Utah trip – the 24th

Thursday we did a little more vacationing – we went to the Golden Spike monument at Promontory Point near Brigham City. Rosemary, Jeanne, and I had not been there, neither had some of the other people who went with this (Scott, Shalynn, Gary, and Debi). We didn’t know it when we planned the trip, but they have some replicas of the original steam engines that are shown in the famous golden spike pictures that they bring onto the site of where the golden spike was driven. It was pretty cool. We saw the steam engines and the location where the spikes were driven, then watched a few movies before heading out. We didn’t spend very long there, just a few hours. We then went out to lunch with my mom before stopping at my sister Wendy’s new house in Ogden. It’s a cute little house; they’ve done a lot of work on it.

I made the same cashew chicken dish that night for my mom (I bought enough to make two batches but only made one on Tuesday night). Everyone seemed to like it. I spent most of the night helping my mom with computer stuff – she’s really getting into digital photography.

Utah trip – the 23rd

Wednesday we did go hiking. We got up early and headed to Brighton with Scott and Shalynn to do a 4 ½ mile hike to three lakes. The initial part of the trail is a little steep, but once you get up to the first lake, things level out considerably and the views become very pretty. I recommend this hike for anyone in moderately good shape who wants a quick trip into the woods and mountains surrounding Salt Lake. It took us just a couple of hours but was lots of fun. The conversation was also very engaging – Scott and Shalynn are fun to talk to.

That afternoon we headed up to my parents’ house to stay with my mom for a few days. On the way we stopped at my friend, Mark Woolley’s in-laws’ house (they are staying with them while he does rotations around the country) to play some ping pong. I was amazed that I could still play considering I haven’t picked up a racket in probably a year or so, but I gave him a run for his money. We also got to see their baby, Noah Cole Woolley, who they adopted back in February. We continued on to my mom’s and spent the evening chatting with her.

Utah trip – the 22nd

Tuesday was another lazy day. We had originally considered going hiking this day as well, but things didn’t work out for that, so we lounged around. We did do one interesting thing. I found a $30 gift certificate to Standard Optical Debi received about 20 years ago for good grades in school. As there wasn’t an expiration date on it, we thought, “What the hell, we’ll try it.” We walked into a Standard Optical in Murray and gave the store manager a good laugh when he saw it. But, to their credit, they accepted the gift certificate. Twenty minutes later, we walked out with two new pairs of sunglasses and a smile on our face. I made dinner this night as well. I made an excellent cashew chicken dish (fake chicken, of course), that everyone liked, including Steve, who never will admit that he likes my fake meat dishes.

Utah trip – the 21st

Monday we adopted our “vacation” mentality. Before coming out to Utah Debi and I decided that because we regularly came out to Utah we were going to try to turn it into a vacation for us, doing things most people in Utah take for granted or never do. Basically we wanted to treat the trip like a vacation and visit places we never had. In throwing out ideas we came up with a bunch, including a trip to Antelope Island. Neither Rosemary, Debi’s mom, nor Jeanne, my mom, had been to Antelope Island, so they were both interested in going. Taking a novel approach, we decided to bring both families together to visit the island. Also, Brent, Debi’s brother-in-law, instant messaged me before we came out and suggested another place to visit – the Kennecott Copper Mine. I had always wanted to visit it, so we worked it into our schedule.

With a full day scheduled, we got up early and took two cars to Brent and Suzy’s house. The group included: Debi and I, Scott and Shalynn, and Gary and Rosemary. At Brent and Suzy’s house we met Brent who then took his car up to Kennecott (so we still had two cars). We spent about an hour and a half at Kennecott, walking around and enjoying ourselves. It was really amazing – it’s a massive project. We would have liked to have stayed long enough to see a blast, but we had to meet my family in Layton to pick up lunch, so we left around 11:00 am. Brent stayed behind to watch a blast and the rest of us piled into Debi’s parents’ car.

We cruised to Layton, arriving a few minutes late. We met my mom, who brought Katie and Thomas, as well as Tammy with all of her kids – Karlie, Corbin, Carson, Carter – and Kristen, with her kids – Trey, Morgan, Brock, and Sydney. We met at a Subway and used a bunch of coupons to buy everyone lunch. We then drove to Antelope Island, losing my mom in the process. Once we rounded everyone up, we headed up to Buffalo Point for a picnic and then a hike. My mom, Katie, and Karlie did not go on the hike – and Katie, thinking it was too hot out on the island for Thomas, had my mom drive her out of the park to meet Kevin, who picked her up. They then returned to meet us after the hike was over, around 3:00 pm.

