Vegas Part 1: The Drive
Believe it or not, I had never been to Las Vegas before this year... I know, I know, everyone has that one Vegas trip story where things happen a bit like the movie "The Hangover" but with less tigers and more losing at cards. But not me! At least not yet. So Jeff and I finally decided to suck it up and drive out to the desert one four day weekend to visit his dad there. Yup I said drive. Over a four day weekend. Half of which was spent driving. But hey, Vegas baby! And actually, the drive was absolutely worth it, it was so beautiful! I had also never been to Utah and never dreamed that it had such a pretty landscape. So to kick off the story, I'll tell you all about our scenic drive across the Rockies and through Utah to get to Vegas. In my next post, I'll share with ya'll more about our actual time in Vegas, including a trip to the Neon Boneyard.
So we set off on a Thursday evening after work and drove straight across the Rockies. The farthest I had been was up to Vail, so it was really cool for me to see how the mountains changed as you passed over them.
We got as far as Grand Junction, Colorado and stopped to camp for the night. I say "camp" but we actually have this fun little SUV that folds down in the back and we usually just sleep in the back with sleeping bags and blankets - way easier than pitching a tent at 10 p.m. after driving for 5ish hours. Also I say "SUV" very generously... you may have noticed in the first picture of this post that she's not very big. But hey, we love her!
You may have also noticed a few other things in the backseat... only the necessary supplies... beer and citronella candles... really do you need anything else for a night of camping? Anyways, we spent a lovely night at this great little campground Junction West RV Park, which I highly recommend if you're camping anywhere near Grand Junction. Cleanest showers I've seen at a camping area and the lady at the front desk was so helpful on the phone. Also, no one called yelled at us when I accidentally set off the car alarm when I had to pee in the middle of the night, so yeah... understanding neighbors! So after a night of rest, it was off for more driving! Much, much more driving...
Hello Utah! Another state that I had never been to marked off my list. Yay! Anyways, just across the border from Colorado into Utah is the Arches National Park. This park is where all those red arches that you see when you google "Utah" are located.
Unfortunately, we were traveling on a holiday weekend and expected the park to be busy, and also we didn't want to spend a whole lot of time driving around aimlessly when there was so much more driving ahead of us... so our solution was this: I found a "scenic bypass" road on the map. Dun, dun dun... cue images of that family vacation where dad took a "shortcut" and ended up taking twice as long... although that never happened to us, dad was great with a map! But everyone knows the "shortcuts" are never really shorter. So it was with a bit of trepidation that we turned off the highway onto a bumpy two lane road.
It was pretty deserted at first, but then we started seeing some landmarks in the distance and began to have hope that we wouldn't be lost in the Utah desert forever. And as we got closer, the scenery became more picturesque and eventually, it was beautiful!
When we got to the end of the two lane scenic bypass, it dropped us off in Moab near the entrance of the Arches National Park. So basically, we got the free tour of the outskirts of the park with way less traffic. And on the plus side, it only took us an extra hour or two to drive it. I'd say that's a road trip win! It was also my favorite part of the drive... check out my Utah Photo Gallery for more pics. So after filling up on gas in Moab, we turned back onto the main highway and headed west once again.
We stopped at a gorge (I can't remember the name... something about eagles maybe?) to stretch our legs. It really is impossible to describe how endless it feels standing on the edge of something like that! I suppose that's what it feels like when you see the Grand Canyon (another stop on my to-do list of the west!).
I think the reason I didn't mind all the driving through Utah was that it was so beautiful and the scenery changed every hour or so - I had no idea the state's landscape was so diverse!
We stopped off for a lovely visit with my Aunt Bobbi in St. George, Utah and then got back on the road for the last leg of the journey. Honestly, I have no idea when we actually crossed into Arizona, except that it was sometime around when we passed through this gorge (picture below).
And after that, it wasn't too far until we hit Vegas! Tune in for the next post to hear more about our actual time in Vegas including a visit to the Neon Boneyard and check out the Utah Photo Gallery for more scenic pictures of the drive. Thanks for reading and I hope our trip inspired you to take a drive somewhere new!