Our route started in Vegas and ended in Vegas, a vast lasso loop that encircled the greatest natural wonder of North America and hit all the desert tropes I’ve always wanted to see: western ghost towns, Native American petroglyphs and cliff dwellings, UFO shenanigans, uh…clown-themed motels. I have about two dozen OTIS adventures to write as a result of this trip, but here it is in overview.
Day 1: Las Vegas, Kind Of
Day 2: Yeah, Though I Walk Through Death Valley
Day 3: Ghosts and Clowns and Aliens
Day 4: Mars and Dinosaurs and Ghosts
Day 5: Horseshoes and Antelopes
Day 6: Canyons and Craters and Soft Rock
Day 7: Petrified with Awe
Day 8: Animals and Altered Plans
From there we took Route 66 to randomly see some of the strange sites that still survive there. We were supposed to end this day near the Grand Canyon Skywalk, that glass horseshoe bridge suspended over the canyon, so that we could try it out the next day, but we read such universally terrible reviews the night before that we ditched that plan and replaced it with a day in Vegas. We let our five-year-old choose the hotel, which naturally landed us at the castle-themed Excalibur, where we officially finished the night by taking the tram to Mandalay Bay to see an aquarium with a shark tank and a Komodo dragon. Unofficially, later that night, I tried my first slot machine. And my second. And my third.
Day 9: National Lampoon’s Vegas Vacation
We had plans to see more, but around 3 pm we got an emergency email from Virgin Atlantic cancelling our flight the next day due to the latest impending New England snowstorm. So instead of waiting the day or two until they resumed flights, we jumped directly on an overnight, making it home by Day 10, which turned out for the best anyway for all kinds of reasons.
Although trading desert rock for drifts of snow as big as our rental van was a bit of a system shock.
As always, a hugely enjoyable part of the trip was sharing it in-situ with all of you on Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr, or here on OTIS. Thanks to everyone who followed along (we reserved the back seat of the minivan for you), and I promise I will get to actual posts on these oddities at some point before I die.