The hike was actually a lot of fun. It was only about 2 miles round trip, but the kids made it very entertaining. I had originally intended to stay near the back to help along any stragglers. But that lasted only a minute or so – Brock and Carter (who are about 4 years old) were cruising ahead of the rest of the group at a sprint. They were full of energy and didn’t want to wait for anyone else. So, leaving Debi back with the main pack, I cruised ahead to reign them in and direct them up the trail. Brock was hilarious. He wanted to be ahead of everyone else, including me, so he told me, “I’m going to stay ahead of you. When we get to a place where the trail splits, just tell me (pointing) that way or that way.” They really pushed the pace, which made it fun.

The rest of the group wasn’t too far behind, but the heat quickly split us up. Gary and Rosemary made it up the first rise, stopped at a bench, and then turned around. I didn’t think the hike would be that hard, but combined with the heat, it was too much for them. The trail goes a little beyond the highest point in altitude, then comes to an abrupt halt. We stopped at the highest point and Scott and Shalynn turned around there. The rest of us continued for a couple hundred yards then stopped. I couldn’t see where the trail went from there, so we called it good. While I scouted for a continuation of the trail, Brock and Carter found a little “cave” where two massive boulders were resting against each other, making a space through which they could crawl. Before I or their mothers could check to see if that place was safe they had already crawled through, multiple times. They seemed to really enjoy themselves.

We stayed up there for a few minutes and snapped a couple pictures before turning around. The pattern basically repeated itself on the way down – Brock and Carter ran ahead and I had to push my pace to keep up with them. As we headed down the trail Brock turned back to me and said, “You know, Brian [he kept calling me Brian], I don’t think we should have done this. I’m tired.” That really cracked me up.

Anyway, we finished the hike just before 3:00 and met back up with my mom and Karlie. We then drove around the East side of the island looking for wildlife. We saw tons of buffalo and a few mule deer. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the road on the East side dead-ends at a ranch. Since we had driven the whole way, we decided to stop at the ranch to check things out. As it turns out, the ranch has the oldest still-standing building built by people of European descent in Utah – a fireplace and wall built around 1844 or so. The fireplace wasn’t all that interesting, but the ranch was decked out with period stuff – tools, household goods, etc. – and was basically a hands-on experience. You could touch or interact with everything. The kids really ate that up. They were all over the place – running here and there, looking, touching, climbing, etc. They even climbed on top of a storage cellar that was mostly underground but had an above ground roof. When Sydney decided she wanted to climb on top as well for a picture (she’s also 4, Brock’s twin), I was the candidate to take her up. I did, and in the process picked up a sliver (which I still have as of this writing – hopefully it will work itself out as my skin renews itself).

We must have spent about an hour and a half at the ranch, putting us close to 4:30 by the time we left. We had talked about wading in the lake for a bit, so we drove back to a beach we saw and most of us went out to the lake to take a dip. We hadn’t really planned on swimming, so none of us had swimsuits, but that didn’t matter for the kids – they swam around any way. Debi and I waded out to watch them, but didn’t go so far as to get our shorts wet. Jeanne and Rosemary waded out as well, along with Kristen and Tammy. The kids got to float and seemed to really enjoy themselves. We walked back to the shore then made the long hike back to the parking area and shower where we rinsed off. Gary didn’t go down to the water, nor did Scott and Shalynn – they had done it before they said. Anyway, we eventually piled into the car again and headed out.

We left the island at around 6:00 pm then met the rest of the family for dinner at a Mexican restaurant, Cafe Rio, followed by dessert at Leatherby’s.

Utah trip – the 20th

Sunday we wanted to go to a play, Saturday’s Voyeur, but it was sold out and we couldn’t get tickets. So, Debi and I spent the day kind of lounging until the early afternoon then headed up to my parents’ house for dinner. Most of my siblings where there and we were able to plan for the next day (see tomorrow). We stayed up at my parents’ house until around 10:00 pm, when we headed back to Debi’s parents’ house for the night.