Sunday, December 2, 2012

Elf, Cookies, and Greek Yogurt


Every Year Lace and I have a tradition of using this advent calendar to celebrate the countdown to Christmas.  My parents used to get my brother and I the advent calendars that had the chocolate in them.  I thoroughly enjoyed them, and wanted to share this idea with my kids.  So Lace and I got this cool calendar with doors and you can place a little something in it.  We bought it in 2008, and Lace and I thought it would be great to put fun things inside, with the idea of doing something special each day.  That was great in practice, and in reality fell very short. 

What would happen is the kids came running to the calendar with full excitement of the surprise inside, and they would turn to us and ask, “can we open #2?”  To which Lace and I would respond, “…sure…  Go change into pajamas first.”  Yes it only took to the second of December for us to have nothing for them in the calendar.  As the kids would run to change, Lace and I would run to the pantry in search of anything to give the kids.  Jello, that won’t fit, and would be a give away as the pudding slowly oozed out from behind the #2 door.  Chicken Bouillon, it is gold colored and wrapped all pretty, maybe they won’t notice the chicken flavor through all the excitement.  Inevitably we would wind up with one of two things.  1) chocolate chips, each of them got about 10 (I love milk chocolate chips, and we always have 2-3 bags on hand) 2) (the one used more frequently) left over Halloween candy that the kids didn’t really want to eat, (i.e. whoppers, jolly ranchers, and dum dums). 

We have tried to improve since that first year.  With little success until last year.  Last year Lace went and got a bag of candy, and squinkees.  For those that don’t know squinkees are regular toys, like Disney princesses, and shrunk into little tiny toys, that are apparently the cutest things on the planet.  I have found that if you take anything, and make it really small, that makes it super cute.  So to convince my wife I need new climbing gear, I am trying to find a way to make it super small.  I will update you on my success.

This year we had the same challenge arise, what to put in the calendar.  The good news is we have plenty of Halloween candy still in the pantry for a back up.  I don’t think the kids will notice that their candy is slowly siphoned to the advent calendar.   So we are gonna take it day by day with the hope that we can come up with more memory filled activities. 

For Dec. 1st We decided we would put a note in the calendar telling the kids that at 9:00 we would make cookies, and watch Elf.  The kids were ecstatic! Day 1 was off to success.  We put Christmas music on, and started the baking.

Ayla lead the dancing (she had just returned from a birthday party for her friends, and that is where she got the makeup)


As we begun the cookies, Lace and I tried to figure a way to make healthier cookies.  So we replaced the butter with cream cheese, and Greek yogurt.  This was a test for Lilly to figure out what 3/8 a cup worked out on the side of the cream cheese. 


As we put the cream cheese and greek yogurt the kids were less than impressed.  They have felt a violation of their childhood, as the pure essence of Christmas was being vandalized for the sake of health.  We tried to assuage all fears and tell them all would be ok, as we were putting in enough chocolate chips that anything would taste good.  They were not persuaded.  Lace took to putting them on the cookie sheet.



While she was putting them on the cookie sheet, the kids and I were sampling the dough to assure that it was tasty.  It was quite good and tasted like regular cookie dough should.  We thought they were a little gooey, so we added a little more flour.  that solidified them a little, and we were set to throw them in the oven.  I was nervous to see what would happen to cookies with very little fat in them.  The fat is what binds the cookies together, and we were missing that. 

We put them into the oven, and Lace took position to watch the cookies to make sure they don’t spontaneously combust. 


After 8 minutes of constant monitoring by Lace, the cookies were…done?  They had gone in little gobs of dough, and they came out little globs of dough… The cookie didn’t even change in the oven, at least not in appearance.

After we had placed the cookies on a cooling sheet, Lace took one off the rack, and took a bite.  The look on her face explained it all.  She described it as chocolaty, cakey, and the same texture as Styrofoam.  Well that is disappointing.   

