Skywalk to Las Vegas, Diamond Bar Road – Hazards of a Gravel Road
I was up at Grand Canyon West for a Skywalk tour from Las Vegas yesterday, having a great time with some terrific guests who became my new friends from Loo-Zee-Anne.
Yep, they live on the bayou and had just driven 1860 miles from Louisiana. I gaarrr-aahnn-tee.
Joyce and her husband Noble were on bona-fide road trip to Las Vegas with their grandson Zachary.
Joyce had wanted to see the Grand Canyon for years. She told me it was ranked very high on her ‘bucket list’.
Maybe it was just my lucky day, but I was the next guide up – and it was my privilege to be their driver and guide on their Grand Canyon tour.
I had so much fun with them – for me, it was one of my very best days ever as a guide. My new Cajun friends were a blast to hang out with.
More about Joyce and Noble and Zachary later.
For now, though, a road hazard warning as you go down Diamond Bar Road on the way to the Skywalk at the Grand Canyon West Rim.
There are 9 miles of unpaved road as you travel across the corner of the Grand Canyon Ranch heading up toward Grand Canyon West.
The gravel starts just before Rattlesnake Hill and you don’t hit pavement again until you get to the welcome sign at the border of the Hualapai Nation.
We were in the Detours Custom Touring Van on the way back to Las Vegas, and while we were still on the pavement on the Hualapai Nation, I pulled over to let a full-sized, 50-passenger tour bus pass us. I know they like to keep their speed up when the get on the gravel, and I like to take it just a little easy, so I just let the bus driver go around.
I let him get a little distance ahead so we wouldn’t eat his dust on Diamond Bar.
About 3 miles into the gravel, there was a whole bus-sized tire casing laying in the road, and Noble said he thought we’d see that bus pulled over shortly.
Sure enough, less than a mile further down Diamond Bar Road, there was the bus that had passed us, stopped along-side the road with a shredded tire.
I pulled over to ask the driver if he needed us to call anyone when we got in cell-phone range, but he had a satellite phone and was able to contact his dispatcher.
He thanked us for stopping, and we headed on down the road.
Flat tires can happen even to safe and courteous drivers, like the driver of this bus.
If you are driving through the desert, especially on rough roads like Diamond Bar, be prepared before you leave Las Vegas.
- Be sure your tires are inflated properly and have plenty of tread.
- Don’t go too fast because the gravel can put you sideways before you can even think.
- Watch out for the sharp rocks that the road grader either missed or kicked up.
- Carry a spare, a proper jack, and know how to replace a tire.
- Have an umbrella for shade – you’ll appreciate it if you have to change a tire in July or August.
- You will be traveling through the desert, take at least 1 quart of water for each passenger.