Utah, Colorado road trip
What I expected: Thirty hours in a cramped, six-cylinder speeding bullet with our in-laws, two dogs, a suitcase full of bargain basement books-on-tape (intrigue! espionage!) and the assorted body odors, creaks and noises that come with the explosion of ear hair and a disdain for any music made after 1982.
What I found: I pouted as we got underway that June morning. As we passed Nevada and briefly brushed the sun-drenched corner of Arizona, the beauty of our surroundings started to overtake me. The soft, calming, prairie-like foothills of southwestern Utah, with their cylinder agro-sprinklers dancing with the midafternoon sun, gave way to a climbing, rockier and steeple-like mountain range. My dreaded road trip was anything but. Driving through Utah and Colorado is breathtaking, and something everyone must experience. My wife, our pets and my in-laws, however, are off-limits. Only I am lucky enough to claim them as my family.
Billy Mange, Redlands
Taliesin West, Scottsdale, Ariz.
What I expected: I was in a wheelchair, so I had serious concerns about accessibility. We called ahead and were told that the general tour was wheelchair-accessible.
What I found: This is a beautiful and interesting site, and it is still Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural institute. But paths were made of loose gravel. Ramps were metal sheets laid over stairs, their pitches so steep that ascent was nearly impossible and descent rammed me feet-first into the ground. I had to get out of the wheelchair so my husband could wrench the footrests out of the ground. (Thank goodness I was able to get up. I might still be there otherwise.) At several points, I was asked to detour and meet up with the group elsewhere, and once was placed so far away from the group I could not hear the guide's remarks. Taliesin West is a remarkable site and everyone should be able to experience it. Many of the fixes would not be difficult, especially with all those architects-to-be on hand.
Lorrie Farrelly, Yorba Linda
What I expected: Magic.
What I found: It is a run-down amusement park. It feels nothing like the Disney resort in Orlando, Fla. I realize this park is older, but it is carny-like, even the newish California Adventure. I was looking forward to visiting Disneyland because of my affinity for Disney World and was sadly disappointed. There wasn't any magic.
Tanya King, Los Angeles
What I expected: On a Mediterranean cruise that started in Rome with stops in Sicily, Florence and Venice in Italy, Barcelona, Spain, and Nice, France, we also had a stop in Dubrovnik. I was a bit hesitant; I imagined a devastated city ravaged by the Yugoslavian war.
What I found: When our ship docked, I was taken aback by Dubrovnik's beauty. It was clean, had awesome medieval buildings, friendly citizens and great prices. The city had recovered quickly from the war. This ended up being one of the highlights of our tour.
Robert Garcia, Cerritos
Las Vegas Strip
What I expected: The Strip is an adult theme park on steroids, and it's easy to be drawn in by the luxury spas, the excess in both food and amenities, the pageantry and people-watching, the entertainment and the colorful light displays.