Rocky Mountain Highs (a non-Disney Trip Report) - COMPLETE 2/17

Dugette

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 26, 2009
Great parks and canyon views! Though, I cannot tell you how badly I wanted to reach through the computer and hold Drew's hand in that picture under the arch with the drop off behind you. I'm impressed that you corralled him and his wandering ways. Clearly, I'm the paranoid parent of a toddler, haha.

What strange service at the restaurant. For a second, it made me wonder if it was one of those places that has intentionally rude servers, etc. Doesn't seem to be the case, though. Sorry it wasn't the greatest meal either. Good thing you have cinnamon rolls to look forward to!
 

Captain_Oblivious

DIS Dad #257, Galactic Salad Dodger
Joined
Nov 10, 2008
What a great way to spend Father's Day! The pictures are absolutely stunning (don't think that I've used stunning to describe your pics before and it's hard to come up with something new since beautiful and gorgeous have been said so many times). My sister and her husband used to go to Moab all the time for offroad vehicle runs. They used to own Superlift which was/is well known truck lifter upper thing-a-ma-bob business. Hey, I'm not into those kind of things. I just know that they jacked up trucks...in a good way, of course. Anyway, the used to climb those rocks in the canyons that you visited.
I don't know a thing about trucks or offroading. That being said, I know it's pretty popular there! There are so many parts of the park that are off-limits unless you can hike and camp far away from civilization, or love to drive offroad.

Um, wow, what a grumpy waitress you had. What did she expect you to do? Leave Drew in the van? I don't understand people like that.
She seemed really put out that the baby was going to make a mess. Which is what babies do.

A hidden Oswald!!!
You know, I think you may be onto something there!

I read that (don't judge, my eyes hurt and are tired from reading all day long) with an entirely different noun at the end....
Which made the next phrase that much more hilarious. I did go back and straighten things up. But either way, it's truth.
I guess I'm a dummy, because I'm just not getting it!

Anyway, I LOVE those "Gooseneck" overlooks. I took MANY long drives in Northern Arizona, where I have my undergrad degree, to camp on the cliff edges.
We had a cabin at the Grand Canyon once that was about 50 feet from the rim. I thought that was so cool! It's amazing being on the edge of a vast abyss like that.
 

Captain_Oblivious

DIS Dad #257, Galactic Salad Dodger
Joined
Nov 10, 2008
Yeah…
It didn’t need to be 3+ hours
I know where the good parts are so I generally flip between that and something else whenever I run across it on the Telle.
I guess now I know as well. At least I can say I've seen it.

Tony, dogs-a don't a-talk!
+1:thumbsup2

I was mowing the yard (push type, not self-propelled) and digging out an overgrown compost heap…
Your dream beats my reality
Well, I'm sure it needed to be done.

Who’d a thunk?
I love springing surprises like that.

Well obviously she figured you for at least one of those two options.
Kinda goes without saying, doesn't it?

I do believe that clarifies which of those two groups she had you pegged into.
::yes::

So, are y’all coming back in the morning for a chance at that shot?
Unfortunately, no. I had another early-morning adventure to attend to.

An endorsement or a test of observance; one wonders…
I never think of these things at the time.

Taking after Lewis and Clark I see…
He’s a one man… errr.. one toddler Corps of Discovery.
I'm going to hire him out as a security consultant. If there's a weakness in your childproofing, he'll find it.

Hay, you didn’t just leave him to dissect the AV cabinet.
That, I’d have seen as a problem (and I’ve seen such things allowed).
The shrieks that resulted from you actually parenting…
I did my time; I get it...
I’d have gotten over it quickly.
Most parents develop a keen sense of the need to remove the child from a situation. Most.

Infinitely talented, those toddlers.
Definitely hiring him out.

Sharing the wealth…

We’ve got a similar spot here that’s half NPS and half State Park. But both are free entry (or at least they were the last time I was there), so I guess – really - it’s not the same thing at all then, is it?.
Good story, though.

The thought crossed the few working brain cells that I’ve got left…
See, I try to anticipate my readers' needs.

Ahhhh…
The advantages of having “unlimited resources” and no oversight.
Pretty much. And a narrow neck of canyon to work with.

Well… it’s not like we’re here for the dazzling repartee
You're NOT????:faint:

<<grunt>>
It just goes on, and on, and on…
I know there’s a horizon out there somewhere, but I can’t find it for being captivated by everything else spayed out in front of you.

Can’t imagine how breathtaking it must be to actually stand there and see it.
I love to take it in. It's hard to leave views like that behind.

Not a lot worth commenting on there…
At least nothing particularly humorous or even snarky (it’d all just come out as disgust)
Well cross that one off the possibilities list.
Sorry it wasn’t better that that.
Me too. I really wanted a good Italian meal.

Yes… yes it is
Almost makes up for the server and middlin’ dinner
Ya’ done good there.
And the kids were happy, which was the important thing here.

Knowing your national park planning skilz…
I don’t believe you’d have even considered it otherwise.
Hope you guys think it's worth the effort!
 

Captain_Oblivious

DIS Dad #257, Galactic Salad Dodger
Joined
Nov 10, 2008
As I sit here and type this, I ponder what I will be doing for supper.
Now I know.

Let the craving begin!
Your Thanksgiving meal turned the tables on me. Now I want a turkey dinner with all the trimmings!

Hey, settle down there mister!
You were just telling us what a great Father's Day you were having!
Oh, crap. Someone here actually pays attention!

See? That's better.
Whew.

Really?!?!?
I would have guessed sky-scrapers.

Huh.

Learn something new every day.
I'm just full of surprises!

Oh boy! Oh boy oh boy oh boy!!!
I'm not going to know what to do with you when I post the next chapter.

:laughing:
Well, I suppose she'd tell you that she carried him for 9 months, so you can do some carrying for a bit.

I have no idea where I could've gotten that idea from...

:rolleyes1
But he was only 8 pounds back then, so it was much easier.:duck:

Nice. And nice pics, too.
Gorgeous. Worth the risk.
Thank you, sir.:goodvibes

"She quickly made a call to our insurance agent and asked what I was worth, if, well, you know..."
I think that would be a disappointing number.

I think I would be willing.
Actually, I think I'd like to shoot it at night, with the stars.
Is that even possible? Or is the area inaccessible at night?
Absolutely, it's possible! If we'd been able to go without the kids we might have tried it, either at night or at sunrise. They actually promote the night sky there because there's no light pollution, so you can get some gorgeous shots. I don't know if you recall, but it worked great for us at Bryce Canyon last year (we were staying right there so being out at night wasn't too inconvenient). We could even see the Milky Way!