Not to deny the kids, we offered each of them a cookie without tainting their opinion by telling them what Lace thought.  They each grabbed a glob that they first thought was cookie dough, and dived in.  All three reacted as expected.  Disappointed, but not wanted to hurt feelings.   Carter said it was different, and maybe next time when we make cookies we could use the butter, just so we can remember what they taste like. 

My opinion - the cookies weren’t all that bad really.  They had more of a muffin consistency, but the taste was still good.  So we mounted up the tray to head to the movie, and enjoy some treats.


All said and done, the kids loved watching Elf and eating the cookies.  Since they were healthier, I felt no remorse letting them eat 5 a piece, and out of 24 cookies, we had 5 left over this morning.  Pretty successful if you ask me! 

Now I just to need to come up with something for tonight…  Either left over cookies, or 3 Hershey's kisses… 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Another Day Picking the Kids Up From School

I know that when I get into the car to pick the kids up from school my peaceful day is gone. When they hop in the car they immediately start on what went wrong that day. Who did what, who got a blue tape, so and so called someone names, this person didn't meet me where they said they would...yadda, yadda, yadda!! (sometimes I try to win the battle and ask what happened good that day, sometimes I give up and hope that if I don't respond maybe they'll stop talking...that doesn't work either...) And when they get home it's a new battle of how starving they are, how they don't want to do their homework, how the lunch I made them wasn't up to their standards, their rooms are too messy for them to clean.....blah blah blah. (This is when I try to go into my "happy place" and all the noise and chaos is muted and blurred and all I hear and see are birds chirping, a stream trickling down a hill, Prince Jeff coming to sweep me away on his galloping steed.........)

When I pick them up from school why can't things go like this... " Hi Mom, it's so nice to see you! Thanks so much for picking us up! We were all angles at school today just like you taught us. We're so excited to get home to work on our homework so that we can play all evening with no worries. We will also make sure our rooms are clean so the sanity stays in the home and then play quietly while we wait patiently for dinner to be ready. You're the greatest Mom!!

Am I really asking too much??

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Ski Jumpers in Training

So the kids and I have skied a couple of times since the last post.  We went again today.  As we were skiing down having some fun, Carter crashed and created a new mound of snow with his butt.  We didn’t think too much about it and kept skiing…  Carter came down the same hill and hit his butt indentation, now a small jump, and crashed again!

Carter is known for his daredevil desire, so what happened next was no surprise.  Carter proceeds to fly down the hill and hit the jump… again… with what I think was the full intention of taking off.  He hit the jump and crashed for a third time still with a big smile!  Tough kid!! 

Undeterred, Carter raced up again to the top of the hill, and I got this one on film!

I was amazed he actually landed it!!!

Lilly, having watched Carter go over the jump three times, was well aware of how to approach it.  I sat with my fingers crossed to see how Lilly would do, and I got her on video too!!

I was amazed at how Lilly did on her first try!

Ayla was right at my side, and I asked her to stay there as I went over and talked to Lilly.  I congratulated Lilly, and explained I was nervous for her!

When I was done talking with her, I turned around to see Ayla walking over to the jump and wanting so badly to do it as well!!  That’s my girl!  I had to let her try!! 

I laughed so hard and was thrilled at how dang cute she was.  Yea for Ayla!

After that, the kids learned how to turn.  As this is the first official day of learning how to turn, I am very impressed!

What a WONDERFUL day!!  Finished up with some delicious hot chocolate and everyone in the car had ear to ear smiles talking about their jumps, crashes, turns, and snowballs!  I just love being a dad!!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Great day skiing

Ever since I got the idea of kids in my mind, I looked forward to skiing with them, one day. 

Although I always had the rule of “don’t teach the ones you love,” I pictured that since I was a ski instructor, I could teach my kids to ski.  (because of course I was different…)  If you want the full account of their first time skiing click here.  Needless to say it didn’t go well.  Why, because I was the classic parent, teaching their kids to ski.  My dad taught me how to ski…well, tried just as I have.  So let me take a moment, and say to my dad thank you so much for trying to teach me how to ski, as well as thank you for putting me in lessons 13 years later after I had gotten over the fear that all the adults would fall on me ;-).

