Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Riding the Rails -- Heading to Grand Canyon

One of the first things you notice while cruising through the countryside on a train are the the changes in the landscape. 

I'm from the Bluegrass region of Kentucky, an area of gently rolling hills and pastures famously known throughout the world for its lush horse farms. 

Dry landscape
Riding the rails through parts of Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas, you see miles and miles of corn and wheat fields. And then you cross into the desert area of New Mexico and Arizona, with little vegetation and a rugged terrain. Mesas and buttes are more prominent the farther west you travel.

Rugged landscape
Sadly, along the way you also see a few eyesores such as rusted and abandoned vehicles and machinery, splashy graffiti on fences and the backside of buildings, dilapidated structures, as well as various degrees of poverty some people must endure to survive. These are depressing breaks among nature's splendor.

Cameron Trading Post
One of the first places we visited on the way, by bus to Grand Canyon from Flagstaff, Ariz., was Cameron Trading Post, established more than a century ago in the Navajo territory of Arizona as a place to barter and purchase items.

Monument in front of bridge
Cameron Trading Post is a popular stop along the way to Grand Canyon for tourists (and tour buses) to purchase Native American crafts, jewelry and souvenirs, dine at its restaurant, stay in its motel, or simply to get out and stretch their legs (one thing we did on a regular basis was stop every two hours or so). 

Then we ventured on to  Grand Canyon National Park, one of the most awesome places on the planet. But that's for the next post.

Until the next time...

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