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Old 04-04-2018, 10:47 AM   #1
Tara O'Hara
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Me, Muffin and Our Adventures in the West!!

Me, Muffin and Our Adventures in the West!!!!

Let me start this out by saying that we are planning lots of stuff this year, as far as trips go. We are actually working on three trips right now, with our biggest one being to Rome in September.

I have to put my vacation time in pretty early, so for our next vacation, we picked the dates out before even knowing what we were doing!! Well, we sort of had an idea that we would be heading out West again to see Mike, Gabby and Logan. We also liked the thought of having a few days to ourselves. We just had no idea exactly how we would combine the two.

We started by kicking around several ideas. As you know already, Muffin thought maybe we could all go to Disneyland. We quickly decided to put the kabash on that, though, when we looked at prices not only for Disney but for airfare to get down there from Spokane.

Going back to adding a few days on the front of the trip for just the two of us, we thought we could maybe go to San Francisco. That sounded really nice and we havenít been for a while, so that was a definite possibility.

Then!!

Muffin got an email from some companies that he works with that there would be a convention in Las Vegas from July 29th to August 1st. He said he had been watching for this show and didnít realize it would be in Las Vegas this year. He called the Wynn and found out that we could get a free room for three nights as well as 500 bucks in slot cash! Then he checked on Southwest flights and, sure enough, there was a late afternoon direct flight available to Spokane. That pretty much sealed the deal as far as our pre Spokane days!

We then called Mike to see if he could get off from August 1st -6th and he said that should not be a problem and that we should stay with them. Mikeís birthday is August 4th and he will be 30 this year (when did my kids get so old?!). He and Gabby loved the idea of us spending his birthday with them!! Most of you know that Mike gets Logan for the summer and he has to be back in Omaha for the start of the school year. This year, Logan starts school on August 9th so we told him we would also take Logan back to Omaha. We did this two years ago and it worked out pretty well.

So!!

Who: Me and Muffin in Vegas and then Me, Muffin, Mike, Gabby and Logan in the Spokane area.

Where: Las Vegas, Spokane, Coeur díAlene

When: July 29th-August 7th

What: Our summer vacation

Why: We love Vegas and we love our kids and grandkids!

With my free companion fare on Southwest, we will fly to Vegas on the 29th of July. Then there is a direct flight to Spokane on August 1st. We will hang out with Mike, Gabby and Logan from the 1st through the 6th and then take Logan back to Omaha, spending the night in the airport before meeting Kristen (Loganís mom) to come and pick him up on the 7th. We will fly back to Philly from there.

With all of that outlined, we started looking at things to do.

Coming Up: The Vegas part of the trip.

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Old 04-04-2018, 11:18 AM   #2
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Yay, another PTR from Tara! Sounds like a great trip, and especially an amazing deal on the Vegas portion of it!
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Old 04-04-2018, 11:50 AM   #3
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Sounds like everything's worked out perfectly, but you're right, when the heck did your kids get that old? That can't be right.
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Old 04-04-2018, 12:26 PM   #4
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Yay, another PTR from Tara! Sounds like a great trip, and especially an amazing deal on the Vegas portion of it!
Thanks, Pam!!!

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Sounds like everything's worked out perfectly, but you're right, when the heck did your kids get that old? That can't be right.
It sure has and it is sadly true!!
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Old 04-04-2018, 01:14 PM   #5
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Well this was all meant to be, the way the pieces all fell into place so nicely!
I always wonder how my kids are getting so old, given I’m staying the same!
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Old 04-04-2018, 01:30 PM   #6
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Sounds like it’s going to be a great time!!
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Old 04-04-2018, 01:37 PM   #7
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Well this was all meant to be, the way the pieces all fell into place so nicely!
I always wonder how my kids are getting so old, given Iím staying the same!
I feel the same way about this trip, Colleen!! I love when that happens!! And you and I are both staying the same!! It's them!!

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Sounds like itís going to be a great time!!
I sure hope so, Marnie!!
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Old 04-04-2018, 04:47 PM   #8
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Great start to this trip already!
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Old 04-04-2018, 05:36 PM   #9
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Great start to this trip already!
Thank you!!
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Old 04-04-2018, 06:47 PM   #10
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Another great trip which will be a great time with so much family! Especially looking forward to the Vegas portion as most likely I will be going there in October for the first time since 1999.
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Old 04-04-2018, 08:53 PM   #11
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Great deal on the Vegas portion of the trip. School really goes back early, ours doesn’t start till the day after labour day.
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Old 04-05-2018, 05:45 AM   #12
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Sounds like a very nice summer vacation!
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Old 04-05-2018, 04:54 PM   #13
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Another great trip which will be a great time with so much family! Especially looking forward to the Vegas portion as most likely I will be going there in October for the first time since 1999.
We can't wait!! Oh my word!!! You will not believe how much Vegas has changed!! :

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Great deal on the Vegas portion of the trip. School really goes back early, ours doesnít start till the day after labour day.
Logan lives in Omaha. I think the schools around here don't go back until just before Labor Day.