As a parent you find yourself wanting to enjoy the sport with the child. The child on the other hand, is for some reason cold, tired, and sick of falling down with larger than life shoes.  Because I was so focused on success, every time my kids would complain I would find myself tensing up, seeing this dream going away, and I would just want to take their skis and throw them, throw them far away and tell the kids they can’t ski anymore…  I didn’t throw them, I held composure and just pictured my dad throwing his ski pole uphill…on one of his first lessons, and having to walk up the hill and get it.  (Dad I am not trying to embarrass you, just thank you again for a visual that helped me hold composure.) In the end, as a parent I am so caught up in getting my kids to ski a perfect parallel turn by the end of their first day, that I can’t stand it when they don’t try hard…The kids don’t know the fun on the other side of that pain…

By the end of the ‘08-‘09 season the kids had attempted to ski 3 times, in that I am sure there were lots of under the breath cussing, tears, crashes, and lastly vows that I would give up skiing to not have to go through this. 

This year I had to approach it differently.  I had to think back to my instructor days and not care if all we did was eat snow, talk about Mickey Mouse, and never put a ski on our feet.  It would at least be in a wintery alpine setting shared with my little friends.  So I took each kid out individually.  Trying to focus not on how advanced we can get three kids, but having a blast with one. 

Ayla was the first, and we went up to Alta, and I reveled in the fact that she was giddy on the rope tow (with me holding the rope and her between my legs..Something you can’t do with three for some reason).  We got to the ski run that we would be playing on.  We went down two times.  After the second time she said “Can we make snow angels?”, Of Course!  It was great.  We made two exceptional snow angels.  We then finished a couple more runs which she was able to pizza, and French fry, and had a smile the whole time. 

We headed back to the car, where Ayla delighted in hot chocolate, and fruit snacks.  At this point I regain the hope that I will one day have three little ski buddies to accompany Lace and me on great snow adventures…

Slow down I am getting ahead of myself, I still have two more.

After Ayla’s great success, Carter and Lilly were very anxious to go out.  We recounted what happened last year, and they both said they would love to go together and they would work it out…

I gave in.  I went with both Carter, and Lilly.  P1020246

We raced around the flat ground and reminded everyone how to ski, and I remembered how I should approach this with my success with Ayla.  I stayed on the flat until the kids were the ones to suggest moving on.  Carter suggested we hit Collin’s Face, the black diamond that comes off of the Collin’s lift, Lilly suggested the rope tow.  Sorry Carter. 

As we headed over to the rope tow, Lilly started whining about how hard it was.  I went into instructor mode and was able to shrug it off with no temptation of ski throwing.  Lilly went with me on the rope tow, and Carter went with an Alta employee.  I forgot to tell the Alta employee we were going half way.  So I had to drop off Lilly, and go get Carter.  Carter and I skied down to Lilly.

I had to stick to my idea of one at a time, so I left Lilly at the bottom and went up with Carter.  He did great! He was doing the pizza french fries, he was even turning.  (had he practiced in our backyard??)  P1020249

So after a couple times with him I went with Lilly.  She also was on it quick.  She only had trouble getting off the rope tow.  She would end up sliding into the powder, down the hill backwards.  Again kept my cool, and all was well.  After a couple times with Lilly she too was doing great.  P1020248

I then had them go up on their own, and wait for me and we were able to play follow the leader, they could stay on the mountain on their own, and their was no whining on their part, or yelling on mine, it was wonderful.    


After we had learned for some time, I wanted them to have fun so I told them to go up and come down and show me their stuff.  They both headed right up to the top and had a blast coming down. 

P1020252 Here is a video of Carter going down the hill like the downhill racers he had been watching in the Olympics.

