Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Last Dinner in El Tovar

Yes, it’s early, and we aren’t all that hungry, but it’s easy and close and it’s the last dinner we will have at El Tovar.

They gave us a beautiful table.

We order, AdventureMan ordering the signature soup and a Salad; I ordered the French Onion Soup and Crab Cakes. I know, I know, I can get great crab cakes in Pensacola, I guess I just wanted to see how they did them. (They did great.)

I forgot to take a photo of dessert! I did take a last evening photo of the canyon.

We are up at six the next morning to get an early start on the next leg of our journey, today to Mesa Verde, Colorado, driving most of the day through the Navajo Nation.

On our way out, AdventureMan stops so I can take a photo of one of the signs – Mountain Lion – don’t you love it?

And one last photo of the Grand Canyon as we depart:

A last note – late April is a perfect time of year to visit the Grand Canyon.

May 7, 2012 Posted by | Adventure, Beauty, Cultural, Food, Photos, Road Trips, Travel | , , | 1 Comment

Lunch at Bright Angel Lodge

Bright Angel Lodge is next door to El Tovar Lodge, and we figure we will give it a try. We are glad we did, we met some fine people there, and had a great lunch. I know I keep showing you photos of fabulous food, but we really try hard to eat a lot of vegetables and fruits, so while the foods are sumptuous, we are doing OK in the clothes-still-fitting department 🙂

This is the casual family dining restaurant at the Bright Angel Lodge:

The Menu cover:

The Salsa and the chips were really good:

We both had salads, which were more filling than we had thought; we couldn’t eat them all:

It was just what we needed. We headed back to our hotel, took a 4:45 reservation (I know, I know, last night we could have gotten a 5:15!) for dinner, and went back to the room to snooze and pack for the next leg of our trip.

May 7, 2012 Posted by | Adventure, Eating Out, Entertainment, Food, Photos, Restaurant, Road Trips | , , | Leave a comment

Grand Canyon: Early East Rim, Breakfast at El Tovar and Shuttle along the West Rim

When your day starts at five in the morning, you have a lot of hours in your day!

We were back at the lodge by seven, where there is already a crowd lining up for breakfast. We had such a great dinner the night before, we decide to have breakfast and then take the shuttles along the western rim of the canyon.

The El Tovar Dining room is as beautiful by day as it is by night:

We are on the south west side of the dining room, near a large fireplace and far away from the view, but it hardly matters – the view is there, 24/7, for anyone who wants to visit. We see fabulous plates arriving at all the tables, and we watch a new wait-person being trained in the El Tovar way of doing things. It was great entertainment. Our breakfasts were divine.

AdventureMan’s breakfast:

I had Eggs Benedict, with smoked salmon instead of the traditional Canadian bacon:

We run upstairs to brush our teeth, and then head out to explore the western rim before the train arrives, at 1100, bringing in many more people, even in these early spring months.

The shuttle system is a marvel. Different colored lines have different routes, and there are maps that show what color the bus is that goes where you want to go. We walked to the red bus stops, hopped on, hopped off, hopped on, hopped off, hiked a little, hopped back on, hopped off, hiked a little more, met some great people and had a lot of fun taking photos.

The sun has burned off the clouds, it is still a little hazy but a great, sunny day.

We hit Hermit’s Rest, at the end of the shuttle line, around 11:30, and head back to Grand Canyon village.

May 6, 2012 Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Bureaucracy, Eating Out, Food, Geography / Maps, Photos, Road Trips, Travel | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Grand Canyon, Arizona and the El Tovar Hotel

Today is a very short drive, 136 miles, and we arrive in the Grand Canyon easily before noon, taking off to take the East Rim Drive to Desert View while waiting for our hotel room in the El Tovar Hotel.

We’ve heard of El Tovar for years. You’ll overhear the following conversation. There may be some variations, but it’s pretty much the same every time.

“Oh! Grand Canyon! Are you staying at El Tovar?”


“Oh! It’s the most wonderful hotel! We loved staying there!”


“No, we tried, but we couldn’t get reservations at El Tovar, they were already booked.”

“Oh. That’s too bad.”

