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A mom and daughter came into my office and were very excited to plan a trip out west for the daughter's 21st birthday....just two ladies, flying into Vega, taking a night at Grand Canyon,
then flight to San Francisco, and renting a car to drive down the Pacific Coast Highway, ending in Los Angeles for the return flight!!! A rather complicated itinerary that turned into a memory
of time spent together on a Western Adventure!  A birthday this daughter will never forget!!..........Read their blog!!!

As a belated 21st birthday/early graduation present, my mom took me on vacation to Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, and California.
  Our stay at the Monte Carlo hotel in Vegas was wonderful.  With its own casino, nightclub, restaurants, and its location being so close to the strip, we always had something to do.

  Simply walking through the streets and encountering different people was fun in itself, as was looking around the sights and even riding a roller coaster that was just down the block.  One of my favorite memories was from our last night, when we walked along the strip to see the Fountains of Bellagio, where the brightly-lit fountains are choreographed with various music, offering an impressive view for spectators.  On our way back, we stopped at a casino to use the bathroom, and decided to try our luck at a dollar slot machine.  Hoping for the best, I left winning $200 on my first try!  My mom screamed, causing many people to look at us, but it was worth it

. I also can't forget to mention the fact that we saw a show called "Australia's Thunder from Down Under" … but I'll leave the details to one's imagination.  It is true when they say "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" - I definitely plan on returning in the future.   
After a hectic few nights in Vegas, we got to relax at the Grand Canyon overnight.  One of the bigger highlights of the trip, it was an amazing sight to see.

  After a 6 hour bus ride from Vegas, we hiked over two miles around the rim of the canyon, stopping every so often to take pictures and videos that could never actually do the place any justice.  Everything was so serene, and it was as if people were talking more quietly and walking more slowly as to not disrespect the nature that was surrounding them.  We went back again in the morning to catch the sunrise, waking up a little after 4 in the morning to get there in time.  Watching the canyon change colors as the sunlight hit it was beautiful, and made waking up so early worth 

Our next destination was San Francisco, where we almost got stuck on the Golden Gate Bridge due to a lack of knowledge regarding the bus system, took a two sight-seeing tour on a double decker bus, and went to the aquarium on the pier, in which we walked through a glass tunnel surrounded by various sea creatures. 

We ate in the city's Chinatown and Little Italy, most notably at a restaurant called The Stinking Rose, where everything was made with tons of garlic - including dessert.

After two nights in this laid-back city, we rented a car and began our drive down the Pacific Coast Highway to Los Angeles. 
 Unfortunately, we completely underestimated the amount of time it would take us, and ended up having to stop at a motel late at night before finishing our drive.  Despite this, we had a great time on the way down, stopping to appreciate the beauty of the coast ever so often, and even enjoying ourselves once it was dark out and we were the only ones on the road, with only one classical radio station working and the light of the moon to guide us.   After many, many hours of driving, we reached L.A., where we walked along Hollywood Boulevard, watching the stars with celebrities names pass us under our feet.  We saw many people walking around dressed as famous people - my mom got pictures with Elvis and Marilyn Monroe, 

We walked across concrete where celebrities left their hand prints and autographs, huddled around an extremely talented artist as he sketched a couple for only 5 dollars - overall we breathed in the more exciting vibes of the city.  We also made a point to window shop on the famous Rodeo Drive, and took a celebrity homes sight-seeing tour, on which we got to get our picture taken in front of the famous Hollywood sign, 
as well as saw the beautiful mansions of well-known stars


.  We also went on the Venice Beach boardwalk, which was filled with creative, funky vendors, musicians, and stores, and even featured a freak show that was advertised with a two headed turtle in a tank outside.

  Overall, the weather was perfect everywhere we went.  We experienced the craziness of Vegas, the beauty of the Grand Canyon, and the more relaxed attitude of California, and my only regret was that we couldn't stay longer.  I had such a great time and I would encourage anyone to visit all of these places on their next trip!