After some great runs we headed down to the car, enjoyed a Reese’s peanut butter cup, and some hot chocolate.  We then enjoyed what I enjoy most of the ski day, the conversations afterwards.   “Dad did you see me do this”, and “Lilly you were awesome when you did this, and that.”  It was the picture I had when Lace first told me we were about to have a kid (we then had two, but she first said we are having one…) 

What a great day skiing!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Lovers Dinner Party (Feb.13,2010)


To celebrate Valentines Day this year we had a few friends over for a delicious dinner.  No paper plates this time!  I had fun setting the table.  It was quite cozy. 


Here’s Annie digging in to her delicious potato after the salad and rolls we had as our first course.  P1020204

Britt loading up!P1020205 

Me and my Valentine!  Isn’t he cute!P1020209

Most of the night we spent laughing at the random, odd things people would come up with.  I think my favorite was Matt’s airplane with a parachute that needed to do a barrel roll before the chute could deploy.   (I know that doesn’t make sense now but it makes me chuckle as I write it in my memory log)P1020212 

After the dinner plates were cleared and we settled our full stomachs, it was time for dessert!P1020217

Chocolate dipped strawberries!  I had so much fun making them.  We had two trays full of them and most were devoured. (By Annie and me…)P1020223


I love this face Sean is making.  I’m not quite sure what’s going through his head but it reminds me of the yellow smiley circle guy.P1020224

Passing around the strawberries!  Yum!!P1020225


I think Sean picked the biggest one :0)P1020226   

Annie made this awesome Éclair cake as well.   P1020227

Everyone enjoying dessert. P1020233

Every time Britt would laugh she would tear up.  She spent most of the night wiping her eyes!  It was great :0)P1020235  P1020238

We played a game where one had to act out a mood and the others had to guess.  We were having a hard time getting enthusiasm from Matt….(yikes, do you think he’s having fun at all?)   P1020240

Just kidding ;0)  Matt had a great time and was a great sport and even laughed out loud a few times and I finally caught it on camera!  (wink, wink)P1020239

After games we took some great pictures of our Valentines couples!  I grabbed a rose and poked myself first thing and actually drew blood so here I am trying to get rid of those nasty thorns. DSC_0962

The Drakes, so cute huh?  I thought this was such a great one!DSC_0971

The Wilsons, Sean wasn’t quite as cooperative…DSC_0976

That says it all for those two, I think.DSC_0979

The Beldins, I don’t think that’s the Valentines face that Carolyn was hoping for…DSC_0988

That’s much better!  Perfect :0)DSC_0991

The Olpins, Jeff’s wild valentine side…DSC_0996


……………. TMI (Too Much Image lol)DSC_0999

Perfect, this in the one I want to frame!!DSC_1001

What’s a Valentine party without some booty shots, the competition is on!  Work it, work it!

DSC_1008 DSC_1007

And finally the group high school dance picture!  Love it!DSC_1010



Happy Valentines Day everyone!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Snowshoeing Vs. The Ski Lift

Today Lace and I went hiking up to Snowbird and had a great time. We decided to make it more adventurous so we went down a big snow plow hill. It was much more fun than walking to the lodge.

Here is Lace right before we threw on the snowshoes.


After the hill we came to a rushing river that we had to cross. As I was crossing, the snow that I was on fell out from under me. It was quite humorous as I looked over my shoulder to the lodge, and we had collected an audience.

Lace was able to get across in a different place quite easily. It helps that she weighs 50 lbs less than me.P1020187

As we were hiking we came across a make shift shelter. It will be great if we ever get stranded 600 yards up gad valley…


Within the time frame we had, we made it to the top…of a hill right next to where mid gad lets off… at the half way point (see the map below). We were quite happy we made it that far.


We then rewarded ourselves with a wonderful ski down. 1 Hour up, and 5 minutes down. If there are any takers that want to join Lace snowshoeing during the day, give her a holler.