"she let out a little sigh of disappointment and hung up the phone."
Not the first time that's been said/thought.

:laughing: Well, I can think of worse people to emulate.
Absolutely!

Uh, oh!
And right about now is when you can tell the good parents from the bad.
Yikes! I had no idea this was a test! B! The answer is B!

Good parents it is.
Kudos on the writing, BTW. Like how you wrote that last bit.
Whew.:faint:

And thanks. I really appreciate that one.

Ya just can't keep a good kid down.
Not this kid. I'm too old for this &@$%.

Would you please stop posting these jaw-droppingly beautiful photos?
I'm running out of adjectives.
Oh, but if it were text only, no one would stick around!

Interesting.
And not really surprising. Animal rights? Yeah, not so much back then.
The wild west was definitely wild.

Have I mentioned how much I like that shirt?
I like the fact that you have to have a certain level of education to even understand it, but I also like the fact that your DD is wearing it.
Thanks! She loves that shirt. So do I, actually. We're a whole family of nerds. But you knew that.

Mmmmmm..... cinnamon rolls. Star Wars' answer to Princess hair adornement.
:rotfl2::rotfl2:

I can give her the benefit of the doubt... but the food better be good.
Yeah, we need some redeeming quality here.

Not many littles don't like noodles.
Nice and bland, easy to chew...what's not to like?

Gotta keep his weight up. He's wasting away to nothing!

Sure. No biggie. We were all there at one point in our lives.
Surprising how many people forget that.

Wow. 20/20 hindsight, but...

"Ha, ha! Hey! You know what else is funny? Get your manager here right now, okay? And what's really going to suck for you is that I know we have a toddler and we know he makes a mess... which is why we tip so well. Want to laugh some more when you find out how much we're going to tip you?"

My God. I had no idea people like that still existed.
If she hated us then, she was going to declare war when she saw the tip.

Strike three.
Yep.

Normally I'd be happy with that, but...
... well, sometimes there can be too much of a good thing.
Or mediocre thing, as the case may be.
Right. It's just "meh". Not stellar. Not redeeming.

This is a universal truism.
Pretty much. There could be brown scummy water with a dead body floating in it, and the kids will still want to use the pool.

Well, that's a nice little treat!
She's a keeper!

Sounds like the perfect end to a pretty darned good Father's Day! :goodvibes:
I'd say so, for sure!:thumbsup2
 

FreezinRafiki

Cold enough for ya?
Joined
Apr 16, 2009
Just like Sarah, who wears that shirt periodically, I occasionally have DIS time. I know they don't mean the same thing, but like I said, I'm short on time and I've got a bit of a story to tell...

Mesa Arch was the sight of quite possibly the most memorable moment of our vacation. The sun was just starting to set at the end of a long, hot August day. And remember - just to get to Canyonlands off of the highway was about 30 miles of desert, not to mention another 12 or so to get back into Moab on the highway. We were approaching the arch where a family of 3 - mom, dad, and what appeared to be about an eight year old boy - were enjoying the sights. The boy was attempting to climb the little hill under the arch and peer over the edge. You know the one - several hundred feet straight down to the rocky canyon floor below. The mom was having NOTHING of it. She was freaking out, the dad was freaking out because the mom was freaking out, and the boy just kept trying to crawl up to take a look. Dad kept grabbing the kid and pulling him off the rocks as mom was stomping away, waving her hands in the air and yelling "I'm DONE! I'm LITERALLY DONE with this family!" Me, being the quick witted, sarcastic a - hole that I am (It's a blessing, not a curse) casually mention to Bambi "Gee, I hope they brought two cars." Bambi can't contain herself and busts out laughing. The kids start laughing. I start laughing. The rest of the vacation (and pretty much weekly ever since) someone in my family will get fed up with something, stomp away and yell "I'M LITERALLY DONE with this family!"

Ah, good times.

Even with italics and underlining, one cannot properly convey with theatrics that were used in this scene. Though fear not, brave traveler. For you shall be treated to a live performance (possibly several) this coming summer.
 

pkondz

. . Dis Dad #797 . . Hoping to get lucky
Joined
Mar 9, 2007
Your Thanksgiving meal turned the tables on me. Now I want a turkey dinner with all the trimmings!
C'mon over! Lots of left-overs... uh.... left over.

Oh, crap. Someone here actually pays attention!
Huh? What?

I'm not going to know what to do with you when I post the next chapter.
:hyper:

But he was only 8 pounds back then, so it was much easier.:duck:
Please, please tell her that. Please. I wanna know what happens.

I think that would be a disappointing number.
You have no idea how much she's insured you for.

Absolutely, it's possible! If we'd been able to go without the kids we might have tried it, either at night or at sunrise. They actually promote the night sky there because there's no light pollution, so you can get some gorgeous shots. I don't know if you recall, but it worked great for us at Bryce Canyon last year (we were staying right there so being out at night wasn't too inconvenient). We could even see the Milky Way!
Nice.
I remember taking the kids camping about.... 10 years ago. Kay woke up around two or three am. I took her to the washroom.
I looked up .... Wow.

Not the first time that's been said/thought.
:rolleyes1

Yikes! I had no idea this was a test! B! The answer is B!
Ohhhh.... So close!


So close.

Not this kid. I'm too old for this &@$%.
Why do I suddenly feel like I'm reading a Lethal Weapon TR?

Oh, but if it were text only, no one would stick around!
Unfortunately, true.

We're a whole family of nerds. But you knew that.
Possibly...

Surprising how many people forget that.
Yep...

If she hated us then, she was going to declare war when she saw the tip.
Worth it.

There could be brown scummy water with a dead body floating in it, and the kids will still want to use the pool.
I disagree.
They wouldn't want to bump up against it.
They'd make you fish it out... or at least move it over.
 

Captain_Oblivious

DIS Dad #257, Galactic Salad Dodger
Joined
Nov 10, 2008
Sounds like a great way to spend your Father's Day. Out in nature with your family, taking A-mazing pics, and playing in the pool with your kiddos! Thanks for sharing some of those moments with us!
Thanks for sharing them with me!

Excellent. Note to self...skip Pasta Jay's if I am ever in Moab
Unfortunately, yes. I wish I had enough to recommend it.

