Monday, June 23, 2008

our amazing trip: day 3

Before I launch in to our trip thus far, I want to thank everyone that wrote us e-mails before we left. I'm sorry I didn't have a chance to respond to all those kind people that offered to meet us along the way, or put us up. We were in such a rush to pack up and get out that I didn't have an opportunity to write you back. We're not planning to stop and visit because we have a lot of driving to do in a small amount of time and we're trying to get as far as we can, each day. If you need to get in touch with us, please post a comment to the blog. Because I never bothered to write it down from 10 years ago when I set it up, I don't have the password to access my home e-mail account, so anything that you send to me won't be received until we get back. Also, as you probably suspect, the coverage for internet and cell phone isn't always available - so if you try to contact us and don't hear back, it's most likely because we're out of range. While on the range.

Yesterday we added about five hours to our drive because we took a detour through Zion National Park which is my favorite National Park in the United States. And I can say that pretty definitively, because I've been to (almost) all of them.

Whenever I hold one of our children close and give them a deep hug, I feel like I'm cloaked in warmth, like my very soul is being touched by God. Whenever I've been to Zion and look up at the majestic sandstone cliffs, I feel the same way. Zion is a beautiful, magical and spiritual experience for me. It is what I imagine heaven to both look and feel like.

Even before we had children, I was excited to share the Zion experience with them.

As we drove up the switch backs and I pointed out all the beauty that surrounded us in the massive sandstone...

I like to think that they were so overwhelmed by the sheer power of the Park that they were knocked unconscious.

We made a quick stop along Highway 9 to have William take our picture. He is quite the budding photographer.

In the background is the Checkerboard Mesa.
It has the appearance of looking like a checkerboard because of cross-bedding and fracture patters in the sandstone. I just deleted a whole paragraph about why the fracture patterns have occurred and how tunnels are made in this formation, but I don't want any of you to be so overwhelmed by the sheer power of the geologic forces at work that you are knocked in to unconsciousness.

We then continued on Highway 89, which runs parallel to Interstate 15. Every two hours, we would stop to change drivers and let the children get out to stretch their legs and play.

Soon after we got on to Interstate 70, about 15 minutes after we last switched drivers, we noticed that we were passing a gas station. Charlie asked if we should stop, but seeing as we had 3/4 of a tank - and we had just spent 30 minutes stopped a few minutes earlier - I suggested that we keep driving because SURELY we'd see another gas station before we arrived in Green River, Utah.

A bit later, when I noticed that our dashboard computer indicated 102 miles to empty and we had 101 miles to Green River I started to sweat. Especially when the road before us was pitch black without another town in sight .... AT ALL.

When we saw an exit sign that read Gas/Lodging, we immediately pulled off. And then, almost choked when we saw an arrow that pointed 25 miles to the north >> which seeing as we were heading east, this was COMPLETELY out of our way. And it was 10:00 PM. And there was no cell phone coverage. Or internet access. So, we couldn't even see if we were to keeping heading east on I-70 whether or not we'd find another town.

After getting off the Interstate and driving on pitch black country roads, we started to wonder if the gas station would even be open, after all, it is Utah. And then we started to tell ourselves not to FREAK out because even if the gas station in the middle of BFE nowhere Utah was closed, we had an ample amount of water ... and food ... and we could sleep in the car. And I had my reflective survival blanket and know how to make a fire and am not afraid to eat crickets should we run out of Graham Crackers, so we would not perish.

When we saw the gas station Charlie and I cheered. We embraced. We agreed that getting off the freeway and driving to the middle of nowhere was worth it, considering if we stayed on the road, we very well might have run out of gas - especially since we were driving through the mountains and the gas mileage varies depending upon topography. We apologized to each other for the blame that IT WAS THEIR fault our family was going to vanish.

Then we panicked again when we saw that the gas station was closed - as was every thing else in the town with a population of 10. But then we rejoiced when we saw that even though the station was closed, the pumps were open. And then we both wondered what would ever happen if there was an emergency?? Or a drive-off when a motorist forgot to remove the dispenser hose from their car?? And there was a release?? Or a fire??

Then we agreed that people like us that work in the petroleum business worry about those types of things - but for now - we aren't going to think about it and just get back on the road and drive the 25 miles back to I-70 ... and find a hotel.
So that's what we did.

