Visiting Fred + Wilma

Moab, Utah

Flintstones. Meet the Flinstones. They’re the modern stone age family…

I had that song going through my head all day yesterday as we visited Arches National Park.

It’s a stunning park with over 2000 natural arches. The rock formations are amazing.

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You can see by the color and shapes of the rocks why I was thinking of Fred and Wilma.

The park isn’t particularly large, but it’s packed with a wide variety of geologic features. I love the rock in the middle off this arch.

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Many people get to Arches before dawn and hike to watch the sun rise through the rocks. While that would be amazing, I think that’s one of those things that’s better in dreams than in reality. So I slept in… 🙂

The views were beautiful regardless of the time of day. The arch below is huge. In 1940 the arch was only half as big until a chunk fell out. That chunk was about the size of a couple of pickups.

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We weren’t able to hike to most of the arches because we had Sophie with us and dogs are not allowed on national park trails. But the short hikes we did take were simply stunning.

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A few random pictures…

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Monday’s Potluck

Moab, Utah

We traveled from Green River to Moab yesterday. Only drove about 60 miles, so I don’t have much to blog about.

The amazing thing was the number of people exiting north from Moab. On a short 30 mile stretch of two lane road we passed at least 1000 vehicles. Most were towing Jeeps, hauling bicycles, and/or pulling travel trailers…

Here are a few random thoughts for a Monday pot luck post.

Long Term Full Timers

Rich talked with a ‘neighbor’ the other day and found out that he and his wife have been full-time RVers for 22 years!

That’s a whole lot of togetherness…

Here’s what is printed on the back of their contact card:

Too old to work.
Too young to die.
Just breezing along.
My sweetie and I.

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Look Who’s Getting Tattoos!

I’ve been amazed at how many baby boomers are just getting tattoos now.

Recently I overheard two early seventy somethings talking about and showing each other their new tats.

He had just gotten three across the upper portion of his chest: one for each daughter. A pumpkin, a butterfly, and a daisy.

She had just gotten a bracelet tattoo of flowers around her wrist.

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She confided that she saved some of her pain pills from a recent dental procedure specifically for getting her tattoo. The next time she saw her dentist, she asked him to guess what she used her leftover pain meds for. He smiled at her and said, “I don’t even want to know…”

What the Heck is That?

Many of the areas outside of the national parks we have visited are range lands.

People visiting from other parts of the USA have never been near cattle let alone barbed wire fence and cattle guards.

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Outside of Capitol Reef National Park, one gal from Massachusettes was so proud that she was the only one in her group that new a cattle guard’s function.

She was stumped when someone asked her how it worked. But she was still the queen of knowledge in her group for the moment…

Wayne’s Wonderland

Moab, Utah

We hadn’t planned on staying in Green River, but a plethora of events (half marathon) and circumstances (teacher workshop creating a four day weekend for all Utah families) prevented us from staying in Moab until today.

But it worked out great because out allowed us to take a trip to Capitol Reef National Park.

Originally called Wayne Wonderland in the 1920’s because it resides in Wayne County, the park protects colorful canyons, ridges, and buttes. The Waterpocket Fold, a geologic landform that’s a rugged spine extending nearly 100 miles, resides within the park and is clearly visible from above.

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(Photo above comes  from the Internet. Those below are mine, taken while driving so please excuse the lack of focus…)

The park gets its name from Navajo sandstone domes that resemble the U.S. Capitol building.

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To both Rich and me, it seemed that the geology and topography changed drastically every couple of miles.

Outside of the park about thirty miles, the red rock begins.

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The large formation in the upper right of  this photo is called Factory Rock. Rock climbers are barely visible against the small towers in the foreground. On the opposite side of Factory Rock is a huge designated OHV (Off Highway Vehicles) area.

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We drove up into one of the scenic areas and were amazed again by the diversity of the rocks and vegetation.

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And…

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And…

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There is a historical organization that runs a gift shop and small museum in Fruita (fruit-ah), a small town where Mormon families settled and planted all kinds of fruit orchards.

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We helped their cause by buying a small cherry pie. Yummy!

