Thursday, August 1, 2019

Utah day 4

Today we leave Torrey, Utah.  It sure is going to be hard to leave these views and fun lodging!
Colin thinks I book boring trips so today was all about him.  I finally found a guide available to take him fishing.  Before we head out of town, we will spend half a day fly fishing and by we I mean I will pay and watch and Colin will fish.  He was so excited!  Me not so much . . . but I did enjoy hanging out watching him learn a new skill.  I mean every where I looked it was so peaceful and beautiful.
He loved catching the fish even if they were a bit small . . . there are five species of trout in this part of Utah and he caught 4 of the 5.  I highly recommend booking a private guide with Chuck the owner of Capitol Reef Outfitters.  We spent half a day with Jeff who was super nice and his fishing buddy was one of the best behaved dogs I have ever met!  I have loved the laid back cooler weather of this trip . . . just what I needed before we start back to school and schedules and a really long stretch of no traveling.  I'm not going to lie sure going to miss this . . .
. . . it was back to Salt Lake City to catch our flight back to Texas!

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Utah day 3

I am about to decide to never take my child on vacation.  I mean when you stay up late and sleep late it seems like a waste of time and money.  I have tired to lower my expectations when I travel with the teen but well it is frustrating to say the least.  Also this no plan trip is sort of wearing on me too.  I’m a planner.  I like to make the most of my time when I’m on a trip and today has been a bit of a disaster.  The housekeeping guy literally started circling the wagons at 8am in his golf cart in the gravel.  Even knocked on our door and woke me up.  Now this place uses big master locks so if I haven’t turned it in then I’m still occupying my wagon.  I know it is small inconvenience but it is annoying too.  We are changing lodging so we have 5 hours to fill in our day.  This is where the no planning thing backfires.  Colin wanted to take a fly fishing trip so thought perfect until we couldn’t find a guide.  I do have something planned at 5pm so don’t want to venture too far and miss it.  My head is spinning . . . literally because the kids at the playground outside our wagon are out early and having one hell of an adventure in the playground all while my kiddo sleeps.  I know I should not complain because kids playing outside is great.  So we finally get up and check out.  Since it is so late we grabbed a quick lunch at Subway.  We are going back to Capitol Reef National Park for a bit more exploring!  I also make a quick stop at Gifford Homestead for a cinnamon roll!  They tell us that the plum orchards are open today so we decide to go pick and eat some plums!
Now in Texas plums are not this small . . . supposedly they say everything is bigger in Texas. I swear I have seen cherries in Washington larger than these plums.  While the plums are small, they are tasty and tart too.  No one else was picking plums so we had the pick of the trees and there were so many!  It was back to the car from some cruising the scenic route . . .
We found a table by the river and noticed a deer all alone in the field eating fruit!  We stood and watched her for a bit . . .
While Colin frolics in the river, I eat . . . 
I am not sure he was suppose to be in the river but he had a good time . . . 
It was near check in time for the new lodging so off we went but decided to check on our deer before we left . . . 
Tonight we are staying at Capital Reef Resort.  The resort has many types of lodging options but the main reason I picked it is so we could stay in one of these . . .
It was super nice inside too.  I was amazed at the quality of bedding and amenities inside too.  It even had a very large television which we never even turned on.

Our tour for this evening starts at the resort too.  We are going on a hike with these guys!  
Meet Woody . . .
. . . and Wall-E too!
I am so excited about this little adventure but must admit I was a bit overwhelmed and intimidated by my llama.  It took me a bit to warm up to him but he was a good llama once I took his lead!
We took a break and the llamas did too.  They were given these special 'biscuits' which they loved!  I was amazed at how well they got around and were just so fun too.  They talked and made noises and never complained!
The views of the area were so pretty . . .
Our time was up so back to the resort we headed . . . you can see the resort in the distance
I had originally planned to say at this resort the entire 3 nights we were in the area as they also had wagons.  However the cost of the wagons here was almost double the other place.  I was very happy with my decision and we basically stayed two nights for the price of one plus had a great steak dinner too at Broken Spur Inn & SteakhouseCapitol Reef Resort was larger and had a few more amenities that seemed more updated but both were clean with great locations.  Now that it was getting dark the fire pits were turned on and it was time for s'mores!  I had picked up supplies before we left Salt Lake City but the resort also sold kits.
We were joined by a family from the Netherlands.  They were super nice and were on their six weeks US trip.  This family has spent a lot of time in the US especially Texas so they were fun to talk to.  I would say the majority of the people we have encountered the last few days were European.  The sun went down and it dropped to the 50s!  It was so nice because I knew in a few short days we would be back in Texas melting away!

