Monday, May 30, 2016

Arrival at Williams, Arizona

I snagged this off the Internet
We had been on the train for over twenty-four hours when we got to Williams Junction.  It was 10:30 P.M., and we had spent over thirty-six hours without much sleep, just a little catnapping.  There was nothing at Williams Junction except a railroad crossing sign and a mini-bus that awaited us.  Two other passengers embarked with us:  an older lady in a wheel chair accompanied by her granddaughter.  The driver loaded the four of us and our luggage into the van and, with a warning that our first stretch of the way was going to be a very bumpy dirt road, we were off.  Within ten minutes, we arrived at the huge Grand Canyon Railway Hotel and were very soon in our room and off to dreamland.

It was one of the nicest hotels I've ever had the pleasure of staying in, and they seemed to have everything well coordinated.  I handed the lady at the desk all the vouchers I had printed off for meals and the train to the Canyon, and she gave us tickets in return.  The building across the street with the green roof is a gift shop and restaurant, The Grand Depot Cafe, where hotel guests eat.  I would NOT recommend the restaurant: The buffet items were allowed to run out, and much of the food there seemed like it had been there quite a while; but it was paid for already, so we suffered through.  If you click on the link, you will see the reviews, most of which are negative.  Oh well, we got our bellies filled up after a good night's sleep (and Keurig coffee in our room) and were ready to board the train.  We were told to put our luggage on the cart in the lobby and it would be waiting for us in our hotel at the rim of the Grand Canyon.  We sat through a gunfight between the town sheriff and some outlaws (yawn), then boarded the train.  A young lady stood at the front of the car and gave us facts about the train and the area as we headed toward our destination.  After a two-hour ride, we got off the train and onto the bus that would take us to various locations on the rim.  But first, lunch at Maswik Food Court.  The food was better than at the Train Hotel, so that's something  We visited with a another couple who were seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time.  The husband had suffered a stroke some years before, and didn't get around too well; he seemed to be just one step from falling all the time.  All the other guests from the train who were spending the night at the canyon would stay at Maswik Lodge, but the lady who put together our trip wanted us to stay at a hotel or lodge right on the rim.  So after lunch and our two-hour rim tour, we checked in at the Thunderbird Lodge, built in the 1960's.
Check-in, though, wasn't done where we were staying, but several yards away at Bright Angel Lodge.  The rooms at Thunderbird were in no particular order, and if we hadn't run into the cleanup crew in the hall, we might never have found our room.  We did have a view of the canyon from our window, which was nice.  As promised, our luggage was there waiting.  And again, Keurig coffeemakers in the rooms!

El Tovar
We were on our own for dinner that night and breakfast and lunch the next day.  We found THE place to eat, the sort of place Cliff and I never frequent because if it were anywhere but the Grand Canyon, you'd have to dress up.  El Tovar isn't as expensive as you'd expect, either.  If you visit the Grand Canyon, eat NO PLACE ELSE!  
The food at El Tovar is superb and the service is impeccable  
We were on our own from 2:30 P.M. Sunday until 3 P.M. Monday, so we had quite a bit of time to enjoy the Grand Canyon and various places of interest around the rim.  The free shuttle service takes you from one spot to another and, during busy times, runs about every five minutes.  Don't be surprised, though, if there's standing room only on all the shuttles after 10 A.M. when the tour busses start arriving.  And don't be surprised, after you look around and listen to conversations, to realize that Americans are a minority at the Grand Canyon.  I heard all kinds of languages being spoken and saw more young oriental folks than I've ever seen in one place.  The oriental countries must be very prosperous places to live, because a lot of them can afford to travel the world, it would seem.  

To be continued...

Oh, a note about our lost luggage:  I have not seen it yet, but remember, UPS doesn't often deliver on weekends, and never on holidays.  I would hope to receive it tomorrow.  I'm waiting to post a review online for the hotel in Williams because whether or not I receive my luggage will affect the review.  The man in shipping said he would email me the tracking number but I never received it.  Perhaps he took down my email address wrong.  I won't hold it against him (and the hotel) UNLESS we fail to receive our stuff.  


DesLily said...

you hit the nail on the head with Americans not being the majority at the Canyon!! I could understand almost no one! but my girlfriend and I did makes friends with a German couple that spoke English pretty well!

Pudge450 said...

I have a comment about your reference to young oriental folks. I have used the word oriental all of my life to describe what I considered to be oriental people. Imagine my surprise when I was recently informed that use of that word is offensive and racist. Sure enough, if you google it, it is not acceptable. Hmmmm. We are supposed to say "Asian". Who knew.....


Your trip sounds like quite the adventure. That hotel looks lovely.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I'm hoping your missing luggage does show up. It wouldn't be good at all to end such a wonderful trip on a bad note.