Having woken up as the sun comes up around 0640 we put coffee on and wander over to have a chat with Matthais and Sam. Sam is here for the lottery too but Matthais is just travelling around, he’s an artist and offers to show us his work. He has just recently got his camper wagon and is re-thinking the layout to allow him to work comfortably in it. He paints in acrylics and his small works are a combination of paint and pencil. The subject matter in most cases is political with quite compelling results.
Bidding him farewell the three of us take off to go enter the lottery. We notice on the way that the people we saw with torches last night were just camped halfway along track. Not sure why when there was a perfectly good campsite just a little farther on.
We have no luck in the lottery, 62 people turn up for 10 permits!!! It’s a popular day and a popular place (they display stats on the door about how many have turned up for the lottery everyday for the past few weeks). The whole procedure is a bit of a show with a globe to put numbered balls in and the ladies running it are pretty amusing.
Oh well, you can’t win them all. We decide to drive back to Page and search out an all American brekkie and look into the possibility of visiting Antelope Canyon now we know it’s nearby (Karyn talked about it and Sam told us this morning it is close to Page). Did we mention already, Page only exists as a result of the dam, it’s a very young town and a bit quirky as a result.
We stop at Wahweap Overlook (viewpoint) for a look at the view, obviously, and to sort the car out. Busy doing this and minding our own business, a guy from another car approaches us and asks: “do you know a good beach round here?” Did we look like we were local or that we were interested in a beach? He’s German, what more can we say!
In Page we have brekkie/brunch at the “Ranch House Grille” … “where the locals go”. Tell us something – why oh why do Americans insist on cheese on every breakfast option, even when the menu doesn’t mention cheese you can be sure it will come out with cheese on it! … Phil the manager/owner is really friendly and recommends we also visit Horseshoe Bend, as it’s just on the edge of town and a spectacular view of a canyon bend in the Colorado River. Regarding Antelope Canyon he says it’s on Indian Reserve land and you need to be with a navajo to get access. There are lots of navajo tour operators around town running trips there and it seems a bit of a rip-off. He tells us though that you can drive up there and sort out access at the entrance – miss out the middleman i.e. without going through a tour operator.
Weighing up all our options for the day we decide on driving to the South Rim, it’s a lovely sunny day and we should get some great views and photo’s, to add to the washout ones we have already from our trek in the North Rim, then return here so we can have another go at the lottery tomorrow.
We arrive there about 3pm the canyon seems to have it’s own cloud, we can’t believe it, there’s no other clouds in the sky only those hanging over The Grand Canyon!!! As we park up not only does it rain but we have the bonus pleasure of thunder storms too!
Sheltering in the visitor centre we call Angie on viber about a possible change of plan – getting to them on 22nd still and taking the car back, staying for a long weekend, hiring a car again for a few days to visit Yoesemite mid-week and then spending a further weekend with them before flying to NYC. She’s cool with it so it looks like that’s what we might do as we still have so many things to cram in with only a week left…
We hang around till the weather clears up around 1800 and end up staying for sunset, seems silly not to! We guess we’ll try and get a motel room rather than putting the tent up in the dark or sleeping another night in the car.
No such luck, Page is officially full!!! We find one room free and they want $249. Madness!! Takeaway pizza and the car it is then…
Actually in the end we eat in, same price, at “Strombolli’s” pizza place and return back to the “White House Campsite” and yes, sleep in car.
It’s been a long day and we’re very tired, it’s 2315 Utah time – but only 2215 Arizona time… Confused!!!