We made it where the thick black line is (not the ones with the diamonds on them, those are for skiing)


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Biking to St. George (6/11-13/09)

I have been newly introduced to road biking...meaning I tried it for the first time 8 days before I was to ride from Draper to St. George. Here's the quick low-down...

I was invited by my boss to join his family and friends on a bike ride to St. George. I warned him that I had never touched a road bike and didn't have a clue what it was all about. He assured me that I would do fine. Trusting him, I agreed to join in and ride the 320 miles from Draper to St. George over a three day period.

I had a month or so to get ready...little did I know the details involved. First off, I didn't have a road bike. That was kind of a problem. But a sweet, trusting neighbor of mine said I could barrow his and that is was only a $1,500 bike if I crash...comforting. But I didn't get to try the bike out until 9 days before I was to leave for St. George. One of those days was a Sunday.

Over the next week I needed to get a lot of riding in and find the right gear that I would be comfortable in for a very long ride but didn't know what was going to work. It was like taking the brand new hiking boots out for a 50 miler... But I didn't have a choice because my time was very limited. I just hoped the expensive jersey and shoes and gear would work out.

Before the morning came of departure I had only ridden up to 40 miles a day. My body was still feeling okay but the first day of riding was 135 miles....I was way off knowing how I was going to feel. The night before I was to leave I was trying my new shoes for the first time. These special shoes clip into the pedals, so if you need your foot you have to release it first...I had never been clipped in before and fell over in the street while standing still, twice, and banged my elbow pretty good. I went over to Steve's house, (the neighbor who let me barrow his bike) and while trying to hold back bawling my eyes out, asked how on earth I was to use these stupid clips and survive this trip. He was encouraging but humored at the same time. I believe I heard a "told you so" once or twice because he had tried to warn me on how tough is was going to be.

I wanted to back out so badly!! But I had made the commitment to the other bikers and to myself that I would do it...(dang commitments). I was so worried that I didn't know what I was doing, that I wouldn't be able to keep up, that I wouldn't know a soul, that I would crash, and mostly that I would fall over at a stop light because I forgot I was clipped in and cause a domino effect of bike riders falling to the ground (yikes :0( ). But what's a victory with out a little challenge...right?? I didn't even know how to change a flat tire. Jeff had always been the one to fix anything on my bike.

After an emotional roller coaster of excitement and fear (more fear, lol) ,the morning came. I was up early getting everything ready and had my first experience putting on chamois cream, (A.K.A. butt cream to be applied to your biking shorts, that you are to wear commando, to avoid chaffing). My first thought was "Oh Yuuuuuck!!" It was a cold morning and a very cold, wet, mushy feeling as I pulled up the bike shorts... :0) Maybe a little TMI but that's what you get.

All packed up I jumped in the van and Jeff dropped me off at the starting point with all the complete strangers. Jeff drove away and left me to the wolves it felt like. They were all nice but what had I gotten myself into? Everyone was busy looking professional and intelligent, tinkering with their bikes and gear, and I was standing around gazing, dumbfounded. I would have offered to help if I had a clue on how to. As I stood there in a daze one of the riders walked past and asked if I was ready for answer was honest and candid, and with a light hearted chuckle in my voice I replied, "no". He laughed along with me but little did he know that I was completely serious...!

So this is everyone packing up the support vehicles and such.
This is the whole group. I am in the middle-ish with a blue vest on.

We started off and in my head I kept repeating over and over, "you're clipped in, you're clipped in". There were lots of stops as we road out of town but I managed to keep up and not fall over!! Yay.

But all too soon the city was gone and we were rounding Utah lake and I found myself, as expected, bringing up the back of the group. And doing it so well that they were no longer in my sites. It was at least, a peaceful ride and the lake was beautiful. :0)

I expected to have our first stop any time. But they just kept riding, and riding, and riding... The computer on my bike that is supposed to keep track of mileage, in short, wasn't.... so I had no clue how far we had gone. I finally saw the support vehicle and they were meerly letting me know which way the group had gone... no break yet.

