With a little inspiration from Curtis who wanted a better way to celebrate his high school graduation than digging ditches around the house, we decided to "go south" during Christmas vacation. We settled on flying round trip to Las Vegas and hiking around southern Utah.
We spent the first evening driving back and forth to Eugene, because after a six hour delay our flight was postponed until the next day. After we arrived at the hotel in Las Vegas, we were happy about the delay.
Las Vegas is a very busy, buzzing place, maybe because half the world decided to visit for Christmas vacation, just like us. The other half went to Paris, France (been there, done that, never again).
Sheryl did great finding hotels. The Travelodge was right on "the strip", so we walked back and forth. The buildings -- mega theme hotels, are almost as amazing as some of the "wildlife" we saw on the sidewalks.
Our favorite site is the Bellagio fountains. Spectacular.
The next day we rode around on a tour bus, taking in the sites along the north and south ends of the strip. Then we went to a chocolate factory and cactus garden.
That night was spent "downtown" at "The D", a small hotel by Vegas standards, 34 floors, 638 rooms, with a smoky casino at the bottom. It smelled like cigarette smoke everywhere we went, both indoors and outdoors. We walked to the Golden Nugget for a buffet dinner. The nightlife on the street was not family friendly but the downtown container park was.
Friday morning we spent at the Mob Museum. It is amazing what mobsters will do to avoid work! Then we drove to Hurricane, UT where we rented an airbnb house. Jason and Isa joined us after driving from SLC, yay!! Trevor felt sick for a day so stayed on the couch while we drove to Zion's Park on Saturday. It was crowded, so we saw part of if by car. We returned in time to catch a movie, which Curtis made memorable by feeling sick just as it ended. The teenagers working in the lobby earned their pay that night...
Sunday rolled around, so Sheryl and Jonathan made the long trek across the street to church. After an hour or so of that, Jason and Isa wanted to go, so Sheryl went with them to a later ward's meeting -- a twofer for Sheryl. After a haunted house game, we went to St. George to tour the Jacob Hamblin home. There we sadly said goodbye to Jason and Isa and then went to the temple and visitor center.
Monday was the highlight sightseeing-wise. We went early to Snow Canyon, and beside being almost empty of people, it was spectacular. We went on numerous short trails, each one radically different. The longest hike featured fossilized sand dunes, a short lava tube cave, and an easy-to-climb mini-mountain.
Monday night we checked in at the Hoover Dam Lodge, allowing us to hit it early in the morning so we could get in a dam tour. We got to see inside the belly of the big dam beast. Wow. So much concrete and water. After that we walked along the "bypass bridge", which is something to see of itself, and Jonathan had a chance to babble some German with a native who spent a semester in the States.
The journey ended after an uneventful drive to the Las Vegas airport and the flight back to Eugene. The cats were alive and well and very happy to see us again, and vice versa.
Jonathan's favorite - touring Hoover Dam
Sheryl's favorite - hike in Snow Canyon State Park
Trevor's favorite - coming home
Curtis' favorite - seeing the big city of LV and Mob Museum