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Sounds like a very nice summer vacation!
I hope it will be!!
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Old 04-07-2018, 02:34 PM   #14
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For the Vegas part of the trip, Muffin will be working on the 30th, 31st and part of the 1st. So I looked on Viator and checked out Trip Advisor to see what I could do to stay occupied.

The last time we went to Vegas, I took a day trip to the Red Rock Canyon, which I loved!! So this year, I looked at some similar day trips.

I read each description and stopped at one that included Zion and Bryce Canyon. It costs 229 dollars and leaves Las Vegas at 6 AM. It is a 15 hour tour with lots of drive time. But! I honestly donít know if I will ever have another opportunity to visit these places in my lifetime and I really donít want to spend my entire time in Vegas visiting the strip. This is the description:

Take a break from the chaos of Las Vegas on a day trip to two of Utahís national parks ó Bryce Canyon and Zion. Explore landscapes of cliffs, gorges and otherworldly rock formations as you learn about the geology of the area, one of the most fascinating in the United States. A boxed picnic lunch and hotel pickup and drop-off are included. Highlights Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park day trip from Las Vegas See Bryce Canyon's intriguing spires known as hoodoos Take in grand scenery of cliffs, canyons, plateaus and more Learn about the natural environment not far from the bright lights of Vegas Picnic lunch included What You Can Expect Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park Small-Group Tour from Las Vegas Experience the awesome beauty of Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park on a day trip from Las Vegas. Enjoy complimentary hotel pickup by either a luxury SUV or mini-coach, a boxed lunch and a wonderful day away from the casinos. Named after the Mormon Pioneer Ebenezer Bryce, Bryce Canyon became a National Park in 1924. Bryce is famous for its unique geology, which consists of a series of horseshoe-shaped amphitheaters carved from the eastern edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau in southern Utah. Erosional force has shaped the colorful limestone rock of the Claron Formation into bizarre shapes, including slot canyons, windows, fins and spires called hoodoos. Tinted with colors too numerous and subtle to name, these whimsically arranged rocks create a wondrous landscape of mazes, offering some of the most exciting and memorable walks and hikes imaginable. Located at the junction of the Colorado Plateau, Great Basin and Mojave Desert provinces in Southwestern Utah, Zion National Park protects 229 square miles (593 square km) of dramatic landscape with sculptured canyons and soaring cliffs. The unique geography and wide variety of life zones within the Park make Zion significant as a place of unusual plant and animal diversity. Discover the natural grandeur of Zion as you admire high plateaus and a maze of narrow, deep, sandstone canyons with striking rock towers. Kolob Arch, the world's largest arch, is just one of many beautiful structures that await you on your adventure. After a full day of exploration, you will be dropped off at your original departure point.

This will be like a commando day at Disney World, but it sounds really cool!! Iím gonna do it!! Thanks in part to Donna (DMA)!

Backing up just a minute, I checked with Muffin to see if this would be reasonable to do. He heartily agreed that it would be a great way to spend some of my free time!

Back to Vegas, one thing that I absolutely must do (with or without Muffin, although he swears he will do it this time) is get my picture in front of the ĎWelcome to Fabulous Las Vegasí sign. I plan to do this every trip and never get to it! I feel like this will be the trip though!!

While we are down this end of the Strip, we are planning to walk through the aquarium at Mandalay Bay as well as we havenít done that in ages!!

We have pretty much seen all of the Vegas shows that we wanted to, so unless a really cool concert comes up, I canít see us doing a show this trip.

We also only have one nice dinner to plan as we have learned the hard way not to book anything on arrival day and of the other two nights, I will not be around one of them as Iíll be on my whirlwind park adventure! As many times as weíve stayed at the Wynn, we still havenít eaten in all of the restaurants, so to make it easy, we will just choose one of those.

Putting all of that together, our Vegas itinerary looks something like this:


We get to Las Vegas on July 29th in the afternoon, which is a Sunday. We figure we will be pretty beat from a day of travel and time adjustment. Our flight lands around 1:45 PM and by the time we get to the Wynn, it will most likely be around 4 PM. We plan to check in, eat a light meal, maybe take a walk on the strip and just chill out the first night.

On Monday, the 30th, Muffin says he will join me in the morning. We plan to take a cab to Mandalay Bay, which is all the way at the other end of the Strip. This is our chance to finally get our picture at the above sign and we would love to see the aquarium at Mandalay Bay, which we havenít done in years!! To Iggy will be our fancy dinner night although we havenít decided where that will be just yet.

On Tuesday, I will do my National Park tour and Muffin will work all day. I wonít get back until around 9 PM.

On Wednesday, we will spend the morning at the Wynn. We would love to do the fabulous buffet breakfast there and then head to the airport to catch our flight to Spokane.

Next: How will we spend our time in Spokane?!
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Old 04-07-2018, 02:41 PM   #15
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I have to say Bryce and Zion are both stunning parks. We visited a few years ago and loved it. Our trip report is here: National parks, natural beauty and a bit of Disney wonder. Bryce starts on page 20....
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