Finally a break! They had all stopped at some tiny gas station on the south end of Utah lake and I was ready for lunch! I hopped off the bike and asked how far we had gone.."54 miles" was hollered back at me. "Wow" I thought. I was told we were going to take breaks every 20-25 miles....they were off of that a bit. So I unclasped my helmet and went in the use the bathroom. When I got out they were already on their bikes...!! I didn't take that long! Apparently lunch was not coming and I hurried to refill my water bottles and bring up the rear of the group again.

It began pouring rain that hit so hard it hurt! I kept the group in my sights as I awkwardly tired to eat my cliff bars and other strange energy food they advised me to keep in my jersey. Lunch on the bike isn't what I had planned but it was going to have to do. Eating and drinking while biking is a skill that I didn't know I was going to learn, along with many, many other ones... lol

The rain and wind stayed but I kept going and going and going.... I heard from the support vehicle that we were to stop in Nephi to have lunch...NEPHI!! That's like 90 miles from Draper. We were stopping at the Subway there to regroup and eat and possibly dry off. I was feeling fine considering the trek thus far but my neck and shoulders were tired of looking up.

I saw the "Welcome to Nephi" sign and that Subway couldn't come soon enough... I wanted real food and mostly just a break longer than 2 minutes! But it wasn't coming....I rounded corner after corner and that stupid place wasn't showing up. Finally when you couldn't get more on the other end and still consider it Nephi, the Subway was waiting, along with the group who were all eating by now. I knew I was slow but I was pretty happy to have gotten this far. I got off the bike and felt the water squish out of my shoes. I was soaked to the bone.

Lunch was rushed as I was trying to keep up with the others. I hardly had time to call Jeff for the first time and tell him where I was. I scarfed the sandwich down as fast as possible and met the others in the trailer to try and warm back up. Everyone was shaking uncontrollably from freezing. It was okay while we were riding and the blood was pumping but now that we had stopped, it sucked. Getting back out there in the wind and rain was going to be that much harder. While people were discussing the next move and if we should continue, I took the opportunity to shortly change into some PJ pants and dry my shorts off over the heater in the motor home. I didn't have another jersey like everyone else so this was going to have to do. And before I knew it they were getting ready to leave again... ! I was thinking "Wait, I'm not ready yet, these shorts aren't dry, I'm beat, and it's freaking cold out there!!" But voicing this would only lead to them advising me to stay in the motor home and I didn't want that. I was going to do this thing if it killed me. I had to make a choice, either to stay in the motor home and dry off a bit and get a short break, or jump out now and continue wet and cold. I knew I needed a break or I wasn't going to make it much further. So in order to have energy left for the next 2 days, I druggingly convinced the driver to let me ride in the couch for the next 15 miles and then let me out again. As I watched the others go on I was grateful for the break but at the same time anxious for my body to get rested already, so I could get back out there!

Here is the bike who became my new best friend. Always there to carry me and kept me company. Sounds about right, doesn't it?! It's waiting for me to get rested.
My shorts finally dried and I asked them to pull over as soon as they were. I reapplied the butt cream that I was now, so grateful for, and was on my way. The rain and wind were hitting like before and I squinted my eyes and held my head low to try and battle the headwind and semi trucks that would attempt to blow me off the road as they drove past.

I reached Gunnison and was able to see a familiar face which brightened the rainy day! My mom lives relatively near by and wanted to make sure she saw me on the way out. I stopped for a moment to greet her on the side of the road and it was so nice to chat for a moment and give hugs and tell her how it was going. But all too quickly I needed to be on my way so I wouldn't get too far behind the others. The five minutes with my mom were great but then it was back on the bike, waving as I rode on.

