Turns out that while we were fast asleep in Flagstaff, Santa was making a magical winter wonderland outside!
We brushed it off and bundled up for a stroll through Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, which was as close as we could get to James Turrell's Roden Crater without tangling with the law.
There we saw some fascinating Native American ruins.
Then we found a mysterious blow hole that gave Sarah the chance to have a Marilyn Monroe moment. Fierce, Sarah. Fierce.
Back on the road, and what's that? More snow! This time it was for real.
After a long day of driving through many different kinds of weather conditions, we made it to Hoover Dam. The passengers of Merlot were treated to a very sassy entrance guard who checked our vehicle for contraband and then asked, "So I bet you guys have a lot of dam questions?..." And then we said all the dam puns we could think of until we arrived at this magnificent beauty:
Trevor was vigilant, even though some of the other members of our entourage engaged in shenanigans. Turns out the Hoover Dam is a great place to practice your parkour.
Evidence of the drought was in full effect. And we learned in our class that the dam stands in part because the water holds it in tension between the rocky hills. More water, please!
Our entrance to Vegas was perfect as we drove in at dusk, straight down the strip, and landed at our castle for the next two nights, the Excalibur.
This historic monument is conveniently located just outside NYC.
We were tired, but Noelle insisted on doing a little art history before bedtime. She's such a dedicated art history major.