Sounds great to me! I mean, the bread is only slightly stale, after all.
Give us another day or two, and it'll really get crispy!

Hey!!! He can walk!!!
He's been holding out on me! The little punk.

Beautiful pictures. Thank you for risking life and limb to get them.
For you, anything. Except vegetables. I don't do vegetables.

And another fantastic family picture! This one including Drew for once! If you could have found someone to take this so that Julie could be in it, this would be definite Christmas card material.
Thanks! Or I could have taken the photo and Julie could have been in it instead, and we'd have everyone that anyone actually wanted to see.

I agree with Glenn. Definitely more of a hidden Oswald.
I can definitely see that.

Amazing the things someone so little can do.
I'm too old for this &$%@.

::yes:: Never forget the most important rule of parenting. Don't wake a sleeping toddler.
It's Rule #1 for a reason!

Wow... maybe you should have sort-of-tipped-but-not-really.

We have a server like this at a local Mexican place. The guy is just an ******. I think the guy hates kids, and while he never says anything, you can tell with his body language and the way he talks to us/them. DW always asks to sit in another section when he's working. I, personally, like to sit in his section just because I know it drives him nuts when our kids spill a little bit of rice on the floor. Heck, occasionally dad gets in on the fun too. :rolleyes1 :rotfl2::rotfl::lmao:
We did sort-of-tip-but-not-really. I don't like to do that, because anybody working for tips clearly needs the money, but the key word there is "working".

I like the way you think! If we're ever back in Indiana, maybe we need to meet at the Mexican place..:rolleyes1

Sorry it disappointed.
It's not your fault.

Hey, he's already proven that he can make a hike. The free ride ends now!
I'm in! Let's do this!:woohoo:

Great scenery! Love that pick of Julie and Drew. Too bad dinner was bad. I hate spending that kind of money and then have the food and service so disappointing.
Yeah, it's a bummer. But you always run that risk when trying new places. They can't all be 5-star experiences.
 
  • Captain_Oblivious

    DIS Dad #257, Galactic Salad Dodger
    Joined
    Nov 10, 2008
    Hmmm... How interesting. I would have never believed that if you didn't have pictures!
    Good thing I was able to prove it!

    Well, he can walk. Free pass over.
    I like the way you guys think! About time he started doing things independently.

    Very pretty!
    Nice picture!
    Thanks!:goodvibes

    I definitely think it's an Oswald!
    Seems like the verdict is unanimous.

    I'm sure the other visitors appreciated that.
    I hope so, because I wanted to watch the movie!

    I like the photos better than the story!
    I would think most people agree!

    Sounds pretty darned rude.
    It was. How dare we bring a child with us!

    I have that same standard of a chicken parm, and swimming in sauce is not what I want. At. All.
    Yeah, it just didn't work. I'll keep looking for a better one.

    Good for you! Way to live in the moment! :thumbsup2
    We're trying!

    Great parks and canyon views! Though, I cannot tell you how badly I wanted to reach through the computer and hold Drew's hand in that picture under the arch with the drop off behind you. I'm impressed that you corralled him and his wandering ways. Clearly, I'm the paranoid parent of a toddler, haha.
    I'm sure it's a Mom thing. Julie didn't want him too close, either. But you can see we had a nice wall of people behind him.

    What strange service at the restaurant. For a second, it made me wonder if it was one of those places that has intentionally rude servers, etc. Doesn't seem to be the case, though. Sorry it wasn't the greatest meal either. Good thing you have cinnamon rolls to look forward to!
    No, unfortunately it wasn't one of those places. But you're right--cinnamon rolls cover many ills.
     

    Captain_Oblivious

    DIS Dad #257, Galactic Salad Dodger
    Joined
    Nov 10, 2008
    Just like Sarah, who wears that shirt periodically, I occasionally have DIS time. I know they don't mean the same thing, but like I said, I'm short on time and I've got a bit of a story to tell...
    So you're hijacking the thread? Maybe this is appropriate here:



    Mesa Arch was the sight of quite possibly the most memorable moment of our vacation. The sun was just starting to set at the end of a long, hot August day. And remember - just to get to Canyonlands off of the highway was about 30 miles of desert, not to mention another 12 or so to get back into Moab on the highway. We were approaching the arch where a family of 3 - mom, dad, and what appeared to be about an eight year old boy - were enjoying the sights. The boy was attempting to climb the little hill under the arch and peer over the edge. You know the one - several hundred feet straight down to the rocky canyon floor below. The mom was having NOTHING of it. She was freaking out, the dad was freaking out because the mom was freaking out, and the boy just kept trying to crawl up to take a look. Dad kept grabbing the kid and pulling him off the rocks as mom was stomping away, waving her hands in the air and yelling "I'm DONE! I'm LITERALLY DONE with this family!" Me, being the quick witted, sarcastic a - hole that I am (It's a blessing, not a curse) casually mention to Bambi "Gee, I hope they brought two cars." Bambi can't contain herself and busts out laughing. The kids start laughing. I start laughing. The rest of the vacation (and pretty much weekly ever since) someone in my family will get fed up with something, stomp away and yell "I'M LITERALLY DONE with this family!"

    Ah, good times.
    :rotfl2::rotfl::lmao:

    Nicely done. It's awesome when an inside joke graduates all the way to a family catchphrase.

    Even with italics and underlining, one cannot properly convey with theatrics that were used in this scene. Though fear not, brave traveler. For you shall be treated to a live performance (possibly several) this coming summer.
    I. Can. Not. Wait!!! This could be even better than "Mostly Delaware!"

    C'mon over! Lots of left-overs... uh.... left over.
    I'll be there in 3 days!

    Huh? What?
    I dunno. I wasn't listening either.

    Please, please tell her that. Please. I wanna know what happens.
    I may be dumb, but I'm not stupid.

    You have no idea how much she's insured you for.
    Well, if the premiums are any indication, I'm not worth much.

    Nice.
    I remember taking the kids camping about.... 10 years ago. Kay woke up around two or three am. I took her to the washroom.
    I looked up .... Wow.
    I wish we could have taken more advantage of the night sky on this trip. It really is amazing. Julie was thrilled when she got a shooting star on camera last year.

    Ohhhh.... So close!


    So close.
    Darn. "B" was the letter of choice when I took the exam for my Professional Engineering license. That makes you feel safe, doesn't it?

