Vajentic Family Western Odyssey: Week 1, Day 6 (Thursday, July 18)

I woke up first Thursday morning.  I could tell Dominic was in the process of waking up, so I decided to have a little fun by getting my face about 2 inches from his, and staring straight at him with eyes wide open. Oh yeah, I scared the beejeebers out of him!  He let out a loud cry, and then everyone else was awake! While everyone was getting ready, I walked over to the post office at the Bright Angel Lodge to mail a postcard.  We checked out of Maswick Lodge around 11 AM.  One of my main priorities on this day was to get our National Park passports stamped at the visitor center, which was located on the opposite end of the park.  After checking out, we shuttled over to the visitor center, looking for some lunch and the passport station.  I wanted to look around the visitor center, which appeared at first glance to have some awesome exhibits, but the boys were hungry and cranky, so we looked around for a place to eat after stamping our passports.  Well, there were no good restaurants in this area.  In between the visitor center and the Grand Canyon Village is an area called the Market Plaza, so after standing in line for a bit, we hopped back on the shuttle and continued our quest for food.  Bingo!  Market Plaza had a nice cafeteria, and we all had a fine meal before checking out the adjacent gift shop.  Then, it was time to start heading back toward Grand Canyon Village so we didn't miss our train.  We walked along the 'Trail of Time', which runs along the rim from Market Plaza to Grand Canyon Village.  This walk was spectacular!  Dominic even carried a tired Ben on his shoulders for some of the walk.

What a nice brother!
There was a storm brewing on the other side of the canyon, and the dark clouds and lightning made an eerie backdrop.  We got some fantastic photos along this trail, and Dominic and I went out onto an outcropping and survived.  I even crawled on my belly to look over the edge!

Livin' on the edge


Back at Grand Canyon Village, we stopped into a Hopi store so that Ben could buy a bow and arrow set, which was really supposed to be decorative.  However, he was convinced he was going to be able to use it to hunt wild animals.  Dominic had seen some exotic sand displays at the various gift shops, and I told him I would get him one before we left, so we stopped by the Blue Angel gift shop to pick one up.  It was time to head down to the depot to get ready to board the train.  On our way, we witnessed a mother/son argument that was way more dysfunctional than we usually think we are.  This mother, for some reason, was determined to have her clearly agitated teenage son hold his younger brother's hand.  Oh boy.  The poor son was so angry that he was shaking, and the mother just kept yelling at him, right there in front of anyone.  It was actually quite sad.  This went on until they had made their way out of sight.  This episode did provide us with a euphemism for the rest of the trip, as every time someone needed to express faux-anger, or relieve tension, they simply shouted "hold your brother's hand" as loud as possible.  We found a place to sit at the depot, and we were fortunate that a ranger program was just beginning.  Ranger Russel told us some stories about the Grand Canyon.  Afterwards, Ben and Dominic got their passports signed by Ranger Russel.

Once aboard the train, we settled in for the journey back to Williams, AZ.  Ben continued to crush me at Uno.  We were entertained on the train by a guitar-playing guy named Larry.  We were all sitting at the very front of the dome car, so Larry asked Sharon to lip sync during a yodeling song, and she pulled it off quite well.

Larry

There was much rain and lightning on the way back to Williams.  We met some nice folks from Houston on the train that were curious about our month long vacation, and provided some good tips for some of our future stops.  Toward the end of the ride, there was a train robbery.  Ben tried to give Dominic's wallet to the train robbers, and then Dominic tried to give Ben away to the sheriff and the train robbers!  Fortunately, nobody would take him.  I had wanted to take a walk in Williams, which seemed like a nice little town.  However, it continued to rain throughout the evening, and we were all pooped out anyway.  We took another trip over to the Grand Canyon Buffet.  Then we picked up a few novelties at the gift shop, before heading back to our 6th hotel room in 6 nights.  The boys watched some Adventure Time and Regular Show back at the room, and then we all went to bed.  The Grand Canyon is amazing!

 

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