We didn’t want to be on the ‘that’s too bad’ list, so when we decided to make the trip, the first thing I did was to find out when rooms were available at El Tovar. We had planned the trip for October. We postponed the trip until April, to be able to stay at El Tovar. We had a great room, even had a view, but for grins, we asked how far in advance you have to reserve to get one of the rooms with a balcony view – 13 months in advance. Who even knows 13 months in advance that they will still be alive 13 months later?? I guess it’s worth the risk – and if we go again, we will reserve 13 months in advance.

My sister Sparkle has stayed at El Tovar and warned us that the rooms were not luxurious. “They’re sort of spartan for your tastes,” she warned us “Don’t expect too much. You’re paying to be staying in the Canyon and in this revered old lodge.”

The El Tovar Lobby:

We didn’t expect much, and our room was at the top of the stairs. We were concerned about noise, but it turned out to be a non-issue. There weren’t a lot of children traveling at this time of the year, and very few staying at El Tovar. Because we weren’t expecting much, we were delighted. Our room was sunny and bright, the beds were very comfortable, the linens were lovely, the old fashioned bathroom delighted my heart, and there was a funny room – a closet? That had a safe, windows that opened so we could see the view, and if we had had a baby with us, his little crib could have fit into the alcove. There was also a coffee machine, yes, it doesn’t take much to make me happy. Although we had been told that wi-fi was only available in public areas, our room must have been close enough, and the wi-fi strong enough, that we had access without leaving our room once we had settled in for the night.

“Be sure to make your dinner reservations six months out,” Sparkle warned, so I marked my calendar and on the day that was six months out, the earliest that the El Tovar restaurant accepts reservations, we called in a dinner reservation, and oh, we are so glad we did.

When we showed up, the first night, for our 6:30 reservation, there was a long line, and people were being turned away, so disappointed. We had a lovely table, with a view, and a waiter, Thomas, who was attentive without being intrusive, knowledgeable about the menu, and took great care of us. It was a lovely evening, and I had another of the best meals of the trip – a Mediterranean Salad with smoked salmon, and the salmon was the smoked chunky Alaskan kind, not the thin strips of Scottish salmon. Oh, YUMMM.

(This was not our table. We had a newlywed couple who came in as we were finishing. Isn’t this a lovely, romantic way to welcome a new bride and groom?)

AdventureMan had the Penne, which he said was also very very good:

We had planned to have dessert, but we couldn’t, we were just so full. The salmon in my salad was so rich and so tasty. We couldn’t eat another bite! And we also wanted to get to bed early, so we could get out by five to catch the sun rising over the Grand Canyon first thing in the morning. Before going up to our room, we tried to make reservations to eat dinner again in the El Tovar dining room, but they only had seatings at 5:15 and 9:30. Oh aargh.

Next morning, we are up and eager to get going, but we have to skirt around the lawn on the way to the car, as there is a herd of elk munching. We don’t want to disturb them and also . . . elk are very large animals. We really don’t want to disturb them.

We hurry to Desert View, at the end of the East Rim trail, only to find that the day has dawned with a heavy cloud cover, and there is no sunrise to speak of. LLOOOLLL! It is also 40 something degrees and windy, really, really cold!

May 6, 2012 Posted by | Adventure, Cultural, Restaurant, Road Trips, Travel, Weather | , , | 3 Comments

Sky Walk – I Couldn’t Do it

Today on Good Morning America, they hit the 3rd of America’s Seven Natural Wonders. It is the Grand Canyon, and they broadcast from the new skywalk that they built cantilevered out over the Canyon. It has a glass floor, and you walk out 4,000 feet above the bottom of the canyon.

I almost threw up.

Just looking at it makes my blood pressure jump; my heart is beating fast and my palms start to sweat.

I have a mild case of fear-of-heights. (Acrophobia) I feel unbalanced looking down, I feel like I could fall right over.

AdventureMan, thank God, has the same sensitivity, so he doesn’t tease me. I know we will visit this skywalk one day, and I wonder if he will be able to force himself to walk out on it. I already know I won’t be doing it. It’s just too stressful for me. . . . Even watching it on Good Morning America, I feel all stressed out!

May 7, 2008 Posted by | Building, Living Conditions, News, Random Musings, Words | , | 18 Comments