We are travelling the USA in 1992 and have reached Arizona.
And are viewing organ pipe cacti.
The spectacular is everywhere in Arizona.
And sometimes the unexpected too.
But the one place that is absolutely unbelievable is the Grand Canyon.
And a second Grand Canyon picture, one that is prominent in the Ledbury Station gallery.
This view shows the start of the winding path down to the Colarado River.
The summit plateau behind is amazingly flat, ideal, in fact, for building a railway.
And this is just what happened. The Grand Canyon was really opened up by the railway with, in 1901,
a 64 mile spur off the main line and the original station building still urvives.
Closed in 1968, the line recently reopened and is now spectacularly served by heritage steam.
This is the spectacular Grand Canyon train in Grand Canyon station.
As the engineer checks his impressive locomotive.
Not all that far away is a contrast on Indian land.
This is where you pay.
And this is where you are shown dinosaur footprints.
Great to be shown round like this.
And another contrast as we rejoin Amtrak on the Southwest Chief and reach Los Angeles,
where this is the riverside run to the city centre.
TLos Angeles station, another imposing, cathedral like structure.
With acres of space in which to wait for the few trains that run.
In Los Angeles I visit the Police.
.................The Helicopter Police.
But sadly the visit did not include a flight.
And I stayed with friends from Herefordshire and tonight is scout night!
Departure from California was aboard the Desert Wind as we ascend the Cajun Pass heading for the desert.
And our desert adventure begins here, in Las Vegas, a 1905 railroad town where Union station doubles
as the Union Plaza casino. On arrival I hire a car and head out of time.
Dawn finds us in Death Valley.
Where there is surprising variety, ghost towns for example, like gold mining Rhyolite.
And desert dunes to prudently explore.
A quite incredible landscape.
But what we are really come here for, armed with spatula, is to do some cooking
and an early challenge is to ignore the scorpion that shoots out sideways on levelling the cooking stone.
And this is the project in full cry and there was some white on the egg when I finally assembled my epic fried egg sandwich!
It was a great 24 hours as I return to Las Vegas to catch the following Amtrak train.
Strangely, though, yesterday's train was still there.
Yes, it had broken down and it was a combined Desert Wind that departed for Chicago,
27 hours late for a significant number of passengers!
And here we are at Salt Lake City with the remainder of the eggs as a present for Patti and Davy,
friends of the family and my hosts here.
I visit Temple Square and the impressive Mormon Temple.
And admire the huge organ in the adjacent Tabernacle, over 11,500 pipes, the largest being hollowed out trees.
And look at the handcarts, pulled for over 1000 miles by some of the early, 1860ish, Mormon pioneers.
The Salt Lake City area is currently a hub for three daily Amtrak trains as we now board The Pioneer at nearby Ogden for Portland, Oregon.
And at Portland we change to the Empire Builder, which does something handy crossing the Rockies,
as it calls at some very small stations including this one, Essex, in mountainous Montana.
Essex settlement is only the Izaak Walton Inn and a rail yard for engines assisting trains over the Marias Pass.
As we finish this trip with an autumn drive through Glacier National Park.
On a road that crosses the Rockies at Logan Pass.
And here, amongst snow, when a few days ago we were frying an egg on a rock, we bring our trip to a close.
Such are the contrasts of America!
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