We had a pretty good, though long, first day of the trip. The car to the airport arrived a bit early. With the very light traffic, it was 6:15 in the morning after all, we made it to the airport in plenty of time. We even had a decent breakfast before going though security as the offerings once past at Newark’s terminal B are pretty poor. Our flight was pretty full, but left on time and arrived in Minneanopolis 20 or so minutes early. This was nice as our connection as scheduled was a but tight at 49 minutes. We did have an issue in that we somehow messed up our seat selections for this leg. (Kyle and I were on one reservation while Suzanne was on another due to number of frequent flyer miles we each had.) Instead of sitting three across, Kyle and I were in one row in the window and middle seats and Suzanne was in the row behind in the window seat. The lady in the aisle seat very kindly offered to swap. (I wasn’t even going to ask as she was traveling with someone across the aisle, but she offered and insisted.)
We arrived in Las Vegas right on schedule. After getting our bags, we managed to get our rental car, a nice Chevy Malibu, right about when I had expected. On our way out of town, we stopped by Wal-Mart for lunch at McDonald’s, kind of grungy one, and some supplies.
We were then really on our way, down over the new bridge by the Hoover Dam and into Arizona. After a brief stop in Kingman, we headed up Route 66. It was kind of cool to see some of the old places along it. Parts of it really are in the middle of nowhere, at least for us Easteners. Part way down, we stopped at the Hackberry General Store. This was certainly worthwhile for some kitsch and some good photos of lots of historic “junk”. Then it was back in the car for the hour drive to Seligman along some of the straightest stretch of road I’ve ever seen. (I swear it was 10+ miles without a turn.)Seligman is a cute little town where Rt 66 intersects back with Interstate 40. (Rt 66 takes a big loop between Kingman and Seligman while I-40 does it in a straight shot.) We checked into our very nice room at the Canyon Lodge. (Funnily enough run by a gentleman from Freiburg, Germany, who was born in Mainz. Mainz is just outside of Frankfurt, so quite close to Marburg.) He recommended a great place for dinner which I had planned on going to anyway (Westside Lilo’s). The food was very good. (I had the Weinerschnitzl. Their chef was from Weisbaden, also right outside Frankfurt.) Also interesting was the waitress was from Michigan and had lived in Ypsilanti and Manchester, two towns right next to Ann Arbor where we lived while I was in grad school at MSU. Even better, Kyle was in a bit of a mood. (To be fair, it was getting on 10:30 Eastern time and he had been up since 5:45.) The only kid’s meal that wasn’t available was pancakes, which, of course, he wanted. They actually made a special dinner-plate sized one for him. (I’m not 100% sure they even charged us for it.) One thing we found very interesting about the town is the number of foreigners. At dinner, there was an Italian group, a German family, possibly another German family, and a French, I think, couple. At the hotel, there is a group of older motorcyclists whose language I don’t recognize. I find this pretty cool.
Tommorrow, our plan is to see a bit of the town and hop in the car for the 90 or so minute drive to the Grand Canyon. It should be exciting.