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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

Viva Las Vegas! – California & the Canyons

Dear Parents,

As soon as we arrived in Las Vegas, we immediately checked out the incredible pools at the Monte Carlo! Rachel & Karli and staff member Jolie, gravitated towards the live DJ who was performing for everyone in the wave pool. After a quick wash up, the group headed to a family style Italian dinner at Bucca Di Beppo. Jake tried his first piece of cheesecake and fell head over heels for its creamy deliciousness.

After dinner, we made our way to the Stratosphere Tower where each trip member had an opportunity to ride one of three rides located 1,200 feet above the ground. Lexi & Taylor were brave enough to attempt the “Insanity” ride, in which they rotated off the edge of the tower taking in the Vegas scenery at a velocity of 40 mph.

Before heading back to the hotel, we stopped outside the Bellagio hotel in order to witness an incredible water show. Everyone really enjoyed the music from the musical Chicago that the water danced to, and Jason remarked on the intricacies of the water designs and the height that the water reached.

On Thursday we made our way to the Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace, where we explored this incredible complex. The sound and light show was amazing.  When we got back to the hotel, many trip members enjoyed the pool for a second time. Scott and Jake relaxed in the lazy river and then jumped around in the wave pool for a while.

That night, the crew headed over to New York New York where they experienced some authentic New York style delicatessens. Everyone then had the opportunity to ride the hotel’s main roller coaster attraction. Kate had so much fun on her first real roller coaster experience that she simply had to go for a second ride.

Before returning to the Monte Carlo, we made stops at the M&M and the Coca-Cola stores. Claire bought some rainbow knee-high M&M toe-socks while Taylor, Sydney and Sam bought matching Coca-Cola polar bear boxers.

Friday brought us to a beautiful hike in Zion National Park, soon after which the staff broke our closing games! The group was divided into four teams based on four previously visited locations. San Diego would be the white team, Los Angeles blue, San Francisco red and Las Vegas black. Throughout the next 24 hours, the teams competed in a multitude of miniature contests.

Arriving at Ruby’s Campground in Bryce that evening we had a race to see which team could assemble their tent the quickest- go L.A.! The following day, during our scenic hike in Bryce Canyon, we stopped occasionally to appreciate the grandiose view of the hoodoos. When we returned to the campsite, we continued our closing games with a “letter hunt.” The objective of the game was to find one object that corresponds to each letter of the alphabet. Teams were scored on creativity and completion of the task at hand. Later that afternoon, the staff put together an Apache relay race. Jess and Ashley L. competed against each other in working to fill a bowl up using a porous cup. Another event included our trip member captains, Jon, Daniel, Rachel and Sam, eating a quarter of a watermelon without using their hands. Ashley L. was tasked with several events, such as drinking 4 cups of water as fast as possible, a three-legged race and the egg toss. Karli competed against Halle in a speed trivia match. After dinner, the final event of spaghetti-marshmallow building began. Each team was given uncooked spaghetti and a bag of marshmallows and attempted to build the highest freestanding structure possible. Las Vegas creatively replicated the Stratosphere, while San Francisco took home first prize with the tallest structure.  At the end of all of the closing games, Los Angeles proved themselves the clear winner, winning apache, and having the most spirit and creativity!

We concluded our last night of camping with a fondue treat, guitar songs by the fire, andstargazing. As we head to the Grand Canyon, trip member spirits could not be higher!

– The Westcoast Blogger

California & the Canyons