Walking under waterfalls on the Emerald Pools Trail
A bend in the Virgin River

Following the Virgin River toward The Narrows

Less than an hour south of Zion in “Utah’s Dixie” lies the popular retirement town of Saint George Utah. They call the region “Dixie” because during the American Civil War a group of Mormons migrated to the SW corner of the state, near the Mojave Desert, to try their hand at cotton farming. They never could compete with the cotton prices of the Deep South and over the decades cotton farming was replaced by aviation, healthcare and tourism but the Mormons never returned to Salt Lake and now represent more than 75% of the population.

Hiking the Temple Quarry Trail in Saint George Utah

In the sports world St. George is known for its Ironman Triathlon, its Marathon and the Huntsman Senior Games. What Sue and I like about this city of 74,000 is that you can run and bike all winter long and it has a beautiful indoor Aquaplex with multiple pools including a large lap pool. Although we strongly prefer the sporty, woodsy, and youthful vibe of Flagstaff our focus this winter is on getting in shape via swimming, biking and running. After poking around the area for a few days we concluded it would make a great winter training camp and reserved a condo for January to June 2013.

Next stop Sin City.

The Stratosphere. They have a bungee jump option on the 108th floor if you’re bored by just looking at the city lights and want to get a little fresh air.

Happy Hour on the 107th floor.

Last time I visited Las Vegas I came by myself, it was work related and I didn’t have that much fun. That’s the truth, honest! This time I visited Sin City with my wife and it was a blast.

We stayed at the Stratosphere Casino/Hotel. It’s the one on the north end of the strip that has a tower that resembles the Seattle Space Needle. As a hotel guest the $18 per person charge to ride to the top is waived and if you schedule your arrival during Happy Hour the Martinis are two for one and the appetizers are half price. We did all of the above and then went down to the casino to watch the Colts on the big screen and tried “jager shots” for the first time. If you like Vicks Formula 44 cough syrup you’ll like Jagermeister shots. Combined with a great room rate thanks to it was a very reasonably priced night on the town.

The morning after drinking more alcohol in a few hours than what we would normally drink in a year we went for a long, refreshing walk down the strip. The grand, gaudy and beautiful architecture that you can walk through along the strip is always interesting and changing. I also find the people walking the strip and filling the casinosinteresting to watch. They represent many different groups, some speaking languages I can’t even identify and others appear to have life stories that are far from up-lifting – but they all provide food for thought.

Its true, I had a great time in Las Vegas with my wife and I never lost a penny. I guess I’m a lucky guy.

The architecture of the strip

Categories: Hiking, Travel

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