October 27, 2016 – Fall Family Fest

Today we had the gang over and we went to the Pumpkin Patch at the Alameda County Fairgrounds. Afterwards we had dinner featuring Zayde burgers, brussels sprout slaw, and potato salad. For dessert we had what Sarah called brain cake but was actually an upside down cranberry cake.

Sam on the slide
Sam on the slide
Coming down frontwards this time
Coming down frontwards this time
Nathan in the floating bubble
Nathan in the floating bubble
Nathan doing a good job balancing
Nathan doing a good job balancing
Sam in the bubble
Sam in the bubble
Sam relaxing in the bubble
Sam relaxing in the bubble
Ryan, Nathan, Jon, Sam, Mary, and John at the Pumpkin Patch
Ryan, Nathan, Jon, Sam, Mary, and John at the Pumpkin Patch
This time with Sarah included and Ryan taking the picture
This time with Sarah included and Ryan taking the picture
Table set for Fall Family Fest!
Table set for Fall Family Fest!

October 8-17, 2016 – Jonathan visits St. George

On Saturday, October 8, 2016 John, Jon, and I hit the road for St. George at 5:45AM! Jonathan likes to take the route through Yosemite NP and as it takes a little longer, it is imperative that we leave a little early so we can finish in daylight. So armed with bagels and coffee for an in-car breakfast, we are off. Traffic is a little heavier than usual due to it being Columbus Day weekend but we make good time and by lunchtime we have reached Tonopah, NV.

We arrive in St. George around 7PM MDT, check to see that everything is in working order (both Direct TV and the internet are on the fritz) and then head over to the Club for some so-so dinner.

As we will do five times during Jon’s stay, we play tennis the next morning. Poor Jon has tennis elbow but plays valiantly through the pain. I am playing horribly through all of our sessions and only start to improve at the very end of our stay.

Jon ready for his forehand
Jon ready for his forehand
John hitting his forehand
John hitting his forehand

Jonathan and I have such fun grocery shopping and cooking. We get the ingredients for his favorite “mom” meal, meatballs and gravy over noodles with green beans.

Jon's favorite, meatballs and gravy over noodles with green beans
Jon’s favorite, meatballs and gravy over noodles with green beans

The days fly by and Jon plays golf on his non-tennis days and arranges music, takes naps, and continues to shop and cook with us. We bring some better wines along to share. One of our older Zinfandels gets a big thumbs up from all of us.

Jon cooking vegetables for fajitas
Jon cooking vegetables for fajitas
Jon and John in the kitchen
Jon and John in the kitchen
This 2004 Imagery Zinfandel is the bomb!
This 2004 Imagery Zinfandel is the bomb!
Another yummy dinner, chicken fajitas
Another yummy dinner, chicken fajitas

We are also trying to find new places to eat. The dining scene in St. George is pretty grim but there must be restaurants other than Mongolian BBQ and Mad Pita to eat! We try Jalapeño’s, Dickey’s BBQ, and strike gold at Irmita’s. There are daily specials and the Tuesday mulitas are delicious and economical.

Irmita's Tuesday special, Mulita
Irmita’s Tuesday special, Mulita

One day we decide to take a hike in Zion NP. Since October is a pretty popular time, we search out less well-known spots to hike. Our choice is off the Hop Kiln Trail along the Kolob Terrace Rd. We decide to go off-trail to find what another hiker has named Hoodoo City. We have great fun exploring and are careful to leave a cairn so we won’t get lost coming back. Plus there are no other adventurers on our hike.

Jon near "Hoodoo City"
Jon near “Hoodoo City”
Mary and John silly selfie in the slickrock
Mary and John silly selfie in the slickrock
Tiny Jon in the wilderness
Tiny Jon in the wilderness

Our next stop is at the Lava Point Overlook. The view of Wildcat Canyon and The main Zion Canyon peaks are phenomenal.

The view from Lava Point towards Zion Canyon
The view from Lava Point towards Zion Canyon
Mary and John at the overlook
Mary and John at the overlook
Jon at Lava Point
Jon at Lava Point
The colorful aspens along Kolob Terrace Rd.
The colorful aspens along Kolob Terrace Rd.

Our culinary point of view this week is international. In addition to the Mexican chicken fajitas above, we also make –


We all have a great time and are so happy that Jonathan loves this place as much as we do. It is nice to think that there might be generations of Pilats enjoying St. George and the wonderful nearby parks in the future.
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