We started this trip on the Las Vegas Strip. See above. Square = We don't gamble beyond friendly pinochle wagers, don't drink enough to qualify as social drinkers, and don't hire prostitutes. Why Vegas? I said yes when I should have said no to a Wyndham vacation presentation invitation. My rationales were that Steve wanted to see Vegas shows and we wanted to see the National Parks of the SouthWest.
For the record, we did not buy vacation credits from Wyndham. They didn't release us from sales prison in the promised two hours either, but instead deluged us with ever increasing torrents of pressure to buy for four hours. Since they controlled the transportation and the bribes, we were stuck.
We saw Shania Twain at Caesar's Palace. Superb. We attended Cirque du Soleil--Michael Jackson One. I would never classify myself as a Jackson fan, but the show was beyond superb with breathtaking acrobatics performed to Jackson's music.
For the record, there is a huge difference between knowing a location is desert and experiencing it. The difference between 75% humidity and 5% is more than 70 points. It is hair that doesn't frizz out of control, sweat that instantly evaporates, and beverages glasses that don't sweat. It's skin so dry it cracks, air so moistureless the nose bleeds, and uniquely different allergies. And cottonwood trees shedding white, fluffy tufts of pollen. And dust. And sand. And wild temperature swings from 40 to 100 degrees. Yes, it is desert, but it is mountainous desert ranges in many locations. The elevation at Bryce Canyon is 8,100 feet, meaningful when hiking and struggling for oxygen with Florida conditioned lungs.
Our first stop was the Grand Canyon, which didn't look anything like I envisioned and surpassed my wildest imagination. A California Condor in flight thrilled us, then fascinated us by perching on a ledge for a couple hours. A scampering chipmunk crossed our path as it hurried into the canyon, making me laugh with delight.