Another super lazy start to the morning, getting up only to make sure we got to the hotel brekkie before it closed at 9am. What a winner breakfast was. It was continental, which meant we both had boiled eggs on toasted English muffins, orange juice and a waffle doused in maple syrup. We were definitely making the most of it. We got depressed watching the news on the TV, all about Trump and his failed health case bill. I find it hard to believe people are exposed to that sort of media every day, it makes me cringe.
We were off on a side trip today to kill time before our first ski day tomorrow. Our first stop was at the local Staples to print out our lift tickets which went off without a hitch, then we drove north towards Horseshoe Bend. It was nice to be back in the car for a change and highway 89, which I’d travelled once before, was scenic with canyons lining the road. Kevin enjoyed sitting and watching the world go by. After two hours of driving, we came to Horseshoe Bend. This is a section of the Colorado River that makes a 270 degree turn before heading off down Marble Canyon and on into the Grand Canyon. I had been here over a year ago with Mikey but I was keen to see it again.
We took the short walk over the hill to the bend with the dozens of other tourists and came up on the huge cavity housing the Colorado. Kevin was suitably impressed and also cautious near the edge after hearing my story of sitting on a dodgy looking rock the last time I’d been here. We wandered around to get away from the tourists and have a bit of an explore, watching the tiny boats snaking their way around the river hundreds of feet below.
Back at the car we had a late lunch, having not been hungry for food after our massive breakfast. We still had time in the day, so I played tour guide and drove us over to Antelope Canyon. Another place I’d visited last year, this time I thought we could do the Upper Canyon since I’d done the lower section before. While Kevin applied sunscreen, I enquired about prices for the Upper Canyon tour. It was $48 each and they only accepted cash, so that eliminated that idea since I wasn’t carrying that much dough. We drove across the road to the Lower Canyon. As I crossed the highway, someone blasted their horn at me. I didn’t think it was for me since I hadn’t cut them off but when another car gave us a toot as we drove onto the dirt Lower Canyon road, we realised that Kev had left the back door wide open. I stopped straight away for him to right it. What a cock up that could have been, I could have lost my cornflakes and a lot more. He never would have lived that one down.
We followed our instincts and picked the more Indian-looking tour provider and I think it was the same people I’d done a tour with the year before. Their $33 ticket price was more attractive and they had a tour going in ten minutes so we were set. When we signed our names on the log sheet, Kevin noticed that the guy before us had the same last name as him, one with Danish origin. He got talked to his potential long-lost family member and we found out he was a Faroe Islander (an island north west of the UK belonging to Denmark). He and his girlfriend were travelling, mostly for tax reasons after having worked on boats and studying. They were fun to talk with and being on the same tour so we chatted the whole way. Our group was only about ten people strong, a stark contrast to the forty or fifty I’d experienced with Mikey over a year ago.
Our tour guide was brilliant, enthusiastic about all parts of the canyon and keen to answer our questions. He even told us about the power station nearby that Kevin and I had been pondering about earlier, wondering if it was nuclear powered, but we found out it was old-fashioned coal. The canyon was beautiful as ever, especially with the late sun throwing bright orange colours onto the walls. Our tour guide was an expert at taking photos, often taking our phones from us to get the magic shots, so we can’t take credit for most of them. He pointed out all the shapes in the rock, including a lady with wispy hair, Bruce the shark from Finding Nemo, a turtle head and an Indian tribe leader. Your imagination can really run wild in a place like this. For good reason, multi-million dollar photos have been taken in this canyon.
Our tour over, we lingered talking to our new friends for a while, giving them some travel trips, before taking a visit to the port-a-loos (not a nice experience) and getting back in the car for the drive home. Kevin drove and I enjoyed having my feet up on the dash, soaking up the sun and watching the world go by beside me. We stopped in Cameron for a coffee from Burger King and a sundae for me. The iced black coffee was terrible for Kev but tasted better after he added some milk powder to it.
We back to the hotel around 6pm and had a few beers in the room before heading out to find another brewery. Dark Storm Brewery was a beautiful little spot. Friendly staff, brilliant beer descriptions, dogs allowed, young families around and a climbing video playing on the projector. Couldn’t get much better. Kev and I were lively, talking about future plans of travels that may or may not happen, having fun with the ideas all the same. I think we had a couple of rounds here and I was feeling more than drunk and Kev was well on his way. It was past 9pm and we still hadn’t had food which we needed to correct. After checking out the taco truck out the back of the brewery, we decided we’d just have one more beer then grab a pizza on the way home. Probably a bad decision because we were both tanked by the time we left.
At Papa John’s pizza place, they kindly tolerated our drunkenness and allowed us to use their bathroom out the back while they made our order of a bbq pizza with some wings. To their credit they churned it out super quickly and we were out in the cold with the hot box in our hands, keen to get back to our warm hotel. No issues crossing the road this time.
We sat on the bed and tore at the pizza, Kevin overly-impressed with the blue cheese sauce that came with it. We flicked channels on the TV while we ate, settling on a terrible national geographic-style documentary about sea life and sharks in particular. I couldn’t tell you what I learnt. After the pizza, we still felt very drunk, but thought we could make it into sleep. Kevin was so full he even tipped out half the beer he’d been drinking, not able to stomach any more. What better way to prepare for our first ski day?