I made a wee bit of an error when I was navigating this part of our trip. When we left Vegas, we should've gone to the Skywalk first, since it's way back over on the West Side. But I didn't know where the Skywalk was. And if you try to find the Skywalk on a road map you're going to have a tough time doing it. We took the north route so we could go to Zion National Park then hit the North Rim, then the South Rim. Then we had to head 5 hours back west to get to the Skywalk. But hang on. The story is worth it.
As always, our time and mileage is measured in where we'll be at lunch time or at supper time. I check the Garmin for suggestions and decide NOT to dine at the Roadkill Cafe.
Free range cattle. First a bit of explanation. The Grand Canyon Skywalk is on the Hualapai Indian Reservation and we've left the South Rim for an all-day drive back West. About 3 PM, I get out my trusty AAA tour book and read that they close at 4 PM and the last group allowed up is at 3:30 PM. And we have about 45 miles to go. Mr. Hawthorne is becoming a bit testy at this point. He's just a wee bit pissed that we're having to drive five hours back west, although the scenery is lovely. So, we're on the road to the Skywalk, and there's a car behind us breathing down our ass. Mr. Hawthorne pulls over because he's decided that they look like they know what they're doing since they have Arizona tags on. We figger they're going to the Skywalk too, because, believe me, there's NOTHING else out here for MILES. You are in the freakin' middle of NOWHERE. So Mr. Hawthorne let the car pass and the guy hauls ass down the road and we're just trying to keep up with him. Perhaps he, too, read in the tour book that it closes at 4 PM. Then we find out there's a 14-mile long dirt road ahead of us.
The only time I can see the car that passed us is when his break lights are on. Mr. Hawthorne is NOT in his "happy place."
We finally caught up with the guy that passed us when he had to slow down for a tour bus. I'm thinking, "Thank, God. The tour bus is bringing more tourists to the Skywalk and they know what time it closes, so we really don't have to worry now about getting there." Of course, Mr. Hawthorne puts his own spin on this and says, "The bus is coming back to pick up the last group." So then the guy ahead of us decides to pass the tour bus on this dirt road which you shouldn't be driving faster then 25 MPH. He does so in another great cloud of red dust, at about 50 MPH. We figger he's got kids in there yelling, "Daddy! Daddy! Are we there yet? Are we gonna miss the Skywalk? Hurry, Daddy. Go faster, Daddy!" And ... Mr. Hawthorne follows him.
Rough Road. Ya think? We finally get to the Skywalk area. There's some guy in a uniform - not a Park Ranger since this is not a National Park. It's Indian land- so that's like a little nation unto the Indians and they can do whatever they damn please on it. I wish they'd pave the damn road. Anyways, this is a check point. The guy tells us we have to leave any open alcohol containers in the car. We have no alcohol. And then he asks if we have any firearms. HAHAHAHAHHAHHAHA! And Mr. Hawthorne replies with, "We have no open alcohol." I swear, the guy was as glassy-eyed as could be and I know he had to have been drinking. I seriously think he wanted our open bottles of alcohol. So now we park and find out we have to get on a damn shuttle bus and I hate shuttles with a passion. We have to buy tickets. We only want to go to the Skywalk, but the bus goes to three different places. We purchase 2 tickets for the Skywalk with our senior discount for $53.92 and in addition we are required to purchase 2 tickets for the Hualapai Legacy, the other two stops we don't want to go to. I believe learning how to lasso, how to fast draw, and how to throw a tomahawk were features on one of the other stops. The other option was staying the night and having s'mores with cowboys. That would be an additional $75.92. So, with tax, we're out $137.38. Insert your own "scalp" joke here.
And guess what. You're not allowed to take any cameras, cell phones, back packs, anything at all with you on the Skywalk. They supply you with a locker to stash your stuff. I figgered I'd have to pay $25 - $50 for the locker, since this is Indian-run. But no. I was amazed that the locker was actually free. Well, we get to the gate to go up the ramp to the Skywalk and this girl comes running out, yelling, "Shut down!!!! Shut down!!!!" and for every one to get off the Skywalk immediately. There's an Indian there at the ramp that tells us we can't go past. Everybody's coming off the Skywalk and they're all looking kinda pissed. Mr. Hawthorne slips the Indian a $20 which he palms, looks away, and says, "Go ahead." So we're running up to the Skywalk. All we want to do is run around on the damn thing and get our asses back to the car and get back to civilization. We were so close. Official teenagers with uniforms on are coming down off the Skywalk and they tell us we can't go. We are turned back. And the Indian with our $20 is nowhere to be found. Then we have to wait for the shuttle to get back because they're closing the whole place down. I think this area gets 3-4 inches of rain a year and, by golly, it's coming now! So we get back on the shuttle which has to drive to the other two places to pick up more people to bring them back and I believe some transportation violations may have occurred since people are standing in the aisle of the bus and they're packing them in like sardines.
Don't worry. Rosie got her full refund. This is what we missed: The Skywalk. Hey, you see one bigass hole in the ground, you've seen 'em all.