Friday, June 26, 2009

Grand Canyon or Bust! (Part One)

Well, we did it… Mr. Man and I finally went to the Grand Canyon! Yay! Albeit we only stayed there for an hour and a half. Now call me impractical, but it seems to me if one drives 500+ miles to see a magnificent hole in the ground, one may want to take in as much of it as one can, don’t you think? But, it was getting late (?) and it would be well past dark by the time we got back to base camp, which was at the Golden Nugget in Laughlin, NV.

Well, I’m getting ahead of myself, let me start at the beginning…

The principle plan was to visit the Grand Canyon. The bottom line in my book, but Mr. Man also wanted to take me to Oatman, AZ, a little Route 66 tourist town that boasts of wild donkeys roaming its one street. Laughlin was a midpoint (?) on the Colorado River with exceptionally low hotel room rates Mr. Man could not pass up. So, we booked three nights in Laughlin, one day to get there, one day for the Grand Canyon, one day in Oatman, and the last day… well, the travel home. It all sounded good to me, what did I know, I’d never been to any of those places—let’s go!

So, we got all packed up and left around 9:30 Tuesday morning (to avoid LA’s horrid traffic as well as possible—which we did). Mr. Man had his van, a white Nissan Quest, all tuned up and washed and this time we were good to go! (As you may recall from a past post, we tried to do the same adventure last April, but his van started doing not nice things the very night before exodus and we had to cancel at the last minute. I even shaved my legs in anticipation for that journey… this time, as not to jinx the expedition, I did not. So there you are, ladies, the secret to adventure.)

Mr. Man surged us expertly out of Dodge avoiding LA traffic nicely. After a couple hours stopped at an AM/PM Minimarket to top off the gas tank near Barstow at which time I took a potty break and bought a cup of coffee for myself. We did not have breakfast, and it was close to noon. I (shamefully) thought (silly me) that we would stop somewhere along the way for lunch, you know, like at a restaurant… a Denny’s or what have you. Mr. Man looked at my coffee and asked, “Is that all you’re having?” to which I cleverly replied, “Well, yeah,” with a bit of question in my answer. He then dashed back into the market and returned a couple minutes later with two hotdogs loaded down with every condiment in the book! (I wondered if he could even taste the hotdog itself—gross!)

Did I mention, this was our first longer than day trip together?

Now, Mr. Man lives to eat. I, on the other hand, eat to live. He constantly thinks about food and what to eat next (consequently, he worries quite a bit about his weight—hellooo?) He’s sure it’s the “carbs” that do him in… and that he can eat as much of everything else (like FAT) that he wants, but he is older now, that metabolism is slowing down, and watching the intake of cholesterol-rich, fatty foods he consumes in horrid artery-clogging, gut-building combinations is down-right scary. And, then watch him wash it down with a Diet Coke, oh please. At least he stays away from sweets.

Needless to say at this point, I missed lunch, but that was okay.

And it was my turn to drive, which I enjoy doing very much (just not on the ugly LA freeways). It was a good thing cause I could keep my eyes on the road and not have to wince at watching him eat that… crap.

Oh, by the way, the night before we left, he bought a bunch of beef jerky, teriyaki flavored beef jerky, that he munched (I passed) before bed. I tell you, that teriyaki flavoring reeked through that man’s pores throughout the night! It was a dreadful smell… I didn’t notice till I had to get up and use the potty. When I came back in the room, the smell hit me like a ton of bricks! Yowsers! I’d climb back into bed secure in the knowledge that he would shower in the morning and it would be over soon.

Guess what, the man of a-thousand-showers-a-day, did not shower that morning. Then the hot dogs loaded with more stinky skin stuff… Oh lord, this was going to be a long trip. A long “learning” trip.

You know the saying “opposites attract?” Well that we are in so many ways. I suppose that’s why we are sooooo attracted to each other, we are practically polar opposites.

