After the Artist Palette, we drove to our next route towards the famous Las Vegas. We stayed at the Residence Inn Las Vegas Convention Centre. The stay was very pleasant as we had two “Bedroom Bi-level Loft” rooms. We stayed in this convention centre for two nights and experienced the whole of Las Vegas.
On day 6, we left for a 50 minute drive to see one of the biggest dams in the world called the Hoover Dam. It is located just on the boarder of Nevada and Arizona. The dam is on Colorado River. The dam provides water and hydroelectric power for Nevada, Arizona and California. We had to make sure we were hydrated as we saw many ambulances arriving to help people as the heat had gotten to them. Bearing in mind we had gone in the morning! After a quick stop for lunch….you can guess….Chipotle! From there we went straight to the famous Vegas sign. Just on the other side was a beautiful view of private jets landing into Vegas. I loved it! Once everyone had taken individual photos, we quickly snapped our “squad” photo and headed back to the inn and freshened up. We had an early dinner and it was our typical Indian meal which everyone had been craving for since it had been a while since we had Indian food. While having dinner we watched “Rush Hour” and had a few laughs. Thereafter, we got into the van and drove along the Vegas strip. after a good drive, we parked on the side roads and took a long stroll along the strip and went exploring in the two famous hotels – Caesars Palace and Bellagio. We even managed to see the fountain show through the Bellagio hotel window. We walked around for a little while longer before heading back to the residence inn and ending the long day there.
Day 7 started with our journey to Zion National Park in Utah. We stopped over for a service stop as the drive from Las Vegas to Utah was 2 hours. We then headed first to our hotel accommodation at Best Western Plus Zion. We checked in and had salad wraps for lunch. We prepared ourselves and drove to Zion National Park which was approx 30 minutes away from the hotel.
Zion National Park goes through the reddish Navajo Sandstone by the North Fork of the Virgin River. As we approached the park, it began to rain and so we rushed to get some ponchos to prevent us from getting too wet. The park has its own shuttle bus that takes visitors around. We boarded the next shuttle bus and we drove through the most scenic views of majestic rock formations in the zion park. Every angle we looked at was magical. The fresh crystal clear river flows along the road side of the route and cuts through the valley. There were some forest trails along the virgin river for those wanting to take a scenic walk. The bus route has 9 stops so visitors can hop on and hop off at any stop along the route. we stopped at the 7th stop which had a wider view of the park. This was our opportunity to take snaps for some great memories of this natural formations.
Shortly after hop-on-hop off shuttle arrived and we drove past the last two stops along the route. This was a hilarious journey back as the driver had some good humour and told some jokes through the announcement system. One joke that’s stuck in mind was “What did the sushi say to the bee? Wasabbe!” As we enjoyed the commentator of our journey, for a good memory, we captured a quick photo with him before heading back to the exist. Our parents decided to buy love locks for the “Lovescape” and so we spent a good half an hour watching the parents trying to put their love locks on. They seem to have locked well! It was approaching late afternoon and the sun was setting beautifully over the rocky formations. For dinner we grabbed Taco Bell before returning back to our over night stay at Best Western Plus Zion West.
The next morning we got up bright and early and drove around 2 hours to Glen Canyon Dam. It is on the Colorado River in Northern Arizona. The dam was a beautiful scene with the bright blue river flowing so calm along the deep gorge.
We drove slowly through towards the next stop the most amazing horse shoe bend which was 10 minutes away. It was approaching midday and the temperature was rising steadily and heat could be felt. Northern Arizona temperatures in August is quite warm and dry heat flow could be felt. We filled our water bottles, got our hats out and headed towards the edge of the horse shoe bend. It is about a 3/4 mile walk out to the edge of Horseshoe Bend. As we approached toward the edge, another magical scene unfolded. the view of the river deep below from the edge of the horde shoe bend was an unimaginable site. it was as though the whole view was carved out by an artist. the river has cut though the earth and carved through so deep over several millennia and formed into a most breath taking natural formation. When looking down you get adrenaline rush and it gets some time to get used to standing on the edge of the deep cliff as you slowly realise how far above you are. The edge of the cliff is not protected by barriers and so quite dangerous as one can slip and fall into the steep drop. It took us quite sometime to get used to standing close to the edge to take some pictures and take the views of the yet another magical vastness. As you stand on the edge of the canyon you can see the the sparkling sharp blue and green colour river almost seems as though its stationary. After a great view of the beautiful horse shoe bend, we walked back to the van and as it was approaching 1pm, we drove towards fast food courts nearby and we found Subway and Burger King just perfect for an afternoon meal.
Soon after lunch, we then set off towards our next destination 2 hours away from horse shoe bend called Monument Valley which means valley of the rocks. It is located on the boarder of Arizona and Utah. The valley is a vivid red colour as it comes from iron oxide and the darker, blue-gray rocks in the valley get the color from manganese oxide. As we approached the park, from a distance we could already see the magnificent structures carved by nature. Shortly after we arrived at the park and got our entry passes which allows visitors to drive along mud paths to see the wonderful structures from close proximity. We slowly drove past through the route leading to the magnificent structures passing 11 different points each had a unique name given to the structure based on the way it looks. Some names I recall were “The Thumb”, “Artist’s Point” and “The Mittens and Merrick Butte”. we stopped by one of the sections of the park over looking the great features to take some snaps as per the norm. We couldn’t have enough of this but had to leave to move to our next destination before it got dark. There was a hotel over looking the park which we tried to book 7 months in advance but due to its popularity and high demand, we could not get any booking. Its a shame as I could imagine the views waking up early morning to see the awe of the monument valley. Driving out of the park, we could still not resist taking more snaps as the beautiful views continued even from the far distance. One of the best shot was siluette type snap taken from a distance. We continued the journey towards our overnight stay at place called San Juan Inn. On route we passed another beautiful stone formation known as Mexcian Hat. Literally looked like a person with a large hat on except that it was formed by rocks.
We finally arrived at San Juan Inn, checked-in, settled and freshened up. Since it was early for dinner, we had a brain wave and thought we could sneak over to a place called natural bridges which was about an hours drive. Navigating on google, we took a route that was shorter distance. driving through the route, we came through a rough terrain which lead to a steep climb to cross a hill to the other side. We realised that the road was very risky with deep side increasing in depth as we drove up the hill. We crossed the hill safely and rushed to get to the natural bridges. Sadly, as we approached the park, it got fairly dark and we could not see much of the natural formations. May be it was meant to be for a next visit. As it got dark, we took the safer route back.
We arrived back to the inn after about 2 hours and by this time everyone was starving. Dinner was mexican wraps late at 11:30pm and soon after everyone knocked out for the night.