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Nevada-Arizona-Utah roadtrip - 1 : Las Vegas - Grand Canyon

In March 2017 four of us joined in a road trip packed with impressions

The Southwestern states are something else. Although distances are not small and deep canyons may demand long detours, this is the part of the US where you simply have to stop often and take in the views and sights. A display of geological and natural wonders.

I flew into Las Vegas via Toronto. The reason was that on the way back, I wanted to visit my sister and her husband who live close to Niagara-on-the-Lake. A return ticket with KLM from Amsterdam to Toronto, plus a separate return ticket Toronto - Las Vegas v.v. booked in combination with car rental via United Airlines (flight executed by its code-share partner Air Canada Rouge) was the cheapest choice. However, as explained in the warning/practical tips at the bottom of this page, this caused me a major problem when trying to get on my connecting flight in Toronto.

Nevertheless I made it to Las Vegas late in the evening. The following morning I picked up the car and started the road trip.

Apart from some anecdotes, I have chosen to let the pictures that tell the story. At the end of this and some next pages, I will add a couple of practical tips. Here are the pictures of our stop at Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, as well as our visit to Grand Canyon. We stayed in Tusayan, the last village before you enter the National Park. We found that this is quite practical and cheaper, And there is more choice of hotels and restaurants in Tusayan than in Grand Canyon Village.
Enough said now... here are the pictures.

Flying over Greenland on the way to Toronto and Las Vegas

Flying over Greenland on the way to Toronto and Las Vegas


USA-Southwest Lake Mead

USA-Southwest Lake Mead


USA-Southwest Lake Mead

USA-Southwest Lake Mead


USA-Southwest - Lake Mead

USA-Southwest - Lake Mead


USA-Southwest Lake Mead

USA-Southwest Lake Mead


USA-Southwest Lake Mead

USA-Southwest Lake Mead


USA-Southwest Lake Mead

USA-Southwest Lake Mead


USA-Southwest Lake Mead

USA-Southwest Lake Mead


USA-Southwest Lake Mead

USA-Southwest Lake Mead


USA-Southwest Lake Mead

USA-Southwest Lake Mead

USA-Grand Canyon N.P. South Rim

USA-Grand Canyon N.P. South Rim


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USA-Grand Canyon N.P. South Rim - German and French speakers: enjoy the translation (Google?)

USA-Grand Canyon N.P. South Rim - German and French speakers: enjoy the translation (Google?)


USA-Grand Canyon N.P. South Rim - inside Desert View Watchtower

USA-Grand Canyon N.P. South Rim - inside Desert View Watchtower


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Practical tips

  • WARNING: If you book a flight executed by Air Canada Rouge, I must warn against booking via code-share partners such as United. For good understanding, the reason is that Air Canada frequently seems to makes a total mess out of this! (1) You probably won't be able to check in online. In my case it meant that I had to do that at Toronto airport during the few hours of lay-over. (2) It turned out that Air Canada Rouge frequently does not recognize bookings, made via their code-share partners. Not even if you paid for it long ago and have everything confirmed on paper, incl. a print-out of your e-ticket. In my case, the ground staff of Air Canada at Toronto Pearson Int'l airport were totally unhelpful (and one of them was utterly rude). Air Canada's so-called customer service staff talk a lot but provides ZERO service. They simply blame you (for not booking directly?) and they blame United Airlines. It was only thanks to the ground staff of United that I got my boarding card literally 10 minutes before departure. One of their ground hostesses spent literally over 2 hours on the phone with their completely unresponsive AC counterparts. She moved heavens and earth to get me on board. Finally, after I asked the United lady to sell me another ticket, and tell Air Canada that I would sue the sh*t out of them, they suddenly gave in. Two separate members of United ground staff told me that this happens all the time, and the Air Canada's helpline staff are the most unhelpful they ever dealt with. It's a year later now. I have sent Air Canada e-mail after e-mail, before my flight (because I needed confirmation when I could not check in online), and also after my flights. Air Canada has NEVER replied except for automatic responses, promising that they will answer within 24 hours. Maybe they mean 24 months. Also I lodged complaints on their site and again, they NEVER replied. Again: in my modest opinion: it is best to avoid Air Canada at all, but very importantly, in any event avoid booking via the website of any of their code-share partners, if Air Canada is the company that executes the flight. It does not matter if your booking is valid, paid and confirmed, but they may still deny that you are "on the list", and blame you and everybody else, but they won't do anything to honor your booking!
  • When you travel this route in March, you should be aware that there may still be snow on the roads at the higher altitudes, and it can even get rough. Make sure you check the weather ahead, before picking up your rental car. You may need extra gear. Fortunately, due to the continental climate, the weather forecast up to a week ahead is usually rather accurate.
  • When scheduling your trip, include time to make stops. There are many things to see on your way.
  • When picking where you want to go on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, you will see a few interesting places on the map. For example the center of the National Park at Grand Canyon village and Tusayan, and the Grand Canyon Skywalk in the western part of the N.P. On the map, in a straight line, these locations seem close enough to each other, but don't be fooled. To drive from one to the other you have to go back all the way to the south to take the Interstate. There are no shortcuts for a normal car.
  • Probably many people said it already: even if you go for a short while, do buy a National Park Pass instead of paying entrance for each park separately. Certainly if there are three or more of you in the car. There are many national parks on your route, and although the pass is valid for a year, you may already earn it back this small investment in one or two weeks.

Posted by westwind57 07:36 Archived in USA Tagged grand_canyon road_trip hoover_dam las_vegas arizona utah usa national_park nevada tusayan united_states lake_mead Comments (0)

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