11/28/06 Thanksgiving Adventuring

For Thanksgiving this year Kelly and I took our big holiday trip. We drove to my sister Angela's house the day before Thanksgiving. The drive was uneventful and pleasant. The roads were dry the whole way. We got there just after dark, and had plenty of time to stay up and chat while eating pumpkin pie. The next morning we got up and spent the day enjoying some family time and cooking. I really didn't do any cooking but you know, moral support is important. Dinner was awesome. The turkey was just right and all the fixin's were really good. We topped it off with more pie. The next day we got an early start and loaded up all the kids, not to hit the big after thanksgiving sales, but to go to my favorite place on this green earth. A part that isn't so green. It's about a four and a half hour drive from Angela's house in West Jordan Utah to Moab Utah. I had planed out a day of adventuring for the whole family that included exploring a scenic canyon, finding several Geocaches, a visit to Dead Horse Point, and finally seeing one of Moab's coolest attractions Gemini Bridges. It was a tight schedule and we got started a bit late. We got to Moab and didn't even stop in town. We just turned left on 279 and headed up the Colorado River about 13.5 miles to the turnoff for Dead Horse Point Road. Now the easy way to get to Dead Horse Point contrary to what one might think is not on Dead Horse Point Road. You can take paved road all the way there on 313 but to do that would be to deprive yourself of a great adventure. We chose this rout for several reasons but one was that there are three Geocaches within a short hike from its course. I thought it would be good to let the kids get out of the cars for several short trips rather than one long hike. Our first stop after we turned off the pavement was for lunch. We just pulled off the dirt road and walked 10 yards down into a dry creek bed and had turkey sandwiches as the kids played on the rocks. Angela's three boys immediately started climbing up the steep side of the canyon. The youngest Levi was the first and only casualty of the day. A smallish rock fell from above and smashed one of his fingers. It was a deep cut and he was a tough kid. A few tears fell and it did require a Band-Aid and some kisses. (See the second picture) On up the canon we found all three Geocaches and took in some literally jaw dropping views. The little pictures do it no justice. The sites that you see in every direction in this part of the world look like they are from another world. By the time we reached the top of the canyon time was running short with the sun dipping for the horizon. We took in Dead Horse Point all to quickly. Dead Horse Point is a peninsula of cliff that protrudes into the air over a spot where the Colorado winds back and forth on itself. Words and even photographs completely fail to convey the experience of standing at the edge of a space that big and full of wonder. The last thing on the agenda was Gemini Bridges. This is a spot where erosion has left two parallel bridges of sand stone across from one cliff edge to another. Years ago Joe drove his jeep out on one of them. As you can imagine with all those kids it was a bit nerve racking but we were there as the sun set on a great day of fun. We took the pavement back to town. The plan was to eat at the famous Moab brewery the place was a zoo and though a bit disappointed we all agreed that we were to hungry to wait the 45 minutes for a table so we settled for the Moab Diner. We had to wait a bit but the food was great. I had the chicken fried steak and it was just the thing after a long day. After dinner Kelly and Angela took the youngest kids and set out on the long drive home. They taunted us that they would be sleeping in warm beds in a few hours and be sleeping-in in the morning. Our plan was to head out Cane creek road and camp on BLM land where Joe and I had camped so many times before. The exact spot where Joe and I liked to camp was taken so we just found another spot down by the creek. We built a small fire with wood we had brought. As it started to dwindle the boys were possessed by ancient mans longing for the companionship of fire. Of there own accord they started venturing into the dark to retrieve more wood to keep it going. My brother in law Mark and I set up the tent and one by one the boys decide that a sleeping bag sounded good. The weather had been great all day, warm at times and better than one has a right to expect this time of year, but nothing is as miserable as a night spent cold, so we had come prepared with every blanket and quilt we could find as well as our sleeping bags. We fell asleep warm and cozy listening to the sound of the coyotes yapping in the distance.
The rest of the trip was spent visiting with family. We saw Kelly's ant sissy and uncle Kirk and my ant Sue and uncle Jess as well as my cousin Kalub. We left Monday morning with the ominous weather forecast of a snowstorm that had already hit the sierras and would be moving into Salt Lake by the afternoon. There was nothing we could do but try to get over Donner Pass before the dark made the slippery roads even worse. It could have been much worse. We had to slow down a few times crossing Nevada where the snow started to pile up but most of the time the strong cross wind kept the snow blowing and the roads were not slippery. We rolled through Reno at about 3:00 on dry roads but CalTrans had R-2 chain restrictions up for the pass and as we started to climb the roads got bad quick. We were not required to chain up because we have all-wheel-drive but the backup from the check point cost us about thirty minutes and then we had to drive about 35mph to be safe on the snow covered roads. We got home about 6:00. It was a wonderful trip in all respects. Work on Tuesday was one of the longest days of my life.

