by Barry Palmer
As summer has ended I think back to the past rambling trip we took and the fulfilment of a lifetime (almost) ambition. My mind went back to the days of Saturday morning pictures and the old westerns that they kept churning out and in almost everyone were pictures of the Grand Canyon.
So I gathered the troops and held the roll call (hard to tell if we have five still) but all present and accounted for. Hitch up the old wagon (trailer) and off to visit the natives across the border. Had to stop at the border for supplies (alcoholic kind — duty free) then on out way south. Several days of travelling found us in New Mexico where we had the misfortune to lose a tire and so had to make an unscheduled stop. Decided to change two as the other one was getting a bit bald so while we were camped we made some side trips; one was to one of what must be last of the old style diners ("WOW" [its name]). Then on to see an extinct volcano crater (took a long time to climb to the top and look down into its crater, still a long way down after 10,000 years) then back down and then down a long flight of steps to see a cave with solid ice in the bottom even though the temperatures were in the 90's F. On the way back to camp we stopped to view a massive field with a ring of rocks around it, all that remains of an even older extinct volcano.
The next day onward to Texas where we almost ran out of gas as no gas stations for miles. Then on to Williams, the base camp for our viewing of the Grand Canyon. The pictures and the movies do not do it justice after four trips to view in morning light, afternoon light and sunset this is the most amazing sight I have ever seen.
From here we travelled across Nevada and over the Hoover Dam to (Lost Wages) Las Vegas. After one night we had enough, even the pigeons were sheltering under our trailer to get out of the heat. On to Colorado and the disaster that befell us next — we blew the radiator going up the mountain outside of Vail (where they held the winter Olympics) and so had to wait two days to have a new one shipped in from Salt Lake City. Pretty place (Vail) we took the Gondola up the mountain (had to wait for a storm to pass) and then on to Denver. Another disaster, the alternator decided to stop alternating so another tow (third) another layover.
Fortunately it was fixed the next day and we were able to visit Colorado Springs before heading north to Chicago (we didn't stop) and then on to Detroit and another stop for supplies at the border (alcoholic drinks seem to just vaporise in the heat) then straight east to home. We have had the van tuned (turned out the distributor was worn out), the rear springs rebuilt, the rear axle rebuilt, needs new muffler (silencer) and new front shocks (lousy American roads) then we should be ready for next years ramble.
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