Friday, August 19, 2011

Back into hell - according to my daughter

Hi everyone,

Sorry for the long delay since last post but reality has hit with a vengeance. Work is extremely busy, we ran up to New York City and back for a family wedding (lots of fun but lots of traffic – driving to the city is no fun anymore) and my house is once again the disaster I dread having to deal with. Mornings have been a steady stream of rushing to get out of the house while I’m screaming at the kids to hurry up and get moving.  I sooooooo miss being on vacation.  So I’m ready to delve back into our two week vacation and relay more of our wonderful adventures while I sit here lamenting the 11 months that must pass until we can “vacate” again.  I’m thinking of a month long trip next year…….

Anyway, it was with much crying and pleading that we got our daughter back into the SUV laden with our outdoor paraphernalia.  She really wanted to stay with her friend in the giant hunting lodge.  I don’t get it – who wants to stay in a big house with lots of electronics, a refrigerator, beds and indoor plumbing when you can camp in a tent with your family? 

We headed southeast to Arches National Park for our final sight and our final night of camping. Along the way I had us stop for lunch at the Westwinds Truck Stop in Green River, UT.  Why a truck stop you ask?  Because they have really amazing chicken fried steak.  Considering none of us had ever had it before, I figured we should start with the best.  And it really was the best we ever had.  We were asking the waitress some questions about the chicken fried process when a female truck driver at the next table overheard our conversation.  She was blown away by the fact that we’d never had chicken fried steak before.  She’s from Texas and chicken fried steak is like one of the state dishes there.  She was further baffled when we said we were from Virginia until I explained that we’re originally Yankees and our idea of comfort food is a lobster roll.  I bet miss Texas truck driver never had one of those.

After we were done, we tried to find the Crystal Geyser which we saw a picture of on the walls of the Westwind Truck Stop on the way to the restroom.  This geyser is very interesting because it’s not a hot spring.  It’s a soda spring.  What I mean is that the spring is powered by carbon dioxide rather than a typical hot spring which occurs near a volcanic area.  For some strange reason we couldn’t find it and we wanted to get moving.  We did stop off to buy a melon.  Apparently Green River and the surrounding areas are known for their melons. Yeah, not touching that one.  So my husband pulled into a stand and bought us a melon to have the next day at breakfast. I can’t explain it but all of a sudden our car smelled of melon farts. That Green River melon stunk to high heaven, but not in a rotting way, just in a melon farty kind of way.  Must be that dry Utah soil…..
Everytime we’d leave the car and come back in, that melon fart smell would just smack us all in the face.

We finally arrive at Arches National Park.  The entrance isn’t very noticeable – you could pass it if your GPS isn’t screaming at you to turn in 800 ft, 600 ft, 100 ft,  g-ddammit you’re passing it, dipsh*t. Sorry, I lost myself.  We pulled into the entrance and walked into the Visitor Center.  Actually we ran in because several of us had to us the restrooms immediately. After that we looked around a little and decided to move on.  We wanted to get to the campsite and set up.  The moment we opened the door to exit from the Visitor Center, a giant sandstorm blew in.  Now I know how all those people felt who were caught in the Haboob – sand everywhere. In our hair, up our noses, in our ears – it was gross.  And the grungy camp feeling definitely returned.  We tried to stop along the way to take in some of the scenery.  Each time we got out of the car to see a new arch or rock formation, the wind and the sand would drive us back in.  The sand would sting us like hundreds of little pin pricks – my children were not happy.  I was willing to keep on visiting different spots but no one else was.  Luckily the storm blew over fairly quickly and we were able to hike to a few arches and then set up camp.

Okay, we were only in civilization for a few days but when we got to the new campsite it was like we’d never camped before.  The kids and I saw these black beetles with what looked like stingers on the end.  We completely freaked out and refused to set up the tent near the bugs.  My husband was yelling at us, telling us we were ridiculous. I thought he was going to lose it.  He completely blamed me for setting the poor parental example but these bugs were scary looking.  And on top of that, the bathroom was really far away.  I knew I was going to get eaten while on my way to the middle of the night peepee trip. I was extremely close to insisting we pack up and find the nearest hotel.  However, the view from our campsite was absolutely incredible.  I took a deep breath, put my camping brain on and told the kids to get ready to set up the tent.  My daughter fixed me with a look as if to call me traitor.  In fact I think she actually called me a traitor. She was horrified by my insistence that we stay. My husband was appeased and we began to set up.  The beetles seemed to have disappeared so for now, life was calm.  We got ready and went to dinner.  We went into Moab – a decent sized town for the area – and had dinner at Buck’s Grill House. It was a decent place.  Everyone had meat – big surprise.  We had an interesting appetizer – skewers of elk, boar and buffalo sausages.  I divided them up so we could all try each of the different meats.  They were all delicious but we all had different favorites.

After dinner we drove farther into town to get supplies.  My husband wanted to cook for our final camp breakfast.  There is a real downtown with lots of interesting looking restaurants.  If we should ever get back to that part of the world, we would definitely check out some of them.

That’s all for now.  More later.  I’ve got photos coming soon so we can relive the fun together!

Next: on our way to Colorado and the end of our trip L

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