National Park Accommodations
It wasn’t until a few years ago that I discovered a major source of photo opportunities I had yet to tap. The United States National Parks. There are some amazing visual treats just waiting for a creative eye and a camera. Finding great light takes some research, planning and luck with Mother Nature, but all of the major natural wonders are well documented which makes the research relatively easy.
Any type of travel requires basic logistics–food and lodging. What I am learning is that most national parks are not located near large cities. In fact, every park I have been to so far has been somewhat remote. When you mix a great American attraction in a rural area with the great American families they attract, you end up with budget (family friendly) motels and restaurants.
I’m not suggesting there is anything wrong with budget, family friendly hotel chains like Motel 6, Days Inn and Best Western. They provide the basic needs and are typically clean and less expensive. For people who are used to a bit more upscale hotel experience, it’s hard to get excited about staying in a La Quinta Inn. The same scenario is typically true for the area restaurants.
However, when in Rome… If possible, find out where the locals eat. Restaurants cater to their clientele and the locals won’t go back for food that isn’t good. In this case, we were in Page, Arizona, after spending the day touring the Grand Canyon. Page has a population of 7,000 people but sees several hundred tourists every day, visiting the awe inspiring canyons in the Navajo Nation.
From the list of suggested restaurants given to us at check-in, we chose Fiesta Mexicana Family Restaurant. Just to be on the safe side I asked a couple leaving the restaurant if the food was good and they assured us it was. It was late and we were tired. We ordered a Cosmopolitan to start and immediately ran into a bit of a translation roadblock. Apparently most people order Margaritas and our server ended up trading tables with another server who spoke better English.
We went immediately to entrees since we were tired and hungry. We ordered the Camarones ala Plancha (shrimp sauteed in garlic butter, served with mushrooms, rice and beans) and Camarones ala Fiesta. The server said they were the two best shrimp dishes on the menu. What could be better than shrimp wrapped in bacon and fried? Cover the plate with cheese, of course!
Both dishes were tasty and satisfied our hungry stomachs. Unfortunately for me, the fat content of the bacon and cheese didn’t sit well in my low fat friendly stomach. It was difficult to sleep soundly for our early morning canyon tour the next day.