Touring Vegas and Utah in August, Part 1

When I told people we were heading to southern Utah for the first 10 days of August, people looked concerned. "It'll be hot," they said. No one came right out and suggested we were crazy, but that little crease between the eyebrows told me they were worried about our choice.

And they were right. It was hot. No, it was HOT. (I may need a bigger font here...)

The day we arrived in Vegas, the high was something like 113. If you have never tried to walk around a cactus garden with almost no shade in this kind of heat, it basically feels like being roasted in an oven. Yes, it is a dry heat. But it is also an extremely HOT heat.

This was my first time ever in Vegas. And it will most definitely be the last. Not only was it hotter than the bowels of hell, but it was also crowded, smelly, loud, obnoxious, fake, and basically everything I hate all rolled up in a very hot blanket of smog and haze. Vegas in August is full to the brim with tourists. You'd be shocked at the number of Europeans who brought their young children here to Sin City.

We tried to squeeze every free attraction into one single night of wandering the Strip. Yes, we caught the fountain show at the Bellagio, as well as their much-touted conservatory. I was most impressed with the stunning tile mosaic floors, featuring flowers, butterflies, and assorted insects.

The wildlife habitat at the Flamingo--one of the oldest hotels on the Strip--is a sad affair, except for the immense colorful koi swimming in a meandering pond. They do have a few actual flamingos, too. The Venetian is a stunning hotel, but the gondolas paddle around in a disappointingly tiny pool.

We had to hit In and Out Burger. My daughter and I sampled the Double Double: two beef patties, two cheese slices, plus fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and onions. For fast food, this burger can't be beat. It was made to order, hot, with super crunchy, juicy, fresh veggies. The fries were nothing special, though; similar to McDonald's skinny fries which are just not my thing.

For lunch, we visited The Crown and Anchor Pub: a well-worn British bar and grill serving all the specialties of the motherland. We chowed down on some fantastic fish and chips, garnished with tartar sauce and a side of green peas. The servings were massive, the quality excellent, and the atmosphere grungy, complete with 80's punk rock.

(Photo credit: most were taken by Sophie Moock.)

Although I'm not planning another trip to Vegas, I did check this item off my bucket list. In the future, I'm going to have to get a lot pickier about which places make it onto the list!!!