Venice to Venice in just over a week

January 17, 2006


I had a choice to make last weekend given that I had an obligation to fill and a free day (Monday) to perhaps use to ski or hike or just hang around and continue to recover from my blast across Italy.

Thursday and Friday had been busy as they could be, since at the last minute I discovered that the brakes on the daughter's car were not fit for a transfer to a kid living in LA without transport.

Comes the problem.

Find new transport, quickly.

The plan had been to start the drive out Friday afternoon after class and perhaps get far enough that I could fly back home on Saturday night.

So much for plans.

However, once the car was paid for, plated, and insured (by 7pm) on Friday night, I was in no mood to start out on the road, and besides, since I've been back from Italy my stay up late clock has been broken.

Morning was soon enough.

I checked the weather and I wondered about just how I might go.

Daughter was busy in Phoenix, so that left a good look at the northern route, which happens to wander past some places of interest.

The forecast for the northern route however was for "Bitter COLD."

So what's bitter?

-5 without the wind (-20C) is, no matter how you slice and dice it, cold.

In fact, for taking photos, It's really too DAMN COLD, but I decided what the heck, the air was going to be still and cold and clean so that meant that the views would be crisp and clear.

Did I mention that it was cold?

So I booked a couple of rooms, one being at the famous hotel sitting on the rim of the Grand Canyon, the El Tovar. I've always wanted to stay there and the though seemed, well, cozy. I imagined sitting in front of the fireplace and warming myself while being surrounded by giant timbers holding in the heat.

So Mrs, after hearing me make the reservations decided at the last minute that she would ride along. I suggested that an extra airfare was going to add 200 bucks to the expedition and she asked, "I'm not worth it?"

Yeah, I'm going to answer that in the negative?

So we went, and when I got to the hotel, I was wrong about the whole cozy thing.

It was so freaking cold that every time someone came into the hotel, they froze out the lobby.

But not to worry, I went for the photos.

Too bad I couldn't capture the night sky. I saw more stars than I have ever seen, anywhere, on the planet.

I would have loved to have have been able to lie there and look at the sky till I fell asleep, but had I tried, the sleep would have probably been permanent.

So at dawn I bundled up and headed out into the cold and did snap off a photo or two.

Then I went back to the room, arranged a late check out and headed off into the canyon for a quick 2 hour hike. Mrs knew the plan and had already decided that hiking in -5 degrees was not for her. "Knock yourself out," she said as I headed on out into the canyon.

Did I mention that it was cold?

I got over a thousand feet down and an mile into the trail before I had to turn around and get there for the check out. Besides, I also had to meet up with a flight at our next destination so we headed on out by 11:30.

I'll have to a separate entry on the canyon when I get time. Big panorama here.

I drove across this, which was kind of cool. I'd never been to the Hoover dam before, except for a flight that I took canyon flying in the desert around Vegas. Pre 9-11 I flew over the dam and made tight circles around it. I suspect that it's restricted airspace these days.

By 12:30 on Monday morning I pulled over a block from the ocean in a town on the California coast called, of all things, Venice. My 1,050 mile drive was over. We quickly ran between a couple of places in town where daughter had been staying and then headed on off to the airport.

I had enough time so that we were able to stop for lunch. That was nice. We didn't have enough time however, to catch other than a glimpse of the ocean, so no photos.

Just the Saturday before I left the Venice, Italy train station on my way to Munich. A week and a day later there I was, back in Venice, only this time it was about 8 thousand miles misplaced.