Dear Families of California & The Canyons,
After an amazing time in LA, we were on our way to beautiful San Diego. Before even checking into our hotel, we wasted no time and headed straight to the beach for surfing lessons! After an orientation on land to teach us the basics of the sport, we grabbed our boards and hit the waves where Ben S. and Gabriella wowed us when they surfed all way back to shore. As we were surfing, Olivia caught a glimpse of dolphins swimming in the distance. Back on shore, Joelle, Julia and Alice relaxed in the sand and took in the amazing view. Marc borrowed a guitar from one of the surfing instructors and played it for everyone.
For dinner, we ate at Islands where we decided to have a twin night and everyone needed to find a person on the trip to match with. Arianna and Elisa posed as perfectly coordinating twins, while Zach, Dan and Jason S. dressed as triplets. After dinner, we returned to the hotel where we shared some laughs when we played the dating game and Chloe and Zach ended up as a perfect pair.
Our second day in San Diego started with a trip to the San Diego Zoo. We began our visit with a double-decker bus tour through the park where we caught a glimpse elephants, grizzly bears, giraffes and more. Matt L., Clay, Jason S. and Jacob continued to explore the park as they got a bird’s eye view of the animals on the sky tram. Alex M., Ben S, Nick, Jack and Adam K. got an up close look at the pandas while Raina, Cassidy, Carly and Risa put on their best animal impersonations after getting their faces painted. Brian won a stuffed dog from a “claw” machine that he named Stefane and which has now joined Delilah as another bus mascot.
Later that night, we all had a blast playing laser tag where Austin L. and Joelle received the highest scores. At the end of the night and our time in San Diego, we tearfully said goodbye to Niki P., Sophie, Ben B., David Y., Jason A. and Austin L. who only joined us for the California portion of the trip.
After San Diego, we headed to Las Vegas. On the bus ride, we played an entertaining game of Humzinger where we took turns humming a tune while the rest of the group tried to guess the song. Alex P. did a great job of humming “Baby” by Justin Bieber and Carly immediately guessed the correct answer. After settling into the amazing Monte Carlo hotel, we feasted on a delicious Italian dinner and then headed for the Stratosphere. The Stratosphere is a really tall hotel with a viewing tower and thrilling rides at the top of the building. Matt S., Eric, David R. and Joelle were brave enough to face the world’s tallest ride ‘The Big Shot’, while Emily O., Nikki B. and Courtney rode ‘X-Scream.’ Brooke, Gabriella, David S. and Jake then dared to ride ‘Insanity’. Everyone had tons of fun!
After taking in the breathtaking views of the Vegas lights atop of the tower, we explored the Venetian hotel. Everyone was amazed by how well the hotel looks exactly like Venice, Italy. As we watched passing gondolas in the hotel’s indoor canals, Adam F. and Alex M. enjoyed a traditional Italian gelato. We then walked down the Las Vegas strip and were amazed by all the luxurious hotels such as Caesar’s Palace and The Bellagio. We were all front and center for the water dancing show outside the Bellagio – what a sight! Elisa, who is from Paris, got a taste of home as she posed for pictures in front of the Paris hotel which has a replica of the Eiffel Tower. The following day the group had some free time to enjoy the hotel’s incredible swimming pools and lazy river. Eric, Marc, Emily O. and Dave R. also took advantage of the hotel’s wave pool. Later that evening, we headed to the New York, New York hotel which has restaurants setup to look like the streets of NYC. Following dinner we had a blast in the Gameworks arcade where we played the night away.
The next day we drove to Bryce Canyon for our last two nights of camping. Before arriving at the campsite we stopped for a Chuckwagon Cookout where everyone dressed up as cowboys and Indians and reenacted a traditional western motion picture, complete with sound effects and background music. Raina and Carly played the coyotes; Jack was the fiddler; Courtlyn and Emily H were some of the Indians; Jake, Matt S and Brooke were the cowboy and cowgirl; and Alex M played the villain.
Upon arrival in Bryce, the group was split up into two teams for some fun campsite programming. For the next two days everyone got really involved in the competitions. Eric and Arianna were the winners of “Bite the Bag”. Emily O. and David S took Trip Director Jesse’s challenge of learning all the lyrics to Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire”. Alysa took the lead in a dance-off. Bobby and Nick were the head writers of their team skits.
We took a break from all the excitement to hike down Bryce Canyon whose postcard perfect views took everyone’s breath away. All the trip members had a creative time posing for “epic photos” on the hike – check them out! Everyone felt quite accomplished when they arrived at the bottom. In the late afternoon everyone participated in a giant relay race that was quite hysterical. After a scrumptious stir-fry dinner, we laughed the night away making banana boats (yummmmmy! – ask your kids for the recipe) around our final campfire for the trip.
It’s hard to believe that our trip is coming to an end but we are looking forward to the Grand Canyon, Sedona and our finale in Scottsdale.
The Westcoast Blogger