Monday, July 12, 2010 (Grand Canyon)

High Point:  Finding a good bike trail

Low Point:  Why is everybody YELLING???!!!!!

Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda . . .

It was bound to happen. Eventually, we had to end up somewhere we should have skipped. That place is the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. We could have gone to the North Rim. We would have gone to the North Rim if we hadn’t heard the South was more dog-friendly. We just should have gone to the North Rim.

We’ve previously marveled at the number of foreign visitors in the parks. Julia spent the Mammoth Hot Springs Trail in Yellowstone counting the number of different languages (5). The girls spent a night swimming and playing with children from Holland whose mom had to translate for them when they wanted to talk. One night while doing laundry, the park put up an oddly-phrased sign, and as the only native English speaker out of 9 people there, I had to figure out the directions so we could all wash our clothes. We’ve been wondering where the Americans are vacationing in large numbers this year. Well, we found them. They’re here on the south side of the Grand Canyon.

Our favorite part of this whole vacation has been the laid-back, friendly feeling at every park we have visited. We’ve enjoyed talking with people on busses and trails about where they’re from, where their trip is taking them, what trails they’ve hiked, and what they’ve done on their trip so far. Julia made me laugh the other day when she said she loved that in the parks, “Everyone is visiting with their families, is really friendly, and there aren’t any punks around.” I asked her to define “punks,” and she said, “You know . . . mean people.”

Hopefully, it’s just the large number of visitors that have resulted in us finding both the Americans and the “punks” in the same stop. The Grand Canyon gets almost 4.5 million visitors a year, while the next most popular from our trip, Yellowstone, receives fewer than 3 million.  But wow . . . this is either just a totally different group of people or it’s the same people but they’re all in a bad mood.  I mean, come on Team USA – let’s get it together and make this work!

What we overheard on a typical Zion Canyon shuttle bus: “This is the sound of the Red Tailed Hawk . . . . . . caw! caw! . . . Take some special time to yourself while you visit this majestic land to hear the little details.”

What we overheard on or near a typical Grand Canyon shuttle bus: “Did I say you could get on this bus yet?!” . . . “Do NOT board from the middle doors!” . . . “What do you mean the glass walkout is near Las Vegas?! I came to the Grand Canyon to stand on the glass, dammit! Screw this!” . . . “Darlene! I got us a bus!” (said as a woman throws her arms wide in front of a dozen people who have been waiting in the sun for 10 minutes as 8 people come running around a path carrying babies and lunch packs and use a stroller to push through the line as they jump in front of everybody).

This place is like a very hot, very rude Disneyland –where everyone is wearily lining up for the same ride and there are no dancing mice or princesses to keep the kids entertained. We would hide in the camper and nap, but the hook-ups are whacked out and the air conditioner keeps blowing the fuse.

After pushing through crowds near the visitors center, being honked at by impatient motorists who didn’t want to share the road with bicycles, and later being yelled at by a bus driver for sitting near the front of the bus because it’s reserved for older people (although two other kids ended up in the seats anyway), the girls announced they were done with the canyon after the first day. We tried to explain this park was just different from the others because the purpose of most visitors is not to get out and explore (especially in July when there aren’t many people exploring the trails through the canyon)but instead to move quickly through the viewpoints and get a good reservation for dinner. They weren’t buying it, though.  This is the first time the whole trip they were on edge and got homesick:  Elizabeth says she misses her privacy while Julia says she misses microwave burritos (which she only eats once or twice a year, so what’s up with that?!). 

But the view is spectacular, and that is why everyone is here.




DSC03342  IMG_0633



We day-boarded Buster so we could visit the museums and buildings, but after several hours of slogging along with the miserable masses from one shuttle bus stop to another, we had lunch and relaxed for the afternoon. After we picked up Buster, we explored for a while on bikes, which was much more pleasant – but still frustrating because the “greenway trail” and the recommended biking road are separated by almost a mile of busy restaurants, hotels, railroad crossings, horse stables, etc. Navigating through that with two kids and a dog wasn’t much fun.


Biking Hermit’s Rest Road:  Shuttle busses and bikes only

We went as far as the first stop along Hermit’s Rest Road and watched the sunset until a storm got so close you could see the sheets of rain.

IMG_0651Julia takes a picture of the sunset across the canyon



Elizabeth catches a picture of the approaching storm

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5 Responses to “Monday, July 12, 2010 (Grand Canyon)”

  1. Mindy says:

    I have to admit…I’m addicted to your blog!!! I look everyday to see what adventures you are having! What a wonderful trip and memories!!!!

  2. Mike Woelmer says:

    Hi Mindy. Glad you like the blog. We love writing it! Wish we could travel forever. When we were out of range of internet we got calls from family wondering what is up. 🙂

  3. Frait family says:

    Sounds like taking the bikes was a great idea. The pics are amazing. We hope you have a better time with well mannered people at your next stop!

  4. Nan says:

    Enjoyed your blog. Our family just returned from the canyon two days ago. We found that the foreign visitors were two to one. I think Europe is on vacation in August. We enjoyed the languages as well, but found our foreign friends to be a bit rude. Excuse me was not in their vocabulary, and they had no concept of waiting in line . I love your pictures, and we will be going to the North Rim next time too.

  5. […] the park. So I estimate of the number of people mad at you on July 27, 2010 at 20,000. It’s not a hassle-free destination at the best of […]

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