Once back at the top, we took the shuttle bus back to the visitors center. We walked around the very informative visitors center while waiting for the bus to take us back to the Yavapai and became so engrossed that we almost missed the bus. We did notice it finally and made a mad dash for it. We barely made it and it was pretty full so we were sort of crammed in by the door. Ryan and Gina were discussing and pointing at a small grey object laying on the ground so I asked what was wrong. Seems Gina thought Ryan had kicked something while running to the bus and that the something might have fallen out of the camcorder bag. I looked at the object in the distance and thought, "hmmm, that is just about the size of the lens cap" so I said "quick, off the bus!" just as the doors were closing. We went back to the object and sure enough it was the lens cap! (and we just saved Ryan a week's worth of allowance to replace it).
We were all pretty tired after the hike (and getting up at 5:30 for some of us ;-) so we headed back to the Yavapai for a brief nap. Afterwards we headed into Tusayan, the very small town just outside the park for dinner. Gina wanted steak so we went to the where else but "The Steakhouse". But first we stopped to get gas- $1.79 / gallon for the cheap stuff! What a ripoff- it was $1.29 in Phoenix. *** We went in and were seated. I looked at the menu and saw that this was not going to be an inexpensive event. About then a loud low-frequency throbbing sound started that you could hear and feel. I got up to see if it was related to our table position and sure enough, it immediately faded when I moved around. The waitress came over to get our drink order and I asked if we could move to another table across the room. She said "no, that is not in my section". I felt like saying "well I don't really care, I just want to eat without having my food digested by subsonic pulses". Instead I asked if she could hear that horrible noise. She said "yes, that is the kitchen fan... what would you like to drink?". So I once again asked if we could move anywhere else and she reluctantly moved us. *** We ordered and finally got our food. We asked for refills on our drinks and she said you don't get refills (at least not free ones). What a crock... our dinners were $15/ea and they couldn't give us $.10 worth of pop!?! We concluded the meal as quickly as possible (with water) and I went to pay the bill. Fortunately the guys in front of me were having a disagreement with the cashier because it gave me a chance to look at the bill. It came to about $53 and there was a mysterious "subtotal" entry of $7.91 for a grand total of around $61. When I finally got up to the register, I asked about the subtotal and the cashier explained that it was the tip. Huh? subtotal = tip? She pointed to a very faint grey "gratuity included" stamp at the top of the receipt that I would never have noticed. I wonder how many people double pay the tip... *** After "dinner" we drove over to the IMAX theater and watched a movie about the Grand Canyon. It was pretty good (but not as good as the real thing ;-) *** On the way back to the Yavapai the road was empty . I happened to look out the back window and it was absolutely pitch black- like someone painted the windows flat black. We stopped at Mather Point where there where a few other people and watched the stars. The Milky Way was plainly visible. We saw several satellites and a meteor. There were so many stars visible that it was hard to pick out the constellations. I wish I could get my 10" telescope up there!