|Golden Spike! You can see a replica from 1990 because |
the real spikes are actually at Stanford University.
I'm sorry, you guys--going on that vacation really kicked my duff. (Thanks, thesaurus.com!) I've started a couple of posts, but just didn't have the time or the will to finish them. Since getting home Friday evening, I've just been trying to get back into the swing of things. This has proven to be way harder than anticipated. I'm behind at work, I'm behind at home, and all I want to do is nothing. (The strength I got from eating coffee ice cream is what finally pushed me to finish this. Once again, coffee saves the day!)
To Reader's Digest condensed book this thing (um, anyone else know that those things are?), here's what we did:
Day 1: End up in Twin Falls (Idaho)
Day 3: Bryce Canyon (Utah)
Day 4: North Rim at the Grand Canyon (Arizona)
Day 5: Zion National Park (Utah)
Day 6: Home! (Oregon!)
|Cathedral of the Madeleine. I love Instagram. P.S. Salt Lake City is like a really|
nice downtown Portland. Good to know.
We spent most of our time in Utah. Quick observation: You'd think they'd know how to make a decent cup of decaf in that state, and yet, not so much. Finding a coffee shop was actually harder than finding a bar. That Starbucks in Cedar City was like an oasis in the desert, I tell you what. We also saw one in Logan, but circumstances being what they were, I wasn't able to show my support by patronizing that particular business. Thank heavens the motels we stayed at had coffee (I went caffeinated, stomach be damned, it tasted terrible, that's why God gave us cream) or I'd have been in a world of hurt.
(Cranky Steve, who is a Mormon, said that there aren't any coffee shops in Utah because of "clean living." He actually told me this with a Pepsi in his hand. I appreciated that.)
The trip started bad and ended bad*, but the middle was fantastic. Utah has quite a rugged kind of beauty, and all the parks we visited were gorgeous. (Well, maybe not the Golden Spike, but we had a very enthusiastic Park Ranger, so I have to give points for that.) Bryce is just unique, the Grand Canyon is huge, and Zion is... well, I don't know how to explain Zion, except to say it was our overall favorite. It was just cool.
|Bryce Canyon is, according to Ebenezer Bryce, "a hell of a place to lose a cow."|
I just take his word for it.
The girls were enthralled with the electrical storms--we don't have those kind of storms in Oregon. (I mean, sure, we have lightening... maybe twice a year... for an hour.) We lucked out because, while we got into plenty of storms, we always got into them as we were leaving a park. One of my favorite memories is the girls jumping around in the rain just as we were heading back to the car at Bryce. Other people were running into the lodge and looking at them like they were crazy, and I was all, um, we're from Oregon. One lady said, web feet, right? And I was like, word! So that was heartwarming, as was the fact she was a former Oregonian. Another memorable storm: Leaving the Grand Canyon, the storm was so overhead that the thunder and lightening was simultaneous. Crazy!
We had some early mornings in order to fit everything in, but we also had a couple of days where we got to our hotel early and were able to unwind. I enjoyed me some hot tubs, I tell you what, and Johanna went into every single swimming pool. The older girls had some internet time. Eric isn't really much of a relaxer, so he'd just plan the next day's activities. Well, whatever works for you.
|The Grand Canyon is aptly named. Also, the North Rim is where it's at--way less|
commercial than the South.
After this trip Eric and I were trying to decide if we really have it in us to do a BIG trip. You know, like camping in Alaska for like three weeks or something, which is Eric's dream. Personally I think that for next year's big vacation, we should pick a town (I'm gunning for Seattle. We've been so lame about exploring our neighbor state to the north) and just kind of... do stuff around one area (um, like go drink coffee and people watch downtown, or ride a ferry, or go for a quick jaunt to Forks, which I still want to see even though everyone is dissing Twilight hard these days--whatever, people, you know you read those books and liked them! I have the collector's box set, and I'm not even that embarrassed to admit it). I guess we'll see. Next summer seems very far away.
*Beginning: We were on this trip with my parents and my niece. Just outside of Baker City, Oregon--a mere four hours into our trip or something--my dad had some kind of allergic reaction and managed to pull the car to the side of the highway (and put it in park) before passing out. We were in a separate car behind them, and weren't sure what had happened at first. Mom waved us out of the car and told me to call 911. Dad was only out for a few minutes, and was awake again by the time the paramedics came. But super scary. The girls were all freaking out--Johanna thought she was going to throw up--and I think the only reason I did not was because 1) I was on the phone with a very calming dispatcher and B) I had things to do, i.e. calm the children, while my brave husband helped my parents. Anyway, my parents decided to head home as a precaution. I'm happy to report that Dad went to the doctor and all his tests came back normal, and he's been feeling great. I spent the rest of the vacation taking pictures with my iPod to send them whenever we got into some wi-fi. While not EXACTLY like being on the vacation we'd been planning for like a year or whatevs, I know my parents enjoyed seeing what we were up to, at least.
|Zion was Utah's first National Park. Now we know why.|
Ending: What our niece did not tell us, when she decided to hop into our car for the remainder of the trip, is that she had a sore throat. No big deal, right? Except it got progressively worse as time went on. We don't see this kid very often, so we weren't sure how serious it really was. She'd complain she didn't feel good, but then she'd be playing in the pool, for example. Anyway, second to the last day, in cute Logan, Utah, she decides she wants to go to urgent care and guess what? She has Mono. That last day was super, super sucky. I'm just glad that we got as far into our trip as we did before she started feeling really bad. She was super miserable... and so were we.
(But seriously... the middle was great! Go see some National Parks! They're awesome!)