Ok so Monday morning our plan was to leave Las Vegas, spend a little time at the Hoover Dam, and then on to the Grand Canyon for the afternoon. In order to accomplish this, we would have to leave early. So we did just that; packed up the car and was on the road by 8 am (that’s early for vacation mode). It was then we realized we were both grumpy because we hadn’t had our first cup of coffee!! Now to try and find a cup of coffee in the suburbs of Las Vegas. Even the GPS wasn’t cooperating. We finally discovered a Starbucks inside a grocery. So that was Detour #1. Thankfully, we had our coffee, and we headed for the Hoover Dam.
The Hoover Dam was amazing — especially when one considers it was built in 1930 — designed by engineers who were thinking outside the box. At 99 degrees, we stayed only long enough to take some great pictures.
We set the GPS for Grand Canyon National Park, which is another 3-4 hours away. However, shortly after I noticed a billboard that advertised the Grand Canyon Skywalk, and it was a mere 50 miles away. Why travel three plus hours when you could see it in less than an hour?? So we took the bait, and headed for Detour 2.
I noticed that the GPS was telling us that this road, less than fifty miles, was still going to take almost three hours, but brushed it off as a glitch in the system. About 20 miles later, we started experiencing some switchback road, and likewise slower speeds. Then we came to the gravel road, and the speed was lowered to 20 mph. A couple times the tires were slipping. What had we gotten ourselves into?
Then, similar to an oasis in the desert, we happened onto The Grand Canyon Ranch. “Last Stop for Food, Beer, and Gas. Overnight lodging Available.”.
Ok! If we are going to eat, this would be the place. So we parked, and walked through a rickety gate to the general store! We were sold a $5 ticket to walk through the store to the restaurant, and IF we chose to eat lunch, the $5 would be applied to our meal.,.,. REALLY?!?!
We walked up to this building, escorted by an elderly man who just “hangs out at the ranch, drinks beer, and meets people!”. FOR REAL?!?!?!
Upon entrance, we saw a group of weary looking travelers who, as it turns out, are waiting for a helicopter ride to the Grand Canyon. They had been waiting for two hours. We were given a menu and told to find a table to sit at. The dimly lit room had very large tables that seated 10-12 people.
I noticed a young couple sitting alone, and asked if we could join them. Michael and Marina have been married for two months. Now living in NYC, they met in Russia. Marina is Russian — married the American and is now living in the states. Beautiful love story. We looked at the menu and agreed on the $15 turkey sandwich because #1. It was the cheapest on the menu. #2. The least likely to make us sick if the food wasn’t good. We chatted with the couple — they seemed intrigued with our work as marriage coaches. Over an HOUR later, we got our sandwiches!! The cowboy came over and apologized and said they were short-staffed. REALLY?!?! Ok it was a decent sandwich but not a $15 sandwich.
So now it is 3:00 pm. We are being told it really is best to have a 4-wheel drive vehicle to make the rest of the 17 miles to the place where you then get a van (for $$ of course) and the van takes you to the Skywalk — or you could take the next available helicopter, there must have been some small print on the billboard we did not read!!. This is not the national forest — this is an Indian reservation. Anyway, the NY couple decided to take their chances in their rental car, and head up the mountain, but we turned around and went back to the interstate. And of course, we laughed as we met the late afternoon torrential storm — knowing God had been in control all along!
Detour #3. We love Sedona so much we have cancelled our plans for Albuquerque. We are staying an extra day, and traveling VIA the interstate to the Grand Canyon National Park, and packing some turkey sandwiches!!
Isn’t this typical of life? We are often taken on a detour — an unexpected event in our lives. Sometimes it costs us time and money. But there is always a lesson in there somewhere, and God is faithful, even in the midst of a storm. He always sees us through. And sometimes we make a new friend along the way. To our friends at the lodge, we say Thank You for great lunch conversation. May you be blessed in all your detours.