The Great Escape of 2015 – Day 4 – Zion National Park and Vegas

Today we woke up in Moab, Utah with Las Vegas on our minds.  We have family in Vegas that we never have the opportunity to hang out with and we were super excited to be catching up with them.

We packed up our room and nibbled some breakfast on the patio overlooking the amazing Moab terrain, where we met a gentleman who raved about Zion National Park.  This was another place my brother tried to build a case for before we left but we had just 3 weeks to make it all the way across the country and back, which really, is barely enough time to pull it off.  So, Moab made the cut this time and Zion didn’t…..that is, until this fine gentleman told us it was just a small wander from I-15 which we were riding most of the day anyway.

*A little note: In our great, western states, “a small wander” is relative.  Driving out west is so very different than what we’re used to in PA.  That quick trip off the interstate can take hours.*

So, when we hopped in the car, we loaded the visitor’s center to Zion into the GPS and off we went.  For most of our day we enjoyed watching the incredibly desolate abyss that is I-15 in Utah go by…until we arrived in Zion.  What an absolutely stunning place!

When we finally made it into the visitor’s center, which honestly, was anything but a quick trip from the highway, we were all beyond famished.  But it was nearly closing time so we popped into the visitor’s center quick to have our Junior Ranger books approved and to see what we could get ourselves into before they shut the doors for the night.  The shuttle bus was making one final, hour-long run up through their hiking trails so we hopped on that with the intention of letting the famished children munch a bag of trail mix during the ride.  For a few of us, hungry=hangry and that’s not a place we want to be.  So, the trail mix was essential.  However, rule number one was no eating or drinking on the bus….which ended up being fine for everyone except for boy #3 who spent the ride enamored with the mountains and the little people putting up tents for the night on the little ledges they’d managed to climb to….and eating his boogers and ear wax.  SICK!  I guess when you’re that tired and hungry and the bag of gorp in your lap is teasing you, anything not written in the rules as strictly off limits is fair game.

By the time we arrived back at our car, it was nearly 6:30 with, I thought, two hours left on the road before we’d see the bright lights of Vegas, and our family who was waiting so patiently for us.  I also thought we’d be passing another time zone so we’d be meeting up with them no later than 8:00.

As it turns out, the arrival time the GPS gave us was already on Pacific time so, really, we had 3 hours and some pretty wild traffic we didn’t anticipate separating us from our cousins in Vegas.  Thankfully, they are night owls and were sweet enough to wait up for us.

One great thing about Vegas is that it really never sleeps.  There’s something to do all day and night, so while I felt like a giant heel having asked our cousins to meet us so crazy late, it didn’t bother Vegas a bit.

We met up with them at Buddy’s Bakery in the Venetian Resort, grabbed some tasty, over-priced desserts, and let the kids roam the bridges and watch the gondolas float by as we adults caught up.  It was so much fun!

On our journey so far, we’d crossed time zones almost every day.  So, while it was mid-night in Vegas our bodies were feeling more like the 3:00am east coast time we’re used to. We were eating up every spec of enjoyment Brenda’s family and the Venetian had to offer but we were all seriously pooped.

We hugged our cousins good-bye, jumped in the car, and pushed our weary bodies on to Pahrump, Nevada where our smelly, Best Western awaited us.

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