The next stop was Panguitch which is where we stayed for the night. And again, it was on the OTHER END OF TOWN! and the driveway was this massive stupid hill.... :0) We got all unloaded and checked in by about 7:00 pm. I was so grateful to be there! 120 miles were behind me!! Not too shabby. The hotel wasn't the greatest by any means but this was my room and my sweet little bike resting against the wall. As I unpacked some things to shower I found little surprises all over the place. Sweet Jeff and the kids all wrote me something and picked a candy for me!! My smile was so big! I just love them and missed them so much!
We still needed to get dinner so I took the quickest shower, then met the others outside and headed across the street to some Mexican restaurant. I had a bad feeling about how much time we didn't have. I needed to get more rest time in if I was to be able to continue the next day. But options weren't open so I went with everyone instead of getting to bed early.

Getting our dinner took forever because we were such a big group. This is what I got, chicken enchiladas, but didn't have the stomach room to fit it all in.

Bed time came around 10:00 and I was looking forward to it. I was certain I would crash as soon as I hit the pillow....but I didn't. It was a long night of restlessness that wasn't welcome as I had another day of 96 miles to wake up to.

Here I am the next morning just getting things ready, refilling water bottles , checking tire pressure (which I had others do because I wasn't too keen on trusting my ability yet...well I could fill my own water bottle but not do the tire thing.. come on) and trying to eat something with no appetite. We were on the road again by 8:00 am.

I was able to stay with the group for a little while as we headed out of town but then I started to fall behind and feel the exhaustion. The miles were catching up with my inexperience and my energy was very low no matter what I ate or drank. Soon the group was out of sight and I had only gone about 30 miles. At this point I actually got a little lost ;0). Don't get me wrong, I knew where I was but didn't really know where I was going. :0) I called the support vehicle and they tried to explain where to go but I was about 5 miles behind the group and as I was trying to explain my surroundings and the street signs, they weren't able to clarify where I should go. I gave up and called Jeff to see if he could find me on Google map. He ended up just listening to my frustrations and dreaded exhaustion with tears pouring down... (I laugh at myself) The realization came to me then that I wasn't going to be able to pull all these miles no matter how much I wanted to. To be honest, it was a bit boring riding alone so much and I was beginning to get discouraged. But I had come this far and certainly didn't want to give up but I wasn't looking forward to so many more miles alone either.

After having some time to relieve some frustration and NOT finding where I was, I ended up turning back to where I knew was apart of the path and just kept heading down that road in hopes that I was going in the right direction. Luckily not far was the support vehicle coming back to check on me. I sadly got got in the car because my body, in biking terms, had hit the wall for the day. I was hoping that some time in the motor home resting would allow me to ride a bit later in the day. I road in the couch until the meeting point at lunch which was in Marysvale.
Here is everyone at a park for lunch.

After lunch I stayed with the motor home because I still wasn't feeling much energy coming back. I at least wanted to get in 50 miles that day. I ended up riding the last 20 miles into Salina. That is where we stayed for the second night. And let me tell you, that last 20 miles felt like 100 in itself!!! There was such a nasty head wind that I was traveling at 5 miles an hour going down hill!! I know that if I didn't have to work so hard then I could have made it further that day but I can't control the weather. I was only about a mile out when the support vehicle passed me and offered me a ride. I took it! The hotel was just around a few corners. It was some pathetic place that had the gall to charge $80 a night!
Anyway...while we were unloading luggage, a car showed up and muttered something about how to get somewhere, so I looked up and it was my SISTER!! I dropped my bags and with a huge smile on my face, ran over and gave her the biggest hug. It had been a pretty lonely trip by this point and I was so excited to have the time to visit with her for a sec. Then I noticed my mom drive up and that they had all the kids, mine included! I hugged everyone and was just thrilled that they were there. I got to go out to dinner with them and enjoy the evening relaxing and laughing. It felt so good. My sis just gets me :0)
It took forever to get all our food, take the kids potty a million different times...(oh, kids;0) and manage to find a place to eat that would fit everyone. That ended up to be the lawn of a church building. Whatever works right? It was a bit windy and all the 8 kids were saying they were cold so we parked the huge Excursion right next to the sidewalk to block the wind while we all ate on the curb. Dinner went by all too quickly and they needed to head home. It was hard saying goodbye but I just had to dig deep and move forward. I wanted to cry but I wouldn't let myself. I wandered around to the other side of the church where the rest of the bikers were eating....(lol, small town) and joined them for a bit until it was time to head back to the hotel and go to bed.
I didn't have a way to wash my clothes so both nights I washed them in the sink and dried them over the vent in the room. Here they are hanging over the table and chairs. You do what ya gotta do!
I didn't sleep well that night either but oh well. Here we all are getting ready to leave the next morning.

