Things have been mighty busy here in St. George this past week. We had company! The first company ever from Pleasanton. Madelynn and Steve hopped in their car and made the long trip out to St. George last Wednesday.
Our first day we hiked in Snow Canyon State Park. Snow Canyon is a small gem about five minutes from our house. We took them for a hike on the Petrified Sand Dunes Trail. But itâ€™s not so much a trail as a self-directed ramble over the dunes. Itâ€™s basically like going up and down a staircase of shallow steps. Madelynn and Steve climbed up pretty high. John and I were less ambitious or maybe just more cautious.
Later we went to the Kokopelli Restaurant at Entrada. The view is pretty gorgeous but the food was pretty mediocre. I wish they could learn to take a piece of fish and cook it so it is moist and lovely and not shreddy and dry.
On Friday we went to Toroweep. Toroweep is on the north rim of the Grand Canyon. To get there, you have to drive for an hour on paved streets and then about two hours on dirt roads. The last seven miles are pretty extreme. The payoff, though, is that you get to see a part of the Grand Canyon that few people go to. In fact when we got there, there was only one other car. Unfortunately, soon afterwards a party of about 10 trail bikes showed up. But we managed to put them out of our minds and just enjoyed the scenic beauty of the place.
There is a geological formation called lava falls at Toroweep. You can see the hardened lava spilling over the cliffs down into the Colorado River. The lava makes a waterfall of about 25 feet. In this picture, the tiny dots are rafts either waiting to go over the falls or deciding whether to turn around.
On Saturday we went to Zion National Park and hiked on the Eagle Crag Trail. We started a little too late and by the time we were trekking upward, it was way hot. Really too hot for me. I felt bad that the whole party had to turn around and return to the car after weâ€™d been hiking for about 45 minutes. Of course that was better than carrying me back down the hill. Afterwards we had lunch at Oscarâ€™s CafÃ©. Their fish tacos are delicious.
Sunday Madelynn and Steve departed. They left a little late though, at about 10 AM. This means by the time they hit Las Vegas everyone was checking out and the traffic in Las Vegas and between Las Vegas and Barstow was really bad. It took them fifteen hours to get home. Sorry!
It was a great visit and now we are looking forward to the next set of friends who arrive in about 10 days. The weather has cooled down and it should be an excellent time for a visit!
This week we are working on lots of home improvement projects. One has already gone awry. We wanted to replace our cooktop but have discovered that the manufacturers have all different sizes for the cooktop cutouts. So the one we want to put in is too large for the hole we have. Grrrr. This is beyond our ability to fix.
But John has adapted our Eastern king headboard that we schlepped all the way from Pleasanton to fit our CalKing bed in Utah. He worked really hard at this and must have hauled it in and out of the bedroomÂ five times getting it all to work out.
Here’s the finished result! John did a great job and it makes the bedroom look so much more finished.
Several years ago Sophie and I took a trip out to Zion National Park and tried to stay at the Zion Ranch Resort. By tried I mean we went into a cabin and were accosted by giant spiders! When we went back to the front desk and told them we were not staying in our spider-infested cabin, they told us that they were not surprised since we looked more like Hilton ladies.
I love that. Ever since, when presented with a chore that I’d rather not do, I think, “Well, I shouldn’t have to do that, I’m a Hilton lady.” I guess Conrad Hilton would be surprised if he saw that today I replaced three toilet seats. Hilton lady, hah!
After staying home for six weeks, which I think is a record recently, we made our way to St. George. We brought a headboard for our bed here lashed to the top of the car. It was unbelievably noisy with the tie-downs thrumming at different pitches depending on our speed.
The couple of days we’ve been here, dark clouds have rolled in late each afternoon. The wind really picks up and then thunder and lightning and sometimes rain. It’s pretty dramatic. I’ve advised John not to wash the windows until shortly before our company arrives on Wednesday.
I like to think of this as good food gone bad. When we are in St. George we rarely eat out because the restaurants here leave something to be desired. The restaurants can’t make a profit on drinks and the majority of the population doesn’t drink anyway. So there’s no easy way for them to make some extra bucks.
To get back to the food we made last night for dinner – the idea was that we would have a salad with garlic croutons and pasta with lemon, capers, garlic, parsley and olive oil. The garlic was so hot and strong that it ruined the croutons and the pasta. Also there was a bit too much caper juice in the sauce. Sigh. We threw it out.
Since company is coming soon, we better hone our skills!
Jonathan and Sam aren’t actually here in Utah with us but Leigh sent along a bunch of pictures which included this one. They both look like such sweeties here.
Happy Birthday, John!Â You are so special to me and IÂ look forward to spending many more happy years together.
As a continuation of the endless rounds of birthday celebrations, on Sunday, September 13, the family got together to fete John.Â He opened his cards, we made way too much food (a tradition), had cake, and hugged grandkids.Â It was an extra special day for him to be with all of us.
I wish this hadn’t come out blurry! Here’s John with his adorable grandchildren, Nathan and Sam. It is so much fun being a grandparent.
Ryan made a great chocolate devil’s food cake and Nathan helped to decorate it. Nathan really, really, really wanted to eat the cake all afternoon.
Finally, it’s time for cake!
Sam surely didn’t know it was Zayde’s birthday, but he’s always ready with a big smile.
John’s first celebration of his 60th birthday came on Sept. 4 with a surprise party in the park. Karen and Joe Milelli, Madelynn and Steve Ellis, and Luree and Bill vanGelder where there. I don’t think John was surprised but he was pleased that his friends had gotten together to celebrate his oldness. He got cards and gag gifts and we all had a good time. He’s the youngest of all of us so it’s good that he finally made it to 60!
He was also toasted at the McIntyre’s party on the 7th and with Karen and George at the Rose Hotel and Fontina’s on the 11th.Â You can never have too many parties!
John got into the swing of things by tooting his own horn.
After the toast (and some more wine), we were feeling less inhibited.