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I’m Not Smart Enough to be a Mormon

Green River, Utah

I’m embarrassed to admit how many times I got us lost trying to find an RV park near Salt Lake City yesterday.

The truth is that I barely got us to the third RV park we tried to stay at. Rich saved us because he SAW the park from the interstate.

I was using Google Maps on my phone. It lists the street names in the numbered grid system Salt Lake City is famous for.

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The grid system starts at Temple Square and radiates out from there. So each address lists a coordinate stating how far east or west it is from the Temple and another coordinate stating how far north or south it is.

Sounds simple, but, at least for me, it’s not. I’ll admit: I’m directionally challenged. Here’s how I tell the difference between left and right…

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Salt Lake City officials are so concerned about everyone figuring out how to get where they need to be that they kindly list the coordinates, the name IF it has one, and the Utah state highway number if that is applicable.

Oh, and the state nickname is the beehive, so the state highway number, and there are a lot of them, is enclosed in a beehive. Took me a while to figure out that the symbol was a beehive. (Sure you can see it in this photo, but we were toodeling down the interstate over 60 mph. 🙂 )

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The more I read about the grid system, the more confused I became.

For example, “There are just under seven blocks per mile in Salt Lake City, but a street is not necessarily a block.”

And, “Even streets with names have coordinates… If you were looking for Harvard Avenue, it would be helpful for you to know that its coordinate is 1175 south.”

I’m sure that makes perfect sense to someone, somewhere. 😉

But I’ve decided I’m not smart enough to be a Mormon and live in Salt Lake City!

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Hitting the Road Again

Salt Lake City, Utah

Took off out of Boise yesterday morning again. We’re heading east for a bit and then south on our way to Moab.

On our way there we passed within 30 miles of Thousand Springs and Shoshone Falls.

We have visited them before, so we didn’t stop yesterday. But I wanted to remember why we’d visited earlier. So I googled them and stole some photos off of the Internet to post here…

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Thousand Springs is a very unique geological site outside of Hagerman, Idaho. Water that goes underground by the Craters of the Moon National Park, nearly 100 miles away, forms oodles of waterfalls sprouting out of rock walls.

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Amazingly, the water flows underground for nearly 200 years before it flows out of the ground crystal clear and super oxygenated.

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Thousand Springs is a state park that offers hiking, kayaking, camping, bird watching, etc…

Shoshone Falls

When we used to drive to Bozeman to visit Richie in college, we often stopped at Shoshone Falls just outside of Twin Falls, Idaho.

Because we were from Nevada, we pronounced it show-show-knee falls; the Nevada Shoshone Tribe pronounced it that way.

In Idaho, it is pronounced show-shown. I’m guessing that the Idaho tribe pronounces it that way.

The falls can be spectacular in high water springs. Also called the Niagra of the West, the falls at 212′ are 45′ higher than Niagara.

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Alas we’ve only seen it during normal and drought years.

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And on our drive to visit Richie, we always passed over the Perrine Bridge just outside of Twin Falls. It is stunning and a favorite spot for bungee jumpers.

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Health Partners

Boise, Idaho

Yesterday I saw my endocrinologist for my twice yearly checkup. Now we can travel for six months… 🙂 And we are starting today, taking off from Boise.

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I had blood drawn for tests before I saw him, and I can view the results online before I go in. (Isn’t technology wonderful?) Anyway, I knew pretty much what we were going to discuss before I went in.

Dr. C. asked me how I was feeling, and I gave him a quick run down of some things that have changed and other doctors I had seen since my last visit.

Then he asked, “OK, but how ARE you feeling? On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being terrible and 10 being fantastic.”

I thought a second and answered, “8.75.” (Everything’s evaluated precisely when when you’re surrounded by three engineers: Dad=electrical engineer, husband=residential engineer, son=chemical engineer).

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Dr. C. laughed and said, “I’m sorry we couldn’t get you to a 10.”

I told him I was greedy and wanted the very best. 🙂

He then challenged me by asking, “What are YOU doing to make yourself as well as possible?”

His expertise could only take me so far. I am an active partner with him.

I told him that I’m finally able to exercise again because of the cocktail of meds I’m on. I’m eating better, and I’m working hard to stay as healthy physically, emotionally, and spiritually as I can.

