The Desert Dash: Vegas, Grand Canyon, & Tucson

Red Rocks

Red Rocks + Lake Mead

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 Guys, sorry for SO many pictures, but come’on! How beautiful is the desert! Like seriously, I had NO idea that I would fall in love with the scenery as much as I did. I am going to try not to give you a play by play here, but you might recall from my packing post that this was Dan and I’s first vacation on a plane together, it’s been 10+ years so this is REALLY pathetic, I know. I guess we prefer traveling separately? Who knows?!

We flew Southwest (my personal preference- esp. for solo travel), and on our trip to Vegas we were in group C so our chances of sitting together were zilch, so he bought the $80 upgrade.. how cute is he?! Needless to say, we started our trip on a really cute romantic gesture.

This trip was fueled by some major nostalgia. My Grandparents spent my entire life retired and being “snow birds” where they spent a few months of the year during our dreaded PA winters in Arizona. I am the only Grandchild who hadn’t been to see them and since we lost my Grandfather a few years ago my Grandma has really been wanting me to get out there, because well, who knows what year will be her last out there, for a variety of reasons. On top of that, I got a great hotel rate in Vegas through Hilton Grand Vacations, so we decided to make it a road trip.

LAS VEGAS

We spent Thursday and Friday in Vegas, which was not nearly enough time to experience Vegas. We typically follow our stomachs around when we travel, and we didn’t have nearly enough opportunities to really get into food- in fact we only ate twice the whole time we were in Vegas. Bummer.

Highlights:
 Red Rocks, Cirque de Soleil- Michael Jackson ONE (such a fun show!), brunch at Eat! in Downtown Vegas, and well, our hotel was attached to Planet Hollywood so I had the satisfaction of knowing I was in close proximity to Britney.

Not so Memorable: Our required “time share” presentation that enabled the amazing room rate previously mentioned (honestly an interesting presentation with a terrible presenter, we ended up getting into a spat, The Elara- Vegas (this one was a total disappointment as it is 1. Hilton 2. the photos look AMAZING online) — the skinny here is basically that Hilton purchased this hotel is in the midst of a top to bottom remodel and we were in one of the old rooms. Lucky us! Think Hotel Cortez from American Horror Story. That’s a lovely thought to fall asleep to, isn’t it?!

Saturday was our road trip day that went a little like this: Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon West; then onward to Tucson. Note: Driving from Grand Canyon West to Tucson is desolate for the most part, make sure you have a relatively full tank of gas before driving through Arizona.

This whole day was a highlight, it was insanely fun and memorable. All places mentioned are worth seeing at least once. The Grand Canyon is obviously breathtaking… but like, hello. It’s a 5,000 foot drop off with ZERO protection from just like falling straight down. I guess that’s my lowlight, I couldn’t get anywhere closer than 4 feet from the edge because I was terrified, thank god for the Skywalk. To the crazy man doing push ups on the ledge, thanks for making me nauseous and to all Mom’s, this is the time to get a leash for your child.  We ended that journey with a 90s fueled karaoke session in the car… it just doesn’t get much better.

TUCSON

We were in Tucson Sunday & Monday with my Gram with a return flight early Tuesday morning. It was so great to see their place out there and visit with my Great Aunt and Uncle –it’s so beautiful there!

Highlights: Kartchner Caverns, Sabino Canyon, brunch at Commoner & Co., Sunset at Gate’s Pass

Lowlight: Tombstone – I guess it’s one of those things you can say you saw. But it’s SO TOURISTY, like BAD cheesy tourist trap- I wouldn’t even take any possible future children there kind of bad.

All in all this was a truly memorable trip- we’ve already started listing things we missed that we want to go back for!