    Why do I suddenly feel like I'm reading a Lethal Weapon TR?
    +1:thumbsup2 Only 3 days till retirement. I wish.

    I disagree.
    They wouldn't want to bump up against it.
    They'd make you fish it out... or at least move it over.
    Yeah, that does sound a little more realistic.
     
  • Captain_Oblivious

    DIS Dad #257, Galactic Salad Dodger
    Joined
    Nov 10, 2008
    Chapter 10: Water…Water…

    Oil…Oil…

    Room Service…Room Service…



    We were on a mission from God.


    Ok, maybe that’s overstating things. But we were on a mission, and we had to get up at 6:00 a.m. to accomplish it. Now that I think of it, we had 2 missions. Crap, let me start again.


    We were on two missions from God. The first was to collect these little beauties right here:





    That photo is the sole reason we tend to favor the Holiday Inn Express when traveling. Mmmm…cinnamon rolls. So good! And so good for you!


    The second mission was to hike to the iconic Delicate Arch, in Arches National Park.


    If you’ve ever seen a photo of Arches National Park, chances are the photo is depicting Delicate Arch. It’s famous and iconic enough to serve as a symbol of the American West. As such, it’s an extremely popular hike for visitors. High season for tourists is summer. And the high temperature on this particular date was forecast to be 104 degrees. Combine all of those factors, and it’s critical to get an early start.


    The park entrance is only about a mile north of the town of Moab, so that made for an easy drive. We entered using our annual pass, and then bypassed the visitor center and the overlooks. We even bypassed the obligatory family photo next to the entrance sign (don’t worry, we’ll pick it up later). We stuck to our mission and drove approximately 15 miles through the park to the Wolfe Ranch parking lot, site of the trailhead for Delicate Arch. We arrived there around 7:15 a.m., and the parking lot was already half full. And when I say half full, I mean the entire paved parking area was full. The overflow dirt/gravel parking area was still available.


    There’s nothing fancy about this hike. No tricks, no gimmicks, no shortcuts. It’s right there in front of you. One-and-a-half miles, straight up. This photo is from later in the day, but it gives a good clear picture of what lay ahead of us:





    See those little dots on the rock face? Those are hikers on the trail. To see Delicate Arch up close, you have to climb that rock wall. That’s all there is to it. There’s no shade, no level spots on the trail to give you a break beyond the first quarter-mile or so.


    Essentials: an early start, lots of water/fluids, sunscreen. With the first item out of the way, we loaded up on bottles of water and Gatorade and slathered everyone with sunscreen. Julie, Scotty and David are blessed with the ability to tan, whereas Sarah, Baby Drew and I have pale skin and thus only come in two colors: red and white. Not only that, Drew refuses to wear hats for more than 7 seconds, so we have to basically saturate his head and hair with sunscreen in order to protect him. This means you can have a little fun with his hairstyle.





    Oh, did I fail to mention that I’d be carrying 30 lbs. of baby straight up that rock wall? Yep, we sure do know how to vacation. At least one of us looks happy.


    So, we started the hike. The first quarter mile is the warm-up. There are a few level areas, and you climb and descend a couple of smaller ridges. You can cover this ground fairly quickly, especially if you’re racing ahead of the kids.





    Why would I do that? Well, I have certain responsibilities as an American father. I have to teach my kids how to throw and catch a baseball, for example. I have to teach them how to mow the lawn, change a tire on a car, belch on cue, improve any food with bacon and cheese, fix things with duct tape and/or WD-40, ignore piles of clothing on the floor, and the pull-my-finger trick. Among those responsibilities is the need to teach my kids how to ambush people on a lonely trail. You know, in case bad guys are following you. Or maybe it’s someone you know, and you happen to have a filled-to-the-brim Super Soaker. Those types of situations.


    So, I needed to start Drew’s training, and there was no time like the present. We would disappear around a corner, wait for the kids to catch up, and then jump out with fingers blazing. After a few tries, Baby Drew proved to be a natural. He would point his index fingers at his brothers and sister and say, “Pchew, pchew!”


    Man, this fatherhood thing is easy.


    Sadly, it wasn’t long before we hit The Wall.





    We had no choice. We started to climb.


    We did the best we could. It didn’t take long before we needed to rest, and out came the water bottles. Looking back, you can see how quickly the elevation changes along the trail:





    The best way to make the hike manageable was to break it up into small chunks. We’d set a reasonable goal, saying let’s get to that bush; now let’s get to that rock pile, and so on. That made things seem much easier than looking up and saying: let’s climb THAT.





    But climb it we did. Once again, I was extremely proud of my family. It was exhausting, but there were no complaints. They just set to the job and got it done. Even the baby was content to sit back and let me do the work. Imagine that!


    When you reach the top of the rock face, the trail narrows. Near the end, you have to walk along a ledge with a not-insignificant drop-off to one side. Julie wasn’t a fan of that and instructed everyone to hug the inside of the wall to our right. The rest of us, naturally, thought it was awesome.


    The National Park Service lists the Delicate Arch Trail as a “strenuous” hike, and with good reason. It’s a brutal, relentless climb in desert heat. The ultimate question is: is it worth it?


    After all of that work, climbing rock faces and clinging to cliff edges, you turn one final corner. And you’re greeted with this:








    I mean…it’s just…








    In other words, yes, it’s worth the effort. A thousand times. When you finally reach the end of the trail, Delicate Arch is on display in all of its glory, situated over a natural amphitheater with the distant La Sal Mountains as a backdrop. It’s one of the most jaw-dropping gorgeous sights I’ve ever seen.


    The geology of Arches is unique. Plate tectonics created a fold in the earth’s surface at this location which forced a red sandstone layer to the surface and created most of the unique rock formations in the area. This particular sandstone is susceptible to wind and rain, the primary forces of erosion, and the patterns of weather combine with the geology of the rock to form the arch formations. There are over 2,000 documented arches in the National Park alone, more than half of the total number in the world.


    Yet when I see a sight like this, I can’t help but think that there’s more to it than just geology and random chance. This looks like it was designed by a master artist to me.


    I think we need to try for that elusive family Christmas card photo.





    Um, Mr. Photographer? The arch is up there, to the right. We walked a long way to see it, and we’d kind of like to have it in the photo. Thanks.




    There, that’s more like it. Oh, but wait—the focus is—


    Sigh. Never mind.


