On Sunday, March 30 we left Anthem heading for the Grand Canyon. The trip took about 3 hours in ferocious winds. They actually shifted the side rear-view mirror out of alignment on the drivers side! We pulled into the Grand Canyon Railroad RV Park. Some would say it was just a parking lot but the sites were level, the Internet was free with a strong signal, and the cell phone coverage was great. We put our slides out to start with but after a couple of hours of blowing around, and while we went to dinner, we pulled them in. It was very cold, below freezing, over night.
Monday was our day to go to the Canyon. We boarded the train promptly at 9:00, preceded by a gunfight. The trip took two hours and 15 minutes. It's the first train we'd ever been on that was on time - perfectly! We had purchased seats in the luxury Parlour Car which has its own bar, continental breakfast and a Passenger Services Rep (named Jack), who was very entertaining. He offered two morning specials and the photos show Maureen returning from the bar with drinks at 9:15 a.m.! Her drink had Amaretto, Kahlua and cream, topped with whipped cream, chocolate sprinkles and a cherry (for fiber) and Larry had a Bloody Mary. We had a real character on board named Johnny from Boston who was travelling with his sister and four cousins who is a letter carrier by day and a comedian in the evening. He is from Boston and his accent increased the show he put on.
When we arrived at the Canyon, we immediately boarded a bus with a very funny driver named Joe Rojas. He took us to several stops, including a buffet lunch, along the South Rim of the Canyon. It's the most amazing place and the day was a bit cool, with a light wind, but beautifully sunny. Apparently they had had a horrible winter where some of the train patrons only saw white clouds. The train runs one or two trips 365 days of the year and because of that 81,000 cars are prevented from entering the National Park annually. They normally get about 100 inches of snow over the winter but this year they got 125 inches.
We met a lot of very nice people. Some of the people off the train were staying up for the night at the hotel and others joined us who had spent the night before at the Rim. Otherwise there was a core group who were a lot of fun. Two more special drinks were offered on the way back, including one called the Whoo! Whoo!. This was Vodka, Schnapps and cranberry. The bar closed after 45 minutes and complementary champagne was served until the trip was over. We will keep in touch with Scott and Johanna who are from Jackson Hole Wyoming. Maybe we will even visit them if we pass through there in the future.
On the way back from the Canyon Larry spotted three horses and riders along the side of the track and the riders had there faces covered with cloths. They started galloping along side the train and the train came to a stop. The conductor came on the loud speaker and told everyone that the train had to stop as the union won't allow the outlaw to jump on the train while it's moving. Needless to say the robbers came through the train and robbed all the passengers of a dollar.
This was certainly a worthwhile first visit to the Canyon. The staff and itinerary were great.
In order to plot our map locations, we will write more during this upcoming week.
Maureen & Larry