Dear Friends and Family of Californian Extravaganza,
Watching everyone’s faces as we drove down the Las Vegas strip was priceless; we were all in awe of its bright lights, busy streets and big hotels. After checking in to the Monte Carlo we enjoyed the pools and a chance to relax in our rooms or hang out with our friends. We went for dinner at Buca di Beppo, a unique family style Italian restaurant. All this food was fuel for the adventure activities to come: the rides atop the Stratosphere! Everyone had the chance to experience the thrills of spinning, sliding and zooming into the air nearly 900 feet above the desert. Not only was it a thrilling evening, but it also provided us one of the best views of this city in the desert. We were impressed to see how fearless the group was with Alison mustering up courage to go for a spin off the side, while Jeremy, with the support of his friends, conquered his fear of heights by riding the X-Scream over the edge of the tower. Randy, Evan and Alec enjoyed their rides and most certainly left with some great memories. After the rides, we explored The Venetian hotel and ended the night with the fountain show at the Bellagio.
The next morning, we all enjoyed a much needed sleep in. We checked out the Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace. One highlight of the afternoon was when Emily, Sophie and Stephanie spotted, Pauly D from MTV’s “The Jersey Shore”, eating lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. We returned to the hotel, and enjoyed more time in the pools and lazy river. For dinner, we went next door to New York, New York, and had the chance to ride the roller coaster, before going to the Coca Cola and M&M store.
The next morning, we left Las Vegas, for Bryce Canyon, Utah. We stopped for lunch at Zion National Park and were in awe of the steep cliffs. For dinner, we went to the Chuckwagon Cookout in Kanab, Utah – we had a real cowboy dinner of beans, biscuits, salad and a little bit of vanilla ice cream at the end (ok, maybe it was a real cowboy dinner) followed by a show that we all stared in. Jake C was our Man in the White Hat and David was our Man in the Black Hat and they duelled it out for the affections of Saloon girls Danielle C, Daryn and Sammy. Jon was the caring Pioneer Husband and Lauren his devoted wife. But the best performance of all belonged to Eliza and Rebecca who took on the starring roles of …the Coyotes. They howled their way superstardom if you ask us!
After dinner, we hit the road again on our way to our campsite where we started a great competition. This spirited, yet friendly, competition pitted Trip Leader Jesse’s Hip Hop Blue Team (Captained by Josh C and Alison) against Trip Leader Allison’s Country Music Red Team (Captained by Daryn and David) in a battle of wits (skits and songs), physical competition (a relay race in which the baton was a picnic table) and athletic prowess in our Volleyball and Soccer games. In the end, Red came out on top, but not without an MVP win for Jeremy after excelling at the relay race and soccer. Hardest worker was easily taken by Sara and the most spirited award went to Alison. The competition lasted only 24 hours, but the memories of those great songs and commercials will last for quite some time longer. We capped the day off (which, incidentally also was Josh C’s birthday) by taking in the fireworks to celebrate Utah Pioneer Day…a really great surprise to end a really great day.
We have now left our campsite to head to Arizona for the final stops of our trip. We visited the Grand Canyon where we hiked the Bright Angel Trail and enjoyed the view from half-way down. Sara and Eliza continued to be our trusty guides by setting a pace that allowed us to see more, and really feel like we were working for it. We are now in Flagstaff, Arizona with only two more days left of the trip … there is still lots to do and so many more moments to share.
Until next time..
Gavin, Skylar, Allison, Jamie and Jesse