Letters: The writer missed one of the grandest experiences in the Grand Canyon

Dawn begins to illuminate the age-old rock formations of the Grand Canyon along the South Rim near Mather Point.
Dawn begins to illuminate the age-old rock formations of the Grand Canyon along the South Rim near Mather Point.
(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

I travel extensively and have rafted down the Grand Canyon six glorious times.

I just read Edmund Vallance’s “100 Things That Make It Grand” [Oct. 20] and realized he left out one major item, Ferde Grofé’s “Grand Canyon Suite,” composed after Grofé made a journey there.

I had a life-changing moment on one Grand Canyon river trip when our guide chained our boats together in a quiet part of the river and played “Grand Canyon Suite” for the next hour. The canyon came alive with Grofé’s music, which sounded like the canyon from the thunderstorms to the mules.

If you have never listened to it, I implore you to do so. It’s amazing. If the Travel section ever repeats this top 100 list, you might want to include it.

But thank you for the wonderful list ... just short one item.

Rob Newman
Beverly Hills

Amtrak’s a deal

I enjoyed the Sept. 8 article about Amtrak’s Southwest Chief line [“Chief’s at a Crossroad,” by Karl Zimmermann].


As a Briton who has frequently visited the U.S., I have often used Amtrak sleeper services. My regular trips are on the Coast Starlight and California Zephyr.

It strikes me every time I use Amtrak that it is a fundamental service that helps your country retain its flavor, for visitors or natives. It is the ultimate Americana, and it would be a tragedy to allow it to slip further into the background.

Please keep publishing such articles and keep the service on everyone’s mind.

It is worth noting that our rail travel in the U.K. is, per mile, about 10 times more expensive than Amtrak service with a roomette and meals included. We get very sparse, poor quality seating, and no food included for our rail travel.

No matter who Amtrak sees as its core customer, it has a large number of foreign visitors who enjoy the service. I have no doubt that many of those, including myself, would gladly pay higher prices for this slice of iconic travel history.

I certainly plan to do just that in my rapidly approaching retirement years.

Alan Poole
Chester, England