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December 14, 2006: What a wonderful day to take the Grand Canyon Railway Train to the Grand Canyon. Tamara from the Railside RV Ranch delivered us to the depot in plenty of time to get our Our Grand Canyon Railroad Locomotive
Gwen with one of the bandit character actors boarding passes. We had ordered our tickets almost 6 months ago for the Dome car. There is only one dome car on the train. After getting our boarding passes we rushed to see the "wild-west show" before the train arrives. It turns out the marshall saves the day. Gwen gets to stand with one of the outlaw characters.
This is Tammy, the passenger service staff person for our car. She punches our ticket and gives directions to the stairs into the Dome car. Gwen leads the way. As it turns out, we made our reservations so early, we get the front row seats. The glass is tinted so we don't get cooked in the bright sun of this winter day. This is a Vista Dome Coach from the California Zephir. It Tammy, welcomes us to the Dome car
We are in the Dome car also did service in Alaska before coming to the Grand Canyon Railway. One of the comforts is an adjustable footrest. We later learned we can walk forward in the train but not rearward. There is only one car behind
We have front row seats Adjustable footrest in the Dome car
The terrain changed from brush to forest
Tammy serves our car and much more our Dome car, the luxury car. If you check the train Website above, you will see five different price levels depending upon the accommodations you order. The cafe car is located just behind the locomotive so is accessible to all. Tammy visited with each passenger and gave specific instructions to be helpful depending upon the travelers goal for the day. We told Tammy we planned to view the rim then go on a short hike. We have only 3 hours at the Grand Canyon before the train boards for the return trip. Tammy gave us directions and told stories of how she moved to this area from Phoenix to be closer to her parents and to get away from the pollution of the Phoenix area.
Entertainment on every car Out of the high desert and into the forest

We are treated with entertainment in each car. Strolling musicians and the marshall comes to visit too.

Clarence Clearwater was particularly enjoyable. He sang in his native Navajo language as well as 5 other languages. He spoke of his spiritual nature although his jokes were pretty "lame" in a good way.

We've arrived at the Grand Canyon Station.

This is Clarence Clearwater
As we get close to the rim, the curves are sharper We've arrived at the Grand Canyon Station
It's sunny at the Grand Canyon Our first view.
Remember, click any photo to enlarge.
Gwen's first time at the Grand Canyon For lunch, we order a sandwich to-go at Bright Angel Lodge, Tammy's suggestion.
Tammy suggested we order lunch at the Bright Angel Lodge then take it with us on our hike. We do just that and end up sitting on a bench eating the box lunch while watching the view.
Lunch on the rim The Bright Angel Trail
It's pretty chilly on the trail when you aren't in the sun It's much easier going down than coming up.
We start our hike down the Bright Angel Trail. Our intention is to hike only a short way looking for some interesting views before returning to board the train.
You can see the El Tovar Hotel at the top of the rim.
This kayak rack is built exactly like the idea I had to be able to carry our kayaks and tow the fifth wheel at the same time. Click the photo to enlarge the view of this kayak rack system (or for that matter, any of the photos on this page)
This is Barry is another entertainer. He insisted another passenger get into the photo too. We were robbed on the way home. Apparently train robberies are common in Arizona
Our trip has ended.

Our trip back to Williams has ended our Grand Canyon adventure. It will not be possible to top this adventure for the rest of our trip. We enjoyed every part of this train ride and Grand Canyon adventure. The slogan for GCR is "more than just a train". We were treated special as was everyone of the travelers which helped us to enjoy this adventure even more.

Gwen had thought to begin a crockpot of chicken vegetable soup before leaving so it is hot and waiting for our return.

If you are wondering about Morgan and Annie, Tamara at Railside RV Ranch has been looking after them this day. She also pickup us up at the depot and returns us directly to our warm and waiting fifth wheel.

December 15, 2006: Today was a travel day to Cottonwood but I'm reporting on another adventure we had last night and will report about our drive to Cottonwood tomorrow. Twice each night in Williams, the Polar Express leaves for the North Pole with 12 cars full of families. Gwen and I figured about 1100 parents, grandparents and kids for each trip. The Polar Express is waiting for boarding
Parents and kids are in pajamas During our train ride to the Grand Canyon we passed the "North Pole". The Polar Express is about a 1.25 hour trip for the families. The excitement of these 1100 parents and kids waiting to board the Polar Express was not describable. Many of the parents and kids were wearing pajamas which made it just that much more fun. Santa meets the train at the North Pole and visits each of the cars to talk with each child. You could hear the singing, screaming and yelling as the train left the station. The Grand Canyon Railway offers the trip for only $25/adults and $12/children.
A very fair price considering the preparation that takes place for each trip. Of course, hot chocolate is served during the trip, just like the movie. Santa gives a bell to each child as they return to Williams. We watched the 1100 board the Polar Express, then watched the train as it passed our fifth wheel at the Railside RV Ranch. Remember ... you can click any photo for a larger view. This was one of the most exciting evenings for us, we were able to enjoy the kids adventure along with all the parents and grandparents. The Polar Express
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