Here ends the skinny-maker portion of our vacation.

As you might expect, our helicopter tour was canceled. When we went back for our rescheduled appointment, we knew the news already, as thunderstorms and hail added to the mix of already bad weather. As the forecast was for storms at least the rest of the weekend, we decided to see the IMAX film that we had free tickets for and then say goodbye to this amazing, breath-taking, exquisite place and head for our hotel in Kingman.

The film was good enough for being free. It had some great views of the canyons, and a short history of the Anasazi and the adventures of the slightly insane John Wesley Powell, who was the first to make the trip down the Colorado. My favorite part of the story was when one party of the expedition, after going through multiple rapids, and losing one man, finally had enough and essentially said, “I’ll take my chances with the Indians and mountain lions, find my way back to the top through treacherous cliffs and breath-stealing elevation, than continue this nonsense, you one-armed, crazy son-of-a-bitch.” Maybe those are my words, but after losing one boat and its occupant and risking my own life in Class 50 rapids, that’s what I would have said. The film said Powell never heard from the team again. I suspect they made it out of the Grand Canyon just fine, but were so bitter at getting talked into such an insane and life-threatening adventure, they stayed as far away from Powell as they could manage, probably hitch-hiking back East and then boarding the first boat to Europe. Obviously, the Civil War did its part to rid Powell of any sensible amount of fear, an emotion that is useful in, say, steering us away from activities that are likely to kill us.

At any rate, lots of people since Powell have found themselves missing those life-preserving thinking skills and willingly and voluntary raft down the Colorado. In the store at the theatre there was a book titled something like, “Death in the Grand Canyon.” It has stories about the first expeditions and a list of everyone who has died in the Grand Canyon until 2005. Most of the recent deaths have been solo hikers who died by slipping off the trail. One recent one was a 70 year old who plunged to his death as his wife watched. He had slipped off the trail, but managed to hold onto a rock. As he was climbing back up to the trail, he lost his grip and fell. Another hiker had a good pre-4th of July celebration with fuzzy navels and beer and then fell from the trail. He was 35.

I have to say, when my time comes, I’d either like to be at an Orioles game (preferrably and, sadly likely, a losing one, to make a point), or hiking in the Grand Canyon.

So now we’re in Kingman on the famed Route 66, where we spend the night before driving two hours to Vegas. On our way here we were treated to quite a bit of rain and then a GORGEOUS bright rainbow. How fantastic!!

It’s time for dinner, especially since we skipped lunch, and to find another do-it-yourself car wash. Curiosity got the better of Stuart and he opened the hood of our impromptu off-roader. Let’s just say there’s mud there too and the “maintenance” light is lit now on the dash. Uh oh…

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