Sunday, October 4, 2015

Planes, Roads, Trails, and Trains

A cairn to mark our route
In our April 18 blog post entitled What Are You Excited About?  we listed 8 big things over the coming months.  Well, they all happened, and they were worth anticipating.  We just finished the last one--our road trip through Utah and a camp out with my family in Durango, Co.

Kathy finished up her board position with high fives as Director of Finance with the National Assistance League board at the national conference in San Diego. I headed off through the backroads of Nevada with some mountain biking in Susanville, CA to break up the long drive.

As a celebration, she flew to St. George, UT afterwards and we began our trip, starting in Zion National Park.  She is still head of the technology committee, just about to launch their new website and membership database, so some of our trip revolved around phone coverage, WiFi availability, and conference calls.

On the saddle of Angels Rest, Zion NP Utah
But it was still a relaxing trip, all 3100 miles worth.  We explored Zion, Bryce, Grand Escalante, Glenn Canyon, and Durango, CO.  What surprised us the most was the huge crowds at our national parks.  One ranger told us visits are up 50% over last year, setting all records.  Our campgrounds were like the United Nations, only everyone was enjoying him/herself, the scenery, and fellow visitors.  At Zion, our campsite neighbors were from Israel, Germany, and Belgium, all in rented RVs.  We've met people from France, Australia, the UK, China, India, Canada and more.    They all marvel about our beautiful wide open spaces. Talk all you want about the trade deficit, but these visitors are pumping a lot of money into our economy and helping with our balance of payments.
Golden aspen in the San Juan's
My bros:  (L to R): Joe, Neal, me, and Mark.

Colorado residens are often bedeviled trying to time the spectacular aspen colors. We totally lucked out, enjoying soothing vistas of gold, green, and majestic peaks in the Durango-Telluride area.

Best of all, we enjoyed time with three of my four siblings camping out near Durango and riding the narrow gauge train from Durango to Silverton.

This blog software doesn't have the capacity to easily add a lot of photos or do justice to our whole experience. So, if you want to see some amazing scenery, simply click on this link.  For our friends and family who aren't on Facebook, and for those that are, here's a way to get the big picture.

To help pass the long hours over the vast open spaces we are grateful for Sirius Radio, iTunes, Red Bull (at least for me), and each other's company.  However, the frosting on our cake was listening to David McCullough's The Wright Brothers.  What struck us the most was how much everyone in that era wrote heart-felt letters, and because of that, the book--and the facts--came to life.  In this era of Twitter feeds, selfies, and superficial photo-driven social media, we wonder how much our successors will really know how much we felt about things.

It feels good to be home in our spacious kitchen, big bed, and familiar environment.  In contrast to our April post we're looking forward to just enjoying our life in Oregon and being productive again.  I'm looking forward to getting back to work, completing my CASA volunteer training, starting a new board position with Capital Manor, and Rotary activities.  Kathy is looking forward to getting the Assistance League website and data base launched.  Above all, we're looking forward to our normal workout routines and time with local friends.