Sunday, March 23, 2008
Grand Canyon, AZ
The historic train ride to the Grand Canyon is 65 miles and is run this time of year with a 50 plus year old diesel engine. In the summer, they use an over 100 year old steam locomotive. It takes a bit over two hours for the journey thru ranch lands, national forest and generally wild country. The car stewardess provides a good deal of the entertainment for the trip. Several wondering minstrels also pass thru the cars. The ride gives you an opportunity to perhaps experience what it may have been like to ride the rails in times gone by.
The train ride terminates at the Grand Canyon Depot, which is the only log structure depot still being used, as such, in the United States.
This is our second visit to the south rim of the canyon and we took in some of the sights close to the village and enjoyed lunch in the famous El Tovar Hotel. As in our first visit, the size and beauty of the canyon are truly breathtaking. As in our last visit, you get the desire to spend more time here to explore the canyon more fully, perhaps with a guided tour to the canyon floor and certainly a visit to the north rim when weather permits.
The train ride back was less exciting then the trip up simply due to its repetitive nature. How easily bored we become. I guess the train line realized this and there was a bit of excitement near the end of the return trip when several train robbers on horseback appeared with guns blazing. They boarded the train to “rob” the passengers who were interested to take part. We had several small children in our coach, who were a bit nervous and taking it more serious than intended. They were quickly hiding their recently purchased stuff animals to prevent them from being taken by the train villains. In the end, it was quite amusing and the kids really did enjoy the adventure.