Today, we just left Utah and are driving through western Colorado.

In the distance - from the passenger seat - I see the beautiful Rocky Mountains in front of us. I feel positively tingly. I've never been here before but if feels like I'm home.
(The pictures of this will have to follow tomorrow. Uploading pictures on Charlie's PC laptop is a lot more challenging than on my speedy Mac desktop at home. As in, I'm ready to THROW THIS COMPUTER OUT THE CAR WINDOW).

Serenity NOW!!!

Cue up John Denver.

"Rocky Mountain high, Colorado."


  1. I have to say that I am incredibly thankful that you 1)have your camera and 2) are posting pictures. I would LOVE to take a cross country road trip, but am quite happily living vicariously through you.

    That looks like a gorgeous place -- and I'm excited to see the Colorado Rockies!

  2. This so much fun! I actually feel like I'm on vacation with you.

    I love Zion too. It is seriously my favorite National Park and I've been to almost all of them too!!! I was actually hiking in Zion and taking my Lupron shots the week before my egg retrieval that resulted in my triplet pregnancy.

    Then I was back at Zion when I was seven weeks pregnant and Greg gave me a big old progesterone shot in the butt right in the parking lot of some little restaurant just as the SHERIFF was pulling in. I thought I was going to jail FOR SURE!

    I'm so glad that you made the five hour trek and that you didn't run out of gas.

    Yeah for Colorado. I LOVE Colorado. But after that I'll be unconscious until you get to Chicago. :)

  3. I feel the way you do about Zion. I only once made the mistake of not stopping at the two places available in Utah and I'll never forget again. I am convinced that they should add some new signs. Things like: This is the last place to stop and pee foevveeeeerrrr. No, we really mean it. Like really. Also: Do you like gas, cause this is it. ps. we mean you. pps. there is no AAA guys.

    Helpful things in my mind. Enjoy Colorado today. It's not as sunny as it was last weekend, but it's still beautiful.

  4. I am enjoying "traveling" with you.
    Enjoy and be safe.

  5. Oh how I want to get on the road. But I am obviously not as brave as you and must plan things a "little". Although several yrs ago the kids were on fall break from school and we woke up and decided to take a trip, the children decided they wanted to go to Washington DC and two hours later we were on the road, it was a very fun trip and we survived so maybe I can be a "little" impulsive. Drive safe and have a wonderful time, also take lots of pictures, loving looking at those.
    Kathy in NC

  6. Every two hours, what a great plan! I am having so much fun. I have my John Denver on :))))) Not really but I can hear him LOL

  7. Bummer--sounds like you're not coming thru Denver....
    Can't wait to see the photos of the Rocky Mountains, though I am looking at them live as we speak!

  8. Karen in Buffalo6/23/08, 5:33 PM

    Looks like you're having great weather for driving and enjoying the sights. What memories you are making!

  9. Oh, we know that stretch of ABSOLUTE nothing very well. We drive from Denver to visit my family in Orange County, CA and on our first drive, we made it to Green River on fumes. I'm not kidding. There should be a HUGE neon flashing sign telling everyone to get gas whether you think you need it or not.
    Your pictures of Zion were gorgeous! Enjoy the rest of your drive.


  10. What an incredible adventure! Thank you for taking us (your loyal readers) along with you. Have fun!!!!!

  11. I'll wave as you pass through Denver - I'm in the southern 'burbs. Howdy folks!

    If you have time to stop (or need to allow little legs to stretch), try to head out to City Park. It's near downtown Denver, and it's gorgeous. Lots of wide open spaces, lots of little playgrounds to explore for the kids. Oh, and the Denver Zoo is there, too, but seeing as you're from San Diego, it doesn't hold a candle to your hometown zoo.

    I LOVE the fact you are making this adventure in your car. Some of my fondest memories are road trips. We've already taken our 16 month old cross-country and it was a blast. Enjoy every moment!!

  12. Awesome Zion picts! Did the kids like the tunnel? Shayna wanted Mark to honk the entire way through! If you have time, check out my blog for a funny "Static Electricity refueling picture!" Wouldn't want you to have anything go wrong on your Amazing Adventure, like running out of gas in Utah or setting the car on fire in Colorado! LOL!