Monday, May 29, 2017

Four Corners National Monument

Last summer 2016 in July we had a slow spell right after one of our main town events we hold every year.  The "Panguitch Balloon Festival" has been one of our main events that brings people in from many places every year for the past 20 plus years.  So with this major event we are just running around hosting people and entertaining family and friends who come our way to enjoy the Hot Air Balloons and other entertainment put together as fun and games to booths selling crafts and food and other misc.  The Balloon Festival is held on the third weekend in June and most Balloonist start showing up on Thursday, but most people coming to visit will start trickling in on Friday.  The festivities are limited on Friday but the main events are held on Saturday. The next morning Sunday they have one more ascension then the Balloonist start packing up and heading home. On this     particular time we decided at the last minute to take a trip to the "Four Corners" as a family to just get away and wind down from busy life in Panguitch.  So on Sunday morning we packed up and headed out towards South Eastern Utah to visit the "Four Corners National Monument".  I remember as a kid my family had a vacation planned one year to visit the "Four Corners National Monument" and along the way we got to see some other places such as Santa Fe New Mexico, Mesa Verde, Chaco Canyon, Durango Colorado, and Lake Powell in Arizona.  As we got ready to head out we decided to go South on Highway 89 down towards Kanab Utah, then turn and head East towards Lake Powell Arizona.  We pulled into Page Arizona just outside of Lake Powell to get some treats and refresh up a bit. Then we hit the road towards Teec Nos Pos Arizona then to a lonely little two lane road to the Four Corners Monument just about 10 to 15 minutes out in the middle of nowhere. When we showed up I couldn't believe how much the Monument has changed since I visited the place 30 years before. 
We got out of our minivan and walked over to the large area that had these buildings placed in a square formation with the corners opened up to be able to walk in and out of the place.
The buildings were like concession stands facing in towards the Monument with partitions between so you can rent out a "Stall" to sell anything you wanted to sell to the guest visiting the area.  We saw Navajo ladies selling Turquoise jewelry, belts, necklaces, rings and other Indians selling t-shirts, bags, food items and drinks. 
The Monument was setup really nice with concrete everywhere with benches to sit on, platforms to walk up and look down on the Monument to take pictures and some
granite pillars with written history about each state presented there.  So if you were to stand right in the middle of the Monument you will be standing on 4 states all at once.
  The states are Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico. We walked around for an hour checking out the stands and to see what they were selling and took a few pictures of the Monument with the family. After spending time there we decided to head out, and as we were walking back out to the van we saw a food stand that read "World Famous Fresh Fry Bread" 
Ohh boy, we love Navajo Taco's so we stood in line and ordered some food.  It was a bit of a wait but when we got our food we were enjoying every bite and was commenting on how we wished we had a local Taco Shop where we lived.  We finally wrapped it up and headed out towards home, and on our way we made a few more stops but mostly stayed focused on getting home.  For being a short trip it makes a long day in the car but having the opportunity to hang out as a family it is priceless in the end.


Monday, May 22, 2017

Zion National Park on Mothers Day

Well, I woke up on Sunday morning May 14th Mothers Day sweating and panicking trying to reel in any ideas to redeem myself for not taking time out to purchase a Mothers Day gift for my wife.  Now I have been in this predicament before but always got away safe by having a last minute run to Wal-Mart to pick up Roses and a Card before my better half woke up.  So, this time I knew I blew it because Wal-Mart is 60 Minutes away and there is no other place open in a small town Utah on a Sunday.  As I lay there wide awake I brightly had an idea of making up for not purchasing any flowers or chocolate, which I know most girls love, was to take a spur of a moment trip somewhere fun.  We live in one of the most diverse beautiful places in the world with many National Parks within 2 to 3 hours drive almost any direction we wanted to go.  I am a Tile Installer by trade and have been working tile for the past 20 years, mostly in the Southern part of Utah.  With my profession I have had many opportunities to travel to different places for work, and with one job in mind I was working some years back in Springdale, Utah which is right next to Zion National Park.  While working this job for several weeks, our crew would try different restaurants and fast food places for lunch since most of us didn't pack in our own lunch.  This particular day my co-workers and I went to this little indoor/outdoor restaurant that had a sorta Hippie 70's style with a small Menu and was immediately seated by a Waiter.  The Waiter handed out some Menus and asked what our drink choices were and then left for us to decide on what we wanted for Lunch.  As we all sat and debated on what we were gonna order I was looking around the place thinking to myself that this little restaurant had an awesome look and how it was very laid back and inviting.  We all settled for some Sandwich item and when the Waiter came back with our drinks we all ordered a sandwich of some kind which came with a choice of french fries or onion rings, drink, and a quarter slice of a pickle.  As I mentioned earlier in this article how I was thinking of redeeming myself for not getting anything for Mothers Day, my thought was to take her out on a date with my three children still living at home to "Oscar's" for Mothers Day.  I got up out of bed and was proceeding to get dressed and told my wife Happy Mothers Day and said "Honey, we are going to Zion National Park today so lets get ready!"  She looked up and was kind of shocked and wasn't to happy about this spur of the moment trip I just whipped out on her but said okay what are we going to do?  I told her I wanted to go to Zion's and check out the Canyon and take some pictures and then take the family to Oscar's for lunch.  She made a smirk comment and said "What is Oscar's?" and I told her about the time I worked in Springdale and how we ate there and I wanted to take her there for lunch. It was bit of a rough morning getting ready, but as we all piled into the minivan we were headed to Zion National Park. 
Zion National Park is roughly 70 miles from where we live, so we gassed up and headed South on Highway 89 sighing out the window as we drove just soaking in the scenery with country side and rolling hills and a winding river that flows from South to North.  When we left our home the temperature in our minivan read 40' F at 9:00 am and when we arrived at our destination 1 hour and 40 minutes later the temperature reading said 70' F dropping almost 3000' in 70 miles As we drove down into the park we passed through a short tunnel that was carved out of the red sandstone rocks and came out and then passed through a 1/3 mile long tunnel the second time and came out into aspiring beauty all around.  We zigzagged our way down this steep mountain and crossed over a stone built bridge that was hand carved by master stone cutters that was built back in the 1930's.
Before we knew it we were driving through a small town Springdale Utah with all kinds of hotels, restaurants and some shops that sold artwork, wind chimes and other decorative wind art and other misc. 
We pulled into "Oscar's" just looking at the people waiting in a semi long line thinking to ourselves if we should go somewhere else. I got out and asked the waiter how long the wait and he said do you want indoor or outdoor seating and said indoor seating we had a five minute wait.
I piped up and said we will take the indoor seating and waited in line the be seated for lunch.  It didn't take long and we passed a few people waiting for the outdoor seating and went right in and was seated and a moment later a waitress asked us about what kind of drinks we wanted and left to get them. We all pondered over the Menu and I decided on a full rack of ribs which came with side of Onion rings, salad and a pickle.  As we finished up our meal we decided to venture on down to a small town Laverkin and turn West towards the I-15 Interstate to head North back to our small home town. Finally, after being on the road for 7 hours, we pulled into our driveway and decided to take the remainder of the day as rest before our busy schedule tomorrow with school and work.  

Forest Fire by Bryce Canyon National Park

On June 17th 2017 a person decided to burn weeds around his Mountain Property North West from Brian Head Ski Resort.   With warning not to h...