I road a little bit later in the day in hopes of resting a bit more. There were fat hills outside of Salina and I knew that if I battled them, they would be my last and I wouldn't make it into St. George. While riding in the couch I noticed how many small towns there were and that they prided themselves on antique stores filled with crap...anyone want a used, rusted, bed pan?..
After the major hills I got out and rode. It was still tough and raining lightly again but managable. One part was down a long mountainous canyon into Mt. Carmel and it was fun! My max speed hit about 35 mph and I was repeating in my mind again, "Don't crash, don't crash!" That will make the miles go by a lot quicker though!

Right before we hit Zions National Park, the rain came again and it was coming down hard. We had to all hop in the motorhome anyway to pass through Zions but we were in a hurry not to get soaked again! As we road up to the support vehicle it was a race against the rain so there were guys ready to grab our bikes for us and get them loaded and get us inside to eat a well deserved lunch! But cramming 15 people into a motorhome with a table set in the middle of it was a real trick. You had to take turns eating and sitting.
As we drove through Zions the roads were so narrow that it was quite an accomplishment to get the train though (the motorhome and the two trailers it was pulling). The view was still great though through the large windows :o)
Here we are getting out in Springdale right outside of Zions and starting the last leg of the ride. St. Geroge was just about 40 miles away and I was excited. Jeff and my brother Burk were meeting me there.
The ride went well because I knew it was coming to an end soon. I found plenty of energy to get up and down the many hills on the way in. One hill my max speed hit 40 mph! Too fun!
As expected I came in last but Jeff and Burk were there at the gate. Yes, a litteral gate that went into a neighborhood...sounded offical though huh?! It was a great site to see them and I road as hard as I could with a huge grin on my face! But I coudn't stop yet...
After reaching the gate I still had to meet up with the others at the house so I had to ride up this nasty hill again...yuck. But here I am, digging in as hard as I could... :0) This picture doesn't do the hill justiceThis one is a little better.
Meandering through the neighborhood....
Finally there!!! The big hug I was waiting for!!
It felt great to be done and I was looking forward to a relaxing evening and not having any place to be except my bed!

Kisses!! Jeff asked me how it felt to have ridden so far? My response was "Good I guess...every fear I had of coming on this trip came to fruition, I wasn't prepared, I was last, I rode by myself, and the strangers I came with are pretty much still strangers...but the silver lining is the important part....what I did learn is that even with my fears coming true, I still pulled it off :0)"
Fear can kiss my @$$ baby!!
Burk, Jeff and I had a great dinner at Chili's and then stayed at a Hampton Inn which was such a great relief compared to the other hotels!
Wait................! One more thing I forgot! It wasn't all bad, I didn't fall over being clipped in! (well at least didn't hit the gound)! Yee-HAW!
The next morning we took a leasurely drive though Mountain Meddows to see the monument and to take in a little bit of history. It was such a sureal feeling being there and trying to picture just what happened.
On the way out we passed this giant bug. I'm not sure what it was but I had to take a look...

And what's a trip without attemping to eat such a thing?.. That's a lot of caleries there folks if you're starving!! ;0)

Don't worry, I let it go on it's merry way! ;0)