11/11/06 Ambient Life

So when I first thought about writing a blog I figured I really didn't have all that much to say that anyone would want to read. I was right. Those of you how do read this are a special subset of my close friends and family who in are it for something other then high class writing, cause let's face itů I can't even spell. So I realized that would be the way of it from the start and that is why I call it The Ambient Life of Mark and Kelly. My thinking was that I would just put my journal up here and if no one ever read it but me, well, at least I would be keeping a journal and maybe some day my kids would read it or something. The thing is I planed to just write about the plane old things I did on regular days. That last part is where things have strayed from the plan. It didn't take long for most of the entries to be about the more unusual part of our life. The brakes from the ambient if you will.
So I want to just tell you now what is going on in our lives today. It's a Saturday night. Kelly and I just got home from Folsom where we unsuccessfully looked for a new church bookstore that we had heard of, stopped by the jeep dealer briefly to see the new 07 wranglers that are out (We didn't even drive one). Then we went to McDonalds and World Market and then to Sam's Club. Sam's was the reason we left the house. We needed some rolls for after church tomorrow (more on that latter). The rest all just got added onto the agenda in the car on our way down the hill. So our bishop at church was new early last spring. His first official act was to cancel church because of snow. There really wasn't that much but as we are not generally prepared for snow I'm sure they were just erring of the side of caution. Any way, I think that is at least a substantial component of the reason we are having an emergency drill church tomorrow. Our very spread out ward has been broken up into 5 small congregations so that we can meet in designated homes rather than the normal church building that strangely isn't even in or all that near our ward boundaries. There are several reasons for this. It is thought that if there is some kind of general emergency, local travel may be restricted by heavy traffic of damage to infrastructure. Also our church buildings are committed to the Red Cross in the event of wide spread disaster as logistics centers. The only big disaster folks around here really worry about is wild fire. They say if you are evacuated for a fire the thing to do is grab your 72-hour kit and keepsakes and go see a movie. If your house is still standing when the movie ends your good to go, if not take it from there. So that doesn't take all that much planning I guess but the bigger threat is that there will be a big levy breech or other big disaster down in Sacramento and that we will get deluged by refuges from that, so our county's emergency plan is focused more on that kind scenario.
Anyway, there I go again straying from the ambient. So tomorrow is the emergency church meeting and afterwards there is going to be a potluck lunch dinner thing, and we were supposed to bring rolls, thus the trip to Folsom. This morning Kelly had to go to work at borders for the last time on a Saturday. She put in her two-week notice a week ago yesterday. But they talked her into staying on, on a limited basis so she could continue to be the story lady on Tuesdays. This is actually exactly what she wanted so I don't think it took much talkin' on there part. Anyway she has been working 7 hours a day at borders 4 or 5 days a week and then working 2 or 3 hours after that at her new job in a real-estate appraisal office pulse 8 hours there on her day off from borders. Somethin' had to give. Now my papa always told me that changing jobs is like swinging on vines Tarzan style. You have to make sure you have a good hold in the new vine before you let go of the old one. Kelly on the other hand was taking it to a new level. She just won't let go of that old vine. I spent the morning at home by my self. I should have been fixing my jeep clutch but it was raining and I didn't want to. So instead I spent the morning reading about Vietnam because of Veterans Day and studying for the online database class I'm taking. So there you have it, a page full of remarks on an unremarkable day.