Grand Canyon or Bust: Part III, Oddities Along the Way

July 19, 2018 by Darren Clarke

The final instalment of my Grand Canyon or Bust photo series presents pics from four different circumstances- the drive to and from the Grand Canyon, the Neon Museum in Vegas, some shots from a short walk I did one morning in Vegas and finally, incredibly, Flintstones Bedrock City in Arizona.

Let’s start there.

I would love to say that I never feel greater purpose than when taking pictures of a wonder of the world like the Grand Canyon or Niagara Falls but really it’s places like Flintstones Bedrock City that light me up. I was in love the moment I saw it come into view on Route 64. We stopped by the next morning on our way back to Vegas, I paid the $5 admission and then ran around joyfully in the surreal, mostly, empty landscape while my wife waited semi-patiently in the car.

My wife and I were married at the Neon Museum in Las Vegas. It’s a truly magical place. The signs are just fantastic.  So whenever we go back to Vegas we try to stop by (at the very least so I can get add to my neon museum t-shirt).

It was real, real, hot on this occasion, + 100-degrees, so the hour tour of painstaking detail about Vegas was at times more ordeal than fun. And while it is not without some sense of irony that I make this complaint, the fact the whole world is now a professional photographer gets to be a pain in the ass sometimes. Twenty people, some with selfie-sitcks, some with million dollar cameras, lingering too long in places, straggling, contorting, to take pictures gets to be a bit tedious at a point.

I try to stay away from commenting on, “America,” too much in these blogs, I think mainly because it is a complex topic that is best left at- “I love travelling through America.” Which is true, I do. One day I’ll get more into detail. For now, I will say that the drive to the Grand Canyon from Vegas was a great reminder of the quirkiness of our North American neighbour. From moustaches stuck to the front of white Cadillacs, to automatic weapons for sale at a roadside convenience store, to a mural outside that store of Rambo, to the many fantastic folks that populate Fremont street, America never fails to provide some unexpected spectacle.

It was too hot in Vegas to take many pictures plus I was on vacation. You have to put the camera down sometimes.

The day before we left I got up at sunrise and walked in the direction of an older slice of Vegas.

A  short while in to my walk I turned a corner to be met by two Rottweilers, both unleashed and without their owner anywhere in sight. They ran aggressively at me, barking, while I unconvincingly acted like I was not afraid. I was really afraid. Really, really, afraid.

The good news is I came away unscathed. They jumped up on me a little while I chatted as if I was terribly afraid, “Hey guys, how you doing! Good morning, you wouldn’t happen to have an owner would you?” Whether it was my dulcet tones, the fact they were really well trained or that they too were sick of photographers they quickly seemed bored and sauntered back through the unlocked gate they had charged at me through. My journey that morning though was dramatically shortened.

Some really great graffiti in Vegas. All over Vegas.

The yellow wall with all the graffiti sits on one side of a bar patio. Really brilliant stuff.