|Blue at Arches|
Day 2: Today is our biggest day of driving (oh, we have NO idea!) We start the day singing the raggae classics at top volume and new sunglasses all around. We stop in Salt Lake City to see the Mormon temple. It is not nearly as beautiful as it looked on the 431 pictures of it hung in Coyote's piano teacher's living room. But as an historic structure, it's fascinating. There's some kind of conference here and the cherry trees are all blooming. It's is beautiful and vibrant. We are not Mormon, nor considering Mormonism, but we try to respectfully tour the grounds understanding that for many, this is a place of spiritual sustenance, though we don't understand it. The Mormon's do have a lot of great ideas about family that are worth cribbing.
We enter a visitor's center and peruse large paintings of the Old Testament, the New, and then the book of Mormon where we see dioramas of blond Jesus ministering to the Native Americans. At this point, it's really hard to remain respectful, but we rise to the challenge. We head up a spiral ramp into a stunning and trippy space-painted dome which houses a 20 foot tall Jesus. We take a family photo in which I look hot. I have to post it to Facebook immediately, despite not wanting to tip off possible thieves of our out-of-town-ness. But in the moment, being fleeced of all worldly possessions seems like a small price to pay for showing the world the only known decent photo of me. I am stunningly non-photogenic and no one believes me until they try to snap one themselves, then it's all "OMG! WTF, SARAJOY?! What the hell is wrong with you?!"
|Space Jesus! Maybe not the best photo in the cold light of day.. but better than most|
In the bathroom, I discover I've been blessed with the panty-stigmata. great. It's what every woman wants on a camping trip. I try to be grateful we aren't camping in bear country this time.
After the temple, I'm exhausted. I need sleep. All navigators, human and GPS, are silenced with sleep. I awake 2 hours later. We are nearly to Nevada. We are not supposed to be anywhere near Nevada. Turns have not been made. Directions were not clarified. No one realized the GPS was muted. We back track and cut across southern Utah, taking a back road that is windy and steep and makes me sick with it's spinning and lack of air. But it's beautiful. 14 hours of driving now. We roll in to the only camp ground I could make reservations at on such short notice, the short notice of three months. One has to plan far far in advance to get a campsite in Arches. I can't imagine the hubris in thinking you know what's going to go on in your life, what you'll want, so many years into future. This site is well reviewed, in the middle of Moab. Unfortunately, we can't drive up to our tent site. It's 11 pm and we have trek it all in
|When you regret buying her climbing lessons|
Before they get there, I roast my hand on an open fire. There's a starburst attached to it and i can't get it off and it continuously burns me. I'm screaming and running and I realize Huck has taken all of the ice and water and ibuprofen to the ER with the car. I soak my finger for an hour in the 1/2 cup of water left on the picnic table. A blister grows to the shape and size of California. For the rest of our "vacation," I will lick it over and over, thinking it's the last bit of chocolate from the Theo bars we eat every day after lunch.
I'm not doing well not knowing what is going on in the ER. My imagination is not built for this reality. Huck's phone (the one I have) runs out of juice. They get back around midnight. Coyote had a temperature of 104F, after Ibuprofen. He's got Influenza B and a strict medication regime that we will need to "religiously" (I'm not sure that's the term for us) follow for the next four days. It involves waking up at 2 am every night.
Day 5: A slow day. Everyone is tired. Huck insists I will not be happy with a slow day. He is remembering old Sarajoy, type-A traveler. My itinerary usually went:
-run before breakfast
-early morning activity
-late morning activity
-early afternoon activity
-late afternoon activity
-dinner, evening activities.
I remind Huck that I now travel like a toddler with copious naps and very short, easy hikes, if any, and lots of crying. We decide to do a short river drive, checking out dinosaur prints and petroglyphs (but not from the same time period. You know that, right?)
Back at the car, I discover the toiletries are actually in the toiletries bag, just in a side pocket I forgot existed.
Now Huck, understandably tired, is being an asshole. An argument ensues along our drive. It is unpleasant. But in therapy I'm working on not caring what others think and I decide to REALLY apply that work at a populated picnic spot along the Colorado River. We're all sleep deprived and stressed out and hurt and those parts of our brain that make sense of the world have run out of juice and shut down. But we work it out eventually and all happily eat at a diner in town because Blue says she's never eaten diner food. I get a salad with nothing on it because everything is soaked in wheat here... even the fucking milk shakes!
Day 6: Mesa Verde, the cliff dwellings of the ancient Pueblo. It's a bit of a drive, but at least it's not a bit of a hike. The "open" cliff village is actually closed because it's collapsing and no one knows why or how to stop it. The other villages require guided tours, which start in 4 days, when we return home. I'm sorely disappointed. I've wanted to visit since seeing photos in a Social Studies book 30 years ago. I've called and emailed, begging for maybe a practice tour. I settle for seeing the 1000 year old dwellings from across the canyon. Everyone loves this day and this trip, although I'm certain it could have been better.
|Mesa Verde: closed|
2AM: Huck wakes me up, "I'm going to barf!" He runs from the tent. And he ralphs, hard and loud into the concrete pit toilet. It echoes, through the campsite, through the canyon, the entirety of Southern Utah. We have attached sleeping bags and I speedily unzip us apart and toss his bag out of the tent. He sleeps in the car. We all use the pit toilet at the other end of the campground for the rest of the trip, though he swears he cleaned up.
|Camp ground in echo-y canyon|
Day 7: Blue and I buy showers at the local gym. Due to dryness, lack of showers and a profusion of bandanas, my hair is supremely flaccid. My family barely recognizes me and my hair, cut for uneven and uncontrollable waves, is now uneven and odd. None of them knew about my Dennis the Menace cowlick, camouflaged as it was among my curls. But it sticks out now, like a hoodoo in the desert. When we leave the gym, we walk across a park that appears to be covered in dog crap. COVERED. Every square inch has a round log on it. I panic, run back to the sidewalk, and wonder about this crazy ass town and where the hell they got all of this dog crap. I realize that they've just done some aeration/plug thing and the dirt is red/brown and we proceed across the lawn safely.
|Jumping Needles: Coyote is back!|
Day 8: My god, someone shoot me. I'm so over this trip. We decide we need a laundry day even though we're very near the end. Some members of this family smell like rotting flesh and need showers. The boys shower while Blue and I tend to the laundry. The laundromat seems fine on the outside, but inside is an alternate universe from the 70's. Most of the gold and avocado green machines are broken. There is no change machine, you have to go to the window every time. An grody old man runs the place. He checks me out creepily. He chain smokes and everything smells. Everything is dirty. He has about 7 women working for him and I can't figure out what they all do here. I conclude that it's a super dysfunctional harem situation. Blue and I sit on a filthy couch while we wait for the dryers to literally melt the spandex in my favorite jeans. We get to brush our teeth in the damn bathroom.
|Couch in Landromat, Moab, UT|
|Canyonlands. Don't even imagine this is what it's really like.|
|sitting in Camararus tracks|
Day 10: My only hope is that we meet the Donner party and they eat me first. please. why did we do this. Nine more hours on the road. The kids eat sandwiches in the car and by sandwiches I mean Oreo lemon sandwich cookies. We arrive home. Everything has bloomed and our home feels perfectly wonderful. Why do we ever leave? Huck and I hug. We are alive, reconciled. The Mesa Verde tours finally open, 17 hours away. I sleep for three days.