. you didn’t even had cell phone service here. It was just us and the nature of Arizona.
We received some bad news though, the horse riding we reserved was cancelled. Due to muscle pain we didn’t really complained though.. 🙂 We relaxed in the rocking chairs infront of our cabin and went for dinner around 6PM. The buffalo burger meat was really really good! We met a couple that lived in New Caledonia, a French island east of Australia. They were on their honeymoon going through the west and midwest of the US. After dinner we took a hot bath in our historic bath-tub.
The bath seemed to lessen our pain a bit, and we went to the traditional cowboy bonfire! We met a couple from Israel and had some great conversations with them.
It was a really nice experience. You had the campfire, a cowboy with his guitar and harmonica singing songs, smores to roast on the fire and a pitchblack sky with a thousand stars! Cowboy Dave also told some great cowboy stories and eventually it was us, the Israelean couple and cowboy Dave left at the bonfire.
Cowboy Dave told us alot about life in the US and in particular life in Arizona. Arizona has 2 big cities: Phoenix and Tucson. Phoenix has a population of around 4.5 million people, Tucson around 1.5 million. The rest of the population of Arizona, which is about 500.000 people, lives in the rest of Arizona. Thats not TOO impressive you would say, but Arizona is 10 TIMES bigger than Belgium ! When you hear stuff like that you start to understand how desolate this state is. There are thousands of miles of nature without any people.
He also told us about the wild animals living here, from mountain lions to bears and rattle snakes. Lets hope we don’t encounter those 🙂 Around midnight we said our farewells and went to sleep. We had a really relaxing day and are kinda sad we didn’t get to see the grand canyon yet. But perhaps we can fit it in the next days in Vegas.
Here are some pics from Day 17 :