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It's A Great Life: 59 - Heaven In Las Vegas

"The next day was spent in Las Vegas in and out of the gambling halls, but most of the time in and out of the Desert Inn swimming pool. All the people on duty there were so attentive and helpful. As soon as they saw we wanted the pool, out came sunbeds and towels,'' recalled Jack Merewood.

On our return from Rainbow Bridge we had a surprise. Surprise? A shock! There was a letter from Maggie's friend Molly to say that she had been given a five-week holiday from work so that she could take us up on our offer to have her visit us. She would be coming in June.

It's true we'd made the offer, but it was a half-hearted one; she'd virtually invited herself, saying 'Oh, I'd come' when Maggie had said she couldn't afford to. We couldn't go back on our word, and Molly duly arrived in June. Only a few weeks before, I had taken time off work for our trip to Rainbow Bridge, and now I'd need to have some time off to entertain Molly. Fortunately Sheila had given up working, but of course one place above all Molly had to see was Bryce Canyon. So we planned a trip.

Our first stop was Salt Lake City. Molly was most impressed with the size and cleanliness of the city and particularly the
flower beds which were looking a picture. Then on down the familiar route (at least familiar to us) along the fruit-growing
Utah Valley. Molly was already wide-eyed but then we arrived at the ultimate - Bryce Canyon. She'd seen pictures of it and
read about it, but nothing could remotely approach the experience of actually seeing it. To say she was fascinated is a gross understatement. She just stood and stared.

We stayed a day at Bryce Canyon, walking the trails into the canyon. It is a beautiful place of which we never tire and Molly was entranced with the delicate colours under the inevitable blue sky.

It is not far from Bryce Canyon to Zion Canyon National Park. We were heading for Las Vegas, but Zion was on the way, so
first we went there. We had been to Zion before when my parents came to visit us, and although it was spectacular it didn't have the same appeal for us as had the Grand Canyon and Bryce. Nevertheless it is yet another spectacular canyon to see in this wonderful area.

Zion is not a canyon in the same sense of the word as the other two. You drive between huge rock walls which have been deeply scarred by wind and rain, frost and erosion, over millions of years. The road descends to the canyon floor but as it does so, it passes through three tunnels; and in two of these windows had been cut through which you could see the giant rock formations. (Nowadays the windows are no longer there.) Over the years, through erosion, the land mass broke into huge blocks which tower above the canyon floor on all sides. They all have names, perhaps the most famous being the Great White Throne. The Virgin River flows down the centre of the canyon and you can take a picturesque twelve-mile round trip driving most of the time alongside it.

Another feature to see is the Weeping Wall. This is a huge overhanging rock face where water permanently seeps through. Because the rock is overhanging you can walk behind the water and we're told that it takes two years for it to run through the rock from top to bottom. As you get out of the car by the river you feel as tiny as an ant, surrounded by these towering walls which reach 2,000 to 3,000 feet from the canyon floor. Needless to say, Molly was overwhelmed.

Before arriving in Las Vegas we had to drive through the town of St George, and here we hit the heat. With a temperature in
the high 90s it was all too much for Molly: she felt quite ill, and her condition gave us some cause for concern. However, we went into a cafe where she had a rest. We had a snack and a cold drink which partially revived her. Fortunately, when we were eventually on our way again, she soon fully recovered. And just as well because we didn't arrive in Las Vegas until midnight, with the temperature still 93 degrees. However, we were booked in at the Desert Inn on The Strip, which like every other building in Las Vegas was air-conditioned.

The next day was spent in Las Vegas in and out of the gambling halls, but most of the time in and out of the Desert Inn swimming pool. All the people on duty there were so attentive and helpful. As soon as they saw we wanted the pool, out came sunbeds and towels - 'In the shade, madam, or in the sun?' 'Is this all right for you here, sir?' For all of us, this was our idea of heaven, sipping ice-cold Coke beside the pool -with the temperature 113 degrees. And it was here that Sheila found that at last she could swim. All right - it was only on her back and not getting her face wet, but she could swim.

Next day we reluctantly left the luxury of the Desert Inn, drove south over Boulder (Hoover) Dam then east on Route 66, north at Williams and to the Grand Canyon. It has to be seen to be believed, and Molly saw it - and believed'


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