But his challenge made me think about how often we expect complete results from a medication without putting forth effort on our own, particularly for medications that often help correct poor choices we make…

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Au Revoir, Mom

Boise, Idaho

We drove home from Reno to Boise yesterday after Mom’s funeral.

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It was a very nice service, and I think she would have liked it. We started with a full rosary — recitation of prayers. And finished with a celebration of Mass by Father King.

(Turns out that Mom attended Father King’s ordination into the priesthood nearly twenty years ago. He had been a teacher for 30 years, and entered the seminary after retirement.)

Carol and Mike did an excellent job of arranging the services. Mom and Dad had many things already decided, but there were still lots of decisions to make.

Joanne, my youngest sister,  found some photos and memorabilia from Mom’s past including her high school yearbook.

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Mom had four children, 11 grandchildren, and 10 great grandchildren. Denise, one of her grandchildren sent this lovely spray.

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Mary Lou, my older sister, suggested that we wear leis in honor of Mom’s years in Hawaii before and during WWII. I ordered some and they were quickly shipped directly from the islands. They were beautiful.

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The church where Mom attended Mass for the last four years is beautiful. The baptismal font in the foreground is stunning as the water gently spills over its rim.

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The service ended with a short graveside service. We all sadly said goodbye as we placed our leis on Mom’s casket.

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During the graveside service, I asked Mom for a sign that she was okay and happy. Because I wasn’t able to spend time with Mom during her last few days, I was feeling an angst that I didn’t see in my sisters who had spent time with Mom while she was on her deathbed.

A leaf slowly floated down from a tree and landed gently in my lap.

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It didn’t photograph particularly well, but the sides of the leaf fold towards the middle, looking exactly like a hug. No other leaves in the area looked like it.

I haven’t decided if the leaf represents Mom sending a hug down to all of us or of Mom receiving a heavenly hug.

The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that it’s both.

I feel a peace washing over me knowing that Mom is happy and feels our love for her…

Good bye, Mom…

Mom’s Obituary Click on the Read More link.
A few more random photos including a replica of of The Pieta–my favorite…

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New Car Smell

Fallon, Nevada

Yesterday we drove from Boise to Fallon and borrowed Melissa’s new car.

It’s way more comfortable than our Jeep and gets much better fuel mileage than the motor home.

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Melissa was happy to lend it to us, but there were a few rules…

We can eat in it, but we can’t leave stinky food wrappers in it.

That would erase the new car smell.

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Confession time: We split a Subway sandwich in Winnemucca yesterday. I made sure to order it without any sauces and no onions. We ate it really fast and I tied the baggy up multiple times…

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But I’m still afraid that it left a smell residue, so I think I’ll order one of these for Misslissa…

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Love you, Misslissa! 🙂

Ode to Pumpkins

Boise, Idaho

We’re still in Boise for a few more days, so I don’t have much travel to blog about.

I put several topics into a hat, picked one out, and, voila, it’s time to talk about pumpkins!

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I love pumpkins. I love their shapes, I love their colors, I love their textures, and, most of all, I love their taste!

I know that coffee people go crazy when Starbucks starts serving their Pumpkin Spice Latte each fall.

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I’m not a coffee drinker, and I’m not sure pumpkin would blend well with my perennial favorite drink–Diet Pepsi.

But when I was looking for an image to use, I came across one for Pumpkin Spice Latte ice cream. Hmmmm…. might have to give that a try.

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One of the things I miss about living in a real home is an oven because I love to bake. And I have a pumpkin cookie recipe that I always bake when I’m feeling blue. In over 20 years of baking those pumpkin cookies several times per year, they have only turned out badly once and that was when I accidentally put the baking soda in at triple the amount. Awful mistake…

So until I have a real oven, I’m periodically feeding my pumpkin fix with a Costco Pumpkin muffin.

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Yep, I know that they are nearly 700 calories. That’s why Rich and I split one.

Plus think how many calories I’m saving by not eating pumpkin cookie dough. 🙂

Oh, and if anyone has connections at Costco, please ask them to start baking the Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins again. They were amazing!

Happy Pumpkin Eating!