Archive for November, 2011

4256 miles over 30 days and we’re back in Las Vegas. Time to return Bertie and keep our fingers crossed that we get our security deposit back. Luckily, all was still fine with Bertie.

Time to go!

Bye bye Bertie, hello Celia and John! We have some of the best friends in the world, and Celia and John rank in the top of those best friends. They were kind enough to give us room 4 years ago before we all went on a cruise to Hawaii together, this despite the fact that they didn’t really know us, we could have been some proper internet weirdos… Anyway, 4 years later and a bunch of Disney vacations later (they are as crazy about Disney as we are), we’re still talking and having so much fun.

We didn’t really bother much with Vegas, we just wanted to relax and catch up with friends. So that’s exactly what we did, sitting by the pool, carving pumpkins, go to a casino for “locals”, champagne brunch at the Bellagio, … You know, “life is good” kind of stuff. So good that we really didn’t want to leave, but we had 2 more nights left before our flight home and we were going to go out on a high note.

My pumpkin

Niels’ Pumpkin!

And the high note was a trip to the place where the magic started, Disneyland California, for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. We’ve done 2 MNSSHP’s at Disney World before, this one was different. We’d really been looking forward to seeing Space Mountain with the lights on, as we’d been told that’s the case over here on Halloween. No such luck. They did make the ride a bit more special, making it into a Ghost Galaxy. Pretty cool. We did also get to experience the new Star Tours. Wasn’t too happy with that one. No Death Star and they added Jar Jar Binks, yuk. I did totally forget that there are 50 different version of the new Star Tours, so we didn’t go again. Than my favourite Magic Kingdom attraction: The Haunted Mansion. What a delight that was! Completely taken over by the Nightmare Before Christmas. Absolutely wonderful!!! Shame though that Pirates of the Caribbean was closed to put in a Trick or Treat trail as we heard that the ride here is better than in WDW. That was actually one of the big differences with the party at WDW, the Trick or Treat trails. It seemed that most people had come to the party for the candy and would go from trail to trail and load up on sweets. We saw people going out with huge bags of sweets, pillowcases of sweets, and kids not able to get back in the pushchair because it was full of sweets. The other big difference was the parade, and here they can really learn something from WDW, this was quite the disappointment, but oh well, it’s still Disney, so we’re still happy. In all, we had magical night and a good loot of candy. Success!

And that’s it really. The following day, we were quite tired of the party night so ditched the plans to go to the original Queen Mary ship and just relaxed by the hotel pool. Time to fly home at 10.15pm, 11 hours on a plane, pick up the rental car, drive 3 and a half hours, arrive home, collapse.

We spent most of the past 4 weeks in national parks, enjoying some of the most beautiful places this planet has to offer. Now we head back to civilisation, well, kind of anyway.

Heading directly south from Grand Canyon National Park, you hit the little town of Williams on the old Mother Road, Route 66. And what a delightful little town it is! We have a little wander around and get a bite to eat at the Pine Country restaurant. We go for a light lunch, we have to leave some space for dessert here, you come to this place to eat pie! That small light lunch isn’t really that small, it’s a big plate! But the whole trip long Niels has been wanting to eat some cherry pie, Twin Peaks style, and this is the place. This place has some amazing pies, we go for the classics, cherry pie and raspberry pie. One bite and you’re in pie heaven, so utterly delicious! Stuffed to the brim, we wobble out and venture out to discover more of what Route 66 has to offer.

Unfortunately, we have to take a bit of interstate for the next bit, which is Ash Fork. We stop at a local gas station to fill up our propane tank. Now, you’re not allowed to this yourself, you need to get some from the station to this for you. Niels goes into the shop, and the character behind the counter shouts to another customer “Earl, you f’ing useless fatso, get out of the way, them tourists need some propane”. Brilliant! Afterwards, Niels ask him about some of the gorgeous (wrecks of) old timers that are parked on the lot… “Them 3 are mine. That one’s Mickey’s, he don’t have no space to park it so he put it here”. OK then, moving on… The story of Ash Fork is a little sad. A prosperous little rail road town, founded back in 1883, got a boom with Route 66 passing by. Then when they built the interstate, things went downhill, and then the rail road company decided to move their line, then there was a big fire which destroyed many of the town’s businesses including the iconic and historic Harvey Hotel. Poor little town. Still, about 400 or so people remain, way more than in Aladdin Wyoming. And since 1973, they even have a direct water supply, up until then, water had to be brought in by train every day!

Next, Seligman, on the longest original, uninterrupted stretch of Route 66 still in existence. Along the way, we pass a collection of Burma Shave signs. “He tried / To cross / As fast train neared / Death didn’t draft him / He volunteered / Burma-Shave” and “If daisies / Are your / Favorite flower / Keep pushin’ up those / Miles per hour / Burma-Shave” amongst others. In Segilman, we stop at the famous Delgadillo’s Snow-Cap Drive-In, an icon of old Route 66, where the sign says “Sorry, we’re open” and they serve “hamburgers without ham and dead chicken”. We had fun looking at all the signs and kitsch, and being entertained by the owner. The whole town still seems to live on the old Route 66 charm, very enjoyable, just what you’d want out of it.

We’re down to our 2 last nights with Bertie, time to start heading back to Las Vegas. We spent our final day at Lake Mead, not doing all that much really. Going for a walk on the beach and enjoying our last camp fire and marshmallows. We’re so going to miss this.

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