Hello again everyone, this is the third installment of my drive across the country from a few years ago. I started in Marin County, California, and made my way to Philadelphia. My companion for the trip was my dog, Ibo (pronounced eee-BOO) who has since sadly passed away. So I guess, in a way, this is also a tribute to her, simply the greatest dog ever. Click on the links for the two previous entries:
Part 3: The Grand Canyon
I went to bed last night at the Hotel Brunswick planning on getting up rather early. The plan was simple. Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Four Corners, no problem. To hit all of them, I needed to get up early. Sleeping was not an option. Since the trains had continued all through the night, every 30-45 minutes. Add to that the 93 degree temperature. The room did have an “air conditioner” but it did absolutely fricking nothing to ‘condition’ the room. In fact, the only ‘benefit’ of the ridiculous machine was that it was so loud that it helped to drown out the trains (ever so slightly). In addition, I had downed three cherry cokes during the day. Considering that I never drink caffeine, you might say I was a little wired. These three factors, when added together, resulted in maybe 19 minutes of sleep.
At 5:45, the trains started coming every 37 seconds. I got up and put in the ear plugs that were provided in the room (a little advice: NEVER stay in a room that provides ear plugs), hoping to get another hour or two of sleep. Ear plugs, what an invention. ‘Here, cram these little pieces of foam in your ears and try to pretend that you do not hear anything.’ Well, I jammed those little suckers right up against my ear drums (didn’t Bill Cosby say you should never put anything into your ear except your elbow–clearly he had not been sleep deprived at Hotel Brunswick) and I still could. Hear that is. I heard the trains as clearly as before, and now I had two big wads of crap in my ears. So I did what anyone would: I stayed in bed and tried to convince my body into falling asleep.
I got up 8 minutes later. There was a porch right outside of the room, and breakfast was not served until 7, so I went out and had a seat. I sat down to see the same Santa Fe RR engine go back and forth in front of the hotel about ten times. The guy would go up the track, just out of sight, and then two minutes later he would come back, blowing that stupid horn. He would then keep going until he was out of sight again, and then come right back, just laying on that stupid horn. I wished some terrible things on the guy (and his family). I then realized what I was thinking, and I felt horrible. I didn’t even know if he had a family. Don’t get me wrong, though. If it were up to me, that engineer was toast, dead, fried.
Down to breakfast. It was early. I was the only one there. I ate. I read the paper. I chatted with the hotel people. I took Ibo for a walk. Came back. Loaded the car. Came back. We are talking at least an hour. Still no one else in the hotel!! Not a single other person. Maybe I have seen too many movies, or perhaps I’m paranoid, but the clerk did look a little like Anthony Perkins. While I was walking out the door to my car I was wondering: if I was the only poor bastard in the whole damned hotel, why did I get that room. Great. Starting the drive completely exhausted, pissed off, and contemplating conspiracy theories. Perfect.
After filling up, Ibo and I were off to the Grand Canyon. I, of course, was fighting to stay awake. Singing out loud (‘Roxanne’), screaming, slapping myself. Ibo was looking at me strangely, and even the Harry Potter book on tape was not helping. One last resort: Cherry Coke. I think I had about seven (another great night of restful sleep in store). I don’t think it was the caffeine that got me to the park, however. After seven cherry cokes, I had to, uh, well, ‘use the facilities’, that will keep you awake, trust me.
The Grand Canyon. Huge expectations. Everyone says how incredible it is.
They are right. WOW. I just stood there. I did not know what to do. So I took a lot of pictures. I can’t really describe it, so go and see it. Really. You have to.
Dogs are allowed in the park, but not below the rim. So Ibo and I took off for a long walk on the Rim Trail. We left from the Visitors Center where I picked up a map. There is a five minute walk through the pines before you get to the canyon itself. I took Ibo off the trail and into the pines so that she could ‘hurry up’ (our code word for “number 2”). She assured me that she did not have to go (she comes and sits right next to me when she doesn’t have to go). So we continued to the rim (this despite my skepticism – I have not seen her ‘hurry up’ in a couple of days). We get to the edge of the canyon. I am dumbstruck. I am clicking away on my camera, holding onto Ibo’s leash (the kind that automatically rolls up into the little plastic thing — is there a name for those things?). Tons of people around looking at el Grande. Ibo? Where are you girl? For a moment I was worried — steep drop and everything. Then I had a ‘you moron moment’ (as in “you moron, she didn’t fall, you are holding onto the leash”). Before I could even think another thought — it was too late. She ‘hurried up’ right there in front of everyone. Well, actually, she was in the process of ‘hurrying,’ and since she had not ‘hurried’ for what seemed like a couple of days, there was a LOT of ‘hurry’ coming out.
What to do? To make it worse, I had no plastic bag. At the dog park, I would always dig in my pockets, pretending to look for a bag. Another dog owner, who had about 15 bags tied to their leash would eventually come along, throw me a ‘you’re an idiot’ look and offer me a bag. If that didn’t happen, I would wait until no one was looking and then cover it up with some dirt and be on my way. [Yes, I was once ‘that guy’ I admit it, but I have since changed, trust me.]
Small problem. We were in the most popular park in the ENTIRE WORLD! AND IBO JUST CRAPPED ALL OVER THE PLACE. People kept coming and coming. They all had the same look: “well, what are you going to do? Your dog just crapped in the most popular park in the world and you are standing there pretending to look for a bag that you obviously do not have.” Thanks, thanks, I already feel like a total schmuck. Ibo was oblivious, but very cute, nonetheless. She had this look on her face….
Not one of those self-righteous jerks offered me a plastic bag, and a couple of them stopped to make sure that I didn’t just try and cover it up with some dirt [who me?]. So I used the map. I USED THE MAP TO PICK UP THE HUGE MOUND OF ‘HURRY’. The people were looking at me like I was the world’s biggest bozo.
And I was.
The saga continues: