The great thing about parking next to a hotel is that you can use the facilities like the restroom when you need them. I woke up a few times last night, maybe because it was snowing again and quite cold. When I wake up around 5.30AM it’s light outside and I decide it’s time start the day. I get dressed and walk to the hotel lobby where I sit down with a book next to the fireplace, a great start of the day.
I remember from yesterday that there was a wooden desk upstairs in the lobby, so I walk upstairs and sit down behind the desk to write in my journal for a moment. Around seven o’clock I walk to the restaurant. I liked the breakfast so much yesterday that I decided to have it one more time. Today I have got all the time, so I enjoy about four rounds at the breakfast buffet. That’s something I got from my dad, we love extensive breakfasts. After about an hour or so, I’m ready to hit the road again. I say goodbye to the really hospitable staff at the Grand Canyon Depot. They tell me to come back and I’d love to. I was here only two days, but I really enjoyed staying at the Grand Canyon hotel and riding the train.
The friendly guys at the information center told me yesterday that there is another train about two hours from here that actually goes through a canyon. It’s called Verde Canyon train and is a bit cheaper than the Grand Canyon train. I’m curious, because the pictures look promising. On my way driving there I pass the Barnes & Nobles from the other day and I make a quick stop to get a book that I wanted and some coffee. Then I drive via some small towns through the mountains to Clarkdale where the Verde Canyon Train is. The road is beautiful, but it’s snowing quite a lot, so I don’t stop and just continue driving safely. Around noon I arrive at the train station. That’s a good timing, because the train departs at one o’clock in the afternoon.
The Verde Canyon train ia also very comfortable and has an extra nice feature: outside cars. Between the normal cars are cars that are completely open with only a small roof above them, so you’re practically riding outside. That’s perfect for getting fresh air and taking pictures. The train ride goes trough a beautiful area, next to big rocks and through a large canyon. In the beginning the weather is nice, but about half way it starts to rain, so on the way back I stay most of the ride inside. I meet a lot of friendly people on the train and we have a great time together. When we arrive back at the station at the end of the afternoon, I’m actually feeling a bit sad when we’ve said goodbye. One of the beautiful things of traveling is meeting many new people and making new friends. The downside is that you don’t know if you’ll ever see them again. In any case I’m glad that I took both train rides yesterday and today. The Grand Canyon train has a lot of entertainment and a great destination. The Verde Canyon train goes through a beautiful area and provides a great scenery.
After I’ve said goodbye to the people on the train I continue driving. I try to get as close to Joshua Tree Park before it gets dark. When the sun has gone down and it’s dark outside, I stop at a McDonalds again. By now I don’t like their food so much anymore, but their WiFi is good and it’s a safe place to park for the night, because they’re open 24 hours per day. I stay here for the night and will drive tomorrow morning to Joshua Tree Park, which is still about 1,5 hours away. I love road trips, but sometimes the distances here are quite long. I’m glad I have put a lot of music on my old iPod Classic, it makes long drives much better. I expect to arrive in San Diego tomorrow night and from there I can take it bit slower, while I follow the Pacific Coast to the North.