Our white-knuckle drive to the Grand Canyon

The night before I was terrified. The plan was simple – we were to hire a car to drive to the Grand Canyon. But this was the first time I had hired a car, and the first time I had driven an “automatic”! The man at the car rental place just gave me the car and I had to ask for advice as to how to actually drive it! To make matters worse, the brake was very reactive so every time I touched it the car did an emergency stop. My boyfriend likes rollercoasters but I think this was his first truly white-knuckle ride! I was concentrating on the driving when my boyfriend reminded me that in America you drive on the right. Humph! I should add that the car rental place was in a small back-street with no other traffic, so I had it figured out by the time we got on the main roads – promise!

We drove out of Las Vegas, and over Hoover Dam, heading to the Grand Canyon. The last 17 miles to the rim of the Grand Canyon were on a dirt track which was so bumpy I can only describe it as being like corrugated iron. We were a tad worried that the car would fall apart!

At one point we went over the top of a hill to find that a coach going the other way was overtaking a car so it was in our lane, coming towards us. It forced me off the road and I was quite shaken but luckily neither us nor the car came to any harm.

When we finally arrived, we were disappointed to find that we had to pay $29 each to reach the edge of the Grand Canyon. It had not crossed our minds that you would need to pay, being as it is a natural feature. But entrance fees aside, once we reached the edge it was just stunning, and we watched in awe as the sun set over the Canyon.

Grand CanyonBack at the car park a member of staff warned us that “it gets dark around here at night”. We laughed, but later on we found out he wasn’t kidding! We live in a city where there is always light pollution and you can’t see the stars. Here, it really was pitch black!

The $29 entrance fee included a meal at a ranch in the middle of nowhere. It was a “turn left at the third rock after the tree” situation. Not one to turn down a free meal, we rocked up at a “Western/Cowboy” themed ranch in the dark, expecting a meal. And a meal we got – we weren’t murdered or anything. But being city-dwellers, we did feel a tad uneasy being in the middle of absolutely nowhere in the pitch black.

Upon driving back to Las Vegas, we cruised down the Strip (just because we could!) and then returned the car, which I am glad to report was still in one piece!

Hoover DamNext blog: Los Angeles

Previous blog: Las Vegas

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