Park It Right There, Big Boy

Yesterday’s blog post focused mostly on our experiences in Las Vegas. But we spent nearly as much time outside the city. One night we spent in nearby Henderson. It’s essentially a suburb of Las Vegas, but Randy’s friends invited us over for a nice home-cooked meal. Like Randy’s friend’s house in Phoenix from our previous trip, these friends owned a 3,000+ square foot single family house….that they purchased for under $200K. Sigh.

Another day we spent visiting the Hoover Dam. We drove out in the morning and passed Lake Mead (which is apparently 50 feet lower than normal). We also got to see the new bypass road/bridge being constructed. This bridge will be a great thing for vehicular traffic (trucks, locals) who are not interested in viewing the damn but just want to get from point A to point B. It’s amazing seeing a partial bridge spanning such a enormous gorge.

The dam itself is pretty cool. We didn’t do the power plant tour, though. Instead, we drove on into Arizona for a few miles, pulled off to the side of the road, and had a picnic overlooking the desert and mountains. We also pelted Chris with ice cubes – a few even making it up the legs of his shorts.

A few days later we too a real road trip. Our first destination was Zion National Park in Utah. The topography changes drastically as you head northwest from the desert of Las Vegas. There’s a particularly scenic portion in Arizona where the road climbs through/over a mountain range. Although it was bright and sunny when we left Las Vegas, Zion was overcast and 30 degrees cooler. Though, that’s not surprising considering we were much higher in elevation We did mange to get some great shots of the mountains in the clouds. And there was a mile+ tunnel built into a mountain that was cool to drive through (it’s narrow, curvy, and has no lights). Every 1/3 mile or so there was a hole in the mountain creating a small window of light, but that was it.

We continued climbing in altitude until we reached 8,800 feet and arrived in Bryce Canyon National Park. The sun was setting, but the hoodoos (the bright red columns a result of millions of years of erosion) were quite beautiful. The hoodoos were amazing to stumble upon because the lengthy drive to them brought us through dense snow-packed forest. In fact, the roads ahead were blocked as a result of the deep snow. To be honest, I’m not sure which scenery I enjoyed best: the red rocks/cliffs or the green and snow. I’m leaning toward the latter possibly because of it’s familiarity. The canyon portion just seemed so alien (yet stil beautiful).

All in all, it was a great trip, We tackled two national parks (Zion and Bryce Canyon) and a national monument (Hoover Dam) in this one trip. Add this to Joshua Tree National Park in December, Cape Cod National Seashore in September, and our upcoming trip to Acadia National Park in August and we’ll have made good use of our National Parks Pass.


  1. Comment by J.P. on February 26, 2008 10:58 am

    I am so happy to read about your Vegas adventures, Earl and I are going next week and he’s given me a day for a road trip – I think we’re going to Bryce Canyon National Park based on your blog entry. 🙂

  2. Comment by Lise on February 26, 2008 11:25 am

    I can’t tell from the post – did you get out of the car & hike around in either Zion or Bryce? If you just drove thru Zion and maybe got out of the car and looked around only you did not “see” Zion! 🙂

    I thought you’d really enjoy Vegas!

  3. Comment by snarl on February 26, 2008 11:33 am

    We did walk around. I wouldn’t necessarily call most of it hiking, though. At Zion, we got off at various stop-off points and walked the marked trails…but they were walks, not hikes.

    At Bryce, the heavy snow prevented any exploration that wasn’t part of a plowed path. Outside Bryce Canyon, there were some red rocks we did explore on foot, though. But we never were more than a half mile from the car (once again, snow).

    Still, it was beautiful – even from a moving car! hehe

  4. Comment by Lise on February 26, 2008 11:37 am

    Damn lazy gay boys! Are you going to Red Rocks outside of Vegas (or the Painted Desert on the way to Lake Mead?) Oh, and I think the desert is beautiful – of course in the spring when it flowers – but if you get off the highway, like we did, and walk through it it’s got an amazing strark beauty. I’ll show you some pics – and we stumbled on things like a huge cross on some rocks in the middle of nowhere and a dead, decomposing cow that looked like it had been bitten by a rattlesnake. And jack rabbits everywhere. Have you come across the Jakelope yet????

  5. Comment by jeff on February 26, 2008 6:44 pm

    Pelting my brother with ice cubes? How immature. Now I wish I had gone.

  6. Comment by Temporary Freeze. on February 28, 2008 5:15 pm

    […] most of my spring break in Las Vegas. I’ve planned a couple of side trips courtesy of reading Karl’s blog and I’m looking forward to the adventure. Once upon a time I dreamed of living in the desert […]

  7. Comment by Randy on February 29, 2008 4:16 pm

    Jeff with brothers like you, who needs family! There was only a minimal amount of pelting I swear. Wish you guys would have come! The palazzo at 2 am penny video poker still becons me.

  8. Comment by Travel Lover on April 5, 2008 9:31 pm

    A few weeks back we visited the Joshua Tree National park for hiking and camping. I personally liked the 49 PALMS OASIS trail – easy, beautiful and very relaxing. About a 3 miles round trip, the oasis and the fan palm trees are truly wonderful. I did not take more strenuous and exciting trails since tourist facilities of the park are limited. I have written more details about the trip at my site.

    The Barker Dam Loop, Black Rock Campground and the Cottonwood Campground are also nice places to visit. I wanted to visit the Lost Palms Oasis Trail … next time. Following this article to get the experience of other enthusiasts.

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