While in Las Vegas, tourists would normally go Grand Canyon. There are two viewing point, one at South Rim and West Rim. West Rim is closer to Las Vegas, about 3 hours drive from the Strip Vegas. South Rim has a better scenic view but it is longer time to reach 4-5 hours drive. Due to the weather condition in winter ( ice may accumulate near the mountain area), we have decided to change to West Rim (2.5 hrs) Grand Canyon. Well, at least it is better than no Grand Canyon at all.
1. Arizona Last Stop
We went in for a break at the Arizona Last Stop, along Highway 93, opposite of the way toward Grand Canyon West Rim. We made a U turn and had a break there. I was surprised to find out so many interesting activities in this place. Outdoor Shooting Range, Monster Truck Ride & plenty of photo opportunities.
Outdoor Shooting Range
After we get off the car, we heard loud shot, sound like fire crackers. Then only realized there is outdoor shooting range beside the service area.
Grand Canyon Helicopter Ride
Extreme adventure : Monster Truck Ride
The wheels are super huge, I should stand there then you will know how big these monster wheels are, taller than me. The monster truck will bring you to the desert ride.
Gun for Sales at Mini Mart Gas Station
We wanted some drinks and used the toilet so went in to the mini mart, shocked to see guns were displayed at the counter.
Scorpion Suckers Candy
At the mini mart, I also discovered interesting insects suckers candy. Cubes of translucent red, yellow, orange, or blue candy and flavoring on a stick—each one with a crunchy and dead surprise inside. Usually displayed at the counter for tourists who are going to Grand Canyon.
Fancy Texas Boot
The Usual Drinks corner
Drinks cost about USD $ 3 to 5 dollars, depending on the size.
Route 66 & Route 99 Souvenirs
Route 66 is iconic because it is also known as the Mother Road which was established in 1926. However Route 66 is not longer exist.
Route 99 is also another famous highway route, is historical route, known as Main Street of California.
All types of knives
Zoltar – Fortune Teller Machine
I saw this thing on TV, especially on American drama. Zoltar in Greek means “life”. Just slot in some money and Zoltar will tell you about your destiny. There will be a card popping out at the end. You can read about your destiny in detail from the card.
Freaking Alien Murals
Area 51 was seen painted at one of the store at Last Stop Arizona. Of course this is not the real Area 51.
Area 51 is located about 130 km away from Las Vegas, a remote area for the air force base. Rumour said some unidentified objects /UFO were seen flying near area 51 in 1955.
Arizona State sits next to California & Nevada State. Arizona state has nickname “The Grand Canyon State” Or “The Copper State” because of plenty of minerals. Calling Arizona ” The Grand Canyon State” because the natural wonder is at this state. Arizona State used to be part of Mexico so Mexican food is very popular here, such as Burritos.
2.Dolan Springs, a small town in Arizona
There is a small town that you will pass by before entering Grand Canyon West Rim. The town is called Dolan Springs. I was curious and wonder why there are residents living in this place. What I can see, the condition is pretty harsh. Most of the homes here are ramshackle and unkempt! Pretty interesting site for me who came from Asia.
Sellers on the roadside for Grand Canyon tourist
Once you enter Dolan Springs, the traffic is two way toward Grand Canyon West Rim.
There is no agriculture, mining, industry or traffic in this rural desert area. The area is beautiful but to live here as a residents make me think twice. There are electricity poles but not sure about the water here?
Family Dollar Stores
The one and only Mini-mart in the small town, not sure this is for tourists or for 4,000 residents here?
There are table & seat outside the Cafe but this desert area is very dusty.
Hot Diggety Dog
There are not many choices of eatery place after you enter Dolan Springs, Hot Diggety Dog serve sandwiches & hot dogs & some sweet stuff.
Mount Tipton School
Wow, there is even school here at Dolan Springs.
Dolan Springs Indian Trading Post
This red container building sit in the middle of the town of Dolan Springs. Inside you find snacks, drinks & souvenirs. The red building looks bright and stand out from the mountain, you won’t miss out.
Housing in Dolan Springs
The houses are surrounded by cactus plants, Joshua Trees can be seen everywhere. These place should have lot of poisonous rattlesnakes, scorpions & spiders.
Who will be living here? Probably, some retirees and people who love natures. Air quality should be good but there a lot of flying dust as this place is very sandy.
Mail boxes line up at the roadside.
I did not see many livestock in this area, only spotted two to three cows at the side of the road. I don’t think this desert area has enough grass hay to feed the cow.
Some tourist just take a stop at a random place to check out the beautiful Joshua Trees, but there is another greater site which better display of the Joshua Trees at Grapevine Mesa Joshua Trees Forest!
3.Grapevine Mesa Joshua Trees Forest
The Grapevine Mesa Joshua Trees Forest is located even nearer to Grand Canyon West Rim, at Mohave County. The entrance of the Mesa Joshua Trees forest is located at the intersection. You will see many curious tourists pull over to take pictures with this strange looking flora – the taller tree/cactus that like a tree is called Joshua Tree. You will not see anything like this in California States but only in Arizona near Grand Canyon!
Joshua trees are native to the southwestern United States and grow 3500-4500 feet in elevation in areas with an average rainfall of 9-12 inches per year. There can be some snowfall in the winter months.
There are some hiking trails to check out the incredible natural phenomenon but I was actually worried to bump into the rattlesnakes.
Cholla is another type of cactus, native to Mexico which has a cylindrical stem. (Refer to picture below)
A local selling some stone jewelry near the entrance of Grapevine Mesa Joshua Trees Forest.
Approaching West Rim, Grand Canyon
The colorful rock layers record billion of years of history!
Enjoy a short video clip – almost there but not yet there, to be continue.
Final thoughts :
The road trip from Las Vegas took about 3 hours, three interesting stop you may want to pull over and go down have a look before you reach Grand Canyon West Rim.
- Arizona Last Stop – Don’t be alarmed by the shooting sounds
- Dolan Springs small town – Check out the line up mail boxes at the roadside
- Grapevine Mesa Joshua Trees Forest – Experience the hike in desert walk
Nearby Attractions :