Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Zion National Park, Las Vegas and at last to Portland

After our last breakfast at Amber Inn B&B, we decided that our final hike in Zion National Park would be to Weeping Rock, a short walk to a rock face where the water streams down, creating a hanging garden that is home to many flowers and small animals, including some rare species.  Our host Dina poo-poohed the hike, calling it insubstantial and recommending that we take the time to drive northward to the northern entrance to the park in Kolob Canyon, where she said the scenery was particularly dramatic, but we decided to persevere.  It was a nice short hike, and it was nice to be in Zion Valley one last time, although we may have again been paying the price for the relative paucity of rain because the flower display was rather less than I had expected.

We then headed back to the Amber Inn, picked up our bags and headed for Las Vegas to catch our flight to Portland.  We passed this impressive mesa outside Hurricane, Utah,

and the scenery continued to impress through as we passed through Arizona and into Nevada

including this view as we crossed the Virgin River in a car, rather than on foot as we had during our Narrows hike.

Finally we rolled into Las Vegas with just enough time to have some lunch and have a quick look at the Strip.  One of Nancy’s main regrets about this vacation was that we were spending our entire time in the parks and no time in either Salt Lake City or Las Vegas.  I rather regretted the lack of time in Salt Lake City, but even this short jaunt in Las Vegas was enough to lead Nancy to accept my own view of the place–a Disneyland of a city not worth a visit.  The traffic on Las Vegas Boulevard was so slow that we had no time to stop to look inside any of the glitzy hotel/casinos, which I was tempted to do for considerations of camp alone.  We did have a nice lunch at Lindo Michoacan.   I had the Carnitas a la Coca Cola, which seems odd but, like Steven Raichlen’s Coke Can Chicken, it just works. 

Finally we drove down Las Vegas Boulevard, miles past the airport to the Fox Rent-a-Car return location (Fox had offered by far the best deal for a one-way car rental).  I had not understood that its bus could not return us to the airport itself, but only to the main car rental terminal; as a result there were some nervous moments as we arrived at the airport with barely enough time to check bags and pass through security. 

When we got to Portland, we headed straight to dinner before driving down to Reed College to check in for reunions.  We ate at Mekong Bistro, which was just as good as when I reviewed it after my first visit, back in February.


  1. Road trips are always a great experience, you never know what your country has to offer until your explore it! I recently discovered along my road trip that there’s a huge selection of courses to play golf in Las Vegas. It's actually one of the top destinations in the US for the sport!