He loves his air-conditioning. I hate it. Oh, it does have its advantages, of course, however too much, too cold, is too much for me. I’d rather roast and let the windows be my vents. He was good about it though, and kept the temp (and blow) mostly on his side, thank you very much. I was smart enough to be prepared, wore long pants, and packed lightweight long-sleeved shirts to protect my sensitive self from temperature extremes of which there proved many.

So I got to drive… it was a beautiful day! The whole time the weather was wonderful. Oh, it was hot all right, but that I didn’t mind. It was clear and clean and the mountains were scenic wonders as we made our way through them and the long desert stretches. There were wispy white clouds all the way to add to the scene and WOW, did you know the sky is really blue?! Very pretty with the white cloud contrast. Very, very pretty.

We made good time to Laughlin and our hotel, the Golden Nugget, arriving shortly after three o’clock. Mr. Man had started his party, after his hotdog brunch, with a stiff, very large (like in a 32-oz.-Pepsi-drink-cup size large) Bloody Mary, complete with celery. I really didn’t notice at first, but he was well on his way to “happy-land” by the time we got there. Please note: during the whole journey, I drank only non-alcoholic beverages… seltzer, tea, water and coffee, and therefore, the designated driver for the most part.

We checked in and found our room on the third floor with little effort. Now, I don’t know about you, but if I must stay in a hotel, I prefer at least a view. Mr. Man opened the curtain and nobly declared we had a “garden” view (yeah—of the tiered parking lot looming over us with a large shrub off to the side). Oh well. And there was no microwave or fridge (of which we both naturally assumed). Oh well again, we would have rough it. To the ice machine! Fortunately, we did have our small Playmate cooler, and an insulated Trader Joe’s bag to keep our perishables from perishing (or drinks getting hot).

As soon as we got settled in, Mr. Man wanted to go down to the pool. Okay, so we got on our suits, he fixed himself another drink, I armed myself with a crossword puzzle book, and away we went.

Now this was the first time I’d been to Laughlin and the Colorado River. I’ll admit, that the lobby/entryway to the hotel was beautiful. There was a gorgeous, tranquil, tropical atrium highly scented of plumeria and jasmine (that I worried may become overwhelming, but it didn’t). It was truly lovely.

The pool and Jacuzzi area overlooked the river. The river. Water. People in boats and racing on jet skies on the water. That was about it. Nothing pretty about it. No trees, just a few shrubs here and there. It wasn’t cooling or refreshing. It was just there. The mountains in the background were very pretty, but it was brown everywhere else and, in my opinion, not much to look at. Maybe it looked better from the other side with the resort hotels lining the banks? Maybe in the spring? Dunno. All I can say is, it was okay but not a place I will really want to go to again. I don’t care to gamble, and though I love water, it just didn’t do anything for me, at least not there. I’m I making my point clear? If it’s any condolence, I don’t like Las Vegas either. Oh well, live and learn. Perhaps if our room had a view of the river and the mountains I would have enjoyed the venue more. I did think about how awesome the sunrise would be, and tried to program myself to slip out early and check it out, but that didn’t happen either.

I settled into my crossword on a chaise, and Mr. Man opted for the Jacuzzi. It seemed like no time before he was back and wanted to leave. It was hot, and there was still sun, and I was enjoying myself. “Huh? We just got here. What’s the rush?” He got the hint, kind of, went back in the hot tub, then came out shortly wanting to leave again. He said he was worried about me not having anything to eat.

“What do you feel like eating?” he asked. I was content with the sun, and wasn’t concerned about, nor had anything to eat in mind, but he kept pestering me… it was his trip, he was footing the bill, so okay, “I’d like shrimp, or salad, or fish… something light.”

We went back to the room where he finally showered. Whew. And, in hindsight, this was the first clue, he came out boasting of what a wonderful, refreshing shower it was, and don’t I want to take one? No, thank you, I didn’t. I was fine. He, on the other hand, was way too happy.

To be continued…