Good Morning, Utah.
It starts at breakfast. Mom tries to convince me that everyone living in Utah is Mormon. When I ask Grandma for some ones to tip the nice man clearing our food dishes at a buffet away, Mom tells me to ask him how many wives he has.
We arrive at Zion National Park about an hour later. One of the park rangers -- Gordon -- is a total hoot. He's sporting a long ponytail of silvery white hair. He kids Grandma, saying she couldn't possibly be old enough to have a senior pass. Then he tells Mom and I we owe her dinner for getting us in for free. We tell him he should join us, and he doesn't hesitate to start climbing out the window of his booth. Says he'd be happy to join three beautiful women. If this guy is a Mormon, he has plenty of wives with that kind of charm.
The park is beautiful, the rock formations looking more like water than stone. And the color variation is astounding, from white to red. Mom just about loses her breakfast driving in the never-ending tunnels carved through the mountains. I try and get her to do some breathing exercises, but all she can think about is when the tunnel collapsed in Boston's Big Dig in 2006. Grandma isn't helping, reminding her of another tunnel collapse in Detroit, repeating over and over, "Boy, this is a long tunnel."
Mom squeezes her eyes shut and just looks sick.
We see a bunch of big horn sheep. as we're watching them, we hear a couple arguing. Another member of their family asks them if this is fight number four. Mom and I start cracking up. Mom tells them they should have been with us yesterday when the police got involved. We were backing out from an overlook at the Hoover Dam when my two copilots started picking at my driving. I stopped the car, in it's tracks, pretty close to the edge of the road and got out -- just as a police car was pulling round the bend. They stopped and asked us if everything was okay. Mom laughed and said "family squabble" as we switched places. They told us to keep it in the car.
We drive most of the way through Zion and then turn around to get back on the road for Monument Valley. Not realizing, of course, that we should have kept going. It's added about two hours to the trip, and we've already lost one with a time change crossing in to Utah. Sadly, we cross this pretty out-of-the-way location off our list and drive on toward Salt Lake City.
When we stop for a quick lunch at Arby's, it's pouring down rain. Mom's trying to stick a pepita seed from the trail mix I brought with us into my mouth. It had previously been on the floor. I'm fighting her off the best I can without killing us. She says she just wants to bond. I want to bond her to the top of the car with that duct tape taking up space in the trunk.
At 3:38 pm, just past I-70, we hit 4,000 miles.
Check in later for Part Two -- and make sure you go back to read the wedding post!