    As a hiker, you are free to climb along the rocks and wander the edge of the amphitheater, even stand under Delicate Arch itself. Many people were taking advantage of this, and we decided to go for it. Julie wanted no part of wandering the edge of that rock, so she stayed back with Drew while I walked with the big kids. We waited our turn in the makeshift line that formed near the arch.





    When our turn came, I sent the kids out. Scotty was nervous, but Sarah held his hand the whole way. How many kids do you think get the chance to do this?








    We returned to Julie and kept the photo shoot going. Yes, I know these are a lot of photos of the same arch, but I defy you to do that hike and then keep from firing the shutter from every conceivable angle. I’m only posting a small sample size of the actual number of photos we took.





    Julie had wanted to see Arches ever since we got married. It took us 17 years, but we finally got there. See, honey? I do deliver on my promises. Eventually.














    I’d say we spent a good half hour up there, enjoying the view (and the water and Gatorade and sitting down). But there was a lot of park left to explore, so eventually we took our last looks at this special place and then started the walk back down the path.





    For some reason, the walk seemed much easier this time.

    We’d only been hiking down a short while when all of a sudden, there was a commotion. I stopped in my tracks, startled by all the noise. Was there an injury, or an accident? Had we stumbled into a herd of wild animals? What was all that noise?


    It was a group of Japanese women, suddenly surrounding me and Baby Drew. They were chattering and laughing and shouting to each other…and taking hundreds of photos of us. My initial read on this situation was that they obviously had never encountered such a devastatingly handsome man as me, and were overcome by my rugged good looks. But another, more accurate read would say they probably rarely encountered blond-haired, blue-eyed babies and thought Drew was the cutest thing ever. Or maybe baby backpacks were rare in Japan. I have no idea. I stood awkwardly and gave kind of a half wave for the photos. Drew sucked on his sippy cup and seemed nonplussed. Whatever that was, please let me know if you ever go to Japan and see products being endorsed by the local celebrities, Blond Angel Baby and Man Beaten With Ugly Stick. I will need to direct my attorney to sue for royalties.


    At the bottom of the trail, within that first quarter mile, there’s a side trail you can take to see petroglyphs, or as we like to call it: ancient graffiti. Being the completists we are, we took the side trail. You’re welcome.





    All I know is: I make crude drawings of stick figures on a horse on these rocks, and I get arrested. Other people do it, and it’s preserved as a historic treasure. I hate double standards.


    Coming Up Next: Well, that was one arch. I think we need to see a few more of the 2,000+ they have here.
     

    pkondz

    . . Dis Dad #797 . . Hoping to get lucky
    Joined
    Mar 9, 2007
    We were on a mission from God.
    Just watch out for the Penguin.

    Now that I think of it, we had 2 missions. Crap, let me start again.
    What?
    Forget it! I've already got too much invested here!


    Oh... fine. I'll stick around.
    But only because you said this update would be a good one.



    You better be right.

    We were on two missions from God. The first was to collect these little beauties right here:
    Good mission. I approve.

    Mmmm…cinnamon rolls. So good! And so good for you!
    Exactly! Nothing that good could possibly be bad.

    The second mission was to hike to the iconic Delicate Arch, in Arches National Park.
    Yes!!! Oh boy!
    Don't just sit there... go!

    High season for tourists is summer. And the high temperature on this particular date was forecast to be 104 degrees. Combine all of those factors, and it’s critical to get an early start.
    104! Nope!

    We even bypassed the obligatory family photo next to the entrance sign (don’t worry, we’ll pick it up later).
    Thank God.
    (I can say that, 'cause you're on one of His missions, ya know.)

    We arrived there around 7:15 a.m., and the parking lot was already half full. And when I say half full, I mean the entire paved parking area was full. The overflow dirt/gravel parking area was still available.
    Already!
    And I thought Disney rope droppers were dedicated.

    This photo is from later in the day, but it gives a good clear picture of what lay ahead of us:
    Just a little intimidating.

    See those little dots on the rock face? Those are hikers on the trail.
    Did not see them at first.
    Let's change it to a lot intimidating.

    Drew refuses to wear hats for more than 7 seconds, so we have to basically saturate his head and hair with sunscreen in order to protect him. This means you can have a little fun with his hairstyle.
    :laughing:

    But now I gotta know. How many busybodies tell you "that the child should be wearing a hat"?

    Oh, did I fail to mention that I’d be carrying 30 lbs. of baby straight up that rock wall? Yep, we sure do know how to vacation. At least one of us looks happy.
    Actually, as soon as I saw the picture of you with Drew, I was thinking "OMG".

    I have to teach my kids how to throw and catch a baseball, for example.
    Got girls. Not interested.

    I have to teach them how to mow the lawn, change a tire on a car, belch on cue, improve any food with bacon and cheese, fix things with duct tape and/or WD-40,
    Wow. I'm totally failing at this father stuff.

    ignore piles of clothing on the floor,
    Hey! I got that one!

    and the pull-my-finger trick.
    Dang. Failing again.

    Among those responsibilities is the need to teach my kids how to ambush people on a lonely trail. You know, in case bad guys are following you. Or maybe it’s someone you know, and you happen to have a filled-to-the-brim Super Soaker. Those types of situations.
    Sure. Sure. Totally plausible. Absolutely.

    After a few tries, Baby Drew proved to be a natural. He would point his index fingers at his brothers and sister and say, “Pchew, pchew!”
    :lmao:

    Sadly, it wasn’t long before we hit The Wall.
    Literally and figuratively?

    That just looks.... whoa.

    We’d set a reasonable goal, saying let’s get to that bush; now let’s get to that rock pile, and so on. That made things seem much easier than looking up and saying: let’s climb THAT.
    Smart move.

    How bad were your legs burning after that??

    Once again, I was extremely proud of my family. It was exhausting, but there were no complaints. They just set to the job and got it done.
    :thumbsup2

    Even the baby was content to sit back and let me do the work. Imagine that!
    :laughing: You don't say!

    Near the end, you have to walk along a ledge with a not-insignificant drop-off to one side. Julie wasn’t a fan of that and instructed everyone to hug the inside of the wall to our right. The rest of us, naturally, thought it was awesome.
    And Julie secretly plotted her revenge.
    Some day.... some day...

    Gorgeous!

    My favourite shot. Breathtaking!

    There are over 2,000 documented arches in the National Park alone, more than half of the total number in the world.
    Really!

    Um, Mr. Photographer? The arch is up there, to the right. We walked a long way to see it, and we’d kind of like to have it in the photo. Thanks.
    Fail.

