Elderly couple on the elevator, woman speaking: â€œOooh, the 17th floor?! Wow, youâ€™re that much closer to heaven!â€ Ken: â€œNo, maâ€™am, itâ€™s still Laughlin.â€ Terri and I went to Flagstaff late last week to check out some ritzy-tony golf development for an article Iâ€™m writing. You know, the kind of place where if you sold your house and most everything you own you could buy a piece of bare earth. The director of golf is late of the Vintage Club in Indian Wells, where my sis has a place. So it turns out heâ€™s the guy who taught my nephews how to play golf. Small world. Weâ€™d hoped to get in some hiking and golf in Flag for another article Iâ€™m writing but the weather just didnâ€™t cooperate â€“ cold, wind, bit of snow flurries. So we turned it into a shopping and arts trip (galleries, museums and a play at Northern Arizona University â€¦ "The Grapes of Wrath," which Iâ€™d never seen on stage). Itâ€™s all good and we did get one day to explore Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monuments. Put in two nights at the Inn at NAU, a small hotel run by the universityâ€™s school of hospitality and restaurant management. The joint and the all-student staff isnâ€™t perfectly polished but for Motel 6 prices and being away from the interstate and train tracks it scores votes for a return trip. Great linens and bedding in big rooms that look like former dorms. Breakfast included. And no bed tax since itâ€™s an educational institution. The third night we put in at a B&B on the edge of the national forest. The owners once ran sled dogs so there are a dozen of the fuzzy howlers in a kennel on site. Sled Dog Inn. It gets a thumbs up. I think weâ€™re going to go back next month and do more exploring during that week weâ€™ve been leaving open. (We â€œlostâ€ three days of that planned getaway to a piece Iâ€™ll be writing about a revamped resort down here in our desert.) After Flag we hit Laughlin for two nights, where we met up with The Moms. We used an offer at Aquarius, and I gotta say, for all the hoopla surrounding the â€œwow, bang, hipâ€ remodel, the casino is the same old Flamingo with a few tweaks. And no one has touched the hotel and I think Iâ€™d be doing a disservice to downtown Vegas if I suggested itâ€™s a downtown-caliber hotel. Maybe now that Icahn has rolled over the property someone will get in and undo 16 years of no one giving a damn. Regardless, we had a lot of fun with the moms and played a good amount of VP. I played DDB and hit a load of quads, including aces, treys with a kicker and treys. We played golf across the way at Laughlin Ranch, and the experience reaffirmed my opinion that itâ€™s a regional top 10 play. Itâ€™s just an amazing course. My m-i-l has been bitten big time by the golf bug so it was a nice treat for her and it was Terriâ€™s second full round in some number of years, so sheâ€™s getting back into it.