Wednesday, August 5, 2009

National Parks vacation 2000 The Finale

Today is the grand finale of our National Parks vacation from 2000. Today we visit the north rim of the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park and we finally end in the wildest national park of them all, Las Vegas. What? Vegas isn't a national park? Oh well.

Sunday, August 27, 2000:

Once more we visit the Grand Canyon. This time the northern rim. Mike likes this part of the canyon best. After visiting the canyon, We'll head back up towards St George, Utah and visit Zion National Park, one of the most beautiful places in the world. After that is all set and done, we begin the long drive to Las Vegas, where we can reward ourselves with some all you can eat buffets.

Today's map - Kanab, UT to Las Vegas, NV

Today's Photos:

The Brandon Motel (the sign looks better than the rooms). This is the motel we stayed in while in Kanab, Ut. We had to stay there because of the name since Mike & I both have Brandon's. Here is Brandon (mine) and Brandan (Mike's) standing in front of the sign.

Mike & the boys hated this motel. They thought it was disgusting. It was run down, but clean. I've stayed in way worse motels in my lifetime. Some of our best "family" stories are from trashy motels we stayed in growing up. Remember the motel in Reno where when you turned on the bathroom light the floor was black with roaches that went scurrying? Or the motel in Flagstaff that we thought was a whore house? Not that we were always staying in trashy motels growing up, we just didn't stay in motels period, but the few times when we had too it seemed that trashy was all that was available (not to mention affordable) at the last minute. So compared to ones I had experienced in the past, this was a fabulous motel.

North rim of the Grand Canyon
The elevation at the north rim of the Grand Canyon is a lot higher than the south rim. So temps are much cooler here. Usually about 30 degrees cooler.
Mike's Brandan being a dare devil again. I about had a heart attack when I saw him.

Here we all with the canyon in the background.

Brandan really liked those ledges.

This was a little to close to the edge for me.

Mike, Kim, Brandon & Brandan. One last shot of us at the north rim.

Zion National Park, Utah
Next we are off to Zion National Park. I've been to Zion almost as much as I've been to the Grand Canyon. We've had a couple of family reunions right outside of the park. It used to be that you could drive up through the canyon in your own vehicle. You can no longer do that. You must take a shuttle to go up into the canyon. Since we had been here before & pressed for time, we did not go up the canyon. We just went through the back side of Zion & drove through the tunnel through the mountain.

These next few photos are of the back side of Zion National Park. I think they call this the badlands area.
Still a beautiful area.

There is a tunnel that goes through the mountain. The first time I went to Zion they allowed 2 way traffic through the tunnel. This time they only allowed 1 direction at a time through. So you may have to wait awhile for them to let your side through. Luckily we didn't have to wait too long.

Through out the tunnel they have blasted these windows so you have a brief opportunity to look out while in the tunnel.

It is very dark in the tunnel until you come upon one of these windows. I didn't get any photos looking out from the inside as the windows go by so fast. But in these last 2 photos you can see them from the outside of the cliff.

We arrive early evening in Las Vegas. This will be our final destination before heading home.

Monday, August 28, 2000:

A trip is not complete without stopping in Vegas for a day or two. That is exactly what we're doing today. This is our full day in Vegas. We are staying in the Excalibur (the castle hotel). Probably check out some sites, eat, gamble, and have fun. Oh, and see some exotic dancers.. haha just kidding about that.

A day in Las Vegas

Today's Photos:

This is where we stayed. It is a fun place to stay if you have kids as there is an arcade & midway. Also the Tournament of Kings dinner show is a fun show to take the family too. We sat in the Black Knights section & had front row seats.

Mike & I got locked up for being to unruly. Just kidding.

Everyone in Vegas wants to see the volcano at the Mirage hotel.

Kim & Brandan in front of the Mirage volcano.

Back in 2000 when we went Sigfried & Roy still had their magic show. A couple of their white tigers were always on display for the public for free. We all know what has happened since then. You now have to pay money to see the white tigers in the Secret Garden and there is now a fancy schmancy hamburger joint where the tigers used to be inside the hotel.

My favorite hotel is the Paris hotel. I've only stayed there once back in 2005. In 2000 when we went on this vacation we paid money to go up to the top of the Eiffel Tower.
Here is the view of Vegas from the top of the Eiffel tower. In 2003 I was lucky enough to actually go up the real Eiffel Tower in Paris France. Since I'm posting about past vacations all month long, I'm sure I'll post about our Europe trip in a week or so.

Looking down over the Bellagio fountains. The fountains are the best "freeby" thing to see in Vegas. Just beautiful. But if you view them from the Eiffel tower they are no longer free.

The front of the Paris hotel at night.

The ceiling in the Paris hotel walkway over to Bally's hotel.

Mike, Kim, Brandon & Brandan inside the Paris hotel & casino.

Brandan flirting with a statue in the Paris hotel. The statues there look so real.

Did you notice a theme to all my boyfriends? They don't talk back.

The Paris hotel Eiffel Tower in the daylight.

The front of the New York New York hotel & casino.

New York New York hotel in the daylight.

We stayed 2 nights in Las Vegas before heading home. It was a very fun vacation. We saw lots of beautiful National Parks. If you have never visited these National Parks, you must do so. Put them on your bucket list.

Tomorrow I will start sharing our vacation from 2001 where we went to Texas to visit another of Mike's nieces. I had never been to Texas, so it was quite a fun trip. Stay tuned.

And if you missed the first 6 days of this vacation, and want to see more beautiful national parks you can scroll down to see my previous 3 posts. Or you can click here to see days 1 & 2 (Walnut Canyon, Grand Canyon south rim & Four Corners), here for days 3 & 4 (Mesa Verde & Arches), or here for days 5 & 6 (SLC & Bryce Canyon).

I'm also linking this up to Outdoor Wednesday hosted by Susan at A Southern Daydreamer. Be sure to visit her blog for this weeks players.


Denise said...

Loved your pictures, I've been to both places and it brought back memories. My Grand Canyon pics were taken years before I used a computer so I would have to go search them out to see them again! Now days everything is stored on my hard drive (plus back up of course) and it's much easier to access photos.
Didn't you just love the lights and fountains at the Bellaggio too?

claudie said...

Now that a Manning Family Tree
How grand (canyon) of you to do this for the whole family!
Loved all your photo's..funny about the Yucky motels.
Happy OW
Love Claudie from Canada