    There, that’s more like it. Oh, but wait—the focus is—
    Double fail.

    Take the first shot and Photoshop it onto the second one.

    How many kids do you think get the chance to do this?


    Not many. Awesome.

    Yes, I know these are a lot of photos of the same arch, but I defy you to do that hike and then keep from firing the shutter from every conceivable angle. I’m only posting a small sample size of the actual number of photos we took.
    I don't blame you one little bit.

    so eventually we took our last looks at this special place and then started the walk back down the path.
    How was that on the legs?

    It was a group of Japanese women, suddenly surrounding me and Baby Drew. They were chattering and laughing and shouting to each other…and taking hundreds of photos of us.
    Uh... what?

    My initial read on this situation was that they obviously had never encountered such a devastatingly handsome man as me, and were overcome by my rugged good looks.
    No. Quite sure that's not it.

    But another, more accurate read would say they probably rarely encountered blond-haired, blue-eyed babies and thought Drew was the cutest thing ever. Or maybe baby backpacks were rare in Japan. I have no idea.
    My thought was maybe men don't carry babies in Japan?
    I have no idea, though.

    Whatever that was, please let me know if you ever go to Japan and see products being endorsed by the local celebrities, Blond Angel Baby and Man Beaten With Ugly Stick. I will need to direct my attorney to sue for royalties.
    Check. I'll be sure to watch out for that.
    You know. If I ever go there.
    Which isn't overly likely.

    At the bottom of the trail, within that first quarter mile, there’s a side trail you can take to see petroglyphs, or as we like to call it: ancient graffiti. Being the completists we are, we took the side trail. You’re welcome.
    Cool! Never seen any IRL.
    Well, technically I still haven't, but I'm living vicariously through you, so...

    Totally counts.

    All I know is: I make crude drawings of stick figures on a horse on these rocks, and I get arrested. Other people do it, and it’s preserved as a historic treasure. I hate double standards.
    :lmao:

    Coming Up Next: Well, that was one arch. I think we need to see a few more of the 2,000+ they have here.
    ::yes:: Can't wait!
     

    Dugette

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 26, 2009
    That photo is the sole reason we tend to favor the Holiday Inn Express when traveling. Mmmm…cinnamon rolls. So good! And so good for you!
    ::yes:: Yum! And, yes, this does seem like a breakfast requirement, given your plans for the morning. Gotta keep up your energy!

    It’s famous and iconic enough to serve as a symbol of the American West. As such, it’s an extremely popular hike for visitors. High season for tourists is summer. And the high temperature on this particular date was forecast to be 104 degrees.
    :faint: Well, doesn't that sound lovely? I think that's enough to motivate me to get up early.

    Drew looks quite happy with this arrangement! :rotfl: (By the way, my 3-year-old is about the same weight - like 31.5 pounds, I think - it is more like you are carrying a preschooler on your back than a baby!)

    But climb it we did. Once again, I was extremely proud of my family. It was exhausting, but there were no complaints. They just set to the job and got it done. Even the baby was content to sit back and let me do the work. Imagine that!
    It's great that your whole family can manage these hikes and finds them worthwhile! Great memories to share.

    In other words, yes, it’s worth the effort. A thousand times. When you finally reach the end of the trail, Delicate Arch is on display in all of its glory, situated over a natural amphitheater with the distant La Sal Mountains as a backdrop. It’s one of the most jaw-dropping gorgeous sights I’ve ever seen.
    :thumbsup2

    How many kids do you think get the chance to do this?


    That's pretty awesome!

    It was a group of Japanese women, suddenly surrounding me and Baby Drew. They were chattering and laughing and shouting to each other…and taking hundreds of photos of us. My initial read on this situation was that they obviously had never encountered such a devastatingly handsome man as me, and were overcome by my rugged good looks. But another, more accurate read would say they probably rarely encountered blond-haired, blue-eyed babies and thought Drew was the cutest thing ever. Or maybe baby backpacks were rare in Japan. I have no idea. I stood awkwardly and gave kind of a half wave for the photos. Drew sucked on his sippy cup and seemed nonplussed. Whatever that was, please let me know if you ever go to Japan and see products being endorsed by the local celebrities, Blond Angel Baby and Man Beaten With Ugly Stick. I will need to direct my attorney to sue for royalties.
    How strange! :confused3 Maybe they are lurkers on your TR and it was a celebrity sighting to them. :scratchin
     

    MAGICFOR2

    Condimentessa
    Joined
    Nov 29, 2005
    Wow! Amazing reward for your hike! I do recognize that arch but not from personal experience. I think I have seen a commercial with a car up there. Now I'm thinking it was photo shopped. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't let that happen for real.

    Sounds like your celebrity baby handled the paparazzi well!

    When we first moved to Okinawa, Ryan was 3 and Mark was 18 mo. I was terrified my first day out of the hotel by myself. Jim had gone to the base and I was just waiting at the hotel with the boys and decided to go out exploring with them in tow. We were crossing a foot bridge and we're suddenly surrounded by a crowd of school girls, all giggling and touching their blond hair and asking to take pics withh them. One of the girls gave them a lollipop. They kept saying "kawaii" It means cute. After they disappeared as quickly as they came, Ryan said, "Mommy, who was that?" It happened almost every time we went out. I remember he started to get annoyed with time. It's hard for the beautiful ones, you know. :rotfl2:
     
    Last edited:

    Captain_Oblivious

    DIS Dad #257, Galactic Salad Dodger
    Joined
    Nov 10, 2008
    Just watch out for the Penguin.
    +1:thumbsup2

    You promised you'd go see her!

    It's a hundred and six miles to Chicago, we've got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing sunglasses.

    What?
    Forget it! I've already got too much invested here!


    Oh... fine. I'll stick around.
    But only because you said this update would be a good one.



    You better be right.
    Yikes! That's a lot of pressure to be working under.

    Good mission. I approve.
    Whew.

    Exactly! Nothing that good could possibly be bad.
    If nothing else, I think we're covered under the Law of Vacations, which states "Calories shall not count when the individual gorging him/herself is on vacation."

    Yes!!! Oh boy!
    Don't just sit there... go!
    But I need to finish this cinnamon roll first!

    104! Nope!
    I tried to get the park to turn on the A/C, but they mumbled something about budget cuts.

    Thank God.
    (I can say that, 'cause you're on one of His missions, ya know.)
    Well, sure. I knew you guys would miss that photo, for sure.

