Chattering-Magpie-blog

Our vacation in a dry climate.

Posted Sat Dec 16, 2006, 08:46 AM by Tracy | |

At long last E was able to take time off from work. My dad has been hounding us for years now to come visit. Six storms were lined up to pound the left coast. A perfect time to escape to a drier clime.

Actually we didn’t know about the impending storms when we made our plans – that was just fortuitous. But we did get a long overdue vacation, flying in to Vegas, then driving south to Arizona.

Cruising in the Cruiser

We got the opportunity to rent a PT Cruiser, a vehicle we had been considering for purchase, at no extra charge.

It’s a fun car to drive, but I won’t be buying one anytime soon. The gas mileage is less than optimal; at best I got 21mpg. I felt my visibility was constricted by the structural posts, even though the mirrors were well placed.

The best thing about this car, something I think every vehicle should have, is a gauge that tells you how many miles to go before you run out of gas. How cool is that!

Beer at the Belle

We stayed in Laughlin NV at the Colorado Belle, a middling-sized casino on the Colorado River. I selected it for one reason – Laughlin’s only microbrewery. They offer a taster of their four standard beers and a seasonal.

Colorado Belle Boiler Room
Laughlin NV
Golden Ale
Crisp, bright, lightly hopped, refreshing, undemanding. A good alternative to the usual bland American lager.

Pale Ale
Mildly hopped with some good flavor, but otherwise unremarkable.

Amber Ale
A good balance of malt and hops, almost bitter enough for us Oregon hopheads.

ESB (seasonal)
A very hoppy nose, good flavor that lingers on the tongue. Moderate carbonation. We agreed this was the best offering.

Stout
A classic stout, chocolatey, coffee flavors, creamy. A little bitter at first with a long sweet finish.

The Grand Canyon in winter

We drove 3-1/2 hours, sometimes through snow, to reach the south rim of the Grand Canyon, fogged in. At least there weren’t too many visitors.

It was not the usual tourist experience, tromping through the snow. We didn’t get the full grandeur of the cliffs glowing in the sun under bright skies. Instead we got a more intimate look at the canyon, the surprise of unexpected views as the weather obscured and revealed pieces of the canyon.

Photos will be posted soonish.

Run for the border

This time it was four hours in the car, through the desert to some little border town best known for providing prescriptions and medical services to snowbirds.

Dad & Max thought it would be fun to take us to Mexico for margaritas. We’ve had better and cheaper in Oregon. We’re not interested in tourist trash & trinkets. So that was kind of a waste of gas. Oh well, you don’t know unless you go. At least I got a lot of knitting done.

Back home

The best part of any trip is coming home to find the cats still alive. They actually seem happy to see us.

We didn’t quite miss all the storms, though. They saved the best for last, a day after we returned. Ah, Oregon.

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