Friday, August 5, 2011

Heading toward Bryce - a little sore but wiser, sort of.

Hi everyone,

It’s been a long day but I wanted to get you up to date a little bit.  We’re currently in Grand Junction, CO but I left you in Zion at last posting.  I’m getting bummed about the vacation being nearly over. And the terror of the upcoming flight home is beginning to loom.  I can honestly say I could stay out here and travel around for at least another two weeks.  I’m not anxious to return to work and I’m not thrilled about getting on a plane.  I really like our SUV.  I’m wondering how many favors I’d have to offer my husband to convince him to drive the SUV to Virginia instead of Denver ….

Back to the trip. So we woke up the next morning after our hike from hell.  The kids were fine and my husband seemed fine, too.  Me, I could barely move for the first few minutes.  I gingerly got out of the cot and began stretching.  Visions of my uncle who likes to stretch in the nude came to mind. When I was about 10, I walked in on him and now he never lets me forget it.  Personally I think he’s proud that every family member and nearly all of his children’s friends have caught him this way. But that’s another blog.

My husband insisted on cooking breakfast for us.  He loves eggs, bacon, toast and coffee made over a campfire.  In this case it was over a camp stove but you get the idea. It took forever – these stoves aren’t the fastest, hottest things in the world.  Meanwhile, my daughter was hanging out with the 13 year old boy from the site next to us.  Before I realized what was happening, they were taking pictures and exchanging numbers for texting.  Love in the campgrounds.  Can I tell you – it’s been over a week since that occurred and this boy has texted my daughter over 25 times! She’s getting a little freaked out.  I think the word “stalkerish” has come out.  Stalkerish is a word my daughter invented over the course of her first year in Middle School to describe the behavior of certain boys who texted and called entirely too much.  Don’t these boys have video games to play?

After breakfast – which was really good – thanks honey – we packed up and prepared to leave for Bryce Canyon. The trip was fairly short but beautiful. We arrived at our new campsite and quickly set up our tent.  We’re really getting the hang of the whole setting up the tent, getting the cots in and putting in the sleeping bags.  We only had to yell at the kids 5 times to quit horsing around and come help, down from 12 at the last location. This new site was in the park itself and was far more woodsy and secluded. The bathroom wasn’t too far away but I kept getting turned around every time I came out and couldn’t find our tent.  I swear I never took the same path twice trying to come back from the bathroom.

By the time we finished setting up and waiting for me to return from the bathroom, it was already around 2-3 ish.  We stuck to the itinerary and visited the various viewpoints of Bryce along the shuttle road.  We decided to drive because the shuttles, unlike in Zion, didn’t come often enough.  There would be a ten minute wait between shuttles and I wanted to make sure we saw as much as we could.  Bryce is my favorite canyon, mostly because it’s so beautiful.  Everyone oohed and ahhed as we made our way to the various stops. However, there was some walking to be done to get to the tops of the scenic outlooks. Oh yes, the whining started again.  Mostly I heard how I had promised them no hiking today, and that I should be punished for forcing them to walk so soon after their last day of great struggle.  Oh please, the walks were tiny little uphill climbs that only left us mildly breathless and begging for water. If my kids had their way, they’d have their own servants carrying them on those comfy mattresses with poles through them with curtains they could close so they could nap while being whisked away to the parts they wanted to see. I was tempted to start the stories of how I had to walk to school uphill both ways when I was their age. At least everyone agreed that Bryce was breath-taking.  We got the added treat of seeing lots of wildlife including at least one Pronghorn which jumped out in front of our car.  Luckily Pronghorns are the fastest animal in North and South America and are only outdone by the cheetah in Africa and India. Otherwise, it would have been a hood ornament.

The only disappointment of the day was dinner.  The restaurant I had chosen wasn’t all the reviews had promised.  Foster’s was a mediocre restaurant at best.  We should have guessed when we went to the salad bar and all they had was – and I’m not joking – a bowl of iceberg lettuce, some whole baby carrots and sliced cucumbers, and then pineapples, cottage cheese, and a pasta salad. That’s it except for the salad dressing and some croutons, I think. Maybe I’m being snobby but I expect more from salad bars.  Things like, oh I don’t know, tomatoes, peppers, and other things that fall into the vegetable category. Foster’s is supposed to be known for its steaks, especially its prime rib, so that’s what we ordered.  It barely had any taste and there was no good roasty part – which you know is my favorite if you read a few entries ago. The kids got steak from the Children’s menu.  I always like it when restaurants have real food on their Children’s menus instead of the obligatory chicken fingers, burgers, mac and cheese, and pizza.  Unfortunately my daughter complained that the meat was tough and not very good. She barely ate hers and shared our prime rib instead.

The one shining star in this meal was the pie. I’m not sure where we got room for it, but we ordered two pieces of pie.  One was the coconut cream and the other was the mixed berry with vanilla ice cream.  I was told these pies are made on site. OMG, they were amazing.  We all wished we had just ordered the pies and had them for dinner.  Certainly we’d have all been happier despite our pancreas’ pleas for insulin shots.

More tomorrow: Our day in Bryce and a hike we liked! Plus a restaurant worth the trip.