USATourist News MagazineOctober 2001
Welcome to the premier issue of the USATourist news magazine!
In this issue:
I just returned from a flight out west. I can report that security is quite a bit stricter at the airports, but the waits are not great. They are performing random searches of baggage and are asking more questions, but they do it rather quickly. We cleared the security process in less than fifteen minutes.
This anthrax scare is causing some panic, but the outbreaks seem to be limited to the recipients of the biological bombs and to the poor mail carriers that have handled the parcels. The disease has not affected the general public.
Travel is slowly returning to normal and tourism is picking up. There are still some great bargains in airfare and on hotel rooms throughout the US.
This is the best season for trips to Florida, California, Arizona and Las Vegas. The fiercely hot summer temperatures are gone and the cooler winter weather has not arrived. It is a great time for golfing in Phoenix, sunbathing in Miami, surfing in Los Angeles or relaxing in Las Vegas.
Sun Splash Homes is offering some great deals on the rental of luxurious five bedroom homes in Florida for just $550 per week until March of 2002. http://www.sunsplash.com/
My wife and I flew to McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas because it is centrally located near many of the best attractions in the southwestern part of the USA. We spent a day marveling at the great casinos and at the glamour of the Las Vegas Strip. In the evening, we saw a great Las Vegas show. The next day, we headed south across Boulder Dam, through the desert town of Kingman Arizona, and the mountain village of Williams Arizona to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
People say it is one of the seven wonders of the modern world, and I believe them. The Grand Canyon is magnificent, and its sheer beauty always overwhelms me. We flew over the Canyon in one of Grand Canyon Airway's DeHaviland Vistaliner touring aircraft. It was a great experience peering down at miles and miles of gorges, ravines and gulleys interspersed with multilayered buttes, mesas and rock spires all in multicolored hues.
Between Kingman Arizona and the little town of Seligman, is a well-preserved 150-mile loop of old route 66. At Seligman we ate breakfast in one of the original "route 66" cafes, then drove along the nearly deserted old "mother road" to Peach Springs Arizona about 80 miles north. The town of Peach Springs is situated on the Hualapai Indian reservation. It has a post office, one store, one gas station and a motel with restaurant. Two dogs were sleeping in front of the gas pumps. The Hualapai Indians live in a village of small houses or in tiny isolated trailers scattered across the desert. They are not wealthy.
The Hualapai River Lodge is actually a very nice modern motel with an excellent restaurant. It caters to hikers and river rafters and a few adventurers like us heading to Supai.
Early the next morning, we drove to Hualapai Hilltop. It was a 65-mile drive along Indian Road 18 through some beautiful but desolate countryside. We saw a few cattle roaming the lowlands before we climbed the ponderosa pine-covered hills to the high desert country. We did not see another vehicle or another person for the entire hour-long drive. Hualapai Hilltop is not on top of a hill. It is actually a barren ledge of rock hanging 1,500 feet above the canyon floor. It has a parking lot, a few portable toilets, a small trailer and some mule corrals.
It is an eight-mile hike to the village of Supai at the bottom of the canyon. The trail drops over 2000 feet in the first mile and half with most of it switch backing down a near-vertical wall of stone. We met the mule trains coming up the trail with their Indian drivers mounted on fine horses. At the bottom, we followed a dry creek bed between towering walls of pink and red sandstone for six more miles. Finally, we saw the "twin sisters", two spires of rock, which protect the Supai village.
The Havasupai Indians live in small houses with horses grazing at their doorstep. The friendly village dogs were the first to greet us. Children were racing their ponies in the streets. There is a small store, a café, a lodge and a tiny post office in the village. The mail must be taken out of the canyon by mule.
The Supai River runs swift and clear. Its waters are a brilliant turquoise blue green from the dissolved limestone. A few miles below the village, Havasu falls and Mooney falls cascade in hundred foot drops over rocks beautifully sculpted with calcium deposits. They are fringed with green ferns and framed by 500 feet high walls of pink sandstone. This is one of the most beautiful places in the USA, and few people beside the Havasupai Indians ever see it.
We camped beside the river for a night and spent another night in the Lodge. No television, no radio, no telephones and no hot water. We decided to let the mules carry our packs back out of the canyon. We set off at sunrise and hiked in the cool morning air. When we reached the rock wall, the mules overtook us. As we reached Hualapai Hilltop, the Indians were loading cases of supplies and bags of horse feed on the mules for their daily trip back down to the village.
They are now flying helicopters down to the Supai Village. If you want to see it before civilization spoils it all, you better hurry.
We will be adding airfares on USATourist.com Travel Now has greatly improved its selection of airfares and it offers overseas delivery of tickets. We have decided to offer their tickets on our web pages.
We will also be adding links to the Travel Now database of Condo rentals in many cities across the USA.
On our trip out west, I managed to set up affiliate agreements with Grand Canyon Air Tours and with Trail Rider Tours in Monument Valley. Trail Rider Tours is owned by Harold Simpson, a Native American Navajo Indian. In addition to personally guided tours, he offers nightly stays in an original Navajo Hogan and home cooked Navajo meals.
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