After three days of relaxing from all the off-road driving of the last few weeks, we head to the city of Page at Lake Powell. We’re no longer used to civilization, but there’s something good about it: our food, water and diesel supplies are running low and now need to be replenished. The area around Page offers a lot to discover: a great desert mountain backdrop in front of the dark blue and now half-dry Lake Powell, the well-known Colorado River curve “Horseshoe Bend” and the equally famous Antelope Slot Canyons. Unfortunately, the latter can only be visited with a guide with corresponding price levels after 12 Swedish tourists died in a flash flood following sudden rain a few years ago. At least the guide – a Navajo Indian woman on whose land the canyon is located – is quite entertaining and also gives good tips on photographing this truly remarkable natural spectacle.
The next day we go to Antelope Canyon again: this time we enter from Lake Powell. First, we paddle with our kayak “Flipper” a good six km into the canyon (starting from a boat ramp that can only be used by kayakers due to the extremely low water level), then we walk another two km into the canyon. Only our limited water supplies make us return from this really great excursion at some point.
We had already visited the Grand Canyon from the north side and I hiked through the canyon with Werner from north to south… but we hadn’t yet looked at the south side in detail. It offers just as spectacular views but is much more touristy and can in various places only be visited by completely overcrowded buses and not in your own vehicle. So, we soon set off again, do another kayak trip on the Colorado River at Willow Beach and then drive to the Hoover Dam on Lake Mead. Here too, the water level is absolutely low: both the drinking water and electricity supplies for over 30 million people are therefore in acute danger. The only signs of what was once the largest water sports area in the USA at Lake Mead are abandoned picnic areas and dry marinas: good for us because we can find great, secluded parking spaces, but otherwise it is of course a very sad situation.
With the really beautiful “Valley of the Fire” we end our journey through the spectacular rock formations of Utah and Arizona and plunge into a completely different world: Las Vegas.
Pure show, glitter and gambling… but this is not our world! For shopping, an outlet center for the last shopping wishes in the U.S.A. and Bootbarn for a cowboy hat for Karin are on the agenda. Our overnight stay is centrally located and is the construction site for the Formula 1 race that will take place here in November. Then in the evening we go to the strip, where the party has just started. The hotels are seriously impressive: both in terms of their size and their imitation of European buildings (Florence, Paris, etc.). However, many of the casinos in the hotels lack any charm.
One afternoon/evening is enough for us to feel exhausted and long for nature and solitude again. A visit to David Copperfield (who is still really good at what he does – respect!) and a rather mediocre dinner “rounds things off”.
Unfortunately, we have to stay in the region for another day because FedEx cannot deliver the new freezer we ordered (the third one already on our trip around the world!): as it turns out later, it was being loaded from the warehouse in Las Vegas to the delivery vehicle without being scanned and therefore it drove all over Las Vegas incognito for days without final delivery instructions. We take matters into our own hands, go to the responsible delivery warehouse and with a lot of pressure we manage to identify the driver who – after calling – then discovers that he has had our freezer box on board since days. Hours later we finally have it in Shujaa! Since our old freezer box still cools, just not deep enough, we put it at a waste disposal site in the hope that it might find a secondary use instead of ending up in the trash.
We drive to San Diego via the Mojave Desert and the Route 66 – where we were already nine months ago at the end of our first part of the North American trip. Here we take a last look at Californian beach life and lifestyle before we head to the border with Mexico at Tecate. In total we were in the USA for five and a half months including Alaska and four months in Canada, but now it’s time for a different culture again. We are really looking forward to Mexico!