Road Warriors (Part 2)

Our second trip of the month was to the west. Kevin had business in Grand Junction and Salt Lake City which we capped off with a trip to northwest Utah to do some hiking and soak up our fill of the desert for the year. Favorite happenings:

  • Driving through snow over Vail Pass. The first snow in the mountains is always so breathtaking. You haven't lived until you've seen the Rockies dusted with new snow.
  • A day walking around Grand Junction, CO. I never knew they had such a cute downtown district. Lots of little art galleries and fun housewares shops. I just strapped Alex in the baby carrier and he was very content cruising the downtown promenade.
  • A found a hand painted bench in an artsy tchotchke shop. On the front it said, "'I think that you are the strangest person I've ever met.' 'You too,' she said. And they decided that they would know each other for a very long time." This made me think of my friend Sarah and smile. I loved that bench.
  • The fountain at the outdoor mall in Salt Lake City. The mall and the fountain were built for the 2002 winter Olympics. The fountain was an area of decorative pavement. The water came straight out of holes in the ground. There were mobs of little kids running through the water. Alex LOVED the fountain. The pumps made a popping noise right before the water shot into the sky. Each time the popping would start near us, Alex would laugh and make his hands into very excited little fists. He would follow the water all the way to its pinnacle and then back down again. It was pure unabashed joy!
  • Kevin goes to Liberty Park in Salt Lake whenever he's there on business. It's a beautiful park on the outskirts of downtown. He likes to go there to run. It was a perfect fall day, and Alex and I walked a couple of miles around the perimeter. We watched birds soaring across the park. The late afternoon sun bounced off of the gold and orange leaves and cast long shadows all around us.
  • Wine tasting in Fruita. Kevin had worked all day so we were racing along a backcountry road with the hope that the wineries would still be open. We finally found two and they were tiny little gems in the midst of the miles of vineyards. My definition of a perfect winery is probably different than most. I love a picturesque place as much as the next person. But for me it's about the people that work there. I want a "tasting maid" who is knowledgeable about wine. Knowledgeable about life. I want good information about my cabernet or chardonnay and I want good stories about the winery, the family, or the weather for that matter. Both wineries fit the bill. At the first place we learned about catnip imported from British Columbia. Supposedly the world's best catnip. They call is Columbian Bud. Tee hee. The second winery was owned by a software engineer turned wine maker who had just pressed her first harvest this year.
  • Lunch in Park City, UT. The quintessential mountain town complete with cute little cafes and galleries. We sat outside to eat and then watched the town drunk getting arrested in the middle of main street. Funny how in Park City even the town drunk wears L.L. Bean. Tattered and slightly dirty, but L.L. Bean nonetheless.
  • An afternoon hike in Dinosaur National Park. The trail was called the Sounds of Silence trail. It was the first time we'd been back in desert country - complete with slickrock and red canyons - since 2002. It felt like coming home. I want my ashes scattered somewhere in the Maze District of Canyonland NP, and this hike in Dinosaur was reminiscent of that scenery.
  • Casa Loya in Craig, CO. An out of the way restaurant that we stumbled upon. Craig has a Pizza Hut, a McDonalds, a gas station convenient store -- that's about it for dining establishments. We took a wrong turn and discovered a sign for Casa Loya. It was a family-owned Mexican restaurant. The place was packed. The salsa bar had two great choices and the Shrimp Enchiladas were tasty. Most importantly, the people watching couldn't be beat. The waitress had a wedge of hair teased up in the back with at least two full cans of Aqua Net. "What would prompt someone to do that?" Kevin asked. "A Flock of Seagulls," I replied.

The night we got home from Craig, Alex slept completely through the night. We haven't been able to duplicate it yet. But obviously two+ weeks on the road was enough the wear the little guy out.

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