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Utah day 2

We went to bed earlyish.  I mean this summer Colin hasn’t gone to bed before 2am most nights/mornings so anything before midnight is early.  Apparently there was a wind storm that blew through early this morning because something continued to bang on the side of the wagon non stop which drove me crazy.  Of course I wasn’t going to go check it out so just dealt with it.  We didn’t get moving as early as I wanted, but we were up and out before noon.  We stuck close by and spent the day at Capitol Reef National Park.
Stopped to pick up a map and junior ranger booklet and then off to the Gifford Homestead.   This place has fresh baked pies and cinnamon rolls that are very popular.  Cinnamon Rolls were sold out so we settled for an apple pie.  We had brought sandwiches with us so headed across the road for lunch and Junior Ranger booklet time.
It is sort of hard to concentrate when you are listening to this and looking at this too . . .
It’s nice we have no plans today except to explore Capitol Reef National Park.  I’m sticking with my only one activity a day which is driving me a bit crazy and feeling like a total slacker.  The thing is you can spend hours at a National Park and not even put a dent in what there is to see and do.  So we drove the scenic route . . . 
. . . and stopped a million times to enjoy the views.  This old barn was just beautiful with the backdrop!
. . . and continued to drive until the road ended and we turned around . . . 
On the way back we stopped at one of the many orchards.  I was so excited there was fruit in season because I wanted to pick some fruit!
So the Fruita historic region is what was settled in the 1880s by Mormons who farmed and grew crops and lived day to day life.  There are a lot of active orchards and as the various fruits come into season you are allowed to pick the fruits.  Any fruit you eat in the orchard is free and any you take with you is only $1 per pound.  What a bargain!  Today apricots were in season so we gave it a try.  Ladders and other supplies to help pick fruit are provided to use . . .
While Colin loves to complain don't kid yourself he loved climbing the ladder and picking the fruit.  There was a ton of fruit on the ground and the smell of fermentation had started and the smell was strong.  We enjoyed the moments!  Next stop was the petroglyphs
Just down the road was the one room school house that closed in 1940s as WWII started.  
We headed towards the park exit but did a quick stop at Goosenecks Overlook . . .
. . . and Chimney Rock . . 
Turned in our joint junior ranger booklet and headed back to the wagon for a late afternoon rest.  When we left this morning the air conditioner was left on so it was nice a comfortable inside the wagon today!

Monday, July 29, 2019

Utah day 1

Traveling with a teenager has its challenges.  Let me be honest . . . Colin does not enjoy travel like he used to . . . or maybe it is because now he has an opinion?  It annoys me.  I consider it a luxury to travel and an enrichment to his life but he thinks it is boring.  This has been the summer we have spent more time at home than away.  It has driven me a little crazy, but I have tried to adapt.  When I sprung on him we were going to have one last summer adventure it went over not so well.  He complained for days, and I just tuned him out.  So here we are in Utah.
I am not sure what I expected when we flew in but it was beautiful and seemed to take forever to land.  We are  going to check off the last of the Big 5 National Parks of Utah.  We have visited Arches (2012), Canyonlands (2012), Zion (2018), Bryce Canyon (2018) and now Capitol Reef (2019).

So off we go after picking up our rental car which I do not like at all.  I booked a small SUV but they were out so got an upgrade to a Ford Edge.  I always thought they seemed small but in fact it felts huge behind the wheel.  I feel like it barely fits in a lane and very uncomfortable but it was the smaller option of what they had to offer.  We say good by to Salt Lake City and head south towards Torrey, Utah.

What really got me interested in this area other than Capitol Reef National Park were some cool looking options for lodging.  So I booked it.  We were finally about 2 hours into our drive and in the middle of nowhere Utah.  Colin was super quiet so I looked at him in rear view mirror.  He didn’t look good . . . he was a bit greenish yellow so I quickly found a pull off in the middle of nowhere.  He never gets car sick but once I started asking questions it was weird.  His legs were clammy and his hands ice cold.  I was trying to not look panicked and quickly gave him some gummy candy I had been eating and water.  We had just had lunch an hour earlier.  His color came back to his face and I felt a bit of relief.  Back on the road we went but I was worried he would pass out and not know it since he refuses to sit in the front passenger seat next to me. About an hour later we arrived at our lodging for the next 2 nights . . . how cool are these Conestoga Wagons?
I was so excited until we went inside and it was worse than a sauna.  I quickly turned on the AC which provided little to no relief. 
Of course the complaining started and I was secretly about ready to throw in the towel. I decided to go for a swim which was so nice and refreshing. You may be wondering where the restroom is.  Across from the wagon is a building and you are assigned your own private bathroom.  I was amazed at how clean it was so that is good.  In fact the entire area is super clean and even better it is a family owned business.  So the bathroom has air conditioning and I told Colin worst case we go sleep in there since it is so cool!
I knew once the sun went down it will help cool off the wagon but man it is just HOT!  I told Colin worse case is we take pillows and blankets to our bath house and sleep in the floor because it was spotless!  He laughed but I was half serious.  We headed out to dinner at the hotel restaurant, Broken Spur Steakhouse, which was music to the miserable teenager’s ears.
I mean who doesn’t love a huge porterhouse steak?  The steaks were amazing and cooked perfectly too.  We planned our day for tomorrow and returned to our coolish wagon.  The sky was just beautiful so I sat outside for a bit.
Thankfully after a bit it was cool inside and outside too!  I’m loving this wagon . . . the teenager well not so much!  Good Night . . .