After Spokane, Isa and I flew down to Salt Lake City to see friends and stuff. Isa had never been to Utah (or Vegas) so we wanted to do and see as much as possible. So we started out at Temple Square. If you haven't been there, you should go. It's really pretty and not just for mormons. We were there on a Friday so we played "spot the bride" most of the time. There were plenty of newlyweds around and it's always fun to see (and judge) the wedding gowns they chose.
I had never been up to the top of the church office building, so we did that. It's really cool and offers fantastic views of the capital building, the temple, the grounds, and the conference center.
The guides up top are also full of cool little insights too, so I highly recommend you talk to them. For example, did you know the capital building is built on a foundation of rubber pillars, allowing it to sway up to 2 feet in any direction in case of an earthquake (which is apparently long overdue).
After a day in SLC, we took off down toward Vegas. We made a stop in St. George to go on a little hike. We went up to Snow Canyon and hiked the sand dunes (which are super cool and really fun to see the wind whipping across them - and then pelting you which is not as fun) and then we went over to Jenny's Canyon. It's a really small canyon, but it gives you a good example (albeit on a MUCH smaller scale) of what Zion's canyons look like.
After our hike, we went on to Vegas, which is always farther than I think. If you've ever driven to Vegas, you know what I mean. I always think, "This is it... Just up and around this bend and you'll see Vegas." And then it's still not there for another 50 miles. Boo. But we finally made it and visited with my little brother Jason and his family (wife Christy, 3-year-old Ty, and baby Madison Jayne). We went to dinner and to see their new house (a ridiculous 5-bedroom house that they can actually afford because of the housing crisis in Vegas) and then we headed in to play on the strip.
We saw the volcano explode at the Mirage, we walked through the Venetian through the Grand Canal, and of course we saw the water show at the Bellagio.
Vegas has also changed a lot since I was last there. The whole new Aria and City Center right in the middle of the Strip was new to me. And I don't remember the Encore next to the Wynn either. But of all the new things that I noticed, probably the most surprising was a wonderful little restaurant out front of Caesar's Palace. (Go ahead and click on the picture to enlarge it.)
Yeah! Serendipity 3 is there now, complete with $10 Frrrozen Hot Chocolates. MMMmmm. Vegas baby, YEAH!!