How I Got a Free Trip to The Grand Canyon

IMG_2097Yesterday I got to realize another dream from my bucket list. I toured the Grand Canyon. This was something I’d always wanted to do. As it happens, I not only realized my dream, I got the tour for free.

When I arranged my accommodation with The Sedona Summit, I didn’t realize it was a time-share organization. Checking in was a bit strange. I wondered why nobody offered to help me with my luggage and I had a hard time finding my room. “My room” was on the second floor of one of many vermillion coloured six and eight plexes. (All the buildings are painted to match the red rocks of Sedona.) “My room” turned out to be  larger than my apartment in Kingston. Its fully equipped kitchen had everything a dedicated cook could wish for, including a dish washer. You can imagine my surprise when I opened a cupboard and found a washer and dryer. Price-wise it was a real bargain!

Once I settled into my new living space, I went to the front desk to arrange my trip to the Grand Canyon. To my surprise the clerk offered me a free daylong tour if I would agree to spend ninety minutes with their sales person. Ninety minutes couldn’t be too painful, I decided, so I agreed to the exchange: my ears in return for $200 worth of trip.

Steeling myself to resist whatever unpleasantness was coming my way, I waited along with a dozen others for my salesman. He turned out to be a benign looking white haired man with glasses. I followed him to a round table surrounded by four chairs. I’d decided to tell him honestly that I was here for the free tour and nothing else. He looked a little surprised, tried anyway to interest me in investing, then finally said, “Well we have to spend 90 minutes together. We might as well do something interesting.”

I thought that was decent of him and let him know that I’d already arranged to rent a house in the Tucson area for the winter. He, bless his heart, opened his computer to “Google Earth” and showed me the area I’ll be staying in when the cold winds start blowing back home.

I’ve been here at the timeshare resort for over a week now. It’s a perfect place for me with daily activities of the sort I like: yoga, Qi Gong, guided walks through the desert, hiking trips to the famous vertexes, and on and on. What’s more, I don’t have to summon up my courage to eat dinner alone. I go grocery shopping and prepare my own food in the spacious kitchen.

Actually, this wouldn’t be a bad bet for someone like me. All the gardening, garbage, cleaning and so on is taken care of. What’s more, it’s a friendly place. People share a sense of belonging to the club. There’s both privacy and a chance to mix with people. Couldn’t be a better fit. The reason I won’t consider it? They don’t accept dogs as guests. There’s no way I would leave Sammy The Poodle for 5 months. It’s hard enough leaving him for the two and a half weeks of this trip.

So, how was the Grand Canyon? Unbelievable, indescribable, and all the other adjectives you’ve always heard. Nine of us tourists climbed into a van with a tour guide who took us up 8,000 feet, over the Arizona plateau, round and round hairpin turns, finally arriving at the Grand Canyon.  Since it’s indescribable, I’ll attach a few of the photos I took.

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