[personal profile] catspaw
There were three: the Valley of Fire State Park, the Grand Canyon and Death Valley.

First one was to the Valley of Fire. The rock formations there are amazing, and the colours are just out of this world! There's no camera in the world that could do justice to them, I don't think. Here's just a flavour of them

There are these sandstone outcrops all over the place, and they just *glow* against the other rocks. Truly incredible. At one point we went to Petroglyph Canyon - and I expected the Duke to ride by at any moment either leading a posse or with one hard on his heels *g* Which wasn't quite so far from the truth, actually, since the canyon was used as a hideout by a renegade Paiute in his occasional (enforced) breaks from causing mayhem in the surrounding area

It had been raining in the mountains so we were quite wary of flash floods, but nothing untoward happened :-)

The petroglyphs were amazing

I love the little chaps in the first one doing the Happy Dance of Meat on the Table :-)

The Grand Canyon was - at the risk of repetition, I want to say 'amazing', but I think 'awesome' in the strictest sense of the word is probably the most appropriate. It quite simply beggars belief. It's so huge that your eyes just can't make any sense of it - until a helicopter tour flies in, looking about the size of an avereage dragonfly against the backdrop, and you think 'hey, wait a minute! That's a *helicopter*! A helicopter that's big enough to seat four passengers plus pilot!' And even then, it doesn't quite compute...

It all looks a little 'ho-hum' in the photos

until it's pointed out to you that here, the river is about 3 miles away and is a good 100 yards wide. And the little white rim at the edge of the river? Is two storeys high. And if you *do* take a plunge over the edge, it's 2 000 feet down, a bounce, another 1 000 feet down, another bounce and then the final 1 000 foot plummet to the bottom. By which time you really don't care LOL

But. ButbutBUT! ::pauses for those of you who were at Shittycon to gasp when you remember how I crapped out going up the Eiffel Tower:: I WENT ON THE SKYWALK! I did it! I really did! And as long as you didn't think too hard about what was (or wasn't!) beneath your feet, it wasn't so bad... (see above - 2 000 feet and bounce, etc LOL)

We were at the Canyon for hours, until sunset - and we got harried off the canyon side on the very last bus down *g*. Again, the colours and the sheer blazing *scale* were amazing and no camera can do them justice

So that was a life's ambition fulfilled :-) One thing about the tip that really tickled my funny bone though: in Vegas one evening, I got a ticking off from a transport official for standing too close to the edge of the kerb. (I've been doing it for years, it's really one of my few flirtations with danger *g*). We got to the Grand Canyon - 4 000 foot drop to the bottom, 2 000 feet and bounce, yadda (see above) -- and there was not one handrail . Not one. None at all. People were sitting with their feet dangling over 2 000 feet and bounce etc, on an edge which, when you saw it from the Skywalk, was crumbling badly and really not long to wait before collapse -- and no one. No one. Told them not to do that. ROFL!!!

The very last trip was another life's ambition: Death Valley. I've wanted to go there since I was a little kid and found out it was one of the hottest places on earth :-) And as I said at the time, it's one of the most bone-shatteringly beautiful places I've ever been in on this planet. We were particularly keen to go to the Racetrack Playa, where the rocks move, and that entailed going in a jeep on a total horror of a washboard road. First time I've ever driven off road, first time I've ever driven a jeep, only the second time I've ever driven an automatic. And all on the wrong side of the road! What fun! And I only fishtailed once... and just a little... *g*

The Racetrack Playa was *huge*. And the trails of the moving rocks were very obvious!

But it was bitterly cold (oh, the irony) and getting late, so we couldn't really linger that long cuz none of us fancied tackling that road in the dark . But that evening was really magical, there was a completely spectacular sunset

which went from strength to strength

and the whole thing was topped off by one of the few meals I've ever managed to finish iin the USA: a steak dinner on special at Terrible's in Pahrump, NA which cost the princely sum of $4.99. And utterly delicious it was too :-D

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