    Already!
    And I thought Disney rope droppers were dedicated.
    These people are hardcore. It only gets worse throughout the day. Delicate Arch is fantastic at sunset--the setting sun really lights it up. But it's also extremely crowded and you have to hike back down that slope in the dark.

    Just a little intimidating.
    The camera tends to flatten things out a bit.

    Did not see them at first.
    Let's change it to a lot intimidating.
    The only encouraging thing about that photo is that there are so many people. That leads to the thought, "If they can do it, so can we!"

    I didn't say we were smart.

    :laughing:

    But now I gotta know. How many busybodies tell you "that the child should be wearing a hat"?
    Oh, man. More than a few, I'll tell you that. It was either a comment under someone's breath, or a dirty look. I was always ready with an, "Ok, genius, you get a hat on him for more than 7 seconds without any screaming. From him or you." Amazing how many people will make a judgment without any knowledge of the situation!

    Actually, as soon as I saw the picture of you with Drew, I was thinking "OMG".
    My back still hurts.

    Got girls. Not interested.
    Uh oh. I did manage to get my daughter interested in hockey.

    Wow. I'm totally failing at this father stuff.
    But there must be something...

    Hey! I got that one!
    :woohoo: There! That wasn't so bad!

    Dang. Failing again.
    WHAT??? No pull-my-finger tricks???:faint:

    Sure. Sure. Totally plausible. Absolutely.
    This could save your life someday.

    Literally and figuratively?
    Yes. Absolutely.

    That just looks.... whoa.
    Painful. Very painful.

    Smart move.
    We needed the rest!

    How bad were your legs burning after that??
    Not as bad as my back and shoulders from that @#$% backpack! I was glad we took so much water with us.

    :laughing: You don't say!
    Little punk.

    And Julie secretly plotted her revenge.
    Some day.... some day...
    She's been getting me back since the day we married.

    Gorgeous!
    My favourite shot. Breathtaking!
    Thanks! I actually took that last one with my iPod. I loved how the colors turned out.

    Would I lie to you? Don't answer that.

    Double fail.

    Take the first shot and Photoshop it onto the second one.
    I might need to try that. We fell victim on the 2nd photo to the classic blunder: Never get involved in a land war in Asia. Oh, and just because it looks in focus on the little viewscreen on the back of the camera doesn't mean it actually IS in focus.:sad2:

    Not many. Awesome.
    :goodvibes

    I don't blame you one little bit.
    It was a lot of work to get those photos!

    How was that on the legs?
    Not nearly as bad as it was going up!

    Uh... what?
    That's pretty much what I was thinking.

    No. Quite sure that's not it.
    Aw, come on. You're not doing anything for my confidence here.

    My thought was maybe men don't carry babies in Japan?
    I have no idea, though.
    Beats me, too.:confused3

    Check. I'll be sure to watch out for that.
    You know. If I ever go there.
    Which isn't overly likely.
    Sounds like we have roughly the same timetable for traveling to Japan.

    Cool! Never seen any IRL.
    Well, technically I still haven't, but I'm living vicariously through you, so...

    Totally counts.
    Works for me! I mean, I'd totally buy that.

    ::yes:: Can't wait!
    Great! That's one person I haven't bored to tears yet.
     

    Captain_Oblivious

    DIS Dad #257, Galactic Salad Dodger
    Joined
    Nov 10, 2008
    ::yes:: Yum! And, yes, this does seem like a breakfast requirement, given your plans for the morning. Gotta keep up your energy!
    That's why I stole an extra tray of rolls.:rolleyes1

    :faint: Well, doesn't that sound lovely? I think that's enough to motivate me to get up early.
    :faint: Why do people prefer beaches and palm trees?

    Drew looks quite happy with this arrangement! :rotfl: (By the way, my 3-year-old is about the same weight - like 31.5 pounds, I think - it is more like you are carrying a preschooler on your back than a baby!)
    My back and shoulders agree with you!

    It's great that your whole family can manage these hikes and finds them worthwhile! Great memories to share.
    I think everyone was really proud to have pulled it off!

    That's pretty awesome!
    :goodvibes

    How strange! :confused3 Maybe they are lurkers on your TR and it was a celebrity sighting to them. :scratchin
    I wish I had that many readers!

    Wow! Amazing reward for your hike! I do recognize that arch but not from personal experience. I think I have seen a commercial with a car up there. Now I'm thinking it was photo shopped. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't let that happen for real.
    It's a pretty famous image. But there is no way on God's green earth you're getting a car up there, unless it's by helicopter.

    Sounds like your celebrity baby handled the paparazzi well!
    He handled it like everything else: he sat back and let me do the work.

    When we first moved to Okinawa, Ryan was 3 and Mark was 18 mo. I was terrified my first day out of the hotel by myself. Jim had gone to the base and I was just waiting at the hotel with the boys and decided to go out exploring with them in tow. We were crossing a foot bridge and we're suddenly surrounded by a crowd of school girls, all giggling and touching their blond hair and asking to take pics withh them. One of the girls gave them a lollipop. They kept saying "kawaii" It means cute. After they disappeared as quickly as they came, Ryan said, "Mommy, who was that?" It happened almost every time we went out. I remember he started to get annoyed with time. It's hard for the beautiful ones, you know. :rotfl2:
    :rotfl2: That's funny. It sounds like a very similar situation!
     

    pkondz

    . . Dis Dad #797 . . Hoping to get lucky
    Joined
    Mar 9, 2007
    It's a hundred and six miles to Chicago, we've got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing sunglasses.
    Hit it.

    If nothing else, I think we're covered under the Law of Vacations, which states "Calories shall not count when the individual gorging him/herself is on vacation."
    This is a truism.
    I live by this rule... as often as I can.

    But I need to finish this cinnamon roll first!
    What??? No way! Forget it! Get goin.... Oh, nevermind. Because cinnamon roll.

    I tried to get the park to turn on the A/C, but they mumbled something about budget cuts.
    That's always their excuse!

    The only encouraging thing about that photo is that there are so many people. That leads to the thought, "If they can do it, so can we!"

    I didn't say we were smart.
    :laughing: Makes me think of "And if he walked off a bridge, would you?"

    I was always ready with an, "Ok, genius, you get a hat on him for more than 7 seconds without any screaming. From him or you."
    :lmao:

    Amazing how many people will make a judgment without any knowledge of the situation!
    True.

    And I'm sure I've been guilty of it myself at some point.

    Trying, though. Really.

    My back still hurts.
    Duh. That was stupid of me. Of course it would be your back more than your legs.

    WHAT??? No pull-my-finger tricks???:faint:
    I do believe I have never done that or had it done to me.

    Not as bad as my back and shoulders from that @#$% backpack!
    My back hurt from just looking at that picture.

    She's been getting me back since the day we married.
    Yours too! :laughing:

    Aw, come on. You're not doing anything for my confidence here.
    Sorry, dude.

    Beats me, too.:confused3
    I asked Kay, who while no expert, does know a bit about their culture, figured it might be that too.
    But she didn't really know for sure.
     

    GoofyIsAsGoofyDoes

    If it’s still here tomorrow… I may ignore it again
    Joined
    Jan 20, 2007
    Chapter 10: Water…Water…

    Oil…Oil…

    Room Service…Room Service…
    Cue the Dinks…


    We were on a mission from God.
    They’re not gonn’a catch us.


    let me start again.
    Let me splain. No. There is too much. Let me sum up


    We were on two missions from God.
    To get white bread, toasted, dry, with nothin' on it and four whole fried chickens and a Coke
    (well, technically the Coke would be a third mission but we’ll over look that).


    The first was to collect these little beauties right here:
    Well that certainly beats the dry toast


    That photo is the sole reason we tend to favor the Holiday Inn Express when traveling.
    Uh-huh… they certainly didn’t have any of those at the Best Western we stayed at this weekend.


    Mmmm…cinnamon rolls. So good! And so good for you!
    Don’t they now make up one of the four essential food groups?


    The second mission was to hike to the iconic Delicate Arch, in Arches National Park.
    OK, that might be better than four fried chickens.


    And the high temperature on this particular date was forecast to be 104 degrees.
    Make that baked chicken…


    There’s nothing fancy about this hike. No tricks, no gimmicks, no shortcuts. It’s right there in front of you. One-and-a-half miles, straight up.
    Yeah, given my current physical state and the fact that I’ll be even older when and if I get out that way…
    this one probably ain’t happening. Glad y’all got to do it though.


    Drew refuses to wear hats for more than 7 seconds, so we have to basically saturate his head and hair with sunscreen in order to protect him. This means you can have a little fun with his hairstyle.
    Well of course you did; I mean how could you not.
    Opportunities of that caliber are not to be wasted


    Oh, did I fail to mention that I’d be carrying 30 lbs. of baby straight up that rock wall?
    Well yeah, but you’d trained for that marathon by driving to a Walmat if I remember correctly so you should be good to go (metaphorically speaking).


    Yep, we sure do know how to vacation.
    In all seriousness…
    Yes, yes you do.


    Well, I have certain responsibilities as an American father. I have to teach my kids how to throw and catch a baseball, for example. I have to teach them how to mow the lawn, change a tire on a car, belch on cue, improve any food with bacon and cheese, fix things with duct tape and/or WD-40, ignore piles of clothing on the floor, and the pull-my-finger trick.
    Yep… that’s a pretty good start on the master list.


    Among those responsibilities is the need to teach my kids how to ambush people on a lonely trail. You know, in case bad guys are following you.
    Just make sure that they also have their trusty Red Rider carbine action 200 shot Range Model air rifles with them at the time; the ones with the compass in the stock.


    Or maybe it’s someone you know, and you happen to have a filled-to-the-brim Super Soaker.
    OK, that’s not a bad bit of backup weaponry, but you don’t want to actually be aiding your advisory by helping to diminish the effects of the heat trap into which you have diabolically ensnared them.


    After a few tries, Baby Drew proved to be a natural. He would point his index fingers at his brothers and sister and say, “Pchew, pchew!”
    And momma just rolled her eyes… :rolleyes:


    A true natural that boy.
    I foresee endless amounts of annoyment on the horizon for the older ones at the merciless hands of this young’en.


    Man, this fatherhood thing is easy.
    Save for the hike straight up a rock with a thirty pound backpack that is.
    Not so easy…


    Sadly, it wasn’t long before we hit The Wall.

    Diffraction spikes are usually considered a bad thing (photographically speaking) but here they tell the story rather effectively.


    you have to walk along a ledge with a not-insignificant drop-off to one side.
    Strike two…
    Tam won’t be doing that one.
    We’ll just have to check out the rest of the park.


    Um, Mr. Photographer? The arch is up there, to the right. We walked a long way to see it, and we’d kind of like to have it in the photo. Thanks.
    See, now this is why you need to take me along with you when you on these trips.
    I’d make sure you got the shot.


    That’s quite the treasure right there.
    One of several images they have of themselves in places most other folks only dream of.


    For some reason, the walk seemed much easier this time.
    go figure…


    It was a group of Japanese women, suddenly surrounding me and Baby Drew. They were chattering and laughing and shouting to each other…and taking hundreds of photos of us.
    :lmao:
    Interesting cultural interaction, there, and I’ve seen similar occurrences involving even older kids as well. Pictures of people that physically appear different or are doing things that are different from their experience seem to be highly coveted on those islands; almost more so than images of the sites and places they encounter.


    All I know is: I make crude drawings of stick figures on a horse on these rocks, and I get arrested. Other people do it, and it’s preserved as a historic treasure. I hate double standards.
    I can fix that… just acquire one Flux Capacitor attached to a stainless steel device that produces 1.21 gigawatts of power while traveling at 88 mph and a set destination about 8000 or 9000 years back.

    Then you could tag all the rocks you want. There would be an entire school of research dedicated to all those “Oblivious” petroglyphs just trying to decipher the meaning and intentions of that ancient and primitive culture.


    Coming Up Next: Well, that was one arch. I think we need to see a few more of the 2,000+ they have here.
    Oh defiantly…
    I don’t see us making that hike so a look at the stuff that we might be able to encounter ourselves would be a bonus.
     

    mickeystoontown

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 2, 2006
    Oh my geeze! The view at the end of the hike are amazing! Absolutely amazing! Again, I'd be the one staying behind with Julie and Drew because of the whole heights issue that I have. I do have to say though that I did visit Mesa Verde and actually climbed down to see the cliff dwellings. That was back before I had kids and I was young and stupider. :rolleyes1

    I wish that I had known about your encounter with the Japanese women earlier. My nephew just returned from Japan and I could have had him on the lookout for merchandise featuring the two of you.
     

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