Brad’s Visit Part 2: Grand Canyon Skywalk, Arizona
Odometer (Legend): 529,096
Odometer (ILX): 72,767
Trip Distance: 354 Miles
111 years ago, President Theodore Roosevelt said:
“The Grand Canyon fills me with awe. It is beyond comparison—beyond description; absolutely unparalleled throughout the wide world… Let this great wonder of nature remain as it now is. Do nothing to mar its grandeur, sublimity and loveliness. You cannot improve on it. But what you can do is to keep it for your children, your children’s children, and all who come after you, as the one great sight which every American should see.”
Sixteen years later in 1919, the Grand Canyon was officially named as a national park. I echo President Roosevelt’s sentiments and encourage any of you who’ve not yet seen the Grand Canyon to plan a trip there soon.
A little background on today’s destination: The “Skywalk” attraction didn’t come around until about 7 years ago. It’s a horseshoe-shaped glass platform 70 feet in length that extends from the canyon wall. Anyone who’s afraid of heights should steer clear, but for me it posed a unique opportunity and I was thrilled to finally get the chance to experience it. The $31 million structure is said to be able to withstand a magnitude 8 earthquake and is engineered to hold the weight of 822 people @ 200 pounds each. Max capacity is set at 120 people, though.
(photo credit – Hualapai Indian Reservation)
From our hotel in Kingman, Brad and I headed out in the ILX on an overcast Sunday morning and drove up US Highway 93 to the eastbound turnoff toward to the Skywalk, taking us through the trailer town of Dolan Springs. The attraction is located on the Hualapai Indian Reservation, and thus a part of our entry fee went toward a surcharge for entering the Indian land. Guess they’ve gotta make that $31M back somehow! The last 9 miles of our drive on Diamond Bar Road were graded dirt/gravel, but that didn’t deter us. You’ve all seen me off-road the ILX before.
The ILX felt right at home in the desert environment.
The Skywalk experience far exceeded expectations for me. After parking the car, we checked in and picked up a map of the area. Included in the fare was a full meal as well as a shuttle ride to 3 different destinations and thousands of photo opportunities. The first was called Hualapai Ranch. It was an attempt at re-creating an old Western town, complete with a saloon and some stables. We had our lunches there, and the portions & quality were great. I went with the baked chicken.
The second stop, Eagle Point, was where action revved up. The tour bus stopped and Brad and I raced off among a stampede of foreign-language-speaking tourists. The canyon in all its splendor was there for the viewing. It was unnerving to stand at the cliff’s edge and be buffeted by strong wind gusts. We were ushered through a metal detector and got busted for attempting to take our cell phones onto the Skywalk – d’oh! You see, no “personal effects” whatsoever are allowed. No cameras and no phones. Into a locker those items went. We put disposable booties over our tennis shoes and took a step outside on the 4-pane glass with our eyes affixed on the canyon floor some 4,000 feet beneath us. It was unreal.
There were actually gaps between the panes in the glass floor wide enough to stick a finger through. I knelt down to show that to Brad and to poke my finger through the opening, and the lady standing next to me nearly passed out while watching me. She was clutching onto the hand railing so hard her knuckles were white. Ha! An employed photographer was on-site to take our pictures – for a fee, of course.
The final stop of the Skywalk shuttle bus was to Guano Point, so named for a mining operation that took place there in the 1930’s where bat guano (dung) was extracted from the area. The view surrounded us as we made our way to the end of the point. Brad and I met people from all over the world as we offered to take pictures for others.
Fulfilled in our mission, we headed back toward the Phoenix area via Stockton Hill Road to Kingman. A Las Vegas tour bus stirred up a huge cloud of dust ahead of me on the 9-mile dirt road that surely left my ILX needing its nostrils (air filter) needing to be cleaned or replaced once more, but it was well worth it. Drive to Five attraction rating: 5 stars.
Here are a few of the pics from our trip, as well as a very short video.
Pierce Ferry Road, eastbound from US 93.
About 21 miles from the West Rim, we confronted this sign.
Made it! Parking lot was paved despite the road being unpaved.
Lunch at Hualapai Ranch, after being greeted by these two cowboys.
The gift shop also had homemade fudge. We tried a few samples. Okay, a bunch of samples.
Eagle Point – a windy day but with great visibility.
Magnificent views all around.
Skywalk pictured here at left. Future plans for the area are a high-end restaurant, a museum, and other amenities.
The Skywalk gets two thumbs up from Brad. Check out those stylish booties.
This was my favorite perspective – just sitting down and looking through the glass.
Our photographer encouraged us to take this one.
More admiring the views from Eagle Point.
Warning sign from the mining equipment at Guano Point.
Back on the road again, stirring up a cloud of dust. I had to laugh at the people who were taking their convertible Mustangs on the road with the tops down. Hope they hit the car wash before returning those rentals.
Quick roadside photo op on the unpaved portion of Diamond Bar Road.
Who needs asphalt anyway?
Brad and I pit stopped for a few minutes to admire the Joshua Tree forest.
The colors of the desert were so vivid.
Finally back at the house, and taking the old NSX out for a bite to eat. Nice GQ pose, Brad. Hey, follow this guy under “@bm89” on Instagram. He’s meant to be famous!
Love this sexy ride.
Hope you enjoyed the trip!
Sometime this weekend I get to install a $120 replacement foglamp assembly and a burned out bulb on the ILX. My driver’s side foglight bulb lasted 71,400 miles before burning out, and the passenger side has had a crack in it for several thousand miles. Time to get that front end fixed back up.