We try to make every vacation day a special day, and generally we’re pretty successful at that. But today was one that exceeds even our normal standards of special: I think it was the first time ever that we’ve been able to cross two things off the 500 Places to Take Your Kids Before They Grow Up list. Two out of 500: that’s .004 percent of the entire list.
Who would believe that there are two places in the 500 Places list between Las Vegas and Zion Canyon? What’s more, none of the 500 are from Vegas or Zion. I mean, c’mon. Did you see that M&M wall? Seems strange that Mr. Fodor, or whoever wrote that book left that out.
But it does contain a visit to Hoover Dam, quite a wall in its own right, and our first stop today. No, it’s not made of M&Ms, or any other kind of candy. Yes, it does have a pretty good snack bar — the chicken avocado sandwich, today’s special of the day, was particularly impressive. Oh, and we did the Power Plant tour (which contained only one dam joke) and walked across the top of the dam into Arizona. Some people noticed Nadia’s UNH t-shirt and talked to us. They are from Barrington and have a daughter in Zoe’s school.
Terrific, fine. Cross it off the list.
Our next stop was in the Valley of Fire State Park, which seems an interesting inclusion to the 500 Places list, given that none of the nearby national parks are listed. Then again, it only costs $10 to get in and there are lots of cool petroglyphs and even more huge red rock formations all over the place. Not bad for somewhere we never heard of and would have totally driven right past if it weren’t for the book.
Check another one off the list. Some of these things we had to travel all the way to South America for, and here were two on the way between points A and B.
We eventually did make it to point B after a singularly interesting drive through Zion Canyon National Park. After about 20 switchbacks, the road goes right through a mountain. The tunnel is more than a mile long! The only thing that would make it better is if it were on the list.
Happily, we made it to our new accommodations — the ranch cabin we’ll be occupying for the next three nights — before the resaurant closed.