It was Christmas Day and we set out for Las Vegas, Sin City. The wife has family there so we were going to celebrate the holidays and take the kids to some of the hot new shows on the strip. We were all happy to get away. When you make the approach to Vegas the lights shine from miles away. You can almost hear the bells and chimes and electric excitement as you drive the 15-north into the city. After 275 miles, we were finally THERE. Boom. It was gonna be a weekend to remember. We saw my wife’s family and checked in to the hotel on the strip. We had a whole day the next day to do WHATEVER we wanted.
And then it happened.
Given the choice to go to a hot new Vegas show, or splurge on purchases on the strip, or eat till we burst at a casino buffet, we chose none of the above. At some point along the way, the kids had the idea that they’d like to revisit Zion National Park, where we had been a couple of summers ago. So the next morning we actually left Vegas in the rear view mirror and drove north some more, another 150 miles. Snow dotted the mountaintops as we got closer to our destination, the temps dropped, I was beginning to wonder WHAT the hell we were doing so far from our luxurious Vegas weekend stay. And then we arrived to winter in Zion. The deer huddled together and ate along the side of the road, pheasant walked by the water, birds flew overhead. We got in our coats, hats, and gloves and took off on a long hike. The girls had a snowball fight. They climbed the hills. We slid along the icy paths, all the while, witnessing some truly breathtaking views. We took pictures as a family. We spent time together as a family.
After hiking the trails and getting red cheeks in the cold winter air, we retreated to the Zion lodge to warm up. The afternoon sun was already low in the sky, sunset comes early this time of year, and before we knew it, it was time to start the return trip to Vegas. It was another 150 miles back towards Las Vegas. The city again, shining bright for miles as we made our approach. Only this time, I wasn’t all absorbed listening for the bells, chimes, and electric energy. This time I was basking in the family adventure we took down an unscheduled road. I was reveling in a totally unplanned day that had us reconnect as a family in a way that no Vegas show would have. We got back to Vegas and had dinner. It was an early bed night since we were all tired from our adventure.
The next morning we got our stuff packed and prepared for the return trip to LA. Before we left, I dropped ten dollars in a slot machine. It was a Rolling Stones slot machine and as “Satisfaction” poured out, I lost my ten bucks in a couple of minutes. But I still won big this weekend. And I had more than my share of satisfaction doing it. We got on the 15-south to Los Angeles and buckled up for a long ride home. It was a Vegas weekend we’ll remember for a long time to come, only Vegas had nothing to do with it.
Sometimes it really IS the adventure you NEVER planned which makes all the difference.