Checking off a major bucket list item

It’s the first of the month and that means I have to work a few hours to do the administration. I’m thankful that I can be traveling and still do my work and make money while I’m here. Since the day of going home is getting closer, I also do some research about all the current rules. It’s quite depressing. Life here in America is so much better than in The Netherlands at the moment. There are many restrictions and rules there and let’s not forget about the gray and wet weather. Here in America there is freedom and sunshine. If it wasn’t for seeing my family back home and needing to work and safe some money for a while, I’d rather stay here. I call with my dad for a while and he reminds me not to worry too much about the situation back home, but to enjoy my vacation while I’m here. He’s right. It’s the lesson I’m learning during this journey. Live today, embrace the moments and see how life will go.
There are quite few things that will pull you into the moment like the view of the Grand Canyon. Last night it didn’t impress me as much as it normally does. Perhaps because I was a bit tired or because it was cold. This morning though I marvel again at the amazing views. It is so enormous and so colorful. I walk at the rim and hike a bit at the rocks. It’s not as icy here and so I decide to take a few pictures at the edge. I’m glad I don’t have fear of heights, because the view down is about a mile deep. Another nice thing of climbing at the rocks is that you leave most of the other tourists behind and it gets more quiet. But just like I tell some other people, only do it at your own risk and go as far as you feel comfortable, because of course it is a bit dangerous.
In the afternoon I get to check a big item off my bucket list. I arrive at just the right time at the Grand Canyon airport to go on a helicopter flight. I checked the flight times this morning, but didn’t reserve anything yet, because I didn’t know how long I’d be walking in the park in the morning. I arrive just 20 minutes before a helicopter will fly out over the Grand Canyon. Flying in a helicopter is something I’ve been wanting to do for years, but I also wanted it to do at a beautiful location. I’m in the helicopter with a family with two children and a friendly pilot. When the engine turns on and we lift up from the ground I’m very excited. We fly for about ten minutes over forest and then suddenly there is the Grand Canyon. Of course I’ve never seen it from this perspective. From the sky you get a much better view of the river deep down and the rocks on sides. We fly all the way to the North side of the Grand Canyon and back. While flying the pilot tells us interesting facts about the canyon like how the native Americans used to live here. It’s a great experience to fly over the Grand Canyon and I get to see it like never before. I also enjoy seeing the North side again. I’ve visited the North rim years ago, but it’s closed in the winter. The rocks on that side are higher and covered by a layer of snow. On our way back we fly over the town of Tusayan. It’s nice to see the hotel and restaurants where I was yesterday and this morning. After about 40 minutes we’re landing back at the airport. I think that’s the right amount of time for a flight like this. The helicopter shakes quite a bit during flying and I can feel it in my stomach. I absolutely loved the experience, but now feel like resting for a bit so I drive back into the national park. Earlier today I drove by a big lodge that I remember from an visit a few years ago and I want to relax there for a bit with a book. I get a cola and sit down in the lobby. It’s actually a hotel, but I don’t want to stay here. The helicopter flight was quite expensive and I want to compensate that a bit with staying at a cheaper hotel tonight. That’s part of traveling I think, choosing your experiences. I drive to the town of Williams, which is less than an hour away. Last time I was here, I stayed in the fancy railroad hotel, but this time I choose a cheaper hotel on the side of town. It’s also good and a friendly lady behind the counter gives me some helpful tips for dinner restaurants. She recommend a diner place called Goldies 66. It’s not hard to find, because Williams has only two main streets. It’s obviously a touristic town, because there are lot of Route66 stores and restaurants. When I walk in the restaurant, I like it immediately. It’s a classic diner like you see in old movies. I get myself a burger and a milkshake which seems a classic choice for a place like this. It’s a good ending for a great day.

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