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. Grand Canyon village was really opened up by the railway with, in 1901,
a 64 mile spur off the main line and the original log cabin station building survives.
Closed to passengers 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 from Grand Canyon village is a contrast on Indian land.
This is where you pay your money.
And this is where you are shown the dinosaur footprints.
Great to be shown round like this.
And another contrast as we rejoin the Amtrak network on the Southwest Chief and reach Los Angeles,
where this is the riverside run to the city centre.
This is Los Angeles station, another imposing, cathedral like structure.
With acres of space in which to wait for the few trains there are.
In Los Angeles I visit the Police.
.................The Helicopter Police.
But sadly the visit could 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 this desert adventure begins here, in Las Vegas, a 1905 railroad town where Union station now doubles
as the Union Plaza casino. On arrival I locate a hire car and head for the desert.
Where dawn finds us in Death Valley.
Where there is surprising variety, ghost towns for example, like short lived, gold mining, Rhyolite.
And there are desert sand dunes to prudently explore.
An incredible landscape isn't it?
But what we are really come here for, with a spatula in the backpack, is to do some cooking
and an early challenge is to ignore the scorpion that shoots out sideways when levelling the stone!
And this is the project in full cry and there was some white on the egg when I finally assembled this epic fried egg sandwich.
It was a great 24 hours as I return to Las Vegas to catch the following Desert Wind.
But strangely, on returning to Union Plaza, yesterday's train was still there.
Yes, the train I left yesterday had broken down and it was a combined Desert wind that finally departed for Chicago
27 hours late for a significant number of passengers!
And here we are on arrival at Salt Lake City with the remainder of the eggs as a present for Patti and Davy,
friends of the family and my new hosts!
We visit Temple Square and view the impressive Mormon Temple.
And admire the huge organ in the adjacent Tabernacle, over 11,500 pipes, the largest are hollowed out trees.
And look in amazement at the handcarts, pulled for over 1000 miles by some of the early, 1860ish, Mormon pioneers.
The Salt Lake City area is a hub for three Amtrak daily trains as we now board The Pioneer at Ogden for Portland, Oregon.
And at Portland we change to the Empire Builder, which does something useful crossing the Rockies,
it stops at a remote halt, Essex, in mountainous Montana.
Where I meet up with Simon, an international farming friend.
Essex is only really the Izaak Walton Inn and a rail yard for the helper engines of the Marias Pass route.
But we are actually going to finish this tour by road with an autumn drive through the Glacier National Park.
And this road crosses the Rockies at the Logan Pass.
And here, amongst the 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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