Golden Nugget hotel: Woke early, psyched for the shark tank. Alas, it didn't open until 10am. We consoled ourselves with a breakfast in the smokey cafe and went out to look at the shark tank. The pool deck is massive, covered with recliners and even has several gambling tables. I noticed a brochure at the side of one that said “When the fun is over”. Curious, I went over to read what it had to say, only vaguely aware of an incredibly nasal voice saying “Maam! Maam! Maam!” Turns out the duck-voiced staff member guarding the pool didn't want me near the closed tables. Or -more likely - the casino will go to great lengths to stop you from reading info about not gambling.
Chastised, we went back to our room to do a bit of Facebooking and report on our wedding. Unfortunately intenet was $12 at the hotel so we thought we'd use our unlocked Telstra modem.
We got as far as opening FB before suddenly we went offline. Luke checked things and noticed that we had $0 credit. He rang Telstra and discovered that they charged $15 a mb (not what the Telstra shop people in Gympie had said) and the bill was now $128 for 8mb. I think I managed to get one George Takai pic for that.
Thankfully they agreed to waive the bill and we now know not to use our Australian Telstra modem here.
After that little disaster it was time to go swimming.
Went straight up to the top of the slide and swung into the tube. The waterslide descends 3 stories and a clear section shoots straight through the middle of the massive aquarium, filled with tuna, groper and several massive sharks. We were keen to see the sharks as we went through. Unfortunately, the laws of physics conspired against us. The larger the mass, the faster we went down the slide. The sharks were just a bluey grey blur lasting half a second before we were spat out into the pull with a wedgie and a nose full of pool water.
We did the slide four times, would have probably repeated the experience more but the queue was getting bigger each time we climbed the stairs and I'd forgotten to put sunscreen on. It was so hot we were almost dry by the time we got to the slide again.
Luke managed to sit up on the last go and slow himself down with his feet so he got a look. We also made friends with a little girl who was having her first go, her grandpa was very nervous about her doing it. We let her cut in front... and so she promptly threw herself in straight after another kid, even though the lifeguard normally makes you wait until the person in front is in the pool (checking via a video camera). She survived with a big grin to show for it.
We only had an hour and a half in the pool, then it was time to leave. The Golden Nugget was pretty crass (awful piped music, smoke, no Rv parking, dreadful décor and less-than-friendly staff) but the pool made it all worthwhile.
We did the hot, slow walk back to Main Street Station where we'd parked, took our pirate costumes back (after giving some serious consideration to just keeping them) and then headed east. A bit of grocery shopping delayed us, though, as we stopped at Walmart to find more supplies. American food is rather perplexing. All the cheese is orange (there's no camembert!!), the “cereal” aisle consists entirely of Froot Loop clones and everything has high fructose corn syrup in it.
Finally set off. Headed over the Hoover Dam bridge despite strong advisories against high profile vehicles using it due to strong winds. I panicked but Luke was fine.
The trip to the Grand Canyon was 450km or so, a long drive. We travelled across Arizona, steadily climbing the whole way. The landscape went from creosote desert like the mojave to greener uplands, still pretty arid. Saw some flat topped mesas although we're not quite in the right area for that. It was fairly scenic but didn't change much. Looked like Armidale country.
We didn't stop except to rescue the fridge which swung open. We took one small detour into Williams, the town before the Grand Canyon. It is a tourist mecca, lots of restaurants and hotels. Thanks to getting a bit lost, we ended up on Route 66 – for one block. We had to turn around because it was closed off due to a horse festival or something.
The sun was setting as we turned north and travelled the last 80km to the Canyon. Unfortunately we were too late for the sunset so our first look at it was in the near-dark. Not much to see, I admit. Also, cold! Bit of a shock after the 40 degree heat of vegas.
Had French lunch for dinner, very pleasant, and then collapsed into bed.
*Note: I didn't take the above image (it's from here). Our photos from this part of the trip were wiped by the dodgy 65gig card :(