Daniele has come out to the States to stay visit me every winter since we met in Fall 2010. We normally use this time for a mix of local friends and family visits in the NE US and a trip to somewhere that is not home. In February 2011 we went to Costa Rica (and NE cities of Philadelphia, NYC, and Boston). In November 2011 we drove down the California Coast from San Francisco to San Diego before joining my family for Thanksgiving. Then in November 2012 we flew out west to see and camp in some great american parks.
Obviously November 2012 was a little while ago now. After this trip it was Christmas, then I was getting ready to go back to Italy, then I was adjusting to being back in Italy, and then is was already so old that it became a low priority. So here I am finally writing about it now. I like to back date posts about trips like this so that it falls in order with other things I’ve done and reads more like the travel diary this is.
We flew in and out of Las Vegas for this trip. It’s about the closest airport for the parks we were visiting and comes with the added bonus of VEGAS! I’ve been a few times, for a pair of Defcons and my cousin’s destination wedding, but this was Daniele’s first time. We only passed through twice, not staying too long. The first time we hit up the newer Vegas and on the way out we visited the older Vegas.
We made a point of visiting the Venetian, Caesar’s and the Paris, a weird little exaggerated and simultaneously Americanized slice of Europe.
On our way out it was days before Thanksgiving, so there were Christmas decorations. I had only ever been to Las Vegas in the summer before and it was a little weird to see Christmas Trees, figures, and garland amid swimming pools and desert-like weather.
From here we picked up our rental car and drove throughout the night (sleeping shortly in a gas station parking lot) to arrive at the Grand Canyon bright and early. We spent that day on the rim, the next day hiking down, the following hiking back up, then we were off to the Petrified Forrest, Monument Valley, and a short stop and Lake Powell before circling back to Vegas for our flight back east for Thanksgiving. There were a lot of places that we wanted to fit into this trip, but we had to be realistic about how much driving we could do. Also it was November and places like Zion are best experienced when it’s warmer. We were also limited by sunlight. It started getting dark by 4, giving us very little time to explore before we had to concentrate on getting to our campsite and getting set up. We slept in the car a few times, trading off camping for being able to see more.
Google auto-generated a nice little “Story” summarizing the whole trip. I’m also going to be writing about each of the places for the rest of the week.
Photo Album for Las Vegas: