Thursday, May 19, 2016

On the Road: Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon (May 18-May 19, 2016)

Following a day in Las Vegas, headed east toward the Grand Canyon. Looking to get views out over the city of Las Vegas (or, strictly speaking, the City of Paradise, Nevada, as the main Las Vegas strip is in that town) and into the desert, I went up the Stratosphere Tower--according to something I read, the highest observation tower in the United States, at 1,149 feet. I also rode the High Roller Ferris Wheel, the highest observation wheel in the country, at 550 feet. Both offer excellent views. The tower, although stationary, is somehow scarier than the slowly turning wheel, which takes about 30 minutes to make a revolution. It runs until 2:00AM.

Las Vegas remains the pit of excess it always has been. The hotels are too big, the casinos are too big, the distances between them are exhausting. Gambling seems a fool's amusement, but I had a truly excellent steak dinner at Gallagher's Steak House, in the New York, New York Hotel complex. I'm not a big meat eater. In fact, I'd be quite happy vegetarian, but the Rib-eye steak I had, with a shallot and Beaujolais reduction sauce, was easily the best piece of meat I've ever consumed.

 On the morning of 19th, I head out in the direction of the morning sun on the only road more or less that leads to the Grand Canyon. There's some picturesque scenery with scrubby vegetation, chollas, a few Joshua trees, and a show of spring wildflowers as well. Distant mountains, mostly eroded volcanic formations, provided a backdrop. I then road the Grand Canyon Railway to Williams, where I'm staying the night. Tomorrow I'll ride the train back to the canyon to start a day of photography there. Today I got only a glimpse, but